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Working with Colors: Texture, Accents and a Light Touch

Madison Square by PROJECT AZ

Colors, materials and furnishings are what make a house feel like a home. From paint hues and textured fabrics to natural light, how we feel is influenced by what we see and how the pieces of a home are made. We can bring new life to a space through a series of simple moves, whether it’s through color, materials, surfaces, or textures. The result is a space that reflects individual character and style.

It’s important to understand how the little elements that make up a home work in combination with one another. For a long time, surfaces like ceilings were simply placeholders for lighting. They were often missed opportunities, and now they are regularly referred to as “the fifth wall.” When creating the space that’s best suited to you, ceilings provide another dimension for you to work with. Working in tandem with walls, ceilings can articulate a room’s shape, scale, and proportions to divide and define spaces. In turn, they can enhance a concept or interior design idea.

Desk Nook, Madison Square by PROJECT AZ

Beyond an element and surface like ceilings, color makes a small room feel larger, or a spacious one feel more intimate. And better yet, you can do it without the time or expense of moving walls. Colors act in three basic ways, whether active, passive or neutral, and it affects people differently depending on your personal background, context and climate. When used in the right ways, color can even save on energy consumption. At the same time, elements like paints and accent pieces shape the way we feel within a space.

Hudson Yards by PROJECT AZ

In interior design, texture is closely tied to touch. Rooms with texture hold visual weight; whether it’s an object or surface, it draws attention to itself. Rough textures are more likely to make a space feel intimate and grounded, while smooth textures can feel continuous and streamlined. Consider how wooden benches, satin reading chairs, or marble tabletops all bring a distinct feel to a space. When selecting furniture, rugs or accent pieces, think about how the elements of a room relate to one another and add visual weight.

Cooper Square by PROJECT AZ

Combined with surfaces, colors and textures, another key element is lighting. From fixtures and lamps to simple bulbs, lighting is often considered for its function rather than its aesthetic value. There are three basic types of light, and you can combine them around the activities that take place in your home. Once you understand the difference between ambient, task and accent, you can use them to your advantage.

The spaces around us are defined by elements that shape what we see and how we feel, and they work together. Homes are made of many layers. At the same time, our homes are a reflection of our individuality. As colors and textures play off surfaces and furniture, consider how combining interior elements can make a home that’s unique to you.

Eager to turn your space into a dream home? PROJECT AZ is a residential design studio that has worked on many interior design and renovation projects in NYC, from Manhattan penthouses to Chelsea apartments. Lead Designer Ahmad AbouZanat’s focuses on finding unique design solutions that work well with his client’s modern lifestyles. 

Contact us today to get started on your next design project.

5 Key Reasons to Hire an Interior Designer

Great interior design appears effortless. In a well-designed home, different elements come together to create a harmonious and functional space, and nothing seems out of place. Having a beautiful home brings both personal and financial value, in addition to making it a pleasant place to live.

A seemingly effortless, elevated aesthetic requires skill, knowledge, and a great eye. There are so many little details that go into a great interior design, and it can be a lot to keep track of. There are many decisions to be made, from choosing the right wall color and lighting fixtures to the finishes on the door handles; when every detail counts, this can be a lot to consider. That’s where an interior designer comes in. If you’ve been wondering whether or not to hire an interior designer, read on to discover 5 reasons why a designer can help you transform your home. 

You have a vision for how you want your space to look and feel

Getting a room to look like the magazine-worthy picture you’ve got pinned on your “Dream House” Pinterest board takes a lot of dedication and skill. If you have a specific aesthetic in mind for your space- whether it’s a dramatic toned bedroom, or a light and airy living room- an interior designer can help you execute your vision. Interior designers are experts at combining texture, color, lighting, and furniture, and will be able to help you find ways to combine different elements to achieve the results you want. 

You like being surrounded by beauty, but are on a budget

Interior design services are available for a range of budgets. – In fact, if you have a strict budget to furnish and decorate your home, interior designers are excellent at getting you the most bang for your buck. Not only will they use their industry knowledge and connections to get you deals that are typically not available to the public, but chances are, they will also help you find higher quality and more stylish pieces than you would on your own. An interior designer will also be able to help you figure out what you value the most and can break down what to save on.  For example- if you spend a lot of time in your living room and want to create a cozy space for you and your family, an interior designer might help you budget for and find the right sofa. At the same time, they can integrate soft textures like throws and pillows for comfort. An interior designer can even help advise on how to re-use your current furnishings.

The Chelsea Project incorporates the owner’s existing art and collectibles.

