Sisterhood of the World Blogger’s Award

 

Recently I had the honor of being nominated for this award by Gloria Sollecito of Artful Kitchens. Gloria is a lovely lady: smart, talented, and a kitchen specialist. She’s also an artist at heart. I so enjoyed meeting her on the BLOGTOUR-Nola a wonderful event I attended in New Orleans back in 2013. I know Gloria will understand that between kids at home in the summer and one off to college, and a thriving interior design practice, it took me a few months to actually take her challenge and answer all these questions!Gloria

Without further ado, here are my answers to the ten challenge questions Gloria submitted to her nominees. At the end I will post a list of my own questions and nominees.  Here goes!

1) What is the most inspiring book you’ve ever read and why?

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery is one I recently admired. If you can, read it in French, that’s the version I read but I am a native speaker so that does not count! I have a hard time commiting to one single book! I loved the complexity of the characters, the class consciousness theme, the juxtaposition of two very different cultures (French and Japanese), and the references to art contained in this book. I found this book very inspiring as it is very thought provoking and beautifully written.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

2) If you could bring just one make up item with you on a trip what would it be?

moisturizer but I’d hide mascara in a backpocket.

Moisture Surge™ Extended Thirst Relief

3) What dish are you known for?

I make a mean gazpacho soup! Garlic is vital and fresh fresh basil from the garden a plus!

4) What is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you and have you paid it forward yet?

The kindest thing someone has done for me is to love me unconditionally, and the first person to have done that is my mother. I have repaid her forward and hopefully many people in my life! 

5) What is your trade mark design feature?

A refined sense of color. 

6) What is the biggest misconception about you?

That I am an extrovert. I’m really a nerd with a sense of style, and do well in smaller groups! A dinner with a few close friends and good conversation is what makes me happy. Music and dancing with a glass of Prosecco are swell as well! I’ve been known to start dancing in my kitchen with old friends while peeling veggies!

7) What is one food that you detest and would not eat for love or money?

Beef tongue. A dreadful culinary reminder of some childhood dinners with relatives in France.

8) What celebrity living or dead in the last hundred years would you like to chat with? Why?

Ray Eames for being a woman designer in a time when it was difficult to be respected as a woman entrepreneur.

Ray-Bernice Alexandra Kaiser Eames (1912 – 1988) was an American artist, designer, and filmmaker who, together with her husband Charles, is responsible for many classic, iconic designs of the 20th century.:

9) Do you believe in ghosts?

Yes, of course. Don’t you?

10) What aspect of the design process is your favorite?

Creative brainstorming and preparing visual mock ups once all items are selected and the client can finally see them together and visualize what they will look like in the space. 

Here are my nominees, a few special people I totally respect in my industry, wether they blog or design:

Yvonne Blacker , of Design Vignettes

Marilyn Russell, of Marilyn Ashley Design Associates

Richard Rabel, of Richard Rabel Interiors + Art

Lisa Peck of Lilu Interiors.

Here are my ten questions:

1/What do you love about blogging?

2/What is your favorite film?

3/Are you a dog or a cat person and why?

4/Which is your favorite interior designer and why?

5/What are you cooking/eating tonight?

6/Who is the person in your life who most inspired you professionally?

7/What do you have on your nightstand right now?

8/Share a favorite travel destination.

9/Tell me your favorite room to design or blog about and why.

10/Do you think vessel sinks are in or out?

You can answer the questions but if not, I totally understand and just want you to know that I am a fan and consider you a sister/brother in the World of Bloggers!

Kindly,

Barbara

Throw Pillows: Are They Really Necessary?!

I call this the Throw Pillow Debate.

At one point or another in the design collaboration, we will enter the accessories planning phase. We enter the “pillow conversation”. I explain they will add color, texture, warmth, personality to the space. They will cushion the room and tamper down echo, as do the window treatments. Pillows also serve a function, improving back support and comfort, especially for shorter people who need to have their feet touch the floor and for anyone who suffers from a sensitive back.

Rare are my female clients who do not understand the value of the decorative pillow. Most men, and pardon the generalization, tend to find them fluffy and unecessary. I hear strong words about clients’ distaste for pillows: “my husband hates them!”, “they are non functional!”, “why do we need them?”, “I’ll just throw them on the floor!”

Allow me to illustrate my line of thought.

