Cocktails and conversation — Lifestyles and Interiors By Lisa


Recently I had a fabulous group of women over to talk about design and outdoor entertaining. There’s nothing better than to be sitting in the garden in the company of others you enjoy and respect, with a glass of wine, surrounded by nature. Cocktails and conversation came about as an idea with Westchester Home Magazine […]

via Cocktails and conversation — Lifestyles and Interiors By Lisa

Cocktails and conversation


Recently I had a fabulous group of women over to talk about design and outdoor entertaining. There’s nothing better than to be sitting in the garden in the company of others you enjoy and respect, with a glass of wine, surrounded by nature. _MG_6863

Cocktails and conversation came about as an idea with Westchester Home Magazine to spend time with some of the creative friends I’ve met as a designer. What started as an evening to discuss outdoor entertaining, ended up for me as an evening of gratitude that I know such talented and giving women. As in life, the most important part of a gathering is the people with whom you surround yourself.

Who better to have co-host the evening than executive editor of Westchester Home, Jenn Andrlik. Her warm and open personality makes events like this possible. Jenn has a special talent for bringing Westchester’s designers together.


She was joined by her associate and my longtime friend at the magazine, Ana Mantini. Ana has been a huge supporter of our firm and I appreciate her enthusiasm.


Jana Phipps, aka “The Trim Queen”, was the very first person I thought to ask. She is an embellisher of all things related to trim. A tastemaker and influencer in both the fashion and interior design worlds, Jana came bearing gifts of handmade napkin rings. Using Pindler’s new trim collection, “In the Details,” she styled them with tassels from her own passementerie. View her colorful website or follow her @trimqueen for more inspiration.

Joanne Santis, a fellow designer and forever friend, owns Joanne Tangen Designs. A CIA trained chef, she helped me get the evening meal together and shared her thoughts on entertaining. Recently, she authored her first children’s book, a favorite with my grandchildren! The book and story can be found here._MG_6912

Soli Pierce, owner of Sherwood Forest Design rounded out this amazing group of women.
Carrying a salad in one of her hand-made bowls, she arrived with her beautiful energy and a recipe for a well lived life. Her website showcases her beautiful bowls, Sherwood Forest Designs. or follow Soli’s blog, and instagram.


As I prepared for this evening, the designer in me considered how to make the night feel special. I’ve made the mistake of worrying too much about the details, and have come to realize it’s really about making my guests feel welcome.


We host many gatherings at our home. Large, small, formal and yes, some with pizza and paper plates. But for this night, as well as others, these are some elements I consider to make the night flow.

It’s nice to set up different areas to entertain throughout the night, just as you might inside your home. We started with drinks on the porch and had dinner by the pool.

Try to bring the feel of the inside of your home outdoors. At this point in my life my house is somewhat pared down and simple. _MG_6878I love my outdoor furniture from Kingsley Bates. It’s rustic and ages naturally so it blends in with the surrounding trees and stone walls…the imperfections are there, but that’s ok…memories are made here, upkeep is not a worry.

When I set the table I pull from whatever is around in the yard, flowers, leaves, branches…The leaves work as wax collectors for the candles, the flowers add color, and the branches add height, texture, and layers to the table. IMG_3708.HEIC
I like to serve family style with lots of finger food. It makes for a more casual evening and helps break the ice. Ask your guests to join in to help with the prepping or cooking. I especially delight when my family is all here and we are chopping, prepping and grilling together as the music is playing and the grandkids are dancing at our feet.

A great cheese board is everything! All the elements of great design can go into this board, as cheesy as it sounds! We taste food with our eyes; texture, height & layers all are elements to add to the display:


I picked up this tip from following Tieghan Gerard, creator Half Baked Harvest @halfbakedharvest. One of my favorites of hers is the “The Lighter Cheese Board.”

Don’t save things for that one special occasion. I can remember going to my grandmother’s house as a little girl. She would tell me to get out her good china…just for me. I was special to her, so she made me feel special. Use your good pieces even if they are mixed in with your casual pieces. Make people feel special in little ways, but don’t go overboard. After all, you want to enjoy the night too.

