Local Talk: 5 Reasons Why to Hire an Interior Designer in NJ

montclair nj interior by uma stewartOur team is in the middle of spring project deliveries! This is always an exciting time of year when we deliver on our projects that started in the fall, and we also visit many potential clients for new projects, which run over the summer months.

Talking to homeowners at both the beginning and end of the process this week really drew out for me all the reasons why you should hire an interior designer. Here are a few top reasons.

  1. You want to have a beautiful home that makes a statement. If you care deeply about having a standout home that your friends and family will admire, then you will be able to fully appreciate the value of what an interior designer brings to the table. This is by far the best, and, in some ways, the only reason you should hire an interior designer.
  2. You are nervous about making purchases on your own. As an interior designer in NJ, right outside of NYC, our clients have access to almost as many resources as we do. Our clients work with us because we use our expertise to ensure that they are investing wisely in things that build towards a design statement, and work in their homes and with their lifestyle. If you need a guide to purchasing with confidence a designer can be invaluable.
  3. You want your home to feel unique. Shopping the Short Hills mall without a thorough understanding of design styles and influences, can lead to choices that end up feeling generic because they are too common and too safe. An interior designer will have custom resources and will know how to utilize them to create design elements that are unique and tasteful.
  4. You value the service. A good interior designer will have a team with project management capabilities. If you do not have the time or desire to shop for furnishings, order, track, and receive deliveries, troubleshoot and deal with problems, then you will get the most bang for your buck when hiring a designer.
  5. You are open to new ideas. If you know what you like, that is invaluable to the design process. It is also helpful if you can keep an open mind to new ideas and suggestions. A good interior designer will have a finger on the pulse of where style is headed in our NJ towns, and the uncanny ability to know what will make an amazing design statement in your home, even if you cannot see it at first.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below on what you think are the best reasons to hire an interior designer.

Contact me for interior design services in South Orange, NJ and surrounding areas.

Photo credit: iphone pic by Uma of a room she designed in Montclair, NJ

Sneak Peek: My NEW Line of Pillows and Textiles

IMG_2194 copyToday is the first day I am sharing here a BRAND NEW line of pillows and textiles that I have designed! In a few weeks we will be launching a webstore for our couture pillows and designer fabric by the yard. We will also be contacting select retailers and showrooms to carry our line. Above is a little sneak peek at some of the patterns! Each one is designed to retain a hand drawn or hand painted look. The fabrics are all hand screen printed in the Northeast. We have taken the time to focus on each detail to get it right…for you! I am very excited about the results of all our labor.

pillow pile upHere is a look at some of the pillows. Each one is stitched in the same custom work room I use for my interior design projects. We designed them to feature a crisp edge that always looks smart and at attention when placed on your sofa or chair.

chainmail and back zipper

My entire team can tell you that I obsessed for months over the perfect styling and placement for an exposed zipper. I put it vertical on the back and to the side. I really wanted to convey a bit of a rocker vibe that also felt elevated. My workroom does a perfectly beautiful job on stitching each one into every pillow.

back zipper detailThe zipper itself is antiqued brass with our own custom leather pull and antiqued signature charm. These pieces are pure jewelry for the sofa, and I can tell you, everyone who has seen the zipper detail in person has fallen in mad love. The charms and zippers have also been sourced in the US.

DSC_1245 copyOver the next week or so I am going to be sharing images from our lookbook and details about how we designed each pattern in our debut collection. The lookbook tells 3 stories. One is the tale of the grunge girl songwriter. The next is the story of the glam rock girl the day before she hosts the ultimate soiree. Finally, we have the musings of a stylish indie nomad… I hope your interest is piqued! Stay tuned!

Would you like more information on our fabrics and pillows? Would you like to pre-order? Send a quick email to orders@umastewart.com and we will send you details and pricing.

Behind the Project: Adjacent Living and Dining Rooms

DSC_0138As an interior designer based in North Jersey, I design my fair share of center hall colonials. You walk into the foyer and there is a living room to one side and a dining room to the other. For a change of pace, last week I completed a project that features an adjacent living room and dining room layout in Upper Montclair. I was also just hired to design a house with a similar layout in Chatham that I’m very excited to begin work on. It’s a great challenge to pull together two rooms that are distinct, but very open to one another.

DSC_0160When you walk into this Montclair interior you have the living room as the first room to draw the eye in from the foyer. The eye-catching carpet is reminiscent of camouflage and pebbles. The small sectional invites guests to relax right away.

DSC_0166DSC_0208We added plenty of lighting since this room will get a lot of nighttime use, and a lot of cozy pillows and warm accents to keep things a little on the casual side since this house is home to three children under the age of five!


Once you take a few steps into the living room, the dining room beckons. The two rooms work together but also declare their own identity as separate spaces. One of my favorite things are the two sets of roman shades in different fabrics, but matching in color.

dining room The presence of a rustic fireplace in the dining area brings so much character. The easy flow, and the casual, yet well-dressed, decor of these two spaces together make such a fine place to spend an evening among friends. All in time for the holiday season!

DSC_0262All photos by Uma Stewart.


Inside the Project: Mid-Delivery on Renovation

Hi everyone! It seemed about time to share some inside scoop on our projects. While I always aim to deliver my projects all at once so that clients can experience a complete transformation, sometimes it isn’t possible. Renovation delays, backorders, shipping issues, and more can mess with the best laid plans.

Here is a renovation and redecorating project in Morristown in a state of partial delivery. Thanks to Instagram for these sneak peeks. The master bedroom underwent a complete renovation and this is the bed before we added side tables, lamps, and some wall art.

This console is originally designed as a buffet, but it made a lovely piece for storing media while adding a bit of worn-in elegance to the bedroom. The rustic wood tone provides a nice contrast to the mirrored doors, and works beautifully with the grey-toned wood floors that we custom mixed a stain for.

My client had these beautiful french chairs in her living room that I reupholstered in muted stripes and moved to the master bedroom to create a small seating area by the picture windows.

Check these out! The sconces are a new addition to the space, and serve as a gorgeous piece of wall art, as well as a great source of soft lighting.

I was thrilled to discover a pair of these beautiful deco cabinets hiding away in our client’s basement! They were in perfect condition so we had them moved up to the living room where they add the right bit of interest and pattern to a blank wall.  The two pieces together are now serving as bar cabinets. Our client can’t believe how well they function and how great they look in her space.

We’re waiting for a few final pieces to come in so we can do a proper photoshoot. Stay tuned for more photos once the project is complete!

Inside the Project: An Indoor/Outdoor Room

Hi everyone! I was so excited when one of my clients called last month to say they wanted to do the indoor/outdoor room at the back of their house. There are some beautiful new outdoor fabrics available and it is a great opportunity to use more color than I normally do on interior projects. Here are some details:

1. After working out the floor plan, I dove into my archive of fabrics to develop a scheme. I wanted brighter green tones to complement the more grey-green tones we used inside the house. Then I knew we needed some color, so I brought in the bright orange and some yellow tones. Then, lots of stripes of course. What is an outdoor space without stripes?!

2. A key part of this room is the eating area. An outdoor table will stand up to the elements that enter the room when the windows are replaced with screens for the summer. It also makes it a great place to enjoy backyard dining while warding off insects.

3. These rustic metal chairs were just the perfect pieces to partner with the table. They brought in a new material to freshen up all the wood and fabric, which I always look to do in designs. We are fabricating striped seat cushions for these babies to make them extra comfy!

I can’t wait to share the progress with you over the next few weeks. Keep a lookout for it! Hope you have a great weekend planned!