Tammy Scileppi

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Pantone Color of the Year Living Coral is 2019’s Life-affirming Hue

Everyone needs a little pick-me-up now and then — a refreshing cocktail, uplifting music, a snazzy new outfit, or a vibrant pop of color at home or in a work space. The end result is a happier outlook.

Pantone’s Color of the Year Living Coral evokes a sunset and under-the-sea coral reefs. It has been described as a warm and welcoming, reach-out-and touch shade that looks great in any room. And It complements cooler hues like blues and blue greens, as well as browns, beiges, and tans. A perfect summery hue, it’s an organic, nurturing color that appears in natural surroundings.

“We are all happy in sunshine or on vacation and that is the spirit of the color,” says local designer Wendy Lepkoff of Wendy interiors. “Using it on a chair, pillows, accent wall, or curtains combined with the color of sand and a blue ocean transforms you to a tropical island.”

When used as a bold statement in settings and décor, this life-affirming coral shade with a golden undertone energizes and enlivens. And it’s reminiscent of precious coral that adorns unique jewelry pieces.

Providing comfort and buoyancy in a complex digital world, PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral symbolizes our innate need for engagement, optimism and joyful pursuits.

“Color is an equalizing lens through which we experience our natural and digital realities,” says Color Expert Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the New Jersey-based Pantone Color Institute. “With consumers craving human interaction and social connection, the humanizing and heartening qualities displayed by the convivial Living Coral hit a responsive chord.”

A culmination of the Institute’s year-round work forecasting trends and developing color palettes for clients, the Color of the Year is one moment in time that provides strategic direction for the worlds of trend and design. Living Coral inspires experimentation and playful expression in makeup products as well as in men’s and women’s street and runway styles. The warm shade suggests comfort and positivity.

Whether used in decorative accessories, on tabletops, or elsewhere, it adds a dramatic pop of color and can beautifully enhance an outdoor space such as a patio or porch.

“A strategic use of vivid color is the perfect way of using a high-powered hue,” explains Jean Brownhill, founder of Sweeten, a free service that matches renovators with vetted contractors, providing support until project completion.

“A Sweeten client built a powder room on the ground floor of their house [in the dining room] for easy access for their small child and guests,” she says. “It was one of their most comfortable and decorated rooms — radiant heated floors, Moroccan tile, Cole & Sons Palms wallpaper — all revealed by a door painted in a vibrant coral.”

Eiseman offers her suggestions for eye-catching home décor using Living Coral.

“Because it’s expensive to change out a piece of furniture, wall covering, etc., one of the least expensive ways {to enliven a room] is to use paint. And it’s so experimental,” she notes. “It’s easy to buy color and use it on something that needs new life, like an old, shabby small chest of drawers — and renew it.”

For those who are a little braver and want to do a bit more with the color, it’s a gorgeous shade to use in the context of a print, as in bedding, Eiseman suggests.

The color makes for beautiful stemware, plates, table runners, and placemats — as a background for food — because it is somewhat of an appetite stimulant. And, it’s a great background for greens, like veggies, according to Eiseman.

She explains that it was chosen for a number of reasons.

“From a symbolic standpoint, coral reefs nurture marine life; fish can protect themselves with reefs, eat the food off the reefs,” Eiseman notes. “We know that’s an issue today – preservation of coral reefs and keeping our ecological balance. It’s important and we feel strongly about it.”

Living Coral lovers can see the color online at pantone.com and have it mixed in any paint store.

Transformative Curb Appeal, Long Island-style

Windowboxes with pretty flowers really enhance the curb appeal of this charming old Oyster Bay home. For a warmer look and feel, and to beautifully complement existing décor, choose double-hung windows featuring a traditional grille pattern that can add a more colonial vibe. Define the porch by painting railings an eye-catching color that contrasts well with the siding, or change railings/overheads. Before making any major structural changes, get professionally rendered drawings to get a better idea of what new windows will look like.

Every home deserves some TLC. Since spring is a time of renewal, a facelift and some sprucing up may be in order. As homeowners gradually emerge from a long hibernation, many have been planning or working on revitalization projects that would increase that all-important curb appeal as well as the value of their biggest investment.

A REFRESHING FACELIFT

Consider Renewal by Andersen of Long Island replacement windows as a great way to transform the entire look of a house and increase its curb charm as well as its value threefold.

