Tell us about how you got into residential design.
I completed design school at FIT in NYC in 1985, Yikes! While in school, I worked for an international lighting design firm. Upon graduation, I went to work for Mancini Duffy in One World Trade Center, NYC. For most of my career I have done corporate interiors. In the last 7 or 8 years, I've really enjoyed residential design. I think doing both has made me a more rounded and overall better designer.
These days too many people think design works like they see it on HGTV. Good design doesn’t happen in 2 days, and it does cost money, often lots of money.
How do you work around this mentality?
I try to bring good design to the masses. I'd like to take the target approach if I find a client I'd like to work with. I do what I can to work in their tight budget. At least they realized they "NEED" help and will have a better outcome than if they had done it all on their own.
This is difficult. I love space planning, working the puzzle to make things better for the clients, but I also love love love colors, fabrics, tile, furniture, accessories, art, and pulling it all together.
Let's talk about this kitchen. It has such a great mix of colors and textures! What is your favorite piece?
It has to be the backsplash. It's just beautiful. I also love the table I had built to fit the long window seat.
It's a custom tile from Waterworks. You select your stone, and a percentage of how much of each color you'd like. They do strike-offs for approval. It's a long process, but worth it in the end. You also send them your elevations so they can work up how the mesh sheets will come in. It's a random pattern and you won't see any "tile" lines.
What turned out differently than you expected?
Nothing much. If you look at my original sketches, the final product is right on with the intent.
Let's move on to the bath. This bathroom has some of the best use of tile I've seen. How did you gather all the pieces together to make this work?
The client is very much inspired by blues. Knowing this, I went in that direction. I started with the color scheme and followed with the architecture.
To brighten it up, make it more contemporary, but keep in mind the architecture of their home. I think it all ties together very well. There is still a traditional element in each renovated space, like paneled cabinets or traditional crown molding, and the cherry floors and baseboards are in every room. The colors are similar to the other spaces as well. The home is filled with warm and cool grays, blues, and greens.
I just wanted a simple graphic punch of color with a change of texture as well.
Overall, when you enter the home, you can't help but smile. It really is a "Happy" home.
For more information or to contact Mary Jo Fiorella about your upcoming project, large or small, visit her website here.
If you just can't get enough of this project, take a look at the 360 views of the kitchen and bath.