ImageLast week I attended NEOCON in Chicago, one of the most singular events in the Interior Design industry for the exposition of contract furniture and furnishings. This convention takes place every year at the Merchandise Mart, an iconic and gigantic 15 floors story’s Art Deco building.

Looking at the products featured, I could not stop noticing how many new kitchens incorporated a wine refrigerator. This appliance that used to be a luxury item at some point now seems to be the norm, which brings the question of whether that would be good for the resale of a home?

Well, let’s look at this….


In most kitchens, a wine refrigerator would be considered a positive addition, as long as you are not compromising storage space to install it. Make sure you purchase a unit that fits under the counter and put it as far away from the main kitchen work zone, because it will be used infrequently. Ideally, it should be placed at the end of an island or a kitchen.


If your kitchen is generously sized, a wine refrigerator could be a relatively inexpensive selling feature. It can cost $1,000.00 to $ 1,500.00 but you will get that money out of it. It also always is a perk on property selling listings!


A wine refrigerator is generally considered a luxury appliance, and hints of a good life. It implies that one will entertain and have fun in their home or condo. People have happy associations with wine storage.


For a dedicated wine refrigerator, Sub-Zero models tends to be among the best on the market and have separate zones that can be set at different temperatures for red and white wine. For a more flexible beverage center that holds wine and others such as water or soda, GE is also a good brand.

 Units can vary in width: the most common sizes are 15 and 24 inches. At the other end of the spectrum, if your kitchen is very large, you may consider a full height model, the size of a refrigerator.

 But make sure you are a real true wine lover and have the space to accommodate a unit and a budget that size.


Tchin Tchin to all as the French would say!



Brigitte Beltran is a Professional Interior Designer and certified Feng Shui practitioner, founder of FS2D Design Group, Inc. Her consulting firm is located in South Florida. She can be reached at 786.223.8476 or via email at

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Louis XIV’s Palace at Versailles is the best place to get inspiration for Baroque style.

The Sun king had surrounded himself with the best designers of the time to create what made the splendor of France and the envy of other European kingdoms: Ornate furnishing, crystal chandeliers, gilded accessories, luxurious fabrics and opulent, theatrical overall look. In a nutshell, the opposite of clean lines! 

So, what is Modern Baroque? The marriage of the Old-World with the New World

This redefined design trend mixes baroque patterns, gold and silver ornaments, crystal chandeliers and baroque furnishes with modern elements of contemporary architecture and design. It is now becoming a popular choice for homeowners who like the opulence of the classical baroque, but in more toned-down style.

Looking to create the look in your own home? The look works best if you keep in mind how to put it together. Here’s how:

1-   Build the foundation colors:

 Start with black, grey and white as your foundation colors and build from there. Incorporate metallic (either silver or gold, not both) and/or mirrored surfaces, crystal, or acrylic. This step must be done tastefully. Be careful not to overdo it. Add no more than two colors and stick to romantic hues.

2-   Furnishings:

Invest in pieces that glam up the space. An ornate mirror, headboard, chair. You can find such items in antique stores, auctions, estate sales… Even inexpensive reproductions can be easily found. Paint these statement pieces in high gloss black, or for a softer vibe, white. Upholster soft furnishings with damask, for instance. (If your home is pet-free, opt for sexy blue velvet.)

3-   Don’t go over the top!

Avoid going over the top, unless you want your home to resemble Versailles. You don’t need 5 statement pieces in a single room. Sometimes, just a few pieces that are carefully placed will give the room that “it” factor you seek. Think of a focal point piece, and then, as I like to do, a “surprise” piece

4-   Bring yesterday and today together:

Give the space a contemporary spin. Mix patterned fabric with bold striped wallpaper in similar colors. Vertical stripes are classic but pick up clean lines of modern furniture, giving the room height and creating a sense of spaciousness

Most of all have fun and invite a friend over with a good eye or work with a professional. Someone who knows about this style and can offer you some great tips.



Brigitte Beltran is a Professional Interior Designer and certified Feng Shui practitioner, founder of FS2D Design Group, Inc. Her consulting firm is located in Miami, Florida. She can be reached at 786.223.8476 or via email at

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Thinking of loft design, I just remembered a client in Boston who a few years back had reach to me to engage into the remodeling of his loft.   

In typical loft fashion, this beautiful wide opened space didn’t really have any proper partitions for making separate rooms. I knew the design was going to present a few challenges as everything we put up there was going to be visible to everyone else and had to be worth showing.

 In the end and after some research, creativity and team efforts, we created beautiful interiors using some of the loft design ideas below.


