Thursday, April 9, 2015


I'm still floored that my work and design advice has been featured in a national publication.  Such an honor and thrill! As promised, here's a recap of the whole experience from start to finish.

How It All Began

About 4 months ago, I received an email from a writer with Ebony magazine inquiring whether I would be interested in working with the magazine on a closet redesign/makeover story.The story would focus on how to maximize storage space in tight quarters and would highlight my work and show readers how to incorporate my design tips. Eeek!! I read the email several times before responding. A 3 page spread in a national publication?!! We'd like to use one of the editors' space in New Jersey to stage the redesign.

The Process

This first step in the design process is getting to know your client. To better understand the needs of the client, I initially met with Aliya via Skype to get a better idea of her lifestyle, her decor taste, likes and dislikes and how she envisioned ultimately using the space.  I could tell from our first conversion that Aliya was super cool but was also super busy.

I knew that the look created for Aliya had to not only be stylish and bright, but also needed to be hardworking and multi-functional. She needed hard working storage for a multipurpose space - the closet would serve as both a vanity, storage, and linen closet all in one. During our Skype session, Aliya also gave me a virtual tour of the space.

Here's a look at the space before the makeover:

Aliya’s space suffered from an issue many of my clients have faced – having an overwhelming amount of clutter with limited closet space and no dedicated storage area for frequently used items.  Her closet had become a catchall space, housing everything from makeup and jewelry to shoes, underwear and sweaters.

Aliya admitted that much of the closet's contents didn't belong in the space, was out of season or did not fit.  She explained that because she often works from her home office she did not have a need to store "work clothes" or hang much but instead was looking for more concealed storage to store folded pieces.  With the virtual consultation and tour completed, Aliya emailed me measurements of the closet, I then began the task of designing a customized look for Aliya's space.

When working with clients virtually, I always provide them with detailed design boards to help them visualize what their space will look like.

Here's the design plan I came up with for Aliya's closet:

Although she appreciated the benefits of having a cedar lined closet, Aliya and I both agreed that the existing space was dark, cluttered, cramped, and disorganized.  Aliya needed a charming and motivating start to her busy days.  She wanted a streamlined space that she could look forward to that also served all of her unique storage needs.

Overcoming the limited depth and overall darkness of the cedar lined closet was critical.  I tackled these obstacles by using lots of white and reflective furnishings throughout the space, utilizing the height of the closet instead, and adding unexpected pattern (area rug) and a few feminine touches like the fabulous chandelier.

I looked to none other than IKEA for many of the resources for this redesign. Their functional storage options help make clearing clutter and organizing everyday life at home a breeze. IKEA is great for someone looking to do a makeover because it offers smart, space saving storage solutions at a great value.

Aliya loved the fresh design I came up with for her tiny space. With the design plan approved, the next step was to make it all come to life.

Check back in tomorrow when I'll share all of the details from the day of the shoot.

(to be continued..)

Thank You, Thank You 

A huge thank you to Amy Elisa Keith who got the ball rolling on all of this, to Aliyah S. King for being so fun to work with, to Luis Antonio Thompson who took such beautiful photographs, to Kym Allison Backer for writing such a great article. Thank you EBONY magazine for this amazing opportunity! I'm so proud of the way this article turned out!

Thank you to my family (especially my husband, parents, and children) for pushing me to work hard, follow my dreams and for putting up with my hectic schedule and all of my design projects.

And thank you to my good friends, Erika and Jannah who encouraged me throughout the entire process, from that initial call with me squealing with excitement months ago to the day the magazines went on newsstands nationwide.

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