All the original windows in this old house in Oyster Bay were made of wood and all were rotted.

“We installed a whole house of our high-performance Fibrex windows, white interior, white exterior,” says Joel Eskenas, senior design consultant and trainer for Renewal by Andersen of Long Island. “Our Andersen white color added brightness to the exterior and a clean fresh look.”

“Most are double hung with a few awning-style windows,” he adds. “Quite a bit of the wood around the windows on the outside was also rotted. That wood was replaced and then encapsulated and sealed with a maintenance-free material which will prevent rot in the future.”

So, how do new windows add curb appeal and value?

“Our windows are known for their beautiful clean lines, favorable glass-to-frame ratios and their rich interior and exterior finish. Our patented technology also allows for dark colors to be installed on the outside, which is unique to our industry,” Eskenas explains. “For years now, the Andersen brand name has been known to add value to homes, so much so that when homeowners list their homes in the real estate sections of their newspaper, if they have Andersen windows you will always see that mentioned in the for-sale ads.”

What are some features that make these windows so popular, especially on the Island?

One reason, says Eskenas, is that Andersen’s high-performance, Fibrex composite framing material is perfect for the coastal environment they service because it is nonporous, doesn’t absorb moisture and isn’t affected by salt air or salt water. Fibrex doesn’t rot.

Style options that are popular locally? Double-hung, casements and gliders. Many customers also choose bay or bow windows, which can improve their view as well as their home’s attractiveness.

Andersen’s new black exterior windows are becoming very popular with homeowners seeking to modernize the look of their home. They offer multiple color choices, interior wood options, hardware and glass options, and grille and screen options, according to Eskenas. He adds that the design process revolves entirely around the client.

“We invest a lot of time and put a lot of effort into finding out exactly what it is they have in mind,” he says. “Once we determine what their goals and desires are, we show them pictures, talk about various options: style, color, hardware, custom grill options, screen options, etc.”

Add some curb drama with hedges of varying heights and flowering bushes. Create even more drama, especially in the evening, with outdoor lighting. Just place energy-saving solar lamps along a path or driveway; highlight a unique hardscape or water feature. Invest in planters. Place on each side of the entryway/front door for an elegant touch. Symmetry is important. Achieve instant charm with pretty windowboxes filled with colorful spring flowers.

ADDING CURB DRAMA

A well-thought-out landscape design is a cost-effective way to show some love while totally transforming a home’s vibe. For visual appeal, add depth and interest without making any major changes to the house itself. And, for amazing results, seek advice from a professional landscaper.

Creative landscapers who know the tricks of the trade, like Bethpage-based Tom Facarile of TMF Landscape Design Inc., use a variety of natural elements for maximum, eye-catching curb appeal. And the design options are endless.

“We strive to create beautiful landscape and water features that are unique and natural-looking and are equipped to install small or large scapes,” says Facarile, who specializes in providing an artistic design (master plan, hardscaping, plantings) tailored to the homeowner’s lifestyle and budget, as well as landscape installation, i.e. masonry, concrete, carpentry, metalwork, grading, drainage, lighting, and more.

When TMF Landscape is called in for a consultation, Facarile surveys the property and comes up with multiple scenarios for different applications.

“In the design of a recently completed project in Garden City, we created a focal point in the center of the front lawn with a garden bed full of beautiful greens and blooms to add color, life, and interest to a very flat landscape,” Facarile explains. “The foundation plants were designed in scape design to enhance the home’s architecture. The entry is more welcoming and ties into the surrounding landscape and hardscape stonework of the entryway.”

He adds: “Upon site inspection many yards of soil and compost were brought in to grade out the property. Free-form islands also were installed to give the property beautiful curb appeal. Many perennial flowers were installed in the planting beds along with the shrubbery. Sod was installed along with a new sprinkler system. Black mulch and annual flowers completed the job.”

Facarile had the opportunity to meet with the homeowners halfway through the project and alter the plans more to their liking. Plant materials were upgraded and some beautiful specimen materials were used. Low-voltage LED lighting was installed. Many of these materials were purchased from North Service Nursery and Half Hollow Nursery in Melville and Deer Park, and the project was completed in six days.

To enhance a Syosset home’s curb appeal, old plantings were removed and replaced with a beautiful new flower bed design and a variety of visually appealing plantings.

