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Meet the Designer


October 2008


Material Madness
By Scott Woytowick


I love working with stone; there is something very special and dramatic about walking into an entry gallery and seeing stone floors, especially polychrome marble floors in unusual patterns—so very classic and luxurious.
— Philip Gorrivan

Rough-cut cedar because of its three-dimensional quality and similarity to driftwood. Rough-cut cedar is a highly desired material in Japanese woodworking. It is amazing how a soft wood can be so durable. I like to use it for paneling walls, dining tables and cabinetry.
— Joseph Lembo

I have always had a great love of the land, am inspired by natural and timeless interiors and driven by a deep appreciation for the arts. Because of that, my favorite materials will always be handwoven, organic fibers, naturally dyed in sophisticated colors. Exquisite and designed to last, these textiles and rugs can be found at Elizabeth Eakins and Rogers and Goffigon.
— Alicia Orrick

The thing that stimulates my creative juices is using any material in a unique and unusual way or in combinations that are different. Sitting in my office is a mirror bordered with metal lilies that have anodized to a dark, rich green. In the powder room where I am placing it, the walls will be covered in antique bronze-colored embossed leather. A dark green-brown marble is being used for the sink counter, and a bronze faucet will empty into a hammered copper sink. The floor is two tiles of sage-green color, one plain, one with a leaf motif. The whole effect of the room will be that of a mossy garden, though nothing is actually velvety or mossy.
— Connie Beale

Right now I love mixing satin with more textural fabrics—mohair, Belgium linen, flannel, etc. I have been using it as contrast piping on upholstery and as accent pillows with wide flanges. It offers a bit of glamour and shine to the mix of textures.
— Michelle Morgan Harrison

Flush board! You can buy it at any lumber store; ask for "ship lap flush board." We install it horizontally or vertically and it gives the effect of expensive custom paneling. With a coat of paint it can totally transform any wall or ceiling and add architectural detail to a room.
— Lynn Morgan

My favorite material to work with right now is homespun linen. I am passionate about the texture and complexity linen has to offer, as well as adding a dressed-down elegance to any space. The mixing of rough, nubby linen on a formal piece of furniture is far more interesting than a traditional and expected fabric. In terms of fabric houses, Rogers and Goffigon, in my opinion, does a brilliant job of offering linens that inspire me and challenge possibilities.
— Rhonda Eleish

Beautiful rugs from Nepal and China with materials such as banana leaf, hemp, silk and New Zealand wools.
— Cindy Rinfret

One of my current favorite materials to work with is man-made leather. It is also pet- and kid-friendly. Innovations has a great line of faux leather, which has a great color range and is well priced. It is luxurious to the touch and completely mimics the look of leather.
— Laura Bohn

Currently we are working on a house in the South. We are reinstalling and renovating this project with pecky cypress ceilings to bring back the integrity of the house. This wood adds great texture, design and warmth to the home. I am trying to use all natural materials in an unnatural world. Wouldn't we all gravitate to a material that takes us back to a simpler, less frenetic time?
— Susan Zises Greene

My current FAVE material: sheets of glass. I have been using this material in shower stalls for a long time, but now I'm using it in other rooms. I have also started painting the back of the sheets a custom color—it looks fantastic in an entrance. This gives a very "watery" feeling to the room.
— Lou Marotta

Loving anything reflective—églomisé, high-gloss paint, metallic wallpaper and patent leather.
— Kerry Sheridan

What I love is a new line of architectural glass from Skyline that looks just like acid etched glass. It can be recycled because it has no inner layers or inks.
— Edie van Breems

Mirrors are my favorite material to work with. In furnishings, I particularly like using vintage mirror glass to project a feeling of warmth. There is an amazing selection of French-antiqued and mercury finishes. I like to also create optical illusions with mirrors. One of my favorites is to position a mirror with architectural detail up seven to nine feet in a cathedral ceiling room. This is visually exciting and suggestive of space, or perhaps another room.
— Melissa Makris

Nothing makes a room come more alive than a fabulous piece of stone. A quiet, subdued kitchen comes alive with an island of 1000-year-old marble with nautilus shells imbedded in its surface. Or a bar countertop with marble resembling river rock that "flows" across the surface can truly inspire.
— Sandy Oster

I am currently inspired by the textured wall coverings of Phillip Jeffries. The various patterns and colors offer a tactile, trompe l'oeil excitement.
— Sandy Morgan

Leather! It has become such a versatile material. Besides the obvious sumptuous leathers, nubuck and suedes available today for sofas, chairs, poufs and the like, you can do anything from have 16-by-16-foot floor tiles installed to cover your walls in the most amazing array of colors. It has so many other uses that can add something to a room.
— Yvonne Ferris

I love fine grasscloth wallpaper in rich colors—it's so much more exciting on a wall than paint. It adds a layer of textural interest to a room. Many grasscloths have a luminous quality that makes the walls of a room look wonderful when the chandelier dims and the candles are lit.
— Susan Bednar Long