Luxury in real estate doesn't have to mean high prices

2022-06-16 23:36:49 By :

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One of Andrea Zappone's favorite "luxury" materials at the moment is marble. Here is some of that in her own kitchen.

Luxury design has layers, and not each one has to be expensive. Experts say what’s trending today is a commitment to “going big” in specific areas where it’ll make the most difference, and pairing those elements with versatile, balanced design that establishes personality and has a function.

“Luxurious design comes from texture, rich colors, organic pieces and most importantly, finished spaces,” said Andrea Zappone, a self-taught interior designer in Saratoga Springs. “No empty corners, no stark white walls.”

Zappone launched her design career after receiving recognition for the work in her own living spaces, which she won the Times Union’s home design contest for in 2020. Now, she helps her clients with what she calls “finish work,” taking rooms that are almost there design-wise, then adding her layers such as millwork, wallpaper, curtains and decor.

 One of Zappone’s favorite luxury trends right now is marble. Everywhere. Her kitchen island is a slab of Calacatta Viola, an upscale, veiny Italian marble known for its rich burgundy and white ivory tones. She often shares images of other creative, over-the-top uses of the material from interiors across the globe via Instagram Story.

“Marble on the walls, around archways, fireplaces surrounds and on pieces of furniture is so high-end,” Zappone  said . She is  exploring different ways to implement this trend with a client on a kitchen redesign, but in a more doable fashion.

“Neolith porcelain is a manmade material that looks like marble from afar,” Zappone  said. She says the thin material can be installed on walls, wrapped around hood vents in the kitchen or sculpted into archways.

“We’ll be able to offset costs using an alternative material, but still deliver this slap-in-the-face moment when someone walks into their kitchen. Which is literally what I live for.”

Zappone’s client is also seeking via high quality custom kitchen cabinetry, which architectural designer Kennedy Taylor of Studio K Design said is another popular trend.

“In architecture, we are seeing a return to formality,” said Taylor, who worked as the director of design for John Witt construction prior to establishing her own design firm in October 2021. She is on track to open a furniture store in downtown Saratoga Springs late in the fall. 

“Things have been so minimal for so many years, and I’m loving that decorative moldings, formal dining and living spaces and grand main suites are making a comeback.”

Taylor said her definition of luxury in a home has more to do with how the space feels, versus how large the footprint is or cost of the materials.

“Thoughtful elements create a feeling of luxury no matter how you finish the space,” Taylor said. 

One of her projects over the past year has been in Greenfield with the DeMeo family, who expressed interest in embracing color and contemporary style for the interior renovations of their  home.

“We bought this massive house and were completely lost in terms of the design,” said Derek DeMeo, who shares the home with his wife, Becca, and four young children. “We wanted to transform it into a space that felt hip and functional, yet didn’t look like every other Saratoga home.”

Taylor recently completed a moody formal dining room design at the DeMeo’s featuring large scale artwork, brass finishes and custom drapery. The space delivers a chic, upscale design that serves a purpose, while also allowing the family to express their style in a smaller space within the home.

She presented a concept incorporating a range of blues, which were then used to paint the walls, ceiling and crown molding and complement the couple’s custom metal Slim Aarons print, a photographer they both admire.

As an architectural designer, Taylor works from the inside out, focusing on sight lines and how one room leads into another. Her intentional design throughout the DeMeo home is immediately felt upon entry, where an intricate, wallpapered ceiling draws your eye into the newly redone dining room next door.

When it comes to finishes and other luxe design elements, Taylor’s trend report matches Zappone’s enthusiasm for texture, especially when it comes to wallpaper and millwork, from molding to custom wall paneling.

“Wallpaper is an investment, both in material and in labor,” said Zappone, who has covered the walls of her own home with bold, vibrant patterns from powder rooms to the ceiling of her children’s bedrooms. “I have another project where we’re wrapping the bedroom in a beautiful deep green and light blue mural wallpaper, but sourcing table lamps and furniture from Target and cb2 to keep other elements more affordable.”

Wallpaper varies on cost, but one quote she recently received for the top half of a dining room would run her client around $1,000 in labor and another $1,500 for materials. The powder room at the DeMeo house utilizes earthy tones and an organic, swirling marble-esque wallpaper pattern to make a strong statement, while still appearing soft with warm, ambient lighting and brass finishes.

For both designers, achieving luxury in design comes from a dare to be different. While inspiration can be found everywhere – from fancy furniture stores to zeroing in on design hashtags on social media – the satisfying conclusion to a project comes from creating an authentic end product.

“My approach is to simply be there to help a client achieve their vision,” Taylor  said . “Their personalities speak for the space, and that is why each design of mine is so unique. The clients I attract are equally creative; they want something you haven’t already seen on Instagram.”