Quick Tip: “When starting a landscape project, always consult a pro who will give you their creative ideas and take into account what plants will thrive in the existing areas,” Facarile suggests. “Many times, a project will not last when the homeowner tries to cut corners and save money.”

TMF Landscape Design has perfected building streams and waterfalls that are very realistic and natural-looking.

“When building a waterfall, we do not stack slate on top of one another and call that a waterfall. That is not what you would see in nature,” says Facarile, adding, “I love creating beautiful landscape spaces surrounded by elements that create a sense of peace, tranquility and beauty.”

Northport Smart Home Asks $999,999

In the market for a sophisticated Jetsons-style smart home?

Check out this custom-built, three-story Northport colonial on 591 Old Bridge Drive, at a convenient location giving easy access to the village, beaches, and highways.

Built in 2005, the 5,800-square-foot house majestically sits on a private acre of property and is listed at $999,999. While it doesn’t offer everything in the smarthome spectrum, it has been cleverly outfitted with a suite of key features, and potential buyers will love the layout and open floor plan.

“The current owners just completed a major renovation of the basement giving the home a very large entertainment area with a professional grade bar [with sink and wine fridge], home theatre, full bath and outside entrance,” says real estate professional Melanie Mazzeo of Douglas Elliman Dix Hills.

Being on-the-go millennials, the homeowners wanted a smart security system. They also installed Nest thermostats that control three zones of heat and provide energy savings along with the luxury of coming home to a warm house. There’s central cooling and, of course, surround sound.

Completely updated with beautiful finishes, hardwood flooring, high ceilings, and skylights, the home offers five bedrooms, four full baths and one half bath, a large eat-in kitchen with high-end appliances, two-story den with fireplace, and spacious family room. It also features a lovely garden and patio, as well as a three-car garage that has an electric charger. Other perks: The finished ‘smart’ basement is on its own zone of heat, controlled by the Nest system.

For security, they opted for a combination of multiple outdoor Nest cameras, and movable interior cameras that offer flexibility to monitor specific areas of the house in detail. A Ring doorbell answers the front door, providing instant visual and audio contact with anyone at the door. These systems are integrated with an ADT security system in the house. The ADT smartphone app allows monitoring of the home’s surveillance systems as well as providing security monitoring for the interior and exterior and alerts to the owners, police and fire departments in case of emergency.

“The homeowners, who were both originally from Long Island but had moved out of state, were drawn back by the quality of the local schools for their children, the vibrant community life that the villages of Northport and Huntington offer, as well as the easy access to major airports and thriving economy,” says Mazzeo.

New owners can easily add more features for the ultimate smart-home experience.

For more information, contact Melanie Mazzeo of Douglas Elliman Dix Hills at Mmazzeo@elliman.com or 631-766-3450

Smart, Green Homes Healthier For Residents, The Environment

Healthy, high-performance homes can be attractive as well as sustainable energy producers.

Environmentally friendly and next-generation technologies are making households both smart and healthy as savvy homeowners install devices that simplify their lives and secure their biggest investment.

Home innovation trends include integrative systems that detect leaks, regulate temps, and monitor a home’s security, often with the touch of a smartphone. Such upgrades are often made in concert with cost-cutting renewable energy products, such as photovoltaic cells, commonly known as solar panels.

“I think people are looking at things more holistically now when they undergo home construction,” says Daniel Busi, managing director of the U.S. Green Building Council Long Island Chapter (USGBC-LI). “Due to more information being available to the general public about possible rebates/incentives for innovative systems, people are looking to retrofit with a variety of options.”

Approaches include sustainable construction that maximizes materials, efficient building that uses only the necessary amount of resources, resilient construction that prepares for upcoming natural disasters, and renewable energy production that reduces fossil-fuel dependence. Houses that use these standards are referred to as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified homes.

“These options often cost a bit more upfront, but all lead to significant savings,” Busi says. “People have started to really see the ROI [Return on investment] for geothermal, benefits of innovative and alternative wastewater treatment septic systems, value of solar arrays [panels], etc.”

But Busi doesn’t think LEED-certified homes have caught on quick enough and notes that solar sales have declined since 2016.

“It isn’t the case everywhere, but an industry-wide average ROI is seven years,” Busi says of the up-to-$30,000 cost of installing solar panels. “Energy-efficient upgrades can range, but I’ve heard examples of the payback being worth it after only one to two years.”

