Author Archives: Patrick Ganino

Designing for Siblings

Kids have definite ideas of how their rooms should look.  Over time I have developed some strategies that make both parents and kids happy when decorating their rooms. It’s important for children to have their own spaces, to learn how to take care of that space and to incorporate treasures and mementos from their experiences growing up into their rooms. It’s great for them to have that sense of comfort and to know that their rooms are their own special space.

When children are young and, especially if they are the same sex, they want everything to be exactly the same. They can perceive anything the other has as something that is more special than what they have — right down to a pillow. I always try to ensure that there are equal and same elements for both. As they grow older and their interests start to diverge, kids begin to have clearer ideas of what they would like their room to be like and what colors they would want.  Sometimes these ideas can get quite fantastical and more than a parent can bear. Have an initial meeting with your children and get some ideas of what they would like in their rooms and what colors they would like. (Note:  The idea of what they would like can often change from hour to hour and day to day). Think about what you can handle in their rooms in terms of design, too. Painting the entire room a bright purple may not be a parent’s idea of a great color choice — although, I have done many a teenage girls’ room in shades of lavender with purple shag rugs.

When I am hired to do a child’s room after the initial meeting with the parents and kids, I create two or three scenarios of room designs and go over them with the parent before we show the kids. This ensures that no matter which design the child selects the parents are comfortable with moving forward. It also creates less confusion and possible conflicts between parent and child.

There are some patterns I have noticed over the years of designing kids’ rooms. Often when kids are young, parents create really charming baby rooms and before you know it, the children are grown and ready to move on to a more older child-orientated room. They can have a hard time changing and updating their personal, familiar, comforting space even though they want to. Just give them some time until they feel ready. I have done over rooms for teenagers who still have their baby wallpaper up. And here they are getting their driver’s licenses.

If children aren’t ready to update their rooms, give them the extra time they need and when you do update their rooms, remember to bring some elements of what they had before into their new spaces. In my own children’s rooms, some childhood cactus plants have made it through a couple of room redecorations and have even moved with them into their own adult apartments.

If you are redoing a child’s room when they are preteen, try to create a room that will grow with them. Go with a full or queen-size bed, nightstands and, if possible, a desk that can function so they can have space for their computer and printer and good task lighting. It’s about this time that they move from doing their homework at the kitchen table to doing it in their rooms. Since teenagers tend to be a bit messy, make sure there is ample room for storage in the pieces of furniture that you select. Redecorating is expensive, so buying furniture that can grow with them as they move from being college bound to adults bringing home significant others is important. When kids finally move out and you are officially an empty nester, their rooms often become a home office, guest room or exercise room or some combination of the above.

Once you are an empty nester and your children have moved on to living on their own, you will find, as I am experiencing with my own children, that they don’t want to take their accumulated childhood stuff with them. They also don’t want you to throw it out. Their apartments are now incredibly neat and organized (never happened in their rooms growing up) and are quite nicely decorated in a mid-century style. It is jaw-dropping to see all those years of messy rooms translate into clean living spaces.

Written for: WAG Magazine

Break the Rules


re there rules to break in decorating? Yes and no. Following design rules may get the job done but it doesn’t create particularly inspiring rooms. The typical layout of a sofa, two chairs, a rug, matching end tables and lamps is so over. Create your own personal vision when you decorate. Don’t be afraid to add color, pattern, artwork or treasures that mean something to you. Forget about the “in” color palette of the moment but do use more current shades of your favorite colors.

To keep rooms personal, unique but updated, choose your color combinations carefully. You want your rooms to still feel fresh and not stale or like you are walking into a time warp.

Mix both traditional and modern pieces throughout your home. Walking into an individually themed room in each room of your house creates a disjointed feeling.  Mix a modern table with traditional chairs or try a classic Chesterfield sofa and mix in more modern armchairs. A European look that breaks the rules juxtaposes modern artwork with traditional furniture. The tension created is timeless and your rooms will feel less static and more interesting.

Wallpaper is not just for walls. Wallpaper the ceiling instead of the walls. Using wallpaper on the ceiling gives your room a fresh spin. A subtle pattern looks wonderful or go bold and really create some energy in the room. Another great way of using wallpaper is to take interesting panels or fragments of wallpaper and frame them — instant artwork. 

