Equestrian Inspired Interior Design

I’ve always been passionate about animals (my home is full of rescued pets!) and as an adult I developed a love of horseback riding, particularly dressage. Seven years ago I adopted King, a quarter horse mix who came from a working horse ranch in Texas. He now loves being spoiled in New Jersey. Though King used to prefer jumping, a little bit of arthritis means we now just continue with some dressage, in-hand work and trail rides.

horse rescue NJ

King when I first got him. Underweight and scruffy.

NJ horse rescue

King a few years later. Happy and healthy!

Though I’m partial to King, of course, I’m inspired by the beauty and grace of all horses. I’m a fan of tradition and sentiment, and what’s more sentimental than drawing from the relationship between horses and humans that’s existed for centuries?  Whether it’s functional, such as a place to store riding boots, or a whimsical nod to horses, incorporating equestrian elements into spaces is one of my specialties.

Iris Interiors: NJ Equestrian Inspired Design

Monroe NJ interior design

Designed by Iris Interiors.

I’d definitely like to take equestrian inspired design a step further, which brings me to…

Dream Project: Hunterdon County Horse Barn Conversion

While in Hunterdon County, NJ I fell in love with the old barns in the area. The high ceilings, beams, rustic feel and rich history are so appealing and the possibilities are endless. A barn conversion is among the top items on my interior design project wish list. Here are some perfect examples:

NJ historic barn conversion

From Pinterest via Vogue.

Are you a fellow riding enthusiast or an admirer of horses? Contact Iris Interiors to incorporate timeless, equestrian elements into your space.


NJ interior designer

Treat Yourself! Novia Giveaway

home decor giveaway

handcrafted table

Hand crafted mango wood accent table by Indian artisan Khalid Ali via Novica.

affordable surrealist artwork

Original oil painting on canvas by Peruvian artist Marita Peña Mora via Novica.

Iris Interiors is having its first giveaway! The winner will receive a $75 gift certificate to Novica, an online fair trade artisan market. Novica works with National Geographic to give talented artisans from around the globe a way to sell their products to the world. The unique, handmade items are affordable. Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping the artists, from regions ranging from the Andes, Brazil, West Africa, and more, create a sustainable business.

The site offers gifts, fashion, home decor, jewelry and paintings. It’s a win-win. You get to shop and give back!

To enter the giveaway, simply subscribe to my monthly newsletter (see sidebar on the right for the form). Leave a comment on this post or via Facebook to let me know you signed up. A winner will be randomly chosen and notified on Wednesday, July 30th.

Good luck!

NJ interior designer


Iris Interiors Retail Location Coming Soon…

vintage shop NJ

Getting started on the new space…

I’m thrilled to announce I will be opening an Iris Interiors retail store this month, with a grand opening in September. The store will be sharing a space with Yellow Finch Antiques at the historic 78 Main Street in Flemington, NJ. I will offer home décor, custom window treatments, upholstery, furnishings, accessories and more to supplement Yellow Finch’s beautiful selection of antiques and vintage finds, including unique steam punk items.

Sign-up for the Iris Interiors newsletter (on the sidebar) for updates, coupons and the story behind my new venture.

NJ interior designer

“Hello. Nice to meet you husband.”


Several times now I’ve seen a commercial for a new reality TV show, “Married at First Sight.” The series, touted as a “social experiment,” premiered Tuesday night on FYI. I did not watch it, but four experts, a sexologist, spiritualist, psychologist and sociologist, attempted to create three perfect couples based on personality profiles, psychological assessments, spiritual counseling and sexology consultations. They whittled down the pool from 625 possible matches to three pairs. The participants agreed to legally marry a complete stranger without ever meeting or speaking to them! They didn’t even know each other’s names!

While much of it is likely for ratings, the concept is crazy! Can you really choose someone based on certain criteria? How do you predict chemistry?

One of the reasons the commercials caught my attention, is as an interior designer, I don’t take on a new client without first determining if we are a good match. A successful project hinges in part on good chemistry between the homeowners and designer. On paper, everything may seem perfect. In person, it can be a different story. The process is extremely personal and in order to tell my clients’ stories through the art of design, they have to trust me and I must get to know them well. My process starts with a phone consultation, followed by an in-person interview or consultation, to allow us to assess if we are a good fit. I can’t imagine starting a new project with an introduction of, “Hello. Nice to meet you client.”