This beautifully upholstered bed by Bernhardt  feels blah. It’s a bed with white linens. Period. 

Now look at what happens when color and texture is infused on the bed with the use of interesting pillows. Image courtesy Bernhardt.

Let’s look at one of my designs:

Detailed View

The bed before. 

Barbara Elza Hirsch | Elza B. Design IncThe dressed up bed after: linens and 2 decorative pillows leaning against white shams. Note how the custom fabric tells a story: the colors and texture add depth and warmth, coordinating with the wall and accessories. Designed by Barbara Elza Hirsch of Elza B. Design, Inc. Photo Rosemary Fletcher.

Decorative pillows on a bed need not be overdone, I usually recommend 2 or 3 on top of sleep pillows, which I cover with shams or pillow covers. The sleep pillows usually go in pairs to hold everything up but also add adequate back support when reading.

What to do with the decorative pillows at night? They can plopped on the floor against the wall, or simply laid on an armchair. Not as complicated as one would think!

What about the sofa pillows?

Gunner Sofa

I love this velvet sofa found via Jayson Home. But it feels so naked. 

cozy and sophisticated:

Rooms cannot be fully inviting without color, texture and  layering of mutiple fabric accessories, such as the sofa pillows above. The art piece adds a lot to the space as well. Photo : Interiors Magazine.

Beautiful yet bare sofa from Cisco Brothers with no pops of color or layering that make it inviting.

Traditional Media/Game Room by CarolEgan Interiors and Andre Tchelistcheff Architects in Water Mill, New York: Carol Eagan Interiors room offers inviting seating options with colorful pops of pillows.

Many people, including myself, welcome back pillows on seating. I frankly cannot enjoy my evening if there is not something soft and cushy to lean on and allow my feet to reach the floor, especially with a deeper sofa.

Guests or family members who do not find pillows comfortable can simply move then to the side or put on the floor. There is no need for guests to feel uncomfortable : I always make everyone at ease in my living spaces and let all know pillows can be moved around or put on the floor.

Scale and texture of pillows is very important as well. It’s nice to have a blend of squares and a rectangle or two. Make sure you let your designer know if you prefer down or poly inserts. Down allergy considerations are important as well. Down feathers will feel soft and pliable. Polyester feels firmer but can be very useful for the pillows in the far back position to creative supportive layering.

So the next time the designer talks pillows, please keep an open mind and remember this blog post.

Custom pillows are an investment, but they really truly make a space and bring it to the next level!

Designer Insights-Interview with Elza B. Design, Inc

I was recently asked to answer some questions for a DESIGNER INSIGHTS interview by a  firm called Terry’s Blinds in the UK. They appear to be a company similar to Smith and Noble here in the USA. Tudor, their social media person got in touch with me and asked if I would participate.

I love that a window treatment company is so in love with design that it motivates them to go the extra mile on their blog and create a design interview concept that brings to the wider public the behind the scenes of interior designers and other design creators (landscape, architecture, etc).

Designer Insights

Tudor is actually taking the time to interview dozens of designers to find out what inspires them. What a fun idea! It’s also a great tool for a young adult wondering if this is the field they want to enter. In Designer Insights, designer wannabees can find out what creators have inspired designers, how they got to this place and what they recommend.

Here’s my interview (click anywhere on article to see expanded view):

Designer-Insights-Barbara-Hirsch-Preview

I thought I’d turn tables on Tudor and let him answer a few questions!

Tudor Davies of Terry’s Blinds

1) What is your role at TerrysBlinds?

TD: I work on the online marketing of the website, specifically this means making connections on Twitter and developing new and unique content ideas, such as the “Designer Insights”. I try to come up with features like this and get people interested in them and involved. It’s amazing to take an idea from the drawing board and test it in the real world to see whether industry professionals like it. 
 
2) Is Terrys Blinds the equivalent of a company like Smith and Noble in the USA? Tell me more about the firm.
 
TD: I suppose we are. I’ve just looked at the website and we seem quite similar. The only difference being that they sell curtains as well. 
The company is relatively new, and we only really starting trading January of this year. However our sister company (Terry’s Fabrics) has been trading for 40 years. Since January we have been growing the company by improving website visibility and increasing awareness on social media. We have done some amazing things on Twitter and connected with some amazing contacts, such as yourself. We have launched “Designer Insights”, an astounding interior designer interview feature. All of this has increased brand awareness and helped to establish the company as a brand. We have a lot more to do but the progress in the last 8 months has been amazing.
 