THE JETSONS LIFESTYLE

Home innovation goes beyond consumer devices like Amazon virtual assistant Alexa.

“The future of housing … is home automation,” says Rick Wertheim, senior vice president of housing and green initiatives for United Way of Long Island. “The newest innovation? How homes adjust their indoor home environment to the occupants. Now a home has the ability to detect things that go wrong, on its own.”

In the past, there was never any device to automatically detect toxins, aside from carbon monoxide detectors.

“The most important innovations coming out,” says Wertheim, “are sensors that communicate with home systems like HVAC and monitor if the air is good or bad.”

For example, the Foobot Indoor Air Quality Monitor connects to smartphones and detects if there are too many volatile organic compounds in the air or if the humidity is too high. If so, exhaust fans turn on.

“The solution to indoor pollution is dilution,” he says. “Dilute with fresh air so toxins are less harmful.”

IS GREENER BETTER?

“Putting bamboo floor in my house doesn’t make it green,” says Wertheim. “Bamboo flooring may have formaldehyde.”

He uses this as an example of a phenomenon called green washing, in which companies sell products that make overstated claims of being environmentally friendly. Real green products are sustainable and renewable, he says.

“We have people asking us for insulation products that aren’t toxic,” says architect JP Lardoux, who works with Wertheim on building green houses. “Instead of fiberglass products, some folks are using cellulose (chopped-up newspaper). Foams can create bad gases. This is a natural recyclable product.”

Cellulose works better on cold air. Borax (boric acid) is also added, a natural fireproofing agent that even acts as an insect and rodent repellent.

For floors, Wertheim suggests strong, economical, sustainable Marmoleum — an all-natural flooring that’s an alternative to sheet vinyl.

Devices like thermal leak detectors that integrate with the home’s water supply systems via smartphones to detect leaks and fix insulation are an efficient way to monitor ducts, windows, and other vulnerable insulation spots.

Wertheim says the next big thing for green tech is the heat pump, an inexpensive, electric plug-in system that can switch between heating and cooling and replace air conditioners.

While most homes here aren’t built to high-level, stringent construction standards, as such building becomes commonplace, more homeowners are taking the plunge.

“Eventually these devices and products will become more economical to incorporate into your house,” he says. “You may not be able to do fully automated systems, but you can try and implement as much as you can.”

“Sooner or later,” he quips, “the house will become more like a machine that’s working for us.”

Tot Spots: Sugar ‘n Spice and Everything Nice

They say that girls are sugar and spice and everything nice, and boys are into frogs, snails, and puppy dog’s tails. And they’re all little angels, especially when they’re napping … in a soft crib surrounded by cool things that mom and dad lovingly picked out just for them.

Happy little girls’ rooms and nurseries begin with a dreamy design concept, and these magical spots for little divas can easily grow and change as their pint-sized occupants get older. First, they’ll need a place to play with their toys and imaginary friends; later on, a space to hang out in with real ones and do homework. Just add a comfy big-girl bed, desk, and beanbag chairs.

ROOM TO GROW

This one has it all: Cute storage ideas, fun bedding and accessories, and cool wall decorations that spark her imagination.

“The nursery (my little kiddo’s) started with the world map that’s above the [Wayfair] changer — it set the mood — and it built from there,” says Crystal Sinclair of Crystal Sinclair Designs, who lives in Baldwin and works with Homepolish, a unique service that provides clients with accessible design expertise and gives designers access to clients.  

“I knew we needed items to be kid friendly and fun, nothing expected,” she adds. “Takes some sourcing out of the box, meaning I steered clear of kid shops for items that weren’t baby oriented (lights, rugs, dresser, etc.). And I wanted a ceiling paper, so the self-adhesive panels from Chasing Paper were perfect!”

The expectant parents didn’t want a girly room for 14-month-old Mira, but a space that could grow with her — playful enough for a nursery but serious enough for a tweener who would one day make it her own.

Sinclair’s nesting instinct took over and she enjoyed gathering everything she’d need for baby’s new digs: Delta crib from Amazon, Wayfair glider and square bookcase, Ikea floor lamp, and RH Teen rug; the West Elm mobile was modified to fit the space better.

“We painted the walls Chantilly Lace. Floors were great, just needed a rug. We wanted to see the crib as we entered, making it the focal.”

The windows are offset, so she added extra wide custom drapes from Loom Décor to give the illusion of larger, more centered, windows.

