Aug 05, 2011
BY SUSAN VARGHESE
In the world of interior design, wild and eccentric styles are abundant, but this season, it’s all about neutrals. According to Willow Interiors, an interior design firm in Cedarhurst, whites and grays with slight touches of color are in, and clean styles with warm colors are classic.
Owner and designer, Rachel Septimus said, “ I feel comfortable doing any style, but the cleanness and freshness of what’s out there now is very appealing. People are going with cleaner styles to uncomplicated their lives.”
Septimus, who has designed for homes, commercial spaces and corporate headquarters, noted that keeping designs simple doesn’t always mean boring. She suggested subtle details like coffered ceilings and using interesting wallpaper. “You can change the room just by changing the wallpaper… it’s the elements in the room that make a difference, not necessarily the furniture or window treatments. With the right lighting, flooring and molding…you could have an empty house and it’ll still look beautiful.”
When it comes to furniture, Septimus noted that contrasting dark woods with a light color palette are popular, and some of the furniture companies they use are Vanguard furniture and Bungalow 5. For the right lighting, Eurofase is a top choice, as well as the Evolution Collection from JF Lighting.
In The Five Towns, especially in Cedarhurst, Septimus explained that things lean towards a style of “transitional,” which has a design that flows. Septimus said, “They want warmer colors and spaces, but to keep clean moldings and straight lines, less finicky.”
Septimus added, however, that a picturesque home comes with a price. “Everyone has a budget to a degree, there are budget decorators, I’m not one of them,” Septimus said. “…I always take down a substantial retainer so I know that they’re serious. Just like a contractor’s going to charge you to build their house…I’m charging to build the interior to your home.”
Willow Interiors usually design a half of a house to a full house, instead of one room. Designing a house from scratch takes about a year to a year and a half, Septimus said, and designing a house with a few rooms can take a few weeks. In the past, she’s converted an unused library into a movie theater, and noted that even a basement has the potential to be a great space.
“There’s something about a basement that most people don’t put a lot of attention to — the area can be subdivided. You can have an art center with vinyl flooring and then you can have a carpet that runs into it for the other section with the toys,” Septimus added. “You can add a pop of color on every door. You can go daring in a basement and have your kids have a fun place to be…So, people will feel like it’s another room in their house and not a dungeon.”
Regardless of the clients’ particular styles or various design concepts, Septimus maintained, “My goal is to create a warm and livable environment for my clients.”
Behind Willow Interiors
Septimus, who graduated from the New York School of Interior Design, opened Willow 12 years ago. “I used to work at a tile store on Willow, and I always loved the name so I used the name when I started my firm.”
Her designing started years before she opened the firm, though. ”Since I was a little girl this is my passion, I used to babysit for people and rearrange the furniture. They came home and their house was reorganized. In my room, I used to change my furniture, I used to put sheets up on my ceilings and pin them in and make them look like a tent. Anything artistic, I was just always inclined to do.”
Willow’s planning to change locations and open a new showroom by mid-September called The Firm. The Firm will be run by Willow Interiors, but will also rent out workspaces for unaffiliated designers. Septimus explained. “Everyone will work on their own and with their own clients but it won’t be competitive. They can come to a space and have design assistants, sample and purchase ordering, and have in-house upholstery. So, all the designers will work for themselves but they get to work in an atmosphere of a conglomerate. Basically, even designers just want a second opinion or share a thought or design, instead of everyone being so rigid and competitive.”
Their showroom is currently located on 78 Cedarhurst Avenue, but The Firm will be located on 487 R Central Avenue in Cedarhurst. (516) 612- 2433.
Filed Under: The Avenue
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