You want to incorporate unique or heirloom pieces

Maybe you fell in love with a giant abstract painting  at a flea market- or inherited a cool, retro sofa from a relative. Sentimental and heirloom pieces can be the most eye-catching part of a design, but can be equally challenging to integrate into a room cohesively. This is the challenge most people have with making their favorite pieces work in their homes. Interior designers are excellent at incorporating unique furniture and art into spaces. In fact, they might design the entire room with the intention of really complementing and highlighting that special piece you’ve grown to love- maximizing the joy you get out of it, and leaving you with a great conversation piece when entertaining guests.

You have no idea where to start decorating

Not everybody likes decorating or designing rooms, and that’s ok. If you have absolutely no idea where to start, hiring an interior designer might be your answer. Just as interior designers can help clients who know what they want execute their ideas, they can also guide clients who don’t by helping them figure out their goals, priorities, and budget- as well as sourcing the designs. If you’d prefer to have someone else take the reins and make your space look great, without being too involved- an interior designer can do just that. Before hiring a designer, make sure you take a look at their portfolio to get a sense of their personal style and aesthetic. 

You like people and value expert opinions

An interior designer can listen to your needs and desires, and distill information into an actionable plan for creating your dream interior. They will be able to utilize their training and experience to connect you with the best resources and vendors to execute a vision and are there to offer professional advice when you’re faced with making major decisions. They can also help you anticipate and plan for potential problems down the road such as structural, permitting, or contracting issues when implementing a design. This is extremely valuable as a time, money, and sanity-saving measure.

Hiring an interior designer is an investment that pays off in the long run. Especially now that many of us are spending more time at home than ever before, it’s even more important that you feel happy and comfortable in your own space. Interior designers can make that happen- and thanks to modern furniture, lighting systems, and home decor, seeing your house turned into a signature home is more accessible than ever before. 

Eager to turn your space into a dream home? PROJECT AZ is a residential design studio that has worked on many interior design and renovation projects in NYC, from Manhattan penthouses to Chelsea apartments. Lead Designer Ahmad AbouZanat focuses on finding unique design solutions that work well with his client’s modern lifestyles. 

Contact us today to get started on your next design project. 

Choosing Services: An Intro to Working with Interior Designers

NoMad Manhattan Apartment

Often when people think about hiring a designer for an interiors project they only consider aesthetics: fabrics, furniture, wall colors or art. But the right designer can work with you to tailor their services to your needs, and in doing so, create the right project for your budget and your home. The result is a streamlined process and an elegant, comforting space that’s as functional as it is inspiring and beautiful.

Interior Design Service Types

To begin with, it’s important to understand the different service types. The main difference between remodel and renovation as services is that remodels usually involve making something new. This can also mean a structural or formal change to a building or space. On the other hand, a renovation usually entails restoring something to a previous state or bringing a space back to life.

When designers talk about cosmetic services, they are referring to updates that improve the appearance of a building without changing its size or structure. Think of painting a wall, or replacing carpet with hardwood floors. The walls or floors remain more or less the same in terms of size and position, but they visually look different. Other cosmetic examples include fixing minor cracks in walls, updating basic household hardware, or light fittings and window furnishings.

Interior Remodels – Partial and Full

Hudson Yards Apartment

For remodels, renovations and cosmetic changes, they can be both partial and full. That means that if you’re looking to renovate an older home, you can hire a designer to work on a specific space or spaces (partial) instead of an entire house or apartment (full). Maybe you’d only like help with a kitchen and bathroom design, or need additional feedback and input on a series of bedrooms and an entry foyer. You can work with a designer to specify the right amount of work for your project, and remember that different services have cost implications.

Interior Furnishing

Madison Square Park Tower Apartment

Another important service to explain is furnishing. This is a broader category that can take on different meanings depending on the designer. For the most part, it involves selecting furniture, fittings and other decorative accessories like carpets or curtains for a room or entire house. It can include fabrics for upholstery for comfort and utility, as well as selecting art. It can encompass accessories and styling objects to give a complete and finished look for your space. If you’re interested in art specifically, there are many ways to select the right pieces for your style.

Interior Design Consulting

Consider how services can be combined for different scopes. You may want to work with a designer on a partial remodel for one specific room of a house, and only choose furnishing for another room that’s already complete. This is where it’s important to work with a designer and discuss the right option for you. These discussions are called consultations. They can be both in-person and virtual. Consultations are their own type of services, and can be a useful way to get feedback from a trained professional. They also allow you to learn more about the process and have better understanding how long projects take and how much they can cost to execute.