“I was careful with lighting placement; you want light for specific tasks but nothing too bright to wake baby at 3 a.m.,” Sinclair explains. “So, we have a plug-in wall sconce by the changing table, a light for nighttime stories/feedings, and an overhead pendant too.”

So, how will the room grow with Mira? 

“The colors and patterns are perfect for a baby to teen,” she says. “Only the furniture needs swapping as needs change.”

FUN & FEMININE DIGS

C’est magnifique! Gold Coast’s French Chateau a Nod to Versailles

Louis XIV would have loved this splendide French chateau set on eight magnificent acres in Brookville. Asking price? $15,000,000.

A rare jewel, Haut Bois (or “high wood”) was inspired by the king’s hunting lodge, which was to become the Palace of Versailles. And its exquisite formal gardens — modeled after the spectacular gardens at Versailles — were conceived by prominent Parisian landscape designer, Jacques Gréber.

“The home has an impressive provenance and has made an appearance in numerous books which detail the fabulous, grand estates dotted along the North Shore’s Gold Coast,” notes John Messina of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty. “Although grand and formal, the house is still warm and inviting. All the main rooms have French windows and doors which are perfectly situated to face south for the very best light, and they overlook the picturesque gardens.”

Designed by renowned architect Ogden Codman Jr. in 1916, Haut Bois was built for Walter Effingham Maynard, a real estate tycoon.

During the Roaring Twenties, Jay Gatsby may have been one of the elite guests at the numerous parties the residents of Haut Bois were known for hosting. Famed author Edith Wharton spent summers there with her dear friend Ogden Codman, who co-wrote The Decoration of Houses, still studied by design students today.

Countless photo shoots have captured the estate’s splendor. It has been beautifully restored to its former glory by master artisans and decorators who specialize in 17th century French architecture and design, to ensure that the restoration stayed true to the home’s origins.

“The original Rouge Languedoc marble, mined more than 100 years ago from a French quarry, was found in Italy and used to restore the entry foyer and one of the hallways. To guide this extensive renovation, the homeowners used photos and pictures from the archives at the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities and from Wharton’s own Massachusetts home, The Mount, which was also designed by Codman [and Wharton] and is today a national historic landmark,” Messina explains.

Modern-day renovations include new heating, electrical, sound, security, building management, air conditioning, septic, well, and irrigation systems. Also, the roof, elevator, and all the windows and doors were replaced.

“Equipped with a tennis court, pool, pool house, children’s playhouses, a reflecting pond, fountains, a golf green, exercise and billiard rooms, and a theater, the home also offers an outdoor kitchen and built-in fireplace, ideal for al fresco entertaining on cooler nights,” says Messina.

“Activities such as horse riding, fishing, yachting, golf, swimming, skeet shooting and winter sports, such as skating and hockey, are held at neighboring clubs.”

Haut Bois is one of the few great estates still held by private owners. The opulent, 18-room mansion is in diamond condition, boasting seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms, formal living and dining rooms, breakfast and family areas, an eat-in kitchen, a finished basement and attached garage. Special features: six fireplaces, wine cellar, and more.

This residence is an easy 26-mile commute to Manhattan and conveniently located just minutes away from the Long Island Expressway. Nearby, superb dining options abound, as well as designer shopping at Americana Manhasset.

“The current owners are both successful, second-generation civil litigators who grew up in Manhasset and chose to return to the Gold Coast to raise their three children. They remained happy in the home for 20 years and are ready to enjoy the next phase of their lives,” Messina says, noting that previous owners include Irving Stitsky, the notorious partner at Stratton Oakmont, who was depicted in Boiler Room and The Wolf of Wall Street. Patrice Munsel, the youngest singer to ever star at the Metropolitan Opera, also lived there; she would often open the French windows overlooking the gardens and sing to the neighborhood children while they played on the grounds.

“Anyone who enjoys the finer things in life would be happy living at Haut Bois,” says Messina. “With New York City so close by, you have everything here that life has to offer.”

Contact: John Messina, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, GRI, SRES – Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, Cold Spring Harbor Cell: 516-241-0761

Moving Season Outlook: Cloudy Forecast For 2019 Long Island Home Sales

April marks the start of moving season on Long Island (Getty Images)

Call it the tale of two Long Islands.