Make memories. Years ago my husband and I were lucky enough to have dinner upstate in a wine cellar during the winter. It was chilly and draped over the back of each chair, was a throw. Such a small thing, but I always remembered it. Over the years I have borrowed that idea and on cool summer nights, I wrap a pashmina over each chair or bring out a basket of throws.IMG_3676.HEIC

_MG_6936I hadn’t thought much more about it, but recently I saw an old friend who had been to dinner at our house and had wrapped herself in one of the pashminas. I had forgotten, but she hadn’t. I was so happy that we had created a memory. The feeling of the night stays long after the details fade.

View the video here

As seen in Westchester Home….

Our last post was about our “village,” a look behind the scenes of some of the artisans who help make a house your home. For a look at one of our finished projects, check out Jenn Adrick’s article on the apartment we created for Westchester Magazine’s latest Dream Home. We hope you got to see it in person, but take a peek if you missed it….

Create The Perfect Living Spaces For Him, Her, and Them. The new apartments at The River House at Hudson Harbor in Tarrytown got the royal treatment from four designers who created spaces for him, her, and a couple of couples.

For Him
Designer: Lisa McTernan
Lifestyles and Interiors by Lisa, Croton-on-Hudson

In this first apartment, Lisa McTernan transformed a blank canvas into a rustic, manly space just right for a single guy who loves the outdoors. Here, she shares how you can get a similar look in your own home and some tricks she used to overcome design challenges we all face at one time or another.

Start with color.

“When I viewed the space and saw the stone walls outside, I decided that would be my color scheme,” McTernan says. “The master is monochromatic. I wanted to keep it simple-serene yet masculine-so variations of the same color felt like the right direction.”

Add layers and textures.

“The [herringbone] wallpaper [in the bedroom] added another layer and the texture I was looking for,” McTernan says. When you work in a monochromatic color scheme, you need to find other ways of making a space interesting, so she used texture and repeating patterns throughout the bedroom: in rug and geometric
pattern on the dressers.

Put a bar in an unexpected place.

“I wanted to do something a little different to make the room stand out as an office,” McTernan says of the bar in the closet. “I figured my mister didn’t really need another closet, but since he likes to drink, why not?” As long as you have enough depth to house a built-in, undercounter refrigerator, you can add something like this in any closet, according to McTernan. Have an electrician add an outlet, choose an interesting countertop (McTernan used reclaimed wood), and fill it with favorites everyone will enjoy.

Add embellishments.

McTernan added moldings to the walls in the office for dimension and interest. “Whether you use moldings, a bookcase, or panel work,” McTernan says, “I think [woodwork] adds another layer, as well as adds character, so the room is more than a box.”

To see the other spaces created in this dream home, click here

The Village

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it also takes a village to create the magic that happens when an ordinary house gets turned into the home of your dreams.
You see me at every meeting as we pour through magazines and look-books for inspiration.

But who you don’t often see are the people who help turn our ideas into a reality.
Interior design is a process.

Linda at work ordering fabrics...

Linda at work ordering fabrics…


Amandio, setting a new countertop

Doreen painting a playhouse

The process of design starts with an idea and grows as its tweaked and thought through again and again. Along the way, as each decision is made, a new member of the village may be added to your project.

As passionate as I am about getting your job just right, they too care just as much. They take late night and weekend calls from me, lug around the heavy stuff, hammer and nail away like little elves, performing the miracle that it sometimes seems to take to get a piece of fabric to become a headboard,


Fernando at work upholstering..

a drapery to hang just right,

Penny at work in the Ritz Carlton Penthouse...

Penny at work in the Ritz Carlton Penthouse…

a large sofa to fit in a little elevator

or a piece of wood to become your cabinet or bookcase.


