Renovation Tips from Top Designers and Architects

Suzanne Tucker of Tucker & Marks refurbished a formal living room.
Pieter EstersohnSuzanne Tucker of Tucker & Marks refurbished a formal living room and decorated it with shades of yellow, brown, and peach.
Interviews by Melissa Feldman

Today's great design minds reveal their chic, clever tips for remodeling, from small jobs to total makeovers.

Suzanne Tucker, Interior Designer
"The warm tones of butter-yellow are always flattering-to art, antiques, and us!"

William Sofield,Interior Designer
"Imagine all the surfaces of a room simply as reflectors of light and then choose paint values, tones, and colors that will accentuate or minimize differences. I often paint each surface a different color in order to achieve the right balance."

Robert Couturier,Architect/Designer
"To soundproof a room, upholster the walls and use thick carpets. I also put Green Glue behind the drywall-it's a very effective noiseproofing compound."

Lee Ledbetter,Architect/Designer
"Paonazzetto is my current favorite marble for baths because it has graining reminiscent of a Franz Kline painting. It's difficult to find the really beautiful slabs with a lot of contrast, but the hunt is worth the trouble."

Sandra Nunnerley, Interior Designer
"Rooms with high ceilings need generous baseboards. I have them made ten inches tall when necessary."
shower fitting
Baccarat's shower fitting for THG.

Tony Ingrao,Interior Designer
"My new favorite bath fixtures are Baccarat's Pétale de Cristal collection for THG-they have crystal handles in a variety of colors and chrome or gold components."

Steven Gambrel, Interior Designer
"Hardware is something you touch every day, so purchase the best. My splurge for the bath is the Henry line of faucets and hooks by Waterworks."

Penny Drue Baird, Interior Designer
"Polished nickel marries well with Carrara marble and other white stones, but brass and bronze can be a better fit with warm stones such as Botticino or limestone."

Alexander Gorlin, Architect
"When you're trying to make a small space seem larger, clever use of mirrors helps do the job. Sir John Soane, the most fascinating architect of the late-Georgian era, used them to great effect in the breakfast room of his London house, now a museum."

Richard Mishaan,Interior Designer
"Ebonizing kitchen cabinets is very chic, particularly when combined with chrome-plated or stainless-steel hardware. Then I like painting the rest of the room pure white to create great contrast and a sense of modernity."
Renovation Tips
Scott FrancesBook-matched Burma-teak marble lines a bath devised by William Sofield.

William Sofield
"Powder rooms have always afforded a great opportunity for self-expression. They should be dramatic, exotic, or, at the very minimum, noteworthy."

Thomas Pheasant, Interior Designer
"There are three must-haves in the bath: Toto's Neorest toilet, music in the shower, and a floor warmed by radiant heat."

Dirk Denison,Architect
"Quartzite wears like iron. I've had bright-white quartzite counters in my kitchen for years, and they still look brand-new."

Shawn Henderson,Interior Designer
"Liebherr's 30-inch, semi-built-in stainless-steel refrigerator is eco-friendly, compact, and slimmer than most."

David Mann, Architect/Designer
"My preferred palette is black and white. I live and work in New York and see that combination as urban sophistication.
graphic guest room
Pieter EstersohnDecorator Amelia T. Handegan's beach house features a graphic guest room.

Amelia T. Handegan,Interior Designer
"To enliven a quiet room, use fabrics with varied textures and tones. Combine patterns of different scales to create a more layered look."

Scott Sanders,Interior Designer
"Indirect lighting can make a small space seem larger. For example, cove lighting recessed in soffits seems to dissolve the ceiling, creating the illusion that the walls extend much higher."

Robin Standefer of Roman and Williams,Interior Designer
"S9000-N, a high-gloss black from Fine Paints of Europe, makes kitchen cabinets look like they've been dipped in liquid licorice. We're crazy about colors that remind us of food: butter, cream, oyster."

Barry Dixon,Interior Designer
"Invisible speaker systems have just the opposite virtues ascribed to Victorian children- they're heard and not seen!"

Suzanne Tucker
"A brilliant color painted on the inside of glass-front cabinets will give some va-va-voom to a tired-looking kitchen."

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