3) Why and when did you decide to create Designer Insights?
 
TD: I came up with the idea back in February 2014, after carrying out a similar idea asking 15 designers their golden rules of interior design. I really liked that idea and was surprised at how many people wanted to get involved. After it was over I realised I could refine the idea, by making the final feature more personal to each designer and something that they would love to share online. I wanted to make a feature that was of value to the designer being interviewed and that looked like a high quality magazine feature.
 
4) What is your wish with this project (such a cool project by the way)?
 
TD: At the moment we have interviewed over 100 interior designers (about 130 so far), so I just want to build upon this and get more designers involved. Our next target is 250 and from there who knows? Getting requests to be featured is also a goal, as at the minute I invite people to take part. We have had a few inbound inquires but I just want to make the feature more popular to get even more.
 
5) What have you learned about doing this project?
 
TD: That you can create an amazing piece of valuable content that speaks to an individual person. Most content marketing involves sharing content with hundreds of people at a time, which has limited results. Whereas my approach is a one-to-one approach, it is much more rewarding for both parties, giving us both something of value. It also allows me to get to know designers on a personal level, to learn something about them that no one else knows. It’s very rewarding.
 
7) Were there any surprises? 
 
TD: I suppose the biggest surprise was how well the “Designer Insights” feature has taken off. When I started I never imagined I would get to interview over 100 designers. The first interview I carried out was a complete experiment, after that people just kept saying “yes” and wanting to take part. It was quite flattering and rewarding really.

Thanks to Tudor for allowing me to interview him and for the lovely interview feature on their site! I enjoyed doing this tremendously!

 

 

 

Demystification of a Design Collaboration

Today I’m sharing a behind the scenes of the designer/client collaboration.

Soooo, how does working with us REALLY work?

1/Good designers are not out to exploit you. They care. They have a strong work ethic and they work very hard.

2/Hiring a designer requires a budget, and you can’t hope for a total redesign on a $1,000 budget on designer fees for your living room. That is, simply put, unrealistic. Imagine how many hours it takes you to select one wall color when you go to the paint store! Now multiply that task by 50. Imagine selecting furniture, lighting, rug, at, accessories, wall color, tile, flooring options for a project. Add to that the hours spent meeting on site with you and or the builders, the preparation of powerpoints and budgets, the travel time and the custom selections of fabrics and design of bespoke items, communication with vendors, orchestrating deliveries, creating designs and drawings. Designers easily reach 30 hours + on a room design depending on the scope of the project.

Inspiration Board by Elza B. design, Inc.Inspiration board section detail by Elza B. Design, Inc. This board helps the client and designer make sure the client is on board with the vision for the project. Each board takes several hours to research and put together.

3/A good designer will be super organized, prepare a contract, and take time to go through important steps of preparation. Tip: Never work without a contract.

Contract-Elza B. Design, inc..Extract of a contract from Elza B. Design, Inc.

4/Preparation: Designers need to build the backbone of the design project before you can even start designing. CAD drawings, vision plan, color schemes, measurements, photos.

Example of an Elza B. Design Package.Example of the type of work we prepare at Elza B. Design, Inc  before even starting any research or purchasing for our clients. This can take 15 to 20 hours prep work.

5/Trust: Once you select a designer (and we recommend you do your research), please trust they know their craft.

6/Hire someone with excellent client satisfaction reviews, a great portfolio, strong communication and organizational skills. This person should be someone you can relate to and trust to listen well : after all, they are helping you create a space YOU will love.

Designer's Office board for a Project. Elza B. design, inc.Back in the office, each client has a board with all the items, colors, fabrics, info on hand. Elza B. Design, inc.

8/It may seem scary to entrust us with your home or space, but we will do everything we can to make you happy with the outcome. We wear multiple hats, including overseeing shipping and custom fabrication : we are problem solvers and our goal is to deliver.

Elza B. Design Sketch for Custom Pillows.Sketches by Elza B. Design, inc.Custom sketches like these are prepared to communicate with you and the specialists who work with us to ensure a seamless production and installation. Elza B. Design, Inc sketches.

9/Yes, there can be issues but we will solve them! Like when the fabric comes in from the mill at the workroom and it’s defective. We’ll take care of returning it. Or when that glass lamp shade arrives broken. We’ll organize the exchange.