Jeff and Steve install a headboard…

Most importantly, they speak my language, not English, but my design language that we have developed together over the years. If I say taupe, they know the shade. If I say add a crown , they know the size.  But mostly, they will show up when they say they will. What the village  members don’t always get to see, however, is the finished product. They see their finished product, but they hardly ever get to see how their piece connects to the whole.  At Riverhouse, we are having an open house for the whole team to come and see a finished “home.” We hope you will join us too. Come meet your behind-the-scenes team. You might have one of their paintings in your home, or be sitting on one of their chairs right now. Come join all of us for some wine and cheese and see Westchester Magazine’s Riverhouse on May 28 th and see what “we” put together!_DSC9106


Come on in…

Pinterest, Found on

One’s entry is the welcome center of a home.  It’s where you greet your guests and it’s the space that welcomes you home each day. As you walk in the door this space should give you an “ahhh” moment.

Your home’s story begins here.

The colors, textures and style of what’s in the adjoining rooms should be present to not only give a hint of what lies beyond, but also be the starting point for a cohesive look throughout your home.

An ideal setting would have space for both a console and a bench.

The console is a place for objets d’art to tell your story and show your style.

It’s also a spot to celebrate the season, occasion, or just make you smile.

When arranging and choosing your accessories keep in mind the art of display…
Have pieces of various heights.

Balance out your display with symmetry;
or groupings of visually perceived similar weights on either side. 

Choose pieces with different textures. 
And don’t underestimate what fresh flowers can do to brighten a space.

Above your console is the perfect place for a mirror or collection of mirrors to not only add height to the space, but also for a last minute peek before leaving home or greeting your guests.

Artwork is a way to bring in color and pattern.

The bench is a space to take off shoes, of course, but also adds a bit of texture, softness and pattern to a space that might otherwise have all hard surfaces.



This room is also the transition space…Does it need a place for shoes…store a supply of slippers for guest?  How nice! 
Baskets, bins or drawers just the place for gloves, keys and mail oh my! 7c8594583b6c10d28146c287a691132dc7fb3acb069bcc7719049521042666e4

83818b7316c3cfca0651ee441285e217One’s foyer. We greet, gather and say farewell. A small space that says so much…

Art…the most important finishing touch to a room

I love how art can compliment and complete a room, how a painting can pull seemingly separate pieces of furniture and accessories together to make one amazing space. Art can complete a space and really make it feel like a home. Whether an accessory, finishing touch or starting off point, art can be the most important piece in a space.

Some of my favorite examples from houzz:


I feel artists look at the world with a different eye. I hope to count myself as one of them. From a young age I would notice things….small things…simple every day things that others might not notice, might just walk right by. Now there are plenty of things that I don’t notice that I should, like, for example, on my computer screen, or maybe the dashboard on my car..which might sometimes include the speedometer or gas gauge. But then I might notice the smallest detail in the garden or a rock formation, or the way the wind blew and touched my cheek…or an architectural detail on a building that is in such a spot or at such a height on a building that I can’t believe the effort that went into making it, only for those of us to see who are willing to notice. But again, what we see or think we see is very subjective. Is it beautiful? Does noticing something or being surrounded by certain things enhance your life? Many times it is the placement of something that makes it beautiful, and sometimes it is the time in your life that you notice it that makes a thing beautiful.

Art surely enhances my life and enhances my home. I have several pieces of art in my home that bring me pleasure. Two of these are by Andrew Lattimore. You may recognize his name as the artist who painted Governor Pataki’s portrait, but I met him years earlier through Wendy Garber at the Flat Iron Gallery in Peekskill. As a gift to me, my darling husband asked Andrew to paint the view of the Hudson River from Verplanck, the small town where I grew up.


Being  the romantic that he is, he also surprised me one Christmas with another of Andrew’s paintings…this time, again of my beloved Hudson, but from the vantage point at Perkins Drive above Bear Mountain…a place I like to hike to when feeling energetic. photo 4 Some years ago the gilded frame started to peel, I thought briefly about having it repaired,  but then felt it added to its charm. Nothing is perfect, but there can still be beauty in a piece worn around the edges, and in fact, I think it adds more character, just as in real life.