Perhaps one of the couples will be lucky and everything will fall into place. However “Design at First Sight” is not the way I want to create a dream space.

Have you seen the show? What are your thoughts? Would you work with a designer or client without first meeting them?

Contact Iris Interiors today to see if we are a good fit for you. Let us create a space that tells your unique story.

NJ interior designer

A Sea of Red

high school graduation

I’ve reached a milestone! The last of my three children graduated from high school last week. While I sat in the stands watching the ceremony, I noticed something striking. All of the students were wearing red graduation gowns. It was a sea of red, which obviously got me thinking about red interiors (after focusing on my daughter receiving her diploma of course!).

When used in interior design, red has the ability to bring a space to life. Depending on the shade, it can evoke a sense of warmth or impart serious drama. Whether the color is splashed on the walls, used in furniture, or sprinkled throughout a room with a handful of accessories, it definitely makes a statement. Feeling fearless? Here are some of my favorite examples of red:

The vibrant red lacquered table and mirror add glamour and contrast to the dark gray monochromatic room. It’s restrained and unexpected.

Between Audrey Hepburn and the vibrant red walls, this dining room is elegant and exciting. I can’t imagine the dinner parties are ever boring. As an added bonus, red is thought to stimulate the appetite meaning guests will be too hungry to notice if a side dish turns into a disaster.

The painting is likely the inspiration piece. When combined with red walls, a bright yellow chair and white bench, it looks crisp, contemporary and playful. Definitely not for the faint of heart!

The cool grey floor tiles and airy white are offset by unexpected red stools. The apple red seating is a quirky touch for an uplifting, whimsical kitchen.

The darker garnet red is evidence the color isn’t always bright and attention-grabbing. In fact, the red walls aren’t the focal point of the space. They are a backdrop for the global pieces and patterns in the boho chic living room.

Love the primary colors and adorable knickknacks in this nursery vignette. The red is so cheerful. A collection of red accessories doesn’t have to be limited to a nursery, however. It can energize any space.

Red even works in a more traditional kitchen. The red walnut island is sophisticated but still a show stopper. It’s understated and warm.

red bathroom

Via Lonny.

Provocative isn’t a word typically associated with bathrooms, but I think it’s an apt description for this one. The traditional pedestal sink and eclectic artwork are well suited to the red walls. The powder room is an excellent small space to experiment with daring color.

Red and black equals instant glamour. The red silk curtains are a romantic, sexy touch.

This is one of the most innovative uses of red I’ve seen. It makes the bright, open space inviting and different.

Is red part of your color scheme?

If you’re interested in a daring, unique space, Contact Iris Interiors.

Interior Designer NJ


Angry Interiors

Over the weekend I headed to Boston for a wedding. As it was my first time driving there (by myself), I blindly followed my GPS and the 4.5 hour drive turned into a 9 hour nightmare! At one point while sitting in traffic, I noticed a small truck in front of me with the words “Angry Orchard” emblazoned on the back. I’m not a hard cider drinker so I was unaware of the brand. The unexpected combination of “angry” and “orchard” struck me. When I think of an orchard the words apples, healthy, organic, family, warm pie, etc. come to mind. But angry? Not usually.

With nothing else to do but contemplate for hours upon hours, I started thinking about “angry interiors.” What would they consist of? Dark colors, industrial design, hard lines, the absence of soft accessories? Would anyone want a space that felt angry? Instead, I think a room that combines two completely contradictory styles can be interesting and elegant. To me, the name Angry Orchard conjures up a style like “rough luxe.” The concept is similar to a beautiful orchard with a bite to it.

ripped denim

J Brand jeans via Shopbop.

Purposefully torn jeans embody the idea. When done right, they’re tasteful, sexy but still a little undone and anything but frilly. Could this be pulled off through a chic chair with slashed upholstery?

industrial decor

John Pomp Studios via Dering Hall.

