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Setting The Bar


This was a super fun event at the Gulfstream Park Crate & Barrel! It was the Home & Design Fair and as promised, I provide my full presentation with tips! It was a packed event… can you see yourself in the audience of almost 200 guests?? Also below are the images of the “lounge” I created just before the event in Crate & Barrel. Enjoy!

Does anyone know why you’re here today?

I will be giving you some tips and advice on how to set up an uber cool lounge and /or bar and/or library in your home. When I was researching yesterday on how to give a good presentation – I read milestones are important. Letting everyone know what we will be talking about today – yes, I was googling in preparation just yesterday. Working mom! Last minute Lucy!

Today we will discuss:

Accessorizing shelves, a bar cart, a home bar, lounge furnishings, and more. Then I’ll open up the floor to you guys for questions.

Imagine this…just close your eyes for a second.. imagine a red Honda Civic driving over the MacArthur causeway, fast and furious, windows down, music loud, blonde hair flowing, and this car is packed with everything the driver owns. That was me! Have you ever left your entire life behind – including your boyfriend – to follow your dream somewhere?

My dream was in NYC. I lived in South beach for 7 years then moved to Manhattan. And the first thing I did when I got there? Poured myself a big, stiff drink. And that’s a big part of what we are talking about today!

I want to introduce you to my infamous side kick – Jordan – Mr Mix – he would be Mr 305 if it wasn’t already taken. Actually I just met him last week by email but I have a feeling I’m right about this. Jordan will walk you through some delicious cocktails. If you need a mixologist extraordinaire – you can find him at Brio. I will be imbibing because we have a driver today!

Let’s get this party started! I need two volunteers to join us at the bar. Jordan tell us a little about yourself and our first cocktail.


What are some of your favorite bars or lounges –a name and where it is located.

My favorites –The NoMad Hotel bar in NYC, the Rose bar at the Delano in South Beach, and HMF at The Breakers in Palm Beach. These are places where a rock star may frequent.

Have you heard of a speakeasy? During prohibition secret underground lounges and bars became popular. Now the speakeasy is back. It’s mysterious, understated.

How do we create that in our homes?

Some essential elements are necessary – I call it my ACME rules:

  • Ambient lighting (dimmer)
  • Countertop or workspace
  • Mirrors and reflective surfaces
  • Essential Seating & Shelving (seating conducive to talking not sleeping (perching) and Shelving – useful for storage & pretty things

You don’t need an entire room dedicated to a bar or lounge, even just an area or a corner can be you special lounging spot. I have been turning traditional dining rooms into lounges and home bars. Since we are living more consciously with open floor plans, big kitchen islands for informal seating and doing away with formal dining – the dining room is a perfect spot because it’s usually a separate room, it’s often too small for a large farm table, so it’s calling for a party to happen!



Accessorizing used to be the one thing I couldn’t do well. We all know our strengths. So I focused on it, practiced, trial and error and I found certain things work. When I’m preparing my completed homes for photo shoots, most of my time is spent accessorizing. I want it to look beautiful but natural and mostly – functional.

My Top 7 laws for shelf accessorizing.

  1. Height Variance
  2. Repetition-colors and finishes
  3. Layering
  4. Functionality – things you need
  5. Live plants or flowers
  6. Meaningful items
  7. Mix old and new

Frank Sinatra said “Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy”. The man of cool, the lounge artist himself – the imbibing expert.

But a home bar or lounge doesn’t have to be for alcohol only – it could be kombucha, pressed juice, espresso, infused teas or waters.  The lounge – is a place to chill and drink, chat and relax – appeals to all ages. We’ve seen a recent resurgence in the popularity of the home bar – shows like Mad Men brought back the lounge – and day drinking – with a vengeance.

A lounge is where you go to get your chill on. It’s where you go to feel alive. To be around like minded people … It’s sexy. So the furniture needs to be conducive to: chilling, talking, and flirting.

So let’s talk FURNITURE and Furniture PLACEMENT.

Furniture in a lounge should be smaller, easy for conversation, placed and peppered throughout the room. There should also be an area rug to define the space. And multi functional pieces that can be used as tables and seating. Perching is important when drinking and vibing.

AMBIENT LIGHTING can be in many forms

Install a dimmer on the overhead lighting in that room. If there is a window layer with a shade and/or drapery for manual control over natural lighting. And adding a wall sconce or floor lamps are also a great way to create ambience.


MIRRORS and reflective surfaces just create another dimension. Smoky mirrors are the best option. But hanging a large mirror and utilizing reflective surfaces such as mirrored trays are great to create drama and add a little bling.

Home parties have also become more popular – with all those party décor ideas on Pinterest, how can one resist! We work from home more these days. And we party at home more often than not.

How many of you are in your 20s just out of college?  You want a cool place for friends to chill when they come visit you.

How many of you have a family? You want a place to hang with your mom & dad friends while the kids terrorize the house.

And if you’re in your 60-70s-80s – you remember that just about everyone had a home bar or lounge in the 60s and 70s.

So I set you free to design like rock stars!

Some Shout outs:

I’d like to thank Jesse (who helped me get my first 14 page feature published in Luxe magazine and just recently Architectural Digest), Cara (who is her amazing partner in crime) , if you’re looking for great writers and producers of beautiful stories- find them! Thanks to Carin with Gulfstream for organizing this amazing event, and Jenn (my fabulous Director of Marketing). If you need a social media diva and overall marketing guru –she’s the one! and a big thanks to Crate and Barrel for hosting our party today!


On a personal note… design was always meant to be for me. I grew up in a dysfunctional, abusive home so creating beautiful homes for people is a true, deep passion. I feel our home should heal our hearts – it should be a sanctuary –  a place of love and memories. And if you need a house designed – or just someone to pick out a sofa and some drapes – I’m the one! My postcards and business cards are right over here.

Do you have questions about what we talked about today or about a design project you are currently working on?

Thank you everyone!


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