Residential inventory is rising and home prices are continuing to trend upward in Nassau and Suffolk counties. The data suggests the local residential real estate market is getting more favorable to buyers as moving season arrives in April, but a closer look reveals a murkier truth. Competition remains fierce for starter homes, while those who can afford to buy one of the region’s generous selection of luxury homes are slower than usual to sign on the dotted line.

“The market is changing,” says Arleen Goscinski, ASA, an East Northport-based appraiser and former broker who noted that last year was a strong sellers’ market with a low inventory that caused prices to rise and generated frequent multiple offers. “Interest rates are rising, financial markets are volatile, and wages are not keeping up with inflation.”

Nassau reported a $525,000 closed median home price in January, representing a 5 percent increase over last year, while Suffolk reported a closed median price of $380,000, a 5.8 percent increase over what was reported a year ago, according to the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island (MLSLI). The total number of Long Island residential inventory in January was 15,270, a 14.4 percent increase over last year, MLSLI said.

The shift follows a national trend.

“The central storylines in the U.S. housing market didn’t change much over the past few years, but a series of emerging trends is setting up a much different narrative for 2019,” said Zillow Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas. “Certain headwinds — including rising mortgage interest rates, higher rents and stiff competition for housing in the most desirable areas — will only grow stronger over the next year, but that won’t necessarily be a bad thing. A slower-moving market is likely to give more buyers a chance to catch their breath and choose from a wider selection of homes.”

Half of local business owners believe residential real estate prices will increase this year, down from 66 percent last year, according to the 2019 Long Island Economic Survey and Opinion Poll released by the Hauppauge Industrial Association of Long Island in February. Twenty three percent of respondents believe prices will decrease and 27 percent believe prices will remain the same.

Further complicating things is the impact of the new $10,000 cap on State and Local Tax (SALT) deductions and Nassau’s property tax reassessment, which has put tax bills in flux for many local homeowners. Forty percent of respondents to the HIA study are concerned that the tax reform will have a negative impact on the value of their home. Fifteen percent said they will either downsize or move out of state as a result.

“As purchasing power diminishes, a decline in property values generally ensues,” Goscinski says.

Rich Amato, operating principal/broker of Keller Williams Greater Nassau and Points North, remains optimistic.

“We have researched past markets and the current market conditions thoroughly and expect the market on Long Island to remain strong,” he says.

That said, he expects the April market to continue to have relatively low inventory levels, especially in affordable areas of Nassau.

“We have seen some slowing in the luxury market and expect this trend to continue,” he says. “The starter and investor markets remain very strong as demand for entry-level homes is still heated and homes that represent a value still get multiple offers.”

“The decrease in SALT deductions has not helped the market, especially in some of the higher-taxed areas,” he adds. “We do hear people talking about it, but people who want to buy a home will still buy a home. They will just buy a different home or lease a different car and make it work.”

Mortgage guarantor Freddie Mac agrees, suggesting buyers shouldn’t expect this year’s market to be much easier to navigate.

“While housing activity has clearly softened over the last nine months … ,” the agency said in a recent report, “lower mortgage rates and a strong job market should rekindle demand for the spring homebuying season.”

Beds Take Center Stage in These Divine Master Suite Redos

The bedroom should be a peaceful, inviting sanctuary.

Whether a minimalist, cozy retreat for two or a sumptuous, beautifully appointed boudoir that’s perfect for one, this special space should reflect its occupants’ lifestyle as well as taste.

According to one local designer, these key elements make for a super-romantic, Cupid-approved bedroom: silk, velvet, wired music, and layers of lighting.

FIT FOR A QUEEN

With an eye for detail, seasoned design pro Wendy Lepkoff of Wendy Interiors recently revamped her client’s mediocre sleeping space using high-quality materials, opulent fabrics, and rich textures along with elegant vintage-inspired furnishings to create a master boudoir that’s to die for.

In this Rockville Centre redo, the fabulousness extends to the master bathroom as well, as seen in the custom vanity and patterned tile walls. Since this is an older construction it’s not as large as some master baths designed today.

“After my client Freya T.’s husband had passed, she wanted a more functional, feminine and formal master bedroom,” says Lepkoff, who has 25 years of industry experience under her belt.

“With brand-new cream curvilinear furniture, greenish-gray cinderblock wallpaper and damask broadloom, custom bedding for her Queen-size bed and window treatments as well as closet systems, new framed artwork, lighting and accessories, she was given a retreat fit for a queen.”