Elza B. Design, Inc | Chez ElzaExample of resolutions we take care of at Elza B. Design, Inc.

10/If you can trust us, great things will happen, and both parties will enjoy the collaboration. If you hold back, and begin to see us as the enemy, a good partnership cannot flourish. Please express your concerns. But please trust you have hired a professional who will steer you in the right direction.

11/Collaboration is KEY. A good designer will want to communicate. He or She will love it if you can say “I don’t like that because…” “I really like that color but I would prefer…” Your constructive input is needed and appreciated.

12/Please let us know when you are happy. Do send photos of the space to share your excitement when the sofa has been delivered or when the kids are happily enjoying the new family room! We love it when clients share the joy! Makes our day!

13/Budget? Why are we asking about your budget before the contract is signed? It’s very important for a designer to know beforehand if the budget is realistic. Our goal is to meet the client’s wishes: if we know what the budget is, we will know if we are a good fit for you, what solutions to come up with and which stores to shop.

14/Do designers work on weekends? Would you ask your electrician to come during the weekend? Probably not unless it was an absolute emergency. Designers take weekends off like everyone else. I will occasionally do a weekend visit but there is an extra fee for that.

Elza B. Design Board of Design Elements put Together.Here is an example of how all can be decided prior to any purchase. We are able to show clients what they are buying with the help of new technologies. Board by Elza B. Design, Inc.

15/The big reveal? If you want a custom designed space, please don’t have unrealistic expectations. We simply cannot deliver awhole room redesign  in three weeks when a simple sofa takes up to 12 weeks in production! Expect the project to last months. If you want a big reveal, we can have our receiving warehouse inspect and hold all the items, and then deliver and install all the same day with our assistance. There is an extra fee for that, but some clients say it’s worth it!

16/”I want an IKEA priced sofa!” Imagine a dish (we’ll call it A) made with fresh herbs, fresh mushrooms and a homemade tomato sauce. Now imagine the same dish (we’ll call it B) made with dried herbs, canned mushrooms and a jar of inexpensive store bought tomato sauce. Dish A make look as good as dish B, but A is going to be tastier and pricier if you order it at a restaurant than dish B. It goes the same way for furniture. It may look good but the craftsmanship and quality of components is what you pay for. IKEA is a great place to start when you’re out of college or on a budget, but you will find the quality is not as high. Designers know all about quality and where to get it. Ask us. We’re happy and proud to explain how the items are made.

I hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes and found it educational!

A bientôt!

 

 

 

 

My Summer Show House : A Seaside Haven

I promised to deliver and here it is: the post many of you have been waiting for!

As you may recall, earlier this year, I had the huge honor of being selected to design a space for the Museums of Old York 24th Annual Decorator Show House. So many of you have been asking to see photos. I wanted to wait till I had professional photos of the space before sharing these with my readers. I also needed to check with magazine editors that I know were planning on featuring my space to make sure they would be okay with my publishing some photographs.

I finally have a GREEN light!

So, without any further ado, please join me for a tour:

View from the inside of the porch to a peaceful landscaped haven. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

View from the inside of the porch to a peaceful landscaped haven. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch

Upon entering, a full view of my Cove Porch Show house space. Designer:  Barbara Elza Hirsch of Elza B. Design, Inc. Photo Credit: Irvin Serrano

Upon entering, a full view of my Cove Porch Show house space. Designer:  Barbara Elza Hirsch of Elza B. Design, Inc. Photo Credit: Irvin Serrano

A detail of the teak sofa vignette with a Water and Main compass under a glass dome and cactus branch. Vintage French binoculars, teak and electroplated steel side table. Designer : Barbara Elza Hirsch of Elza B. Design, Inc Photo Credit:  Greg PremruA detail of the teak sofa vignette with a Water and Main compass under a glass dome and cactus branch. Vintage French binoculars, teak and electroplated steel side table. Designer : Barbara Elza Hirsch of Elza B. Design, Inc Photo Credit:  Greg Premru

Detail of weather resistant armchairs with custom outdoor pillows and custom outdoor sheers. Ceramic garden stool, seagrass basket with Moroccan glasses and French decanter. Stark Carpet custom outdoor rug. Designer: Barbara Elza Hirsch of Elza B. Design, Inc. Photo: Greg PremruDetail of weather resistant armchairs with custom outdoor pillows and custom outdoor sheers. Ceramic garden stool, seagrass basket with Moroccan glasses and French decanter. Stark Carpet custom outdoor rug. Designer: Barbara Elza Hirsch of Elza B. Design, Inc. Photo: Greg Premru