Think about what the focal point of such a large space should be. Ideally, it should be the most social area of the place, such as the living or entertainment room. Logically, this also makes more sense since the bedroom area cannot be in the middle or very beginning of the space, unless it can be pulled back into the wall. Installing a large, unusual and dramatic piece in the center of a large loft space can really serve as the focal point of the entire space and help balance out everything as a whole.


Lofts usually have unfinished ceilings to look more industrial or raw and cable or track lighting appear to work the best for these type of places. You may use the lighting to highlight specific parts of the loft.


The type of furniture you use is just as important as how you arrange it all inside a loft. For instance, ottomans and longer, winding couches with extended chaise loungers not only maximize space, but also can help corner off an area. Potted plants can also be strategically placed to fill in little gaps or areas that need a bit of separating.

A good way to separate areas in a loft is to use furniture as dividers. For instance, you can separate an open kitchen and living area by using a high kitchen table or “bar” and stools.


Painting one side of the walls of a room one color, and the other side a different, can also help differentiate between the two. For example, in one space, the left wall can be painted pale yellow to mark it as the kitchen, whereas the entertainment area can be painted cream or whatever color one wishes

 As always, remember it is your place and you have to live in it. Give yourself the permission to design it the way you want or use the services of a professional if the process is overwhelming to you. Just be yourself, mix colors, fuse styles and be creative.

Brigitte Beltran is a Professional Interior Designer and certified Feng Shui practitioner, founder of FS2D Design Group, Inc. Her consulting firm is located in South Florida. She can be reached at 786.223.8476 or via email at

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These days many people find themselves moving into urban areas to take advantage of amenities such as lively nightlife, easy access to culture & entertainment, etc. Urban interior design reflects the diverse backgrounds and interests of the people migrating to live there. It is characterized by striking colors, non-traditional materials & innovative style.

So, what are we talking about here?

1-   Function:

The central function of an urban design is to create space, sometimes in surprising ways. In older American inner cities such as Boston or New York where the combination live/work space has a longstanding tradition, an example of urban interior design might look like a concrete floor for large-scale artwork and an upper loft for a living space in a renovated warehouse. In more recent places, such as Miami, high-rise apartments, upscale condominiums and mixed-use buildings are innovations in urban living areas.

2-   Features:

Urban interiors usually show nontraditional home materials and design features. City dwellers use interiors of galvanized steel, concrete floors, exposed beams and unfinished surfaces to create a distinctly modern look. In upscale urban interiors however, the look is far more polished with designer fixtures, sophisticated finishes and innovative space solutions, such as open floor plans that allow for multifunctional rooms. 

3-   Effects:

The relative tightness in square footage on many urban interiors demands some innovative strategies. Furniture tends towards the low and modular with less ornamentation and accessories such as mirrors, lighting features, window treatments and textures are more utilitarian. Large paintings for example are often used as a focal point in an area that seeks the most entertaining.

4-   Benefits: Less clutter!!!

Tighter or nontraditional spaces force people to eliminate clutter and organize their belongings. Many city people like to praise their urban interiors for the conviviality they inspire.

Remember that trends in urban design are not suitable for everyone. Live/work spaces also pose unique challenges to people with young children because the easy access to everything, and the industrial materials used in construction makes the home more hazardous. 


Brigitte Beltran is a Professional Interior Designer and certified Feng Shui practitioner, founder of FS2D Design Group, Inc. Her consulting firm is located in Miami, Florida. She can be reached at 786.223.8476 or via email at

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Last weekend, I attended a formal seated lunch for mother’s day where the hostess had created a beautiful table arrangement with fresh flowers for the occasion. That reminded me of my childhood Sunday lunches in France at my grandmother house where the entire family gathered.

I find it interesting how the dining room used to be the star of special occasions and a place to shine when friends and family came together. Nowadays, it is overlooked in favor of spacious eat-in-kitchens and casual dining.

Does that mean homeowners are giving up on their dining room in favor of big kitchens and extra elbowroom?

 Not quite yet, a survey from Centex Homes indicates that high-end buyers still like their formal dining spot. On the other end, first time homebuyers and those in the lower end of the home-price scale are opting out of the formal dining room floor plan. 

Regardless of what area you designate as your home dining room, here are some design ideas for thoughts:


For holidays, big meals and other large gatherings, you will be shuffling back and forth between the eating area and the kitchen – frequently with dishes in hand. Make sure that the flow between the two rooms is comfortable and spacious. It sounds simple, but also make sure the space can adequately accommodate the table and chairs. You don’t want dinner guests to fill squeezed.


Because the primary function of eating spaces in a home is well defined, designing comes as a secondary thought and dining rooms often get the short end of the design stick.

Paint the walls with an attractive color and design so people look at something while they chew. Personalize the room with favorite family photos, vase of fresh flowers and other decorations that mesh with your style. A livable dining room used on a daily basis is a place where the interior is beautiful but has a practical and comfortable approach by use of fabric and finishes and unusual decorative details.