I have another painting of the mighty Hudson, I think, of Little Stony Point in Cold Spring.  I’m sorry to say I did not meet this artist, but bought the painting from Marie at Images gallery in Briarcliff. I would say meeting Marie is the next best thing to meeting the artist himself as she, like Wendy, has so much enthusiasm and love for art. The painting was a splurge at the time. We were young, with four young boys. But it spoke to me and has brought me many moments of pleasure. When we bought the painting I did not know the location it was painted from, but one day while on a solitary hike in Cold Spring I came to a spot that I was sure was the exact spot the artist must have painted “my” painting from.  That was a very good day! photo 2 I also collect other types of art…I found this charcoal sketch at an art and antique show some years ago and just loved the simple but strong strokes the artist used…I felt it romantic that this piece, just a sketch done years ago somewhere in Europe now has a place of honor in my home. photo 3 When thinking about my art, I can’t not mention my friend Doreen O’ Connor and her work, which is also in my home…actually on my home…or more accurately, painted right on the walls of my home. She is a decorative painter and has collaborated with me on many projects over the years. Many moons ago, when my four boys were small, I asked Doreen to paint a few quotes on their bathroom wall. The bathroom would be both the first and last room they would use each day and I wanted to make some kind of impact that I hoped might build strong character. I can remember thinking about each quote..wanting something that might just be remembered in the back of one’s mind now and again. Now, years later, I think my investment in art has paid off, as I’m very proud of the men my boys have become.

As you may know from an earlier blog, I really like Staszek Kotowski’s work. It’s peaceful and dreamy and zen-like. I like how his work lives well in a space. It adds to a place without demanding attention. You notice his work, but it allows you to look away at what else is happening in the space and then draws you back in. When I’m looking for a piece, any piece, whether it be furniture, art, or fabric for a room, that is what I want from it…to be present like a good friend, but not demanding of your time…which is why you can’t resist coming back again and again to spend time with it.


Lifestyles and Interior by Lisa

We are having an exhibit, showcasing Staszek’s work, along with two other artists’ whose work I appreciate..not in a gallery of all white space, though that would be lovely too, but in our shop’s space. You are all invited. Come see how well their artwork, mixes with furnishings and the trappings of everyday life. See how art can change your day, or the way you think of your day.

Art by April De Marco,StaszekKotowski & Sandra ShapiroThey say art is not what you see, but what you make others see. So come see. See what you see.

To Market To Market We Go!

photo-4Just got back from Market…not the market, mind you. Like a celebrity known to all by just a first name, when Market is discussed in the interior design world it is understood that the subject is The High Point Furniture Market. Held but twice a year in North Carolina, it is marked on calendars six months in advance by the who’s who of the design world. It is the Milan and fashion runway of the interior design world, and no one wants to miss it.

What a whirlwind….exciting, exhausting, fabulous, exhausting, inspiring, amazing…oh and did I say exhausting? But it was and is always great!
Most important thing to know about your first trip,…wear comfortable shoes!

My Cole Haan blue suede shoes did the trick!

My Cole Haan blue suede shoes did the trick!

As one might guess, it’s all about the visual, what’s new, what’s old but new again, what color is hot, how patterns are being mixed….

Color was all around town, especially orange:photo-27



Of course. we still love our grays, and why not? They pair so well with everything,



A beloved neutral, especially wonderful as a wood finish.


But look out gray, because inky blue is here to stay;


Every color of the rainbow was shown in this market. There were pops of bright color, soft pastels,  patterns, interesting finishes….

photo-30photo-9 Radiant Orchid, Pantone’s color of the year was out and about…seen on fabric, pillows, art, and as a background.

photo-18 photo-31photo-33

As if on cue, even the trees at Market were blooming with orchid,


Loooved, loved, loved Mr. Brown and Julian Chichester’s showrooms. We even met the master himself who styled both places…couldn’t resist giving him an actual bow. After all, I had goose bumps walking around their showrooms.

mr. borwn

Also goose bump worthy was this vignette at French Market;

photo-6 Love the backdrop…they sure put together a feast for the eyes. The hue of the pillows pulled the colors right out of the vintage panels.

Looove Mary McDonald’s pieces and showroom for Guy Chaddock….she too is a master and good thing she wasn’t there when we walked through as I might have spontaneously curtsied…it was just that good.

photo 1-1

photo-35 photo-34

and these books…I don’t have to say how I feel about them, they speak for themselves!


books2Now what else are you going to do with books if you read everything on the ipad? Nice to reinvent oneself.