Custom console painted in Hague blue by Farrow and Ball, Water and Main green stool and paddles, Philippe Starck Kartell chairs.Planter arrangements by designer, succulents on loan courtesy Churchill Gardens in NH. Designer: Barbara Elza Hirsch of Elza B. Design. Photo Credit: Irvin SerranoCustom console painted in Hague blue by Farrow and Ball, Water and Main green stool and paddles, Philippe Starck Kartell chairs.Planter arrangements by designer, succulents on loan courtesy Churchill Gardens in NH. Designer: Barbara Elza Hirsch of Elza B. Design. Photo Credit: Irvin Serrano

Designer: Barbara Elza Hirsch of Elza B. Design. Photo Credit: Greg PremruDesigner: Barbara Elza Hirsch of Elza B. Design. Photo Credit: Greg Premru

The dining area. Kingsley Bate teak table and Starck chairs. Darby Road Antiques antique wood leg candlestick holders, custom runner and terrarium adorn the table. Designer: Barbara Elza Hirsch of Elza B. Design. Photo Credit: Irvin SerranoThe dining area. Kingsley Bate teak table and Starck chairs. Darby Road Antiques antique wood leg candlestick holders, custom runner and terrarium adorn the table. Designer: Barbara Elza Hirsch of Elza B. Design. Photo Credit: Irvin Serrano

Custom console table with vintage paddles, oil painting by my mother, artist Ghetta Hirsch, authentic coral specimen, Mexican glasses, French 1940's Sarreguemines Majolica gravy boat. Designer: Barbara Elza Hirsch of Elza B. Design. Photo Credit: Greg PremruCustom console table with vintage paddles, oil painting by my mother, artist Ghetta Hirsch, authentic coral specimen, Mexican glasses, French 1940’s Sarreguemines Majolica gravy boat. Designer: Barbara Elza Hirsch of Elza B. Design. Photo Credit: Greg Premru

Photo Credit: Irvin SerranoAnother view with bench at left and mosaic art by Ariel Shoemaker. Designer: Barbara Elza Hirsch of Elza B. Design. Photo Credit: Irvin Serrano

Photo: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaArt I had commissioned for my show house space to mimic the underwater and above ground vegetation . Beautiful mosaic work by artist Ariel Shoemaker. Ariel uses a menagerie of glass mixed in with semi precious stones such as turquoise or chalcedony. This piece is currently for sale and is part of a pair (can be sold separately). Photo : Barbara Elza Hirsch

 And memories:Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaAbove, photos acting as memories of the construction and planning behind the show house. I love the photo of my son sitting on a Philippe Starck chair, taking a break from helping his dad and I on location :-) All photos Barbara Elza Hirsch.

Chez ElzaChez ElzaI accumulated over 6000 miles this spring and summer to prepare for and oversee my show house. I drove to and back from Kittery Point, Maine so many times I knew the Beach Pea menu by heart. And what a menu!!! 

It was all worth it! If you are interested in purchasing some of the items from the show house, please contact me. I will be posting a link to the items very soon.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my porch. Of course, the best is to walk in a space, but this is the closest I could get you, and the professional photographers who took the shots did a wonderful job :-)

A bientôt!

DU VERRE, a Hardware Company with Style

One of our Blogtour Sponsors was DUVERRE Hardware, a leader in quality and original design for cabinet hardware based in Canada.

I did not have the pleasure of meeting the owners but examined their website and press information with a lot of interest. I also had a lot of fun participating in a Pinterest contest challenge organized by DU Verre which I won! I cannot wait to receive my prize, an IPAD Mini!

Who knew such creative energy could be put into drawer pulls and knobs? Working with highly respected designers from all aspects of the design world, Du Verre has created unique design-driven collections of knobs and pulls for fine furniture and interiors. The company has raised the bar on innovative hardware design and the sustainable use of materials.

2½Pomegranate Pull by Heinz Pflege for DU VERRE. . Shown in satin nickel.

17

Forged 3 by Heinz Pfleger for DU VERRE. -Shown in antiqued brass.

