Pssst… Do You Want to Know a Secret?

Eleven interior designers divulge trade secrets and even their embarrassing design choices.

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Lyn Peterson
Motif Designs, 718 S Fulton Ave, Mount Vernon (800) 431-2424


Paint: Benjamin Moore, for the range of colors—subtle, sophisticated, understated, and a great price. You can’t beat the historic colors.
Fabric: Nubuck
Window dressing: Shutters and half-shutters. Window dressing is folderol—who needs that?
Must-have item under $50: A Tempur-Pedic pillow
Best-value product: Stone countertops, if you’re planning on keeping your kitchen for centuries. People ask, 'Does it last?' And I say, 'Have you been to Versailles lately?'

Wallpaper: Grasscloth

Favorite design trend: Open-grain woods; the return of oak and pine.
Worst design mistake: Painting moldings grass-green
Chair: I’m into motion these days, so a recliner, swivel, or rock-swivel.
Candles: Colonial or Yankee Classics in ivory

Décor book: Mine, of course! I have three of them—Lyn Peterson’s Real Life Decorating, Lyn Peterson’s Real Life Renovating, and Lyn Peterson’s Real Life Kitchens—all loaded with information.
Color: Red. It’s like a neutral—goes with everything.

Flowers: Whatever’s in season. What’s appropriate is what’s growing now. Today, I did masses of bittersweet.
Local museum: Hudson River Museum in Yonkers
Local antiques store: Briggs House in Mamaroneck
Local housewares store: HomeGoods in White Plains is amazing. It’s like a treasure hunt.
Local lighting store: My own warehouse
Local restaurant décor: Larchmont Tavern. It’s seventy-five years old, and where it’s renovated, it’s done very softly. It’s wonderful.
Local hotel décor: Larchmont Yacht Club guest rooms. It’s quite charming—it’s a beautiful old mansion, and the rooms are in the modern wing, so they’re convenient and comfortable.
Kitchen gadget: A good cheese slicer
Design period: Next year. We’re on our way back to a great period of eclecticism, like in fashion, where you can do anything. Home design is behind, but we’re on the cusp of a broad and accommodating period with lots of styles and genres.

Home accessory: Lamps. Nothing looks good without good lighting.

Home TV show: I hosted one, but most are too painful to watch in terms of the nonsensical things they do. But I liked Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. I thought Thom Filicia was great.
Luxury home item: A cashmere throw. Mine’s Ralph Lauren and it’s at least twenty years old. We use it constantly. My kids made tents with it, and it’s still immaculate.
Kitschy item: Hooked rugs in front of the kitchen sink. I have an oval one with a floral design in the center.
Online design site:
Embarrassing object at home: I’d rather be legless than have the wrong shoes on, but I have four children, so I don’t embarrass too easily at home. I’d have to say Great Uncle Oscar’s portrait in the dining room. He bears a striking resemblance to the less attractive members of the royal family, with a weak chin, a thin aquiline nose, and wispy blond hair.



Nicole Aversa Pushkal
Nicole Interior Designs, 91 Main St, Tuckahoe (914) 793-4414

Kitchen gadget: An apple corer

Color: Orange
Paint: Farrow & Ball
Fabric: Vervain. They're just so unique and beautiful. They're just very different.
Window dressing: Relaxed Roman shades or simple panels with some embellishment, like bandings and trim.
Must-have item under $50: Fresh-cut flowers
Best-value product: Faux wood blinds. You can make them look great and they’re inexpensive.
Home accessory: A great ottoman with good fabric
Chair: Any Eastlake chair
Sheets: Any soft cotton. I look for a good thread count and go by the feel.
Scent: Issey Miyake
Candles: Beautiful tapers, thin and long
Flowers: Peonies
Décor book: Jane Churchill’s books on English homes
Local antiques store: We don’t have many any more. I’d say Chatsworth.
Local gallery: The Fine Arts Gallery in Bronxville
Local housewares store: Chef Central in Hartsdale
Local lighting store: They have great stuff at Patdo Light Studio in Port Chester.
Local museum: Dia: Beacon
Local hotel décor: Restaurant 42 at the top of the Ritz-Carlton in White Plains is pretty.
Design period: Late Victorian
Home TV show: I hate those shows; they make it seem so simple and it’s not. I like the garden makeover one, though.
Luxury home item: A cashmere throw

Local restaurant décor: Well, I have to say Toscana in Eastchester, because I decorated it.

Wallpaper: Thibaut and Farrow & Ball (above). I'm a color girl!

Kitschy Item: Flowerpots with crazy faces or nutty salt and pepper shakers
Worst design mistake: Choosing the wrong fabric or pattern for a window treatment. Window treatments are so in-your-face.
Embarrassing object at home: A flying monkey chandelier. It’s a repro of an old English one and I had to have it. I hate it now, but my husband bought it for me so he won’t take it down.


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