Another rule to break is one involving rugs, specifically that your furniture should be all on or all off the rug. Many times I like pieces of furniture half on and half off the rug. If you have a small beautiful rug but it’s clearly too small for the room try layering it on a larger sisal or jute rug. The larger rug will ground the rest of the room but you will still get to use your small beautiful rug. The smaller unusual rug will go far in giving your room that special personal look.

I find the often touted recipe of using only three colors in each room too confining. I prefer layered variations of colors. Sometimes I select them from artwork, a rug or a client’s favorite color, but I almost never use only three colors in a room. I often use many shades of one color or several colors mixed together. I don’t love the feeling of walking into a one-color room.  An example would be a room of all gray. These one-color rooms tend to look dated quickly.

Lighting can create personality in a room. A mix of lamps in a room creates visual interest. Use different lamps in the same room. I do, however, like pairs of lamps often using them on end tables that don’t match but are the same height.

Don’t mix different metals in the same room is another rule to break. Use antique silver pieces on top of a white lacquered Parsons table or gilt frames on modern paintings to create a chic look. I also love creating gallery walls using all the same frames or all different ones mixed in — silver and gold leaf or lacquered black. 

Books belong on bookshelves: Break this rule. Books should be read and looked at. Keep art books stacked on a coffee table or keep a few stacked under a chair.  Make them part of the décor of a room and within easy reach, not just left to collect dust on a shelf. Once you have read them and no longer want them then share them with friends or donate them so that someone else can enjoy them.  The feeling of having a physical object to look at and read from cannot be stressed enough.

Hide your televisions — another outdated rule. Televisions and technology related objects are a part of our lives. I don’t find the need to hide the TV behind closed doors or armoires. It’s fine to have it visible in our homes. Today, TV stands keep televisions visible. I do object, though, to TVs in every room. I also object to having television on all day every day. Take a break, get off your sofa and enjoy interacting with people.

Entertaining today is more informal. Formal entertaining was an important part of designing and decorating homes. Storage for china, silverware and crystal were important things to consider. Now homes are more fluid with open-concept living and more casual entertaining. Although it‘s always nice to have a formal dinner party, don’t wait until you have enough space, china, crystal and silverware.  Have more casual parties. Buffets are a great way to entertain if you are tight on space or have to work the next day.

That’s one rule you’ll want to keep.

Written for: WAG Magazine

Tricks of the Trade

s an interior designer I am always asked what can be done to make your home more stylish, beautiful, hip and current — often by complete strangers.

Over the years, you learn some tricks of the trade that can be applied to your home, putting it on the path toward a welcoming personal environment. Working with clients, I set my goal at listening and understanding their lifestyles and how their homes need to work for them. Here are some tips to get you started:

Paint — I know this has been said before, but there is nothing that can achieve so much for so little. Color can enhance a mood — even a focal wall can change the feeling of a room — so don’t be afraid to experiment with color. Many spaces have awkward ceiling angles. My suggestion: Paint walls and ceilings the same color. It softens the angles and helps them blend in.

Painting the trim the same color as the walls is also a nice idea to make the rooms feel larger, calmer and more modern.

Dark colors can make the walls recede, making a small room feel larger or alternatively warm and cozy.

Artwork — Many people are so afraid of buying art. Buy what you love. Frame children’s paintings and your own photographs, grouping artwork together in the same frames to create a gallery wall. If you are looking to collect art seriously, then hire an art adviser. For many of us, though, buying what we love can begin to make our rooms personal.

If you are still afraid to commit to artwork, then wallpaper. It gives rooms lots of visual interest with no commitment to artwork. If you become tired  of the wallpaper, you can change it and instantly create a whole new room. 

One of my favorite wallpapers is a grasscloth. It instantly gives timeless style to both traditional or modern rooms.

Lighting — I love lamps. Three-way lamps offer levels of mood lighting that can create an instant sense of warmth in a room. Plus, they come in so many varieties. To highlight your room, add a lamp in an accent color. Changing your lamps often can instantly update a tired room. Even changing to modern drum shades will instantly modernize your room.

It’s all in the mix — Combine both old and new pieces to make a home feel collected and timeless. This is usually best left to an expert in the field, because he or she will have a better understanding of what combinations work well together. A professional can also be impartial and will be unsentimental enough to get rid of pieces that just don’t work in your new rooms.

Scale — Scale is a huge component to successful decorating. Measure, measure and measure again. Many people purchase the wrong size appointments — sofas that are too deep, rugs that are too small for a room and furniture that doesn’t fit the space properly. Unless a room is very large, I try to keep my area rugs with the sofa and chairs half on and half off the rugs. It makes a room feel more comfortable and less static. I also like to combine both skirted, upholstered pieces and ones with legs in the same room. It tends to make the room more animated.

