Photo credit: Bain Ultra

 Our homes should be our safe havens, our zen places,  comfortable retreats where we enjoy daily activites and spend time with those we enjoy the most. We as designers have pivoted our way of thinking and are designing, indoor as well as outdoor spaces, sometimes unconventionally- creating a very customized environment for each client Not only are our product selections curated to be aesthetically pleasing but we must create our clients’ spaces to be functional while also practical. We look at the “value” of a designed home not only in terms of “resale value” but we design their home with the intention of providing them with one that delivers happiness, security and promotes wellness while they are living in it. First and foremost, when designing a space I consider using products that are pleasing to the senses. Eco-conscious and sustainability are priorities. Read on and see what’s new and exciting in the realm of interiors and see what our trade partners have introduced to create value for each one of us.


  • Freestanding tubs are very popular and offer a streamlined, clean look. Bath trays can be laid across the width of the tub to hold soaps, a book, a scrub brush, phone or other items. Appealing to one’s visual + olfactory senses, Kohler offers (the perfect name too) the Stillness freestanding bath. Light, fog and aromas can be changed according to one’s mood. An interesting tip: Our olfactory sense plays the biggest role in our memory. Scent triggers memory more than any other sense.

I write and speak quite often about biophilic design which is a concept used indoors to increase connectivity to the natural environment through the use of nature including wood elements and plants. I feel that plants are not a trend and should always be incorporated into interiors. Note: Some plants help clean the air-in particular aloe vera, snake plants, peace lilies and the Boston fern (which remove more formaldehyde than any other plant).

Photo credit Kohler

  • Niches have become increasingly popular in bathrooms for the shower to store shampoos and other products. Since they are made custom, it is up to our clients to determine what shape and size they prefer. The first question I ask is what their tallest shampoo bottle is and how many bottles they would like to store here. Examples of different configurations are below:

Stephanie Nickolson Design, Inc.

Photo credit Redblock

  • If you are building a new home or adding on to an existing one, a great concept to consider is including a bathroom that leads right to the backyard. This facilitates having guests access the bathroom without the mess or inconvenience while you’re entertaining.

Photo credit: Nextluxury


Photo credit: Nextluxury


  • The same is true for mud rooms or pet baths. Multi-purpose mudrooms/laundry rooms and pet baths are a spectacular use of space and functionality!












Scavolini gym space designed by Mattia Pareschi

Talk about an unconventional bathroom? The bathroom above is awesome! Physical fitness juxtaposed with personal grooming is 100% custom for sure!

  • Adding radiant heated flooring underneath the tile can create the ultimate luxurious bathroom. To learn more about radiant heated floors, click here Heated towel bars that can be installed on a wall are a great add-on as well. Not onlyare they functional as towel warmers but in the colder months, they can be great for drying mittens, gloves, etc.

Photo credit; MrSteam

  • How do I love this product by MrSteam? Let me count the ways: 1. The linear Steamhead is available for a flush mount or discretely tiled in. 2. Available in 7 finishes 3. It features an integrated oil tray that infuses steam with essential oils. Ahhhhhh...ZEN


Photo credit: Wellborn Cabinets

*Lighting is everything in a space! Light bulbs are measured by color temperature from 1,000-10,000; the lower the number, the warmer the temperature. (oranges/yellows/reds) a higher temperature, of over 5,000K the light will be cooler like the blues on a computer screen. According to Eric Jerger, VP of Cooper Lighting Systems, white and blue light negatively impact melatonin levels, making it difficult to sleep. Nighttime trips to the bathroom or kitchen, illumination of 2,000K will help one to fall back asleep faster.

  • The above photo adds ambient lighting and wayfinding for evening trips to the kitchen. With the popularity of kitchen islands, pendant lighting creates ambiance as well as task lighting if someone is preparing food at the island.

Architectural Photography by Norman Sizemore & Mary Beth Price, design by Stephanie Nickolson Design, Inc.

  • Another popular trend in kitchen design is to include open, free-floating shelving. The shelves can be lined up and equidistant from one another or staggered to create an off-set look. The photo below shows same-length shelves lined up together. For those who are tchotchke collectors, this look tends to work better in a more minimalist, uncluttered setting.

Photo and design credit Stephanie Nickolson Design, Inc.

  • Microwave drawers seem to be a nice option for alot of my clients as they are concealed and free up counter space. A taller client who noted that this type of microwave is not ideal for taller people who would need to bend down to access it. The buttons are on the top of the microwave rather than on the front of it for easier access. The cost of the microwaves are slightly higher than a counter-sitting or wall-mounted one but a nice option to consider. A common spot to place these is in an island.
  • Are you open or closed-minded when it comes to your home in terms of designated rooms assigned or an open space? We’re taking down a lot of walls these days to open up spaces and that includes kitchen to dining room, living room to dining room (shown in the photos below), and more. We are mindful of the acoustics to help absorb sound, and in order to meet this particular condo building’s requirements, our installers glued a natural cork underlayment to the floor and then glued the LVT flooring to the cork. For homeowners who like to have a designated room for family and guests to eat meals, this may not be the way to design but for this client, they prefered to have a large screen TV mounted on the wall with seating at an appropriate distance from the TV.

Before photo; Wall between Living and Dining Rooms

Before photo; Wall between Living and Dining Rooms


After: Wall removed between Living and Dining Rooms

  • Wood ceiling beams are right on point right now and I absolutely love this look incorporated into a background of white or light-colored walls and ceilings. This adds to the whole
  • Farmhouse movement which is very trendy today. The farm-to-table concept in dining at restaurants has motivated designers to duplicate this concept when designing kitchens. While a relaxed vibe, practicality must be taken into consideration while selecting durable and very washable products but ones that families with children, pets or even messy adults can live in and not worry about staining, scratching or breaking the furnishings. In other words, we use Performance fabrics, commercially durable furniture at times. We may also introduce an ottoman used to set a tray of food or drinks on as well as a place to rest your feet on. The photo below shows other trends such as:
  • Black steel framed windows which offer energy efficiency as well as thermal performance. The look is sleek and clean.
  • Wooden ceiling beams add a biophilic touch by bringing nature indoors as well as incorporating the farmhouse look. The beams can be used pretty much in any room of the house.

Photo credit: Decoist

  • I recently spoke with Ron Snyder, President of Electronic Solutions of Greenville, an audio & visual systems integration company based in Greenville, NC. Their services include Control4 smart installations. The coolest new product he mentioned is the Seura Hydra indoor waterproof TV. The TV can be used, as shown in the photo below, in a kitchen as well as a bathroom, or even a shower. You can read more about what they do and the latest technology tips in residential and commercial interiors (and exteriors!) by clicking  here

Whatever your design vibe is, I always try to include as much natural lighting in a space as possible, whether it be with windows, skylights or solar tubes. I mentioned design vibe vs. style as I always encourage my clients not to lock in with one particular style but to accumulate all of their ideas and design goals taken from different styles, vibes and feels and create their own with us! We like to be unique while practical and when new trends come our way, we like to share them to see if it works for a project. One trend does not fit all!

We’d love to hear from you! Let us know how we can help you achieve your design goals-

Stay Well-



*Source: Kitchen Bath Business magazine May/June 2022