Joe Berkowitz knows the business of Interior Design; it's about personality and he's got it in spades. He loves the people he meets and that each project is a new adventure; traveling to new locations to design homes. This designer keeps his cool even though he juggles 50 jobs at one time, logging more hours a week than most surgeons, he enjoys every minute of it. He has 27 years of hands on experience and relies on his staff to keep each project running with precision. The challenge is never repeating yourself, he'll tell you. A tireless researcher, he will always give each client something new. No two designs are the same.
We asked the designer of this warm-hued beach getaway to reveal how it all came together. Joseph Berkowitz, the owner of Joseph A. Berkowitz Interiors in Penn Valley, Pa., explains how he created this relaxing summer home. Read along as he shares his tips and tricks for recreating this summery look in your year-round dwelling.
1. What were you trying to accomplish with the design of this space?
My concept was to design a very sophisticated beach home that was casual, yet elegant, softly colored, and creatively furnished, with fine pieces that still maintained a relaxed feel.
2. What was the inspiration for the project?
The inspiration was all of the trendy, horrible beach homes with seashell decor, kitschy "this way to the beach" signs, and an overabundance of pastel colors. I set out to design a home that everyone would walk into and say, "I haven't seen anything like this before and I want to live here."
3. How did you choose the color palette?
Knowing that this would not be a home of strong colors, I elected to have many neutral tones. The overall effect was to have a spa-like environment. Strong jewel tones and heavy accents would not be of use here.
4. What element did you start with?
I started with a picture of the beautiful dining room trestle table. It had a wonderful weight to it without being rustic or too casual. The warm wood stain gave the first floor an anchor. 5. How did you begin the design process?
The design process began with an in depth conversation between myself and my clients. We had worked together before on several homes, but those homes were in very different areas and were used for other purposes. This home would be a vacation home, but close enough to their primary house that it would have quite a bit of traffic.
6. What is your favorite part of the project and why? What is your favorite room and why?
My favorite part of the project is the compilation of furniture. I loved the process of hunting for and selecting the pieces that would eventually live together within this special home. It is another form of creation, not life but, still life; still life as art. It's a tie for my favorite room in the house. I love the serenity and lighting in the master bedroom but I also love the textile patterns and furniture mix of the living room. The cocktail table is actually four smaller tables we put together.
7. What are your tips for someone trying to recreate the look of this project?
Call me. Sorry couldn't resist! Select classic pieces, use livable timeless colors, and remember you want a collected natural look. Things cultivated over time don't often match perfectly!
8. What is your favorite designer trick?
Using color variation and light to change the depth of a space is a very simple and important tool. Paint is not merely to cover the walls and light is not merely to see a room.
9. Finish the sentence: Every room needs _______.
A third color.
10. What is your best piece of advice for someone who is redecorating their home?
Buy only what you love, don't buy too much of any one thing, and leave some blank space in your plan and on your walls.
11. Do you want to add anything?
Using a designer should be a wonderful experience. The cost should make the best use of whatever budget you have. The finished product will be a reflection of YOU with some polish left by a professional. Enjoy the moment!