“A lot of people find it kind of surprising that mother and daughter work together and don’t fight,” designer Dale Blumberg says, referring to her daughter, Jess, the other half of Dale Blumberg Interiors. “But we have a good relationship. We work really well together.”
Dale provides 15 years of experience and connections, while Jess brings tech savvy, new vendors, and a fresh eye. That combination made them a perfect match for the owners of this Purchase home.
With three teenage boys and a penchant for throwing parties, the family was looking for a design that was functional and glamorous. The designers made a number of cosmetic changes to the 1990s-built home, much of which was painted yellow, with cherrywood trim and cabinetry.
Jess and Dale started with elements the owners brought from their former home and built rooms around those pieces. “We used the things with the most patterns to determine what else went in the room,” Dale says.
When designing a room, this mother-daughter team suggests starting with a pattern or color from an existing piece and building around it. For this space, Jess and Dale pulled magenta and muddy grays from floral ottomans as a starting point. The brighter color appears in the pendant lights above the chaises and the throw pillow on the crushed-velvet sofa. The duo kept the rest of the space fairly neutral, so it would be easier to change the look of the room with accessories.
“Part of our job is not only to make rooms look beautiful but to make sure they function beautifully for the family that’s using them,” Dale says.
Jess and Dale love layering elements within a room. Here, the plushness of the sofa, the flatness of the flannel throw, and the rustic metal chandelier combine to create a glamorous yet cozy room that’s visually interesting.
Larger-scale graphics, like that in the painting, plus smaller-scale graphics, like that in the wallpaper, creates a harmonious balance of big and small.
In the family room, a large-scale photo of a ski chalet informed everything from the dark tone of the sectional sofa and sky-blue Tibetan lamb pillows to the aluminum Crown Major chandelier and small- and large-scale graphic armchairs.
The designers opted against window treatments, allowing the natural light to really brighten the room. They created intimacy by painting the walls a warm gray and lowering the chandelier.
The Tibetan pillows and plush sectional sofa make this the perfect space for cuddling up with a book or watching TV with the family. Additional seating lets the room morph into an ideal space for entertaining.
“The short-hair-hide ottoman is very neutral, and the client really wanted the blue, fluffy Tibetan lamb pillows. They work perfectly fine together as long as you have a lot of solids to balance the textures,” Dale says.
Enormous mirrors create depth, making the room feel more spacious while reflecting the outside, maximizing the natural light coming into the room.
The client wanted a dining space where the family could hold Super Bowl parties, as well as formal dinners. The coated leather chairs and oak table are durable, stain-resistant, and easy to clean; they also look elegant.
Hide rugs are also stain-resistant and easy to clean, making them great for dining areas. This patchwork rug brings all the other elements in the room together, to create a cohesive look.
“We’re South African, so we pull in a lot of global aspects in our design,” says Jess. “The kudu horn on the table and African namji dolls on the buffet add height and give a bit of our signature aesthetic.”
A Warhol-esque painting of Mick Jagger juxtaposed with the antique Chinese buffet adds color and fun to the space. “We like to keep things interesting and for people to be surprised when they look at a vignette in a space,” says Jess.
“This room was a gut renovation,” Dale says of the powder room. “It was extremely traditional, and we just needed to make it feel like it belonged to this client.” A custom vanity with matted-edge countertop, Belgian bluestone floor, and stone-patterned wallpaper did just that. Busy wallpaper looks more like a background when everything else in the room is solid. Rather than overwhelming, it creates a calming effect.
Layering can really give a room depth and character. But how do you keep it from looking like you took a handful of everything and just threw it in the room? Jess and Dale Blumberg of Dale Blumberg Interiors share their tricks for spaces that look organic, not overwhelming.
“For us, every room comes together as a whole. We do rugs, furniture, colors, fabrics, and paints all at once, so it’s cohesive,” says Dale.
Count on Solids
Large pieces of furniture, like chairs or sofas, in solid colors help ground the textures within a space.
Consider Your Options
When it comes to layering, there’s a world of elements at your fingertips. Think about color, texture, style, and materials.
Go for Variety
Sticking predominantly with plush or shiny materials, for example, can make a room look humdrum and flat. Spice things up with a little variety.
Pair large- and small-scale graphics, plush and textural, neutral and vibrant, patterned and solid. Juxtaposing different layers in a room can help create a sense of balance.
“A good trick is to bring a room together with a rug,” Jess says. Find a rug that complements or accentuates the room’s various layers.
This nook doubles as a guest room and homework space for the kids. “It’s not a large room, so we needed to make sure there was space for everything,” Dale says. The acrylic table doubles as a nightstand, and the swivel chair and coffee table are easy to move to make room for the pullout sofa.
A yellow, rubber-dipped Louis XV chair is a quirky nod to new and old. It’s a fun and functional conversational piece. The color really pops against the neutrality of the rest of the room.
The fabric Roman shade makes for simple, clean window treatments and serves as a blackout shade for guests sleeping over. When pulled down, they double as artwork.
This room serves as office space, library, and bar for the man of the house. To give it a traditional gentlemen’s-club look, Jess and Dale had it lacquered dark navy and added a black-velvet chesterfield sofa.
“Instead of putting a photograph or a piece of art above the fireplace, we wanted to have a little fun there. So we put up that big, gold skull,” Jess says.
The client’s signature Tibetan lamb pillows appear in this room, as well, creating a throughline that connects the rooms in the house.
A curved, vinyl-covered banquet and woven leather chairs around the family’s former dining-room table make a quaint breakfast nook in the new kitchen. To give it a more casual feel, Jess and Dale added vibrant beach-carnival photographs, a whimsical skull pillow, and a Danish split-wood pendant.
In this home, the focus is on the family. This room has it all: a family heirloom painting, artwork by the kids, a guitar and games on the table, and Tibetan lamb pillows for cuddling up with a book. Neutral furniture and a patterned rug bring it all together.
The basement is a teenager’s paradise, complete with ice-hockey table and hockey sticks. The colors for the hexagonal ottomans and aviation chairs come straight from the graffiti wallpaper; the gray walls and hatch-patterned carpet complete the industrial look.
“It’s an industrial feel down there,” Jess says of the boys’ basement hangout. Wallpaper by Phillip Jeffries looks like rivets of stainless steel driven into the wall, continuing the industrial theme. The accessories, including the ottomans, add a bit of color and texture without detracting from the overall feel of the space.
To keep the kids from eating and drinking in the carpeted areas, the client requested a kitchenette where they could snack and relax. Jess and Dale created this lounge area for that purpose. Says Jess, “We went with a Moroccan vibe,” with the piled cushions, low table, and low-sitting wood-and-leather chairs.