My Fireplace Design Secret

Have you ever been given an assignment from a client and used a unique method of inspiration for the design?

Let me share a story with you about how I combined my client’s heritage with custom design, and a little divine influence to create a one of a kind space.

Recently, a client of mine approached me about doing the tile design for her brand new, 15,000 sq. ft. home in Alpine, NJ. She had ideas for many different spaces throughout the house, but the project she wanted to focus on first was the fireplace area in the family room.

The aspect of my job that has always been most exciting to me is working together with my clients to bring a vision to life that reflects both their personal style, and my passion for tile design. So when my client handed me a photo and said: “No one I know can design something like this except for you,” I knew she felt confident in my ability to make her dream space a reality, and I was excitedto get to work.

I noticed that the photo was torn from a Russian architectural design magazine. My client was born in Russia, and has a familiarity with the intricate and sometimes challenging interior designs of spaces like this, so her faith in my ability to make this happen was even more flattering to me. I thanked her for her confidence, and told her I was up for the challenge!

First, we met on site with the architect to discuss the space. The architect said that he would complete the crown molding specification once I decided on the tile design. Not wanting to hold up the party, I promised a one-week turnaround for the project design. I would’ve liked to have more time, but I knew we couldn’t wait.

Here’s what I had to work with:

Dimensions of the fireplace area:  9’ft high and 7ft’ wide

Since the home was still under construction, the only color hue I was working with was an exquisite 12 x 14 and 16 x 16 porcelain tile. This material looks exactly like a natural limestone, and served as the backdrop for my fireplace color palette.

Next, my client came to the studio to select a tile line for the family room and the fireplace. She chose a beautiful 4×4 hand crafted tile. Stoneware Green was the color hue selected because of how perfectly it worked with the 16 x 16 porcelain and how well it reflectsthe colors of nature. The large windows in the family room allow you to appreciate the outdoors, which really enhances the space and the selections even more.

Everything was selected. All that was needed was for me to complete my design.

In order for me to do that, I had to tap into an unconventional source of design inspiration. I had to meditate. For the past several years, I have enjoyed the benefits of meditation in my life. I was first introduced to meditating on a trip to the Chopra Center. That first visit had a profound impact on my life. I’ve been fortunate to return a few times since, and each trip my spirit is renewed. Twice a day, I meditate to clear my mind of the every day stresses of life, and to celebrate the abundance of the universe. I felt that using this

For 3 days, this was my process:

-I went to my client’s home
-I sat on the floor and focused on the blank cement wall
-I closed my eyes and envisioned a beautiful fireplace

Once I cleared my mind, I began to sketch. I drew three designs and even came up with a specific mantelpiece, which also served as the tiled crown molding for the fireplace. As it turns out, this piece did not exist in the tile line, but with my distinct design direction, the mantelpiece was created, and is now part of the artisan’s line.

After I completed my sketches, I called my client to review them. Her reaction was exactly what I was hoping for. She was overjoyed, and couldn’t wait to see the sketch she chose come to life.

When the fireplace was installed, she expressed her appreciation that I was able to bring a part of her heritage to the walls of her new home.

For me, the fireplace and its design depicts a true labor of love and passion for my work. I smile every time I see a picture of it, because it reminds me that being mindful creates many opportunities, especially when we can appreciate being in the present moment.







If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it!