Sandra Oster Interiors, Greenwich, CT, www.sandraoster.com
What is your ideal client relationship?
My ideal client relationship is what every other designer wants, a client who trusts you as their guide. Most people today think that large budgets and large homes are the ideal project to capture. My priorities are a total working relationship with my client where no question is too ridiculous to ask and confidentiality reigns! A homeowner who looks to me to create "their" space and understand "their language" and interpret what they want is most important to me. If they have a large budget, well so much the better!
What are the best design tips you have learned from experience?
The best design tips I have learned I have learned from past mistakes! In my "continuing education" of interior design some of the simplest tips are the most important. One example is choosing paint color. When trying to decide what paint to use in a room, there is no shortcut for taking your time. I always encourage people to find 3 areas of wall space within the room where the light is dominant at different times of the day. Paint those areas with 2 coats of white paint in an area about 4' x 4'. This way you are moving your eye away from the current color on the walls and it will not distract you from the various colors you are about to apply. These new options should also have 2 costs applied so that you see the true color of the pigment. If you are able to do this on 3 of your walls, you will have covered the space properly. Then, the last part of the exercise is to walk into the room at different times of the day and night and evaluate the colors and see what speaks to you!
What are your favorite paint colors?
While I respect color and have always loved the potential in the unending color possibilities, when it comes to painting rooms, I like the subdued colors. I am always amazed when clients try to show me a small square of paint color from a color chart and ask me my opinion. How can you "see" a color in it's reality if the sample is so small? Because I have painted so many rooms in my design history, I now try to stay away from pure pigmented bright colors….colors that would be too hard to live with day and night! I prefer colors that have a bit of gray in them. Yes, that's right, gray! One of my favorite colors in the Ben Moore collection is 1508…a subtle shade of green or is it gray? The color looks mysterious as it appears in a sample book of large pages but when it is applied to the walls, the color has a life of its own. I am amazed when the color actually becomes the room and the clients always exclaim how calm and warm the room looks when enveloped by this soft and potent color!
What was the inspiration for starting Decorator Tag Sale?
DecoratorTagSale.com is a labor of love for me! As an Interior Designer for over 25 years, I have been so fortunate to have created wonderful homes for a variety of incredible and varied clients throughout New York and Connecticut. During this time I have accumulated inventory that continues to sit in a storage warehouse from shopping trips, Show Houses, client "take backs" and other slightly damaged goods from vendors. As the economy turned, I wanted to unload these items for a fraction of what I paid for them! I am a good designer and thought to myself "I can't be the only decorator in this position" and lo and behold, DecoratorTagSale.com was born! Designers throughout the country - named or anonymous - have the ability to have their own shop-on-line, promote their interior design business and sell their inventory at deeply discounted prices! The response has been overwhelming and I am so gratified to be able to share this opportunity with fellow decorators and designers!
What is your favorite UE light and why? How have you incorporated it into one of your designs?
My favorite UE light is the Lafayette Double Sconce. The ability to custom color the shade and it's unique shape is a wonderful way to coordinate a room. I also like the fact that the sconce sits tightly against the wall…and plays "quiet!"
Other favorite UE lights?
Other favorite lights are the Dover Bell Pendant that I am about to use in a new home. The shape and feel is a modern take-off of a classic bell jar. All of the finishes that UE offer allow me to make the pendants even more spectacular!
Another favorite is the Campion hanging fixture. I love the look of the reflected shade and the sophistication of the style. I am looking for a home for the light in a project that I have right now. I know I will be able to fit the light into my design scheme somewhere!