I can’t emphasize enough the importance of lighting in the dining room and throughout the home in general. But to go back to the eating space and appropriate lighting, you need to be able to see first and foremost what you are consuming. Consider using a dimmer in case you want to achieve romantic lighting or a certain level of ambience in the future. And, be sure to pick fixtures that are easy to clean. Having a cobweb-filled, dusty light fixture hanging above your plate is unappealing.


Consider surfaces that are easy to clean and don’t stain, such as hardwood floors. Red wine spills and food spots are hard to remove from carpeting. If you want to soften the room, use throw rugs, and place them in areas that are less likely to spills.

 Does your family enjoy buffet-style dining? If so, consider having a purposefully placed sidebar or serving table. Think about left-handed diners, and be sure there are seats at the table to guarantee they won’t be constantly be bumping elbows with their neighbor.

 Be conscious about the layout, design and decoration of your dining room. After all, you will be building memories around the table, no matter where in the home it is located.

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Outdoor kitchen design for fun and entertainment


How do you cook inside? Outside? Do you do your own cooking at parties or do you hire a chef? How many people and how often do you entertain?

Those are some of the basic questions I ask my clients when meeting at first and before designing. It is important to understand how people live and what their needs are for both indoor and outdoor living areas. Outdoor kitchen are a hot segment in many parts of the country but need to be designed correctly to create the best experience for yourself, family and guests.

1-   Apply good design principles for function:

Good kitchen design principles include an understanding of where to place cold areas (refrigeration), hot areas (grills & cook tops), wet areas (sinks), and dry areas (preparation counters and storage). They must all work together efficiently in proper proximity, each with enough allocated space. A good designer can help you with this.

2-   Indoor and outdoor kitchens similar approach:

A few differences with the indoor kitchen include exposure to the elements and more difficulty in running utilities such as water.  Since there are no outdoor walls, the kitchen equipment usually defines the room boundaries and it is important to consider the relationship between the indoor and outdoor versions.

3-   Select low-maintenance materials:

You want to select equipment designed to withstand the rigors of an outdoor kitchen. The easier the kitchen is to clean and maintain, the more you will use and enjoy it. High quality stainless steel provides a sanitary surface that’s easily cleaned and corrosion-resistant. Counter and patio or deck materials should be highly resistant to grease stains and able to withstand high temperatures.

4-   Plan for utilities:

When planning layouts, keep in mind the best practical placement or installation of the necessary gas, water and electrical supply.

5-   Plan the entire outdoor entertaining space as part of a single functional plan:

Dining, cooking areas and pool areas often coexist. Think of these as outdoor rooms and consider the flow of traffic as part of the design. Don’t isolate the cook from the party.

6-   Incorporate music and other entertainment:

You want to make sure you do not face the design challenge of adding music and entertainment later. Remember, TVs need to deliver good picture in bright sunlight.

Finally, provide adequate task lighting as well as an ambient lighting to accommodate after-dark cooking and entertaining.  After all, it is all about having fun!

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Furniture arrangement: Set the tone for how you live!

ImageI recently visited a high-end condo with a friend who was looking to purchase it and was surprised to notice how the placement of the furniture unfortunately diminished the beauty of the space.

 Most of the furniture in the living room was oversized and the room looked stuffed, with very little space for circulation.

That being said, the placement of your furniture in a room sets the tone for how you live in the space. Here are a few must-know tips for arranging spaces, whether you are relaxing, watching TV or chatting with friends:


The first step in arranging a space is determining its size. Use a tape measurer to get the dimensions of a room. Make sure to also check the dimensions of the hallway, stairs and doors leading to the room so the entrance and egress of the room are large enough for potential purchase.


Every object has a height, depth and width. To add visual interest to any space, incorporate a variety of furniture with different characteristics. For example, if you are going for a serene, unchallenging area for rest or recovery, keep the furnishing volumes of the room similar.


The size of the pieces relative to one another and the size of the space is their scale. Similarly scaled pieces are more serene when used together, but a nice balance of pieces creates a harmonious atmosphere, utilizing the physical qualities of height, depth and width throughout the room.  When furnishings are out of scale, you will notice that it just won’t feel comfortable or right.


The relationship of items to one another to form a pleasing whole is called balance. There are two forms of balance: symmetrical and asymmetrical. Symmetry is like the human body and refers to two of everything. Asymmetry refers to an imbalance, such as two candles of slightly different sizes next to each other. Symmetry is very restful, while asymmetry is used to add visual excitement.

 If you struggle putting these recommendations into practice, remember a good design professional to depend on and trust is always the best solution to make your design exciting and fun! 

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