Paint or lacquer your furniture — Give old “brown” furniture a fresh update in a painted finish or a high-gloss lacquer in a gorgeous color.

Update kitchen hardware — Not ready to completely redo your kitchen? Replace old hardware with new hardware. Try an unlacquered brass for a current update.

Do one or two rooms at a time — Build on your design aesthetic. If you purchase a couple of pieces scattered about in different rooms, your home will never come together. If your space is small, try to purchase furniture pieces that all contain storage. Organize your closets and keep small spaces neat. This will make your space feel larger.

Indoor/outdoor fabrics — Collections of these fabrics have really come a long way and are a stylish addition to rooms with kids and pets. Many fabrics can be very fragile for an active household. Indoor/outdoor fabrics resist wear and tear and are easy to launder. Many are both fade- and stain-resistant.

“Buy quality and only cry once” — There has never been a truer statement. Purchase classic quality items whether they are modern or traditional and they will stand the test of time. I love beautiful craftsmanship and furnishings. And quality pieces can be mixed easily with other quality pieces whether they are traditional or modern.

Written for: WAG Magazine

Emerald is Having its Moment!

Emerald green is one of my favorite colors. It has a high saturation of color, however the darkness offers more levels for inspiration. It is a very thoughtful color and brings out my best designs. Here is a look at some designs that use emerald without turning a home into the Emerald City.


To help make emerald stand out, try to avoid using it around other colors. Black, white and silver match really well with the color and helps the color embrace a bold look.


Dining Room

Learn how to mix old with new in your home decor – antiques and modern elements in the bedroom, kitchen, living room and dining room. To understand more about the color Emerald, if the hue is too yellowish or too bluish, it is not emerald. A different variety of beryl, and its value drops accordingly. The intensity of the green in the finest emeralds might not be equaled by anything else in nature


Staged in Black, White, Green and Grey, I love all of these colors together. Take one out and it would not be the same. Each a good prop for another room as well. If you want to make a retreat in your home, where you can relax and refresh yourself, decorate that room or corner with green color. But try doing it with more raw shades of green, similar to the ones you see out in the nature.


Emerald lacquer walls. Architect: Roberto Liorni Photo: Livia Mucchi. Elle Decor Italia Jan/Feb 2012

Emerald is a color very close to green. Green, the color of life, renewal, nature, and energy, is associated with meanings of growth, harmony, freshness, safety, fertility, and environment.


Inspirational Patterns that can be interpreted by SICIS The Art Mosaic Factory. Emerald is often used to sooth the soul and mind. It helps loosen the body, from a mental and physical point of view. It is an excellent remedy for states of anxiety and nervousness, helping a person to regain his emotional balance and inner calm.


Emerald fountain in the courtyard of the “Grande Mosquée” in Paris.

A take away from this design detail is to remember not to overly use emerald. If it is a favored color, use it delicately to embrace the mood it establishes. It is already such a bold color on its own. Emerald is a lively color, and it symbolizes renewal and growth. It is the color you see the most in the natural environment. So it is the color of spring, when everything comes to life. And it depicts the period when everything is alive and unrolling its natural processes.


5 Perfect Sconces

Set the tone of your room with the perfect sconce!  Here are 5 perfect sconces which will brighten up your wall space while perfectly accenting your furniture and environment!  Which mood best fits your design?


Vaughan Designs Sconce C Weinstein

Image Courtesy of Vaughan Design

What is more whimsical than this rosy Twig Down Light from Vaughan Designs?  This works perfectly in a bedroom or library for an extra element of pretty.


1st Dibs Sconce Cami Weinstein

Image Courtesy of 1st Dibs

Who says the crystal should stay on the table?  Add an air of classic sophistication to your dining room decor with an elegant pair of gilt and rock crystal two-arm sconces from 1st Dibs!


Pierre Guariche Sconce C Weinstein

Image Courtesy of 1st Dibs

Set this modern light fixture above your favorite reading chair in your study!  Pierre Guariche’s Articulating Wall Sconce from 1st Dibs will give just the right amount of aesthetic, and features a full 180 degree movement.


Holly Hunt Light Cami Weinstein

Image Courtesy of Holly Hunt

Holly Hunt’s Crystal Block Sconce is minimal, functional, and versatile!  The possibilities of such a compact and design-neutral light fixture make this a perfect addition to your hallways.