Industrial design definitely gives the impression of stylish rebellion. This space illustrates this with the old brick walls, exposed beams and distressed wood floors.

The stripped down aspects, like the peeling walls and scuffed wood floors, are moody and the luxurious bedding and tufted headboard are more contemporary and completely unexpected. This is the epitome of an Angry Orchard interior.

The architectural elements have been preserved and the color palette is serene, but there is a dilapidated, tough feel. The dissonance is creative and stunning.

This space is actually from the Rough Luxe Hotel. Opposites attract with glamour, modern art and soft colors mixed with the original, distressed walls and antique pieces that capture a moment in history.

This Amsterdam home is a former factory. The dining area is a mix of rustic, industrial, vintage and contemporary. The raw materials, weathered table and concrete walls paired with mismatched chairs, a gray color scheme and an opulent statement chandelier make it quirky and textured. It’s surprisingly inviting.

What do you think of unpredictable combinations? Can you reconcile opposites, like Angry Orchard or rough luxe (or I-95 north of NYC and smooth traffic)?

If you’re interested in an eclectic space with unexpected details, contact Iris Interiors.

Interior Designer NJ

Wanderlust: Bohemian Runway Trends Make Their Way Into Interiors

The worlds of fashion and interior design draw inspiration from one another. Trends from the runway often pop up in interior design and vice versa. This season, one of my favorite styles, boho chic, has taken fashion and design by storm. It’s all about vibrant color, global details and eclectic elements.

Here are some of my favorite examples illustrating what happens when the two fields collide:

Gypset (think gypsy meets jet setter) incorporates bright, vivid hues with global motifs. Perfect for upholstery!

interior design pastels

Via Glamour. Jason Wu, Prabal Gurung, Rebecca Taylor.

Soft pastels dominated the spring/summer 2014 runways. The shades can be incorporated into a space in a mature way by tempering them with clean lines, white walls and eclectic pieces.

fringe trend

Calvin Klein via Vogue.

fringe bedding

Summer Atkinson via Pinterest.

Fringe took center stage at a variety of runway shows. The funky look is reminiscent of hippy style. Try it in trims, fabric and furniture. It adds some vintage appeal.

mara hoffman runway 2014

Mara Hoffman via Divine Caroline.

geometric interiors

Diane von Furstenberg for Kravet.

Technicolor pieces in geometric, tribal and even tie-dye prints popped at the Mara Hoffman show. Take a page from the designer by mixing vibrant patterns in the home. Diane von Furstenberg’s collection for Kravet includes an array of colorful prints. A chair reupholstered in a daring pattern does the trick as well.

I loved all of the metallics, such as this Salvatore Ferragamo dress. It easily translates into interiors when used as an accent like this lamp with a metallic finish.

orange interiors

Tommy Hilfiger via NY Daily News.

orange couch

Katie Ridder Via Coco Cozy.

Orange was a color of choice for designers. Start small in a space by incorporating the color through a couch or accessories.

floral trend

Thakoon via Harper’s Bazaar.

vintage living room

Via Dust Jacket. Floral panels by Designers Guild.

Florals are back and they don’t have to appear stuffy, whether the pattern graces a breezy summer dress or highlights a vintage space.

What are your favorite fashion-inspired interior design trends?

In need of the perfect fearless, bohemian space or want to take a look at fabrics only available to the trade? Contact Iris Interiors!

Interior Designer NJ







Happy Memorial Day!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! In the spirit of the holiday, I’ve rounded up a few last minute party decor ideas. Enjoy:

Simple table decor: A mason jar adorned with burlap and gingham and filled with geraniums.

Festive streamers and twinkle lights.

Red, white and blue napkins layered to create star shapes.

Accordion paper decorations. The blogger purchased them at the Dollar Store and Party Land.

Love the funky display full of rustic, vintage elements. Visit Decorating Ideas Galore for a step-by-step tutorial.

A pretty (and delicious) patriotic cake. Check out Glorious Treats for the recipe.

Unique utensil packets are a special touch for guests.

DIY party decor

Via BHG.

Create a chic snack table with galvanized pails lined with napkins. The labels are convenient and easy to make.

Any exciting plans for the weekend?

Interior Designer NJ