Global Views always has a feast for the eyes….


and they give out good drinks (and food) too!


Lisa & Annie were here!

Arteriors had it going on!


Jaipur has amazing rugs. This one I could get lost in:


Lots to choose from when you need just the right one

photo-41 photo-42

And I hear good things about the company too. They not only design and supply beautiful rugs, but care for the artisans who create them. Makes you feel good to know…..

Lots of ottomans , benches and poofs…..this little number might just find its way into a project we are working on….more to come on that…


Geometric patterns are everywhere;

But at some point a gal just has to get home. One can experience just so much visual pleasure, and the feet can walk only so far…


Radiant Orchid, color for your life…


With every new season comes renewal and new beginnings…and with every new year comes Pantone’s announcement of the color of the year. If you haven’t heard the news by now, for 2014, it’s Radiant Orchid. “….Radiant Orchid….inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health.,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone executive director. Pantone has been considered the leading authority on color trend forecasting for over 40 years, so when they make their announcement, the design field listens.

Design is found in all things…nature, art, architecture, fashion…interior design.

c01dbf35f8fe816c7c799da4ea69f0d52e4ee90072b753205d00dcd566b3d67ePhotos courtesy Pinterest

What we love for our wardrobes or our homes comes by way of inspiration from all places, one just has to notice. The crossover of inspiration is becoming increasingly evident.

radiant orchid 2014 color of the year_ michaela noellePhoto Courtesy of Michaella Noelle Designs

But that’s not actually new…Veranda ran a piece on Claude Monet’s painting on exhibit at the Met. It was a portrait, but what became the sensation in 1866 was actually the silk taffeta dress on the model, more than the painting. TraditIonal Home Magazine’s editor recently reminded us that Coco Chanel once said “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, the street. Fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live”.

One favorite source of fashion inspiration is Briarcliff’s March Boutique, owned and wonderfully curated by Lynn Puro. Always in step with the trends, March is a jewel box of ideas.


Fashion has always been on the forefront of what is in vogue, and so has become a great influence for the interior design world.  What is seen on the runways will be spotted in shelter magazines sooner or later. Since the birth of social media, sooner rather than later is becoming the norm. Radiant Orchid had been on the runways this year, so it’s no surprise that it’s already popping up in some amazing rooms.


Of course, if you really want to talk trends, what is most important these days is that one is in love with a color for the color’s sake, not to follow the crowd. However, it is fun to be in vogue and to see new ways to be inspired by, and work with, color.

Over the last couple of years our tastes have slowly been shifting away from neutrals, but of course, we still have a love affair with our grays, browns, navys and blacks which have been staples of our wardrobes and our home design.

Maybe more than shifting away from our neutrals we are really pairing brighter colors up with neutrals to have the best of both worlds.

Black and white paired together have always been dramatic, but become even more lively when orchid, or any purple from it’s color family, jumps in.

Some of you may believe bold is beautiful…and so why not jump right in and surround yourself with color?  After all, who wouldn’t want to be invited for tea at this table!

Color blocking.. add full blocks of saturated color in self contained areas for a clean bold look:
 A toned down version of radiant Orchid means mauve doesn’t need to be a dirty word:


Introduce a color through pattern:

Use a thread of a single color throughout the space to bridge different areas together with color.
With all the white snow outside of late, I’m beginning to think white and orchid can be the best of friends, especially for the warm weather that I know is surely to come.

Not sure about using this lively color? A few stems of flowers in soft pinks and purples can add  beauty to any room.

So why not infuse this color into your life…your fashion or your home. After all, who wouldn’t want something in their life that “emulates great joy, love and health and draws one in” according to “the authority”?!

Photos courtesy of Houzz, Pinterest and its contributors…

Cocktails anyone…?

It’s here! Once again the holiday season is upon us. Our homes will be filled with family and friends joyously celebrating all there is to be thankful for.


One of our favorites, Holiday Cranberry Mojitos, recipe courtesy of Follow our pinterest for more holiday ideas!