Art Deco

Art Deco 1st Dibs Cami Weinstein

Photo Courtesy of 1stDibs

Define your design with antique art deco sconces like these glamorous Art Deco Skyscraper Style Frosted Glass Sconces by Sabino.  Each sconce features a fluted centerpiece set in polished nickel frames; simply beautiful.


Dreamy Night Tables

Dreamy night tables are essential to a bedroom!  Both handy and necessary, night tables are a great tool for keeping your personal items organized, out of sight, and within arms reach.  My list of top six night tables range from classic and contemporary to whimsical chinoiserie!  Find inspiration for your bedside here!

 1.  Mary McDonald, Chaddock Collection Petite Camille Small Chest

Mary Mcdonald Chest CWeinstein

I love this elegant Mary McDonald nightstand with plenty of drawer space and brass accents.  Ideal for flanking your well-dressed mattress, the Chaddock Collection Petite Camille Small Chest is both stately and practical.

2.  Nancy CorzineSpencer Chinoiserie Night Table

Nancy Corzine Cami Weinstein

This night table from Nancy Corzine features a black pearl finish with gold hand-painted Chinoiserie finish and two doors.  This piece is beautiful, elegant, and very traditional.  The classic Chinoiserie style dates back to the late 1700’s when European artists began incorporating Chinese influences into their whimsical designs.

3.  Mecox, Juliet Three Tier Painted Bedside Table

Mecox Juliet Cami Weinstein

The Juliet Three Tier Painted Bedside Table from Mecox provides plenty of storage with a great Chippendale fretwork design!  The  lattice back and sides make for an eye-catching design and possible focal point, depending on your design.  This piece is customizable, which makes incorporating stylish storage into your room’s design simple.

4.  Mecox, Large Tanen Inlaid Bone and Resin Nightstand

Mecox Bone Cami Weinstein

Great in a girl’s room, beach house, or guest room, this Large Tanen Inlaid Bone and Resin Nightstand from Mecox is definitely a flexible piece.  This nightstand features one top drawer and two pulls, making it both simple and classic.

5.  Bungalow 5, Josephine 1-Drawer Side Table

Bungalow 5 Josephine CWeinstein

Bungalow 5’s Josephine 1-Drawer Side Table is completely hand-finished; from the beveling, the cutting of the pieces, and the fine-grinding of the glass, Bungalow 5’s mirrored pieces are created with the finest craftsmanship.  Add a little sparkle to your bedroom with this great mirrored nightstand!

6.  Bungalow 5, Frances 2-Drawer Side Table

Bungalow 5 Frances Cami Weinstein

This lacquered and grasscloth texture makes for a perfect beach house night table; the middle space is ideal for your favorite bedside-reads!  Bungalow 5’s Frances 2-Drawer Side Table is a crisp, elegant,and versatile.

Michael Dawkins Showroom NYC

The Michael Dawkins Showroom in NYC has been the talk of the design community.  Recently, I was invited to a private breakfast hosted and sponsored by Luxe Magazine, celebrating the opening of the Michael Dawkins Showroom in New York City!  New York City is one of two locations (the other being Miami, Florida), where the Michael Dawkins Showroom has been featured.

 Michael Dawkins Showroom

The showroom is gorgeous in neutral whites, grays, blacks and charcoals offering Michael Dawkins’ very singular vision of interiors.  Notice how Dawkins directs your eye with lighting, and ambiance.

Michael Dawkins C Weinstein

Michael Dawkins Showroom NYC

Michael Dawkins Showroom NYC

Incorporated into the displays were plenty of Belgian Linens, as well as one of a kind pieces, which Michael scours Europe for.  Michael Dawkins is highly-regarded for his ability to successfully integrate various textures, styles, and genres.  Each item featured in the Michael Dawkins Showroom was placed with careful scrutiny for an elegant and distinguished ambiance.

Michael Dawkins Showroom NYC

 The Michael Dawkins Showroom in New York City is open to the public for viewing.  I highly encourage taking this daytrip!



Not to be overlooked, ottomans are both practical and chic!  More than just putting your feet on – these ottomans would be an asset to your rooms.

1.  Thomas Pheasant’s Paris Ottomon (Tufted)


This ottoman from the Thomas Pheasant Collection is perfect for a Hollywood Modern or Transitional Traditional themed interior.  I love the deep tufts and large size.

