Pssst… Do You Want to Know a Secret?

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

(page 4 of 6)

Karen Kline

Spice Hill Interiors, Croton-on-Hudson (914) 271-0813

Color: Dark brown
Paint: Benjamin Moore, because it’s the most readily available.
Fabric: Any natural fiber blends
Window dressing: Long curtain panels, from the ceiling to the floor
Chair: I like A. Rudin chairs, and chairs by Swain.
Must-have item under $50: A corkscrew and a nice glass! Plush bath towels

Flowers: I love tulips, orchids, and irises, but I also think some of the prettiest arrangements are just botanical and don’t have flowers in them at all.

Best-value product: Woven blinds
Favorite design trend: Simplicity. People call it modern, but it’s more a clean, uncluttered look.
Home accessory: Old or multi-cultural artifacts. It could be simple carved bowls or something colorful — anything that’s sentimental or symbolic that personalizes a space.
Sheets: Archipelago
Scent: Lime
Candles: Luminary, because they have soft, non-cloying scents
Décor book: No favorite book, but I like Elle Decor magazine.
Local museum: Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens at PepsiCo’s headquarters in Purchase
Local antiques store: M.S. Antiques in Tarrytown
Luxury home item: A sauna
Local gallery: DeMarco Studios in Peekskill
Local housewares store: Chef Central in Hartsdale
Local lighting store: For vintage lighting, Powell Accessories in White Plains
Local restaurant décor: Blue Hill at Stone Barns
Local hotel décor: Ritz-Carlton in White Plains
Kitchen gadget: A corkscrew! No, really, a microwave.
Design period: Can I be so bold as to say 1920 to 2010? There’s a lot of good stuff in there.
Home TV show: Candice Olson’s Divine Design. She’s pretty good, and she has fun doing it.
Kitschy item: Curly lamb pillows
Online design site:
Worst design mistake: Ordering a sofa for a client that wouldn’t fit in the elevator
Embarrassing object at home: My fuzzy Ugg slippers. Or the Duraflame logs; they’re pretty bad.

Wallpaper: Romo



Hope Simkowitz
Hope Simkowitz, LLC, Waccabuc (914) 763-3346

Color: Blue
Paint: Benjamin Moore
Wallpaper: Osborne & Little
Window dressing: Simple, unconstructed Romans
Must-have item under $50: Nothing costs less than fifty dollars! Okay, small, silver-plate cups for flowers. You can get them for about twenty-five dollars.
Best-value product: Furniture from Room & Board. You get a lot of style for not that much money.

Favorite design trend: The trend of keeping it clean, simple, and neutral

Candles: I love Laura Mercier Crème Brûlée.

Chair: A comfortable, upholstered chair with an ottoman. There’s one from Baker that I love.
Sheets: Matouk. I like white ones with a colored border to match the décor in the room.
Fabric: Lee Jofa
Scent: The milk-scented diffuser from k. hall designs
Local museum: Katonah Museum of Art
Local lighting store: No favorite
Local antiques store: Yellow Monkey Antiques in Cross River
Local gallery: No favorite
Local housewares store: Consider the Cook in Bedford
Flowers: Peonies
Local restaurant décor: Moderne Barn in Armonk is fabulous.
Online design site:
Local hotel décor: Bedford Post Inn
Design period: It’s hard to pick a favorite. I’d say Postmodern.
Home TV show: House Hunters International. My husband is irritated because I’ve got him hooked, too.
Worst design mistake: If I made a mistake for a client, I’ve erased it from my memory. But I once designed a fireplace mantel for my home and it was so bad I had to get rid of it. I think I turned it into firewood.

Décor book: Rooms by Mariette Himes Gomez

Kitchen gadget: A zester
Kitschy item: I’m not a kitschy person, but, in someone else’s house, I might put Jonathan Adler pottery, something with funny faces or three heads.
Luxury home item: A beautiful box on a coffee table
Embarrassing object at home: That’s a really funny question! Two pictures in my dining room—a pair of floral motifs. They’re not so terrible but I really hate them.




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