Whether working on a remodel, renovation, furnishing or other project type, services are part of interior planning and design. A designer works to make a client’s home feel harmonious and comforting, a reflection of their personality and character. If you haven’t done it before, the idea of hiring someone to undertake this task can be intimidating, but only if you don’t know what to expect from the process. However, working with an experienced designer is a positive and transformative experience, and the main key to your desired result is communication.

At PROJECT AZ, we provide a range of services to clients depending on their home and needs. From remodels and renovations to furnishing and consultation, we work directly with clients to bring their vision to life. If you’re looking to redesign your home and want to explore different services, please reach out to us today.

About PROJECT AZ

PROJECT AZ is a residential design studio dedicated to crafting modern and functional spaces. As lead designer, Ahmad AbouZanat’s approach focuses on learning about his clients’ lifestyle and applying modern solutions to create new spaces for them. The studio started in New York City in 2017, a product of passion for design and 10 years of extensive learning through a career that took place in multiple architectural and design firms around the world.

Art in Interior Design: How to Select the Right Pieces for Your Style

Madison Square Park Tower Living Room Interior, Artwork from the Departure series by Alex Katz

Art brings a home’s character and personality to life. Working with colors, textures and patterns, interior designers create different moods and styles for a home. Bringing in the work of artists, they can combine multiple elements to highlight and accentuate a client’s personal taste in their daily life. At the same time, designers can show their clients how the right pieces will work together with furniture, fixtures and room decor.

While designers look for art when laying out a room or house, they may not have the opportunity to work directly with an artist or curate a client’s collection. At PROJECT AZ, art is selected that supports new talent and young brands, in addition to working with established artists. At the same time, we welcome the opportunity to curate art around the style or mood of a home. The following ideas are a few things to consider when selecting art, each an exploration into selecting the right piece for your style.The Chelsea Project incorporates the owner’s existing art and collectibles.

The Chelsea Project incorporates the owner’s existing art and collectibles.

Working with an Existing Palette

When selecting art and decor for a home, first look at what colors, textures and layouts already exist in a room. From the walls, floor and ceiling to the furniture and lighting in place, consider how art contrasts or complements the architectural features of a building, or the furniture that a client already has.

At the same time, new pieces of art may need to work in combination with a client’s existing collection. You can use this as an opportunity to draw inspiration from what’s existing and show how old and new elements can work together. Remember that when pieces, textures or colors are too closely aligned, they can become lost within a room or space.

When working with existing elements, it helps to take measurements and photographs to plan out where everything will go. From there you can organize floor places, furniture placement and paint colors. When interior designers choose the right art for a room, it can provide the perfect framework to plan the furnishings in that room.Madison Square Park Tower Living Room Interior, Artwork from the Departure series by Alex Katz

Mathieu Lehanneur’s 50 Seas ceramic discs, NoMad Manhattan Apartment

Consider a Local Artist

Between coordinating furniture, fabrics, and colors, designers should also consider selecting work by a local artist. Not only can you start to know the story behind an artist and their work, but there’s also the possibility to commission an artist to create a bespoke piece. Designers can begin to build relationships with artists, and in turn, better help their clients select the right pieces for their home.

If you’re looking to commission a piece, consider the artist’s existing style and how that may fit into your interior design approach. There are many different ways to find inspiration, from Etsy and Pinterest to searching for independent artists on Instagram. Take some time to look and get a sense of their work. Also, remember that you can also create an entire room or interior design around one piece of art.New York City Pied-à-terre Living Room, artwork commissioned by artist Matthew Sakuta

New York City Pied-à-terre Living Room, artwork commissioned by artist Matthew Sakuta

Understand Your Space Planning

An art collection can help tell a client’s unique perspective and story throughout their home in a really beautiful way. When creating an interior design, it’s important to have a clear understanding of space planning and how everything will be organized in a home. Take stock of how much art there will be, including the number of pieces, their size, and where they will be located. There are many different layouts to choose from depending on the space planning approach, from creating a triptych of three related works to a single, large statement piece.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match different scales or sizes of art. There are many templates that can help when figuring out how to arrange potential artwork, whether you’re simply aligning a series of edges or grouping small paintings and photographs together. 