After creating a design dialogue, Lepkoff fulfilled her client’s wish list, which also included reading, TV and dressing areas, and more storage space.

Pouring her creative energies into space planning, furniture design, and renovations, her full-service design studio took this lucky lady from consultation to “wow” in six weeks for the renovation and four months for the interior design.

“For the bedroom, it is smart to look for bedding and window fabric first and then coordinate carpeting, paint and wallcovering,” Lepkoff explains. “The last step: Select furniture according to the floor plan and be sure to create balance in the space. For the bathroom, select wallpaper and tile first, then vanity and fixtures.”

While making her clients’ visions a reality, Lepkoff also takes time to give back. Working with charities, she helps make other people’s design dreams come true.

CUPID’S CHOICE

A Bay Shore home got a much-needed facelift along with a master suite reno that made both the mister and missus very happy.

Anne Marie Virgilio, of Interiors by Anne Marie, took her clients — a couple with three kids — from inspiration to installation. She transformed an outdated bedroom into a well-designed romantic spot decked out in soft shades of pastel blue and springtime florals juxtaposed against sophisticated neutrals and contemporary elements. Virgilio has worked with these clients since 2003.

“Throughout the years, we have slowly redesigned, room by room,” she says. “As parents, they have put everyone’s needs first. It was finally time to give themselves a beautiful, serene master suite with a walk-in closet.”

A baby blue, custom-made curved headboard completes the desired look, while large, neutral accent pillows sporting crisp blue and white stripes offset the flowery coverlet and add a more tailored spin to the feminine décor, as do the his and hers chaise lounges, which are strategically placed opposite a wall-mounted TV and large bureau.

“At first consultation, we spoke of each his and her needs and created a wish list.  I went to the drawing board and created a cohesive space and scheme,” says Virgilio, whose team moved walls, relocated doors, changed plumbing, etc.

The master bathroom was gutted. Marble mosaic (Artsaics) was used for the shower wall and floor; a custom vanity was built for storage.

“My clients hire me for my expertise in color, design and style and my attention to detail. Therefore, my pleasure is working directly with them, one on one,” says Virgilio. “However, I have phenomenal vendors and trades with whom I work. My upholsterer, my window treatment installer, my fabric workroom.”

To enhance one’s space, she suggests creating cozy vignettes of pictures, books, fresh flowers…always a pick-me-up, especially during those bleak winter months.

Cold Spring Harbor Beauty Captures Views, Breezes

Long Island’s awe-inspiring homes should be celebrated for their majestic beauty. One swoon-worthy lovely in Cold Spring Harbor patiently awaits its new owner. The asking price is $4,700,000, for this gem with an impressive array of irresistible features and a cornucopia of wonderful offerings.

Nestled on 6.07 acres in a setting reminiscent of a true Gold Coast estate, this French provincial home is called “Belvedere.” It was built to capture the beautiful light and breezes of an east-west exposure, along with a picturesque view of the valley and blue waters of Cold Spring Harbor and Long Island Sound beyond, according to Kathryn “Cottie” Maxwell Pournaras, associate real estate broker at Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty.  

“The current owner, a Wall Street businessman (and only the second owner), values the privacy the property affords along with its proximity to the Long Island Rail Road for easy commuting to Manhattan,” says Maxwell Pournaras. “The family moved here full time in the 1980s, enjoying the peaceful lifestyle yet close to all that the community offers.”

Designed in 1933 by Auguste L. Noel, a graduate of the Beaux Arts School of Architecture in Paris who designed the original Whitney Museum of American Art and other buildings, Belvedere was built for Dwight D. President Eisenhower-appointed Ambassador to Australia Douglas M. Moffat, who used the dwelling as his summer residence.  

Visitors enter via a half-mile, tree-lined driveway surrounded by protected parkland. The grand manor is graced with a white washed brick façade, slate roof and terraces of cast stone and old-world forged-iron work.  

This stunning residence offers unparalleled craftsmanship from a bygone era, and the unique property reveals moss-covered walking trails, a favored sledding hill, lighted sports court, and a special treat: a replica of the thatch-roofed playhouse from Old Westbury Gardens. Within tall brick walls and iron gates lies the gunite pool with bluestone terrace and bucolic gardens.

