SWATCHED 2017 Winner

Ellen Miller - Elbowroom: Small Space Solutions
Photography by Nicole Larson

Ellen Miller decided to study interior design after downsizing from a house to a studio apartment. When the New York native relocated back to her home state after decades in Ohio, she found herself with 20 percent of the living space she had been used to. The transition from a house to a small apartment came with many  challenges on how to best utilize the space without feeling cramped and still honoring her sense of style.

“I knew I would have to get creative.”

Elbowroom: Small Space Solutions was born almost immediately upon her return as she started to transform her own 300 square-foot space first and utilized several different trials to figure out exactly what works and doesn't work in a small space and why.

“There is something so rewarding about filling up a space with only things you love and things that really make sense. I realized I wanted to do this for other people in the same situation. New York is filled with small living spaces and helping people in that overall journey to a lighter life has really become my specialty,” said Miller.

This inspired her to focus on solutions for small spaces. Miller believes that good things do come in small packages and that a space doesn’t have to be big for it to be functional and welcoming. She creates spaces that are as unique as her clients and spends a lot of time getting to know them before proceeding.

“It’s important to really understand the design esthetic of your client and take into consideration the functionality of the space and marry the two together. Just because a space is small doesn’t mean it can’t be filled with personality.”

Shown are recent design projects she completed in Long Beach, NY. One is a 500 square foot one bedroom apartment with an ocean view; the other, a 300 square foot studio which needed an entertainment, sleeping and workspace.

“Participating in the 2nd ­annual SWATCHED competition held by IDS was a lot of fun!” exclaimed Miller. “It was chaotic and exhilarating being around all that creative energy.” 

Her vision board depicted a children’s room and took first place.

Each designer was given the same four mystery items: a brown tile, a slice of agate, a piece of fabric and a silver chain. “Initially I found the color palette to be challenging for the children’s room I was assigned,” says Miller. “I realized in my everyday working with clients there are many times I have to work with what they have, so I switched my mindset from challenging objects to inspiring ones. There were so many gorgeous boards and so many talented designers. I am very flattered to have won.”


Cool Neutrals, Warm Tone

Deborah Martin Designs contrasts color and decorative style on the North Shore
Photography by Timothy Williams

Completed in two consecutive phases, this multi-room renovation was focused on creating elegant and welcoming spaces for a young and very active family. This spacious three-level home is located on a professionally landscaped large property on Long Island’s North Shore.

A gracious entry foyer opening to adjacent spaces features a demi-lune and beveled mirror. To the right of the foyer are the living room and family room dedicated to formal and informal entertainment. The green marble foyer floor and living room fireplace hearth and surround were replaced with Carrera. In the two-story foyer it is installed in a beautiful herringbone pattern.

The color story in the living room evolved from the clients’ embroidered silk window coverings and large area rug. Cool gray neutrals were incorporated with the existing warm tones for a more contemporary vibe. Deborah Martin met the clients’ request for ample seating in both spaces with custom Kravet upholstery. A large tufted persimmon sofa anchors the living room and is flanked by a pair of light gray barrel-back swivel chairs. A fireside wing chair upholstered in sumptuous charcoal velvet and two bespoke skirted ottomans beneath a glass and metal console on the other side of the fireplace offer additional seating. A clementine leather desk chair serving a silver finish writing desk features dressmaker detail covered buttons and matches the custom wood finish on the other seating.

In meeting the clients’ request for additional ambient light, lamps were sourced for the sofa tables and console, and the wing chair is served by a dual-function floor lamp. The cocktail table and other occasional tables as well as the built-ins are minimally accessorized in continuing the light, airy aesthetic. Large coral themed art completes the fireplace focal wall. Shimmery textured wallcovering is an elegant replacement for green painted bookcase walls.

Textiles chosen for the custom ottoman, cornice and pillows extend the warm color story into the family room. Cinder gray leather seating on perpendicular walls surrounds a large storage ottoman which doubles as a footrest. Floor lamps on either side of the sofa provide illumination for reading and other task lighting activities. A plush abstract pattern area rug softens the space and repeats the cool neutral color scheme.

The dining room was completed in the second phase and centered on the redesign of the fireplace. A tall hearth was removed for better circulation, and black granite on the fireplace façade was matched to replace the wood floor beneath and surrounding the former hearth. An oval dining table and long sideboard feature a dark finish and warm metal accents. Host and hostess chairs and eight side chairs were customized in contrasting fabrics and metal elements. A pair of intaglios were installed on walls flanking the French doors which lead to country club grounds and gardens. A stunning oval crystal and brass chandelier is suspended over the dining room table beneath a custom ceiling medallion fabricated in clean concentric oval lines. The chandelier pairs beautifully with long crystal and brass sconces with ivory silk shades. Once again, accessories chosen in neutral ivory tones are kept to a minimum and paired with the intaglios. A large hand-painted Chinoiserie cachepot to the right of the sideboard is home to a lush peace lily.

On the lower amenity level, a bar and beverage area were enhanced with antique mirror. Custom wood shelving was added for display and storage.

The project’s stunning results were achieved by Deborah Martin’s ability to contrast traditional architectural features and millwork with more contemporary furnishings, lighting and accessories. Key spaces in this beautiful home were strategically transformed for enhanced enjoyment by this professional couple
and their family.

A Poolside "Staycation"

by Natalie Weinstein

The first round of decorating began in the main home’s kitchen and family room. Soft greys and beiges with crisp white moldings and bookcases enhance the ideal place for this young family to congregate.

What could be better than having the comforts of your own home while escaping the cares of the world by a pool and in a pool house with every amenity including your own kitchen, changing room, bath, T.V., comfy seating and fireplace?

The kitchen/eating area looking out on the backyard and pool was designed with practicality in mind incorporating a casual wood table top, easy to clean chair seats and rug and plenty of space for ­highchair and riding toys.

This perfect hang-out and get-away is in this family’s own backyard. The lovely North Shore home of an adorable couple with two children under the age of three, has the added bonus of a backyard pool house. The added bonus, for me, was the bright and beautiful young mom whose input and cooperation made this second round of decorating (the first was the kitchen and family room of the main house) so much fun.

The pool house feeling and color scheme was light, white and bright, with touches of soft grays and navies. The fabrics were treated and the rug was selected, both for durability and a fun element. There will be lots of activity around the pool during the summer with other young families and friends – but this pool house will be a go-to-destination all year ‘round.

The new cabana pool house, adjacent to the main residence, designed for all weather enjoyment, boasts a contemporary hologram fireplace with a large screen T.V., kitchen and bath.

Here’s what this client had to say about it: “Natalie Weinstein and her team at Natalie Weinstein Design Associates have been an extreme pleasure to work with. Natalie has helped guide me through the design process on several projects within our home with the most recent being our summer pool cabana. We knew the cabana was going to be a big project so we reached out to Natalie for her expertise in interior design to help in creating the perfect summer spot for fun and relaxation. Natalie and her team laid out every design detail with us and made the design process exciting and enjoyable. We are so happy with the way the space has turned out and know that it would not have been possible without the help of Natalie and her team. Thank you!”