Local Interior Decorator Shares Tips for Timely Renovations

Real Housewives of New York City alum Jill Zarin is known for her take-charge personality in business and in life. When it came to her new home in Boca Raton’s Woodfield Country Club, however, Zarin relinquished control and enlisted the services of home staging company Restyle Home. She tasked lead stylist Margaret Schaffer with the seemingly impossible mission of furnishing the home in three days. Here, Schaffer shares design tricks and tips for interior reinvention on a short timeline. Boca Raton (561-789-7084)

PBI: What are the key elements in a design project that requires a quick turnaround?
Schaffer: First and foremost is how the client will use the space. That doesn’t get pushed to the wayside. Our sensibility is that luxury isn’t a thing; it’s a feeling of having your needs anticipated and met before you even have to think about it. From a design perspective, though, anything that’s going to be highly customized, you automatically have to let go of. We look at the upholstery options that are in stock and at what we can get in a relatively short period of time that matches [the client’s] style. It may not be 100 percent, but we can make it work. If we get a modern sofa that’s too stark, we can balance it out with art and accessories.

PBI: How do you make the home feel polished
rather than rushed?
Schaffer: One way to make it feel complete is with little details. Rolled-up towels underneath sinks, candles on the bedside, pictures on the wall—these kinds of things add an air of luxury. Adding
in personal touches is what brings it from furnished to finished.

PBI: When doing a second home, how do you ensure the style matches the surroundings?
Schaffer: You want the furnishings to talk to the architectural style of the house. If you are in a new glistening condo that opens out to the ocean, you’re not going to want traditional furniture [but rather] furniture that reflects the surroundings to give off the greatest sense of lifestyle. In Florida, you want a sense of lightness so [opt for] light upholstery, leggy furniture, and items that aren’t very heavy.

PBI: How do you determine a client’s style preferences? I find that a picture says a thousand words.
Schaffer: I can tell much more from one photo than I can from a three-hour conversation. I also ask them to describe how they want to live in this home. More often than not, they just want a place where their family can come and gather, where they don’t have to worry about spills on the couch, but it is also nice enough to entertain in and have cocktail parties. This tells me that the dining room is going to be key. We are going to need a nice, big table and chairs that are upholstered in an outdoor fabric. Likewise, with the couch, we’re going to want a big sectional, also upholstered in an outdoor fabric, so they don’t have to worry about how it wears.


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