Refined interiors boast 11-foot ceilings, original walnut floors, French doors, elegant woodwork and pleasing proportions in all rooms. The living room, formal dining room, and paneled library, each with imported fireplaces, open to the bluestone patio. A renovated country kitchen features original glass cabinetry, polished oak countertops, and top-of-the-line appliances. Additional sink, dishwasher and china cabinets are found in the butler’s pantry, adjacent to the spacious family room and sunny breakfast area.  

Another surprise: A bridal staircase from the great hall opens to the second floor, revealing a master suite with a curved window wall and western water views, fireplace, dressing room with cedar closets, and double doors that open onto a private terrace. In addition, there are three bedrooms with renovated en-suite baths, and three boudoirs that share a hall bath. The third floor offers two more bedrooms and a rooftop overlook with panoramic water views.

And there’s more. The lower level boasts a gym, full bath with sauna, laundry, and storage. The heated three-car garage has a two-bedroom guest apartment with living room, kitchen, and bath.

That is to say, Belvedere lives up to its Latin root: “beautiful sight.”

For more information, contact Kathryn “Cottie” Maxwell Pournaras, Associate Real Estate Broker, Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty 516-759-4800 x131, or kathrynmaxwell@danielgale.com

Cupid-approved Home Settings To Spark Romance

Chocoate-covered strawberries are a fitting centerpiece for any Valentine's Day table setting. (Courtesy Elegant Eating)

Valentine’s Day has evolved over the years and isn’t just about a couple doing dinner any longer.

Love and togetherness can be celebrated anywhere and in many ways: by a group of friends, twos, or just solo — and some rebels even throw anti-Valentine’s Day parties. But for that ever-popular, traditional experience, Chef Jonathan (Scinto) shares his tips for setting up the perfect romantic table a deux for V-Day or any special occasion.

“I do match it up to the client’s taste and really try to keep it as classic and refined as possible, with a little chic thrown in,” he says.

That said, for Ooh la la table settings and room décor that spark romance, DIY creative and a bit over the top works great as well. (Check out some inspirations – à la Etsy – below.)

“I use special plates that are based on the menu to set it all up like it’s a canvas,” Scinto explains. “So, let’s say it’s a seafood dish like oysters Prosecco; I’m using my really good White One idea: china plates that have a texture to them. It really sets off the color of the oyster shells.

So, be mindful of what your serving first, then use that as your paint and the plate as the canvas.”

And finish the meal with decadent desserts and chocolate.

Another element to keep in mind is that all-important mood lighting. Scinto suggests: Dim the lights and light beautiful candles for the table.

“If your lights don’t dim, then close them and use stem candles to give that glitter in the sky ambiance,” he says.

Oh, and don’t forget to put on some sexy music. It can set the tone for that entire romantic evening. Barry White, anyone?

“If it’s an Italian-inspired menu, I’m playing some classic Italian opera; or, if the menu is a fusion, I’m playing like, Billy Joel’s ‘Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,’” says Scinto. “It really depends on the food, though, because I play music based on the menu.”

He adds: “For my clients, every dinner experience is custom tailored to their palates; no menu is ever the same because they’re paying for their own individual culinary adventure. Maybe it’s about a romantic vacation; I would make the table setting theme resemble that experience, from the tablecloth to the silverware.”

Chef Jonathan (Scinto), who was nominated in the 2019 Bethpage Best of Long Island contest, can be reached at 516-428-6968, on Instagram and Facebook via @chefjonathans

V-Day inspirations for décor, table settings and gifts (à la Etsy):

Themed pillows; table runners/toppers and placemats, napkins (red or themed); wreaths and banners, heart doilies for hanging; garland; centerpieces with red, pink, white faux or real flowers; foliage; and hearts and LED lights.

Candle rings made with bows and lace over wire; red tableware and decorated wine glasses (vintage = romantic); place cards, napkin holders.

Clear vases or bowls with red floating candles; heart soaps; a bowl with red, pink painted pine cones.

A Taste of Instagram: Sea to Steak

Chef Jonathan suggests this sumptuous four-course dinner with a cocktail

Cocktail: Strawberry Mint Chocolate Martini

First Course: Asian-Infused Oysters Prosecco Mignonette

Second Course: Seared Scallops and Mango Puree

Entree: Grilled Prime Filet Mignon, Purple and Yukon Potatoes with Spicy Cole Slaw

Dessert: Black and White Chocolate Mousse Cookie

Strawberry Mint Choc. Martini