We all know that it is the people who really make the party enjoyable, but I have found that just taking a little extra time to set the stage goes a long way to make our guests feel special. Now is the perfect season for a cocktail or two to help keep our guests merry and bright, or at least full of cheer.
Now I’m no Megan Draper, nor do I claim to be quite as adept as any of the men or women of Mad Men when stocking a bar, but I do think I can spot a well designed bar cart when I see one.
I could probably be spotted sipping a cup of tea more often than champagne, yet bar carts have always held a special interest for me. They are the perfect place to set up a little vignette to set the mood for that special evening. What a delight to see a bar set up right in ones own space…welcoming your guests to help themselves to get the party started.
Sooo, we just couldn’t resist getting a few bar carts into our shop.
This one from Arteriors is just the right size when you dont have too much space.
We loved Worlds Away elegant silver cart for its glamorous appeal… we just adore its X shaped legs.
For a rustic wine cellar, we just got in this authentic wine table…. wonder what stories it could tell.
According to the mixologists at Food and Wine, the essential spirits to include for any cocktail list are gin, vodka, tequila, whiskey and rum …but I must say just a few pretty bottles go a long way for a visual treat.

I happen to love Hudson Whiskey, not only for the taste ( okay, I haven’t actually tasted it yet), but I love the bottle design. Since its bottled in New York, I consider it buying local.
Of course, you don’t have to have a bar cart to set up a welcome center. You can set up an area with a few bottles, a tray, glasses and you are on your way.

By just containing all your ingredients..or even just your glassware on a tray it distinguishes this area from others. Style. Contain. Group by size or color. Now you are ready to set the tone for a special evening.

Some Barware from our shop…

Not one to indulge? No worries…set up as a tea cart they are just as welcoming, especially during the chilly winter months. Add some deserts and your guests will never leave!
Anything this good looking should be out all year, ones bar cart isn’t just for the holidays.
This one could make the perfect side table. Versatility is the name of the game.
Hope you come in for a visit. We might just have a drink waiting for you..
Let the holidays begin!

Decisions, Decisions

Decisions, much thought goes into designing a room….IMG_0065

For this Westchester client the initial decisions were even harder because the room started out as a well designed space for the previous homeowner.The woodwork, wallpapered ceiling, hand painted red walls, and plaid window treatments were in very good condition, but a bit dated and not reflective of the tastes of our young, active family of four.

Much discussion went into what would be kept and what would change.  In the end we decided it needed to represent the new owners of the home and we have never looked back.

We started with the extensive woodwork, which was originally painted yellow.  Doreen O’Connor of Wildflowers faux wood grained the ceiling beams and fireplace in a rich brown so it looks like mahogany.  We then designed a stencil to mimic a motif found in one of the fabrics, which we used to paint the inside of each coffer of the ceiling.  This was no easy task considering the ceilings were 12′ high, but luckily Doreen and her assistant are not afraid of heights.

This mirror over the newly painted mantel was chosen for its size and drama.  The large scale of the urns sets off the mirror nicely while not calling too much attention to themselves.

A green marble fireplace surround, probably installed in the 80’s, was replaced with a soft grayish blue stone which we had used elsewhere in the house for continuity. This is reminiscent of the blue stone found throughout the property.

The sofas were chosen for their high backs, and though they ended up taking 9 months to arrive ( don’t ask) they were worth the looong wait. A pair of ottomans adds extra seating and pattern to the room, while also being a favorite perching place for the family cat.


This drapery fabric is a rich embroidered silk from the UK. Penny Howell, our drapery goddess, lined and interlined the delicate fabric which added volume to the panels for the extra tall windows. All the colors of the room were pulled from this fabric as it was our starting off point, along with being our splurge.

This cabinet brought a bit of playfulness to the room. Our family didn’t want a formal living room, so we thought this piece added a bit of playfulness to the room. photo2

At one end of the room we have a game table, which works well for entertaining, creating another area to sit and chat while having a place to rest food and drink. It also provides the family with a place to work on a puzzle or just sit with a cup of tea and the morning paper.

Staszek Kotowski, one of our favorite artists who happens to come from a long line of artists, painted this calming work of art. It’s size works well on the large wall.

(More pictures to follow)