Thanks to progressive manufacturing methods, each piece of their die cast hardware is crafted in eco-friendly recycled aluminum that is fully compatible with LEED objectives. Known for originality, sculptural designs, warm textures and beautiful finishes, Du Verre’s hardware collections exude a global elegance and classical silhouette that will appeal to many designers and homeowners. Each piece is finished by hand, making each one truly unique.

Knob

Series 3 by Scot Laughton for DU VERRE. Shown in satin nickel.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Gina Lubin, one of the founding partners of Du Verre.

CHEZ ELZA: Gina, what motivated you to start Du Verre?

Gina: “The evolution of Du Verre has been a pretty organic process. My partner and I had a studio/retail design business in Toronto. We were designing furniture and making
custom hardware for our own projects. An opportunity arose for us to try our hand at
production. We leaped at it. And now, thirteen years later it is our sole focus.”

Did you know right away what the company would produce or did you evolve as the company grew?

“We really didn’t know where Du Verre Hardware would take us. But, curiosity and a willingness to try things has been a driving force in our business life.

When you were a child, what did you dream of doing when you grew up?  Are you surprised you grew up to do what you do?

“To be honest, I thought I’d be living in the country somewhere bucolic working as a
sculptor! Well I find myself in the city but creating hardware does have some of that
sculptor fantasy in it. So maybe I’m on my way!”

What is your favorite part of the job? the one that is most dear to you.

“I do like my work. It’s so varied. Du Verre has been my school. We have been
in business for thirty years. Through its many incarnations, I have traveled, met
amazing people, created interesting objects and learned about business, politics and
the world.”

How many years elapse from design thought process to prototype to manufacturing of a pull or knob?

“Sometimes years, sometimes weeks. From the time we decide to put something in
the line, it usually takes about three to six months to get it produced and into stock.”

How do you see the art of pulls and knobs evolving in the next few decades?

“I don’t really know. I suppose the use of new materials and technologies will have animpact. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Can you send me a photo of you with your favorite knob and pull?

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/?ui=2&ik=a4a3ac9d13&view=att&th=13eb2926952e8855&attid=0.1.3&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P-DJdQq3IBP534J7BAeuamt&sadet=1369329382152&sads=j1qyYAE4vRN_u1EuW99IRcvuX8w

One of Gina Lubin”s favorite pull, Arroyo in white. Du Verre.

I had a lot of fun discovering this unique hardware brand. Creative processes are found everywhere. When art meets industrial design, it can mean a perfect marriage! Du Verre is clearly example of this!

A bientôt!

Note: all photos courtesy Du Verre Hardware.

Aha Moment ?!!!

While at Blogfest, we were encouraged by House Beautiful editors to write about what inspires us, what might have been the moment in our life that prompted us to choose this profession, or what “AHA moments” we encounter in our daily work.

I have to say Aha Moments abound in my life. Like the time I realized very early on I was happiest creating and working with COLOR.

A little French girl growing up in Washington DC, bound to the rigid system of the French School I attended, I quickly found the freedom and joy of color in illustrations I created inside my French “cahiers” (notebooks) :

Illustration in my “cahier” at the French School.

Later as a brooding teenager, I perfected my craft to include realistic illustrations of other brooding creators (here Baudelaire, as a child):

Illustration of Baudelaire, enfant, by Barbara Elza Hirsch

I fancied myself a talented designer in the making: my goal was to be a fashion designer. From age 10 on, I had developed a mad crush on FABRIC and spent my time making little outfits for my barbies, or inventing little bags and decorative boxes out of Marimekko fabrics.

A vestige of my passion for fabric and creating (note the little ruby stone patiently sewn on to the bustier):

After high school, I moved to Paris and went to Art School, and later, to Studio Berçot, one of the top Fashion Design Programs. I madly scribbled and created designs for diverse collections:

Fashion Illustration by Barbara Elza Hirsch
Sweater line created by Barbara Elza Hirsch back in the 80’s.
Little summer bags created by Barbara Elza Hirsch while a student at Studio Bercot.

Alas, my career as fashion designer was never to be. I HATED the fashion world! If you’ve ever seen The devil Wears Prada, you know what I am referring to.

Little did I know that somewhere deep inside, was an interior designer in the making. Years later, as a wife and mother still enamored by COLOR and passionate about DESIGN, I found my true calling : Interior Design!