2.  Barbara Barry’s Arc Bench

Arc Bench Baker Furniture

Both architectural and sculptural, Barbara Barry’s Arc Bench is sleek and modern.  Designed by Barbara Barry, the Arc Bench features a firmly upholstered cushion placed atop a modern metal arc.  I would love two of these at the end of a bed!

3.  Bunny Williams Home’s Tray Chic Ottoman

Tray Chic Ottoman Bunny Williams

This piece doubles as a stylish addition to the room while the tray easily handles snacks!  This piece is fabulous for a relaxed family room, and has elegant details that will draw the eye.  The carved turned wood feet, removable tray, and embossed faux shagreen patterned interior make this a piece you will treasure!

4.  Restoration Hardware’s Tufted Leather Coffee Ottoman

Restoration Hardware CWeinstein

Restoration Hardware‘s Tufted Leather Coffee Ottoman is perfect for a large family room.  With six leather options for you to choose from, this piece works itself easily into your design and lifestyle!

5.  Mecox Gardens’ Turquoise and Cream Tufted Pouf Ottoman

Mecox Gardens Cami Weinstein

This stylish ottoman brings an exotic note to a room decor- it can be found at Mecox Gardens!  Mixed fabrics of both Turquoise linen blend and cream linen blend are incorporated in this limited edition piece.

6.  MB Tangier Ottoman

Tangier Ottoman CWeinstein

These ottomans lend an air of Tangier and are sure to be a focal point!  The specialty nail pattern is created with Antique Bronze Nailheads; how chic!

7.  Global Views’ Moroccan Poof-Black Leather Ottoman

Global Views CWeinstein

This playful ottoman includes storage and can easily move about the room- I usually group two underneath a console.

The Drawing Room Gallery

In my previous article I shared great finds from one of my most loved stores in East Hampton, Mecox Gardens!  This week  I am featuring one of my favorite galleries which I have been visiting for years- The Drawing Room Gallery.  Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., this gallery is a perfect day-trip destination!

The Drawing Room Gallery

The Drawing Room Gallery, East Hampton, NY

The Drawing Room Gallery is a contemporary gallery which exhibits original pieces of fine art to all art enthusiasts.  Owned by Kenleigh & Michael Larock since 2004, The Drawing Room Gallery has become a creative haven for the public.  Featuring both local and national contemporary artists, The Drawing Room Gallery’s collections are a fantastic source of varied inspiration; exhibits range from paintings, sculptures, photography, and drawings, and are constantly rotated.


Hosting a variety of events from meet-the-artist opening receptions, artist talks, workshops, movie nights, community dinners (AKA “The Artists’ Table), and more, this is one gallery that always makes for a memorable venture.  View current and upcoming exhibitions hosted at The Drawing Room Gallery online hereThe Drawing Room Gallery’s blog is a fantastic resource for inspiration and staying in the know regarding currently promoted artists and exhibits.

Drawing Room Cami Weinstein


Discovering The Hamptons: Mecox Gardens

Recently I took a mini-vacation to The Hamptons, and it was fabulous!  The variety of quaint little shops is overwhelming and exciting, and it’s almost impossible to not stop into each one.  Over the next two blogs I will showcase a tiny sampling of the remarkable stores and design pieces I found while discovering the Hamptons on vacation!


Mecox Gardens, East Hampton

First on my list is Mecox Gardens – one of my favorite just for the sheer variety of home furnishings, decorative accessories, design books etc.  I go to all of them including the one in Palm Beach, Florida and the Los Angeles location, but the East Hampton location is my favorite.

Mecox Gardens Cami Weinstein Mecox Gardens Cami Weinstein Mecox Gardens Cami Weinstein

Mecox Gardens has this amazing design aesthetic that blurs the line between indoor living and the raw beauty of nature.  Their quality products range from one of a kind antiques to unusual re-editions and classic Mecox designs.

Mecox Gardens Cami Weinstein Mecox Gardens Cami Weinstein Mecox Gardens Cami Weinstein

The overall effect of Mecox Gardens’ East Hampton location is refreshing, eye-catching and unique.  There is an old-world feeling in some of the pieces that instantly gives you a sense of comfort, much like looking through one of your grandmother’s photo albums.  Juxtaposing with these antiqued elements are bright architectural accessories that bring new life and an air of possibility to the assemblage of decor.

Cami Weinstein Mecox Gardens

Stay tuned for more inspiring finds from my mini-tour of shops while on vacation in the Hamptons!