Remember that art needs to be seen; give space to stand back and look at it. In space planning, it helps to think in groups and how a grouping of art may work throughout a home or as a gallery wall and showcase.Brass sculptures by Tom Corbin, a Lindsey Adelman chandelier and chairs by Gabriel Scott in the NoMad Manhattan Apartment

Brass sculptures by Tom Corbin, a Lindsey Adelman chandelier and chairs by Gabriel Scott in the NoMad Manhattan Apartment

Embrace Mood and Lighting

When thinking about art and what to select, ask what activities will take place in a room or space. This usually begins to establish a mood, or how a client will feel in their home. You will often respond to existing conditions, whether it’s light or views. You may also want to create a specific feeling that the room evokes, like a sense of calm. Consider this when positioning each piece of art.

To embrace lighting and create a mood, also look to color theory. Lively, energetic or bright works of art may be more appropriate for spaces where there is more activity. Art can be both a great pop of color or a complement to the mood you’ve already created.

At PROJECT AZ, interiors are full of small discoveries rooted in a love for finding unique art and products that haven’t been mass-produced or overused. If you’re looking to redesign your home and want help selecting the right art pieces or curating an existing home collection, please reach out to us today.

Authentic Design: Creating New York Interiors with Warmth and Character

New York City has a rich history of interior design. In the context of this sprawling concrete jungle, residents living in brownstones and apartment towers alike have long sought warmth and light. Looking back, interior design has come a long way since its inception in New York over a century ago, and now designers are reimagining what it means to practice today.

It wasn’t until the early 1900s that Americans first started using ‘interior decorator’ for describing the profession. It was actually a New Yorker, Elsie deWolfe, who was the first known interior decorator commissioned for interior design. She would go on to publish the profession’s book, The House in Good Taste, back in 1913. Fast forward a hundred years later, and the Big Apple continues to be a global trendsetter for interior design.

At PROJECT AZ, we continue this legacy, creating homes that celebrate subtle, elegant design while looking to the future. Exploring contrast, these interiors are full of small discoveries rooted in a love for finding unique art and products that haven’t been mass-produced or overused. We’re also supporting new talents and young brands with high-quality pieces that add to a client’s home; each project is a story of how light can shape space through color, reflection, and texture.

Finding warmth in New York combines a material understanding and a knack for bringing the right art, materials, and furnishings together. As the process unfolds, interiors become tailored to clients and their interests. In turn, our aesthetic approach is grounded in a desire to create a calm and welcoming home.

By addressing all aspects of a design, PROJECT AZ has a portfolio of well-rounded interiors. Every room consists of the same layers: flooring, walls and ceiling, upholstered and non-upholstered furniture, accessories and wall art, accent fabrics, and lighting. We utilize these elements and explore their possibilities to create interiors that are inviting, elegant, and full of character.

We celebrate great collaborations with our clients, like the NoMad apartment in Manhattan. Here, an international couple wanted to show off a curated art collection in a setting that felt more like a home than a white-box gallery. The result is a neutral palette that offers room for the jet setters to sit and breathe, and moments for the eye to rest between close looks at the art collection arranged to accentuate surfaces and patina.

The NoMad apartment is also emblematic of a larger approach to interiors in New York – one that is grounded in light, views, and a sense of calm. With the advent of the 20th century, functionality emerged as a major component of interiors. Between large home appliances like stoves and televisions, designers needed to create rooms around new practical demands. New York apartments and homes increasingly became spaces to unwind and relax amid the technological advances and changes happening across the city and the world.

While styles have changed over the last century, we approach each project with a clear understanding of how residential design has evolved into modern life. If interior design is both a science and art focusing on enhancing an interior space, our work is made to establish pragmatic and inspiring spaces of our time.

We spend the majority of our lives indoors, and as such, our interiors should be comfortable and inviting spaces that bring us joy. At PROJECT AZ, we look to user behaviors and desires to create functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces. Understanding comfort, these elements we design range from the cool touch of a countertop to a room’s color, texture, and aesthetics. 

As design styles have become tailored around lifestyle needs and requirements, New York continues to evolve. As a city with an eye to the future, it’s the perfect place to rethink the boundaries of interior design. There are now many new materials, diverse furniture styles, and a range of design movements that clients and designers can draw inspiration from.

Of the many cities that can offer us a backdrop to our work as designers, PROJECT AZ proudly continues to reimagine how we live from New York, the city where interior design first began. Looking to the profession’s core, we are building upon a tradition of organizing space to balance function and aesthetics, warmth and character. 

About PROJECT AZ

PROJECT AZ is a residential design studio dedicated to crafting modern and functional spaces. As the lead designer, Ahmad’s approach is mostly focused on learning about his clients’ lifestyles and applying modern solutions to creating spaces for them. The studio started in New York City in 2017, a product of a passion for design and 10 years of extensive learning through a career that took place in multiple architectural and design firms in Beirut and Washington D.C.