Interior designers were a friendlier bunch, and the freedom I encountered in creating designs was thrilling. Aha! I thought! It’s all coming together:

My love of fabric:

Windsor Smith fabric for Kravet on wing chair with contrasting piping. Custom creation by Elza B. Design, Inc.

My love of color:

A color scheme on a current Elza B. Design project. Inspired by a beautiful painting my client owns.

And just the joy of seeing it all come together:

Living Room created by Elza B. Design, Inc

But, wait! Look at what I just found in my childhood notebooks:

“Life is a Big Room” by Barbara Hirsch, done as a child.

Aha! I should have known :-) There was a room in me after all.

One of my Designs Featured in Houzz.com Article!


Getting Ready for my Spring Intern!

Such an exciting weekend for me! Getting ready to greet my new intern this Monday! Last fall, I volunteered at the local High school to speak at the Job Fair about my job as an Interior Designer. I had a wonderful time. What a joy to share my passion with eager students wondering if this could be the field for them! Little did I know that the school would ask me if I would be open to welcoming an intern in the Spring! Of course, said I. What business owner does not need an intern? And what a wonderful opportunity to mentor a young student, set the right example and show her what an exciting profession this is! Today, the office is all abuzz with lists of ideas and tasks for the internship, fun things to do together, but also more menial tasks that are part of having a business.

My office is a bit tight and I was in dire need of a comfy desk for my temporary assistant. It could not be too big. It could not be too expensive. It had to be hip. Found it! This weekend, I am going to West Elm to get this lovely mango wood bistro table:

West Elm Turned Pedestal Bistro Table

I can’t wait to set it up. Now all I need is a nice chair to pair it with.

Something like the Hans Wegner Wishbone chair could be a nice contrast, but, yikes, it’s pricey :

Hans Wegner Wishbone chair at Room and Board

Or maybe a simple modern Windsor chair such as :

Modern Windsor Chair by West Elm

Mmmh, this one by Pottery Barn is fun! but is is it comfortable? :

Soleil Chair by Pottery Barn

This Louis XV inspired design would be perfect, if only I did not need to fly to France to purchase it :

I will keep you posted! Choices abound! The most important is that the intern feel welcome and that we get down to business! Because this design firm is busy and ready to share the magical, exciting, exhausting world of interior design!

Bon weekend!

Boy, Oh Boy, New Interior Design Photos Are In!

Last post, I discussed the process of working with a designer. But how does a designer showcase his/her work once a project is completed?

Interior Designers depend on good photographs to be able to show their hard work. We could not work without qualified and talented photographers. They are the window to our work! I personally tried to take my own interior design photos years ago when I started in this field, but I had to give up. My photos were frankly ugly and dark. They did NOT do me a service :-)

One of the most exhausting and rewarding part of our profession is getting those photos made. I say exhausting because photo sessions require a lot of work, involving staging the photos. One has to make sure no lampshade is crooked and no kleenex box has been forgotten on the window sill. Fabric on upholstery and pillows needs to look plumped up and not crumpled. The space has to  feel inviting and not too busy.

Last week was one of those weeks. After months and months of fine-tuning two rooms, making sure the client and designer were satisfied with the end result of the designs, I was ready to come in and shoot with my photographer, Boston based Dan Watkins.

On a sunny and unusually warm March day, we met on site to get started. I brought in props (flowers, vase, trays, throws, etc) and started prepping the rooms while Dan tested them for light. It is not unusual for use to move furniture around: dog beds and extraneous items need to be temporarily removed. Dan takes multiple shots with shades and curtains opened and closed so to photoshop the rooms later and edit sun spots, shading, light, window views.

Paying attention to so many little details is very trying. I get very tired and can’t wait to be done after 3 hours of constant vigilance. We wrap up and go for coffee. A week or so later, we agree on the right shot selections to edit. I am always overjoyed to see the results! All that hard work payed off!

Below are a few selections:

Media Room designed by Elza B. Design and photographed by Dan Watkins.

 

Media Room-Back detail of Wing Chair. Design by Elza B. Design, photo by Dan Watkins.

And another space:

Sitting Room designed by Elza B. Design and photographed by Dan Watkins.
Sitting Room designed by Elza B. Design and photographed by Dan Watkins.

 

For more photographs, make sure to visit our website at www.elzabdesign.com

Thanks for visiting, hope you enjoyed :-)