Category Archives: Thoughts On Design

Lobby Interior Design Ideas That Didn’t Fly

Interior designers get a lot of special requests lobbed at them from their clients, many of which they have to be gently talked out of. In my work as a specialist in lobby interior design, I probably get more crazy requests than the average interior designer. After all, I have an entire building full of condo/coop owners to deal with!

I must admit, sometimes building residents come up with great ideas; some of which I wouldn’t have thought of myself. But that’s not the norm. Over the years I’ve had to talk my clients out of some really crazy ideas that not only would bust their budget but in terms of practicality, just won’t fly.

I thought I’d share some of them with you:

Lobby Interior Design Ideas That Didn’t Fly

indoor dog pit, lobby interior design ideas that didn't fly, sygrove associates, marilyn sygrove


Indoor Doggie Pit

Yes, you read it right. One of our clients had the wonderful idea of creating an indoor doggie pit in their lobby. This downtown building is full of creative, liberal, rule-breaking residents and they all seem to have dogs!

Of course, our dog-loving clients always get pee-pee resistant and nail-proof fabrics and rugs and easy to maintain floors. But these deep in dog culture condo owners wanted a place in the lobby where purse-dogs could “do their business” during inclement weather or late at night.

While a canine devotee myself, (my dog Hershey was so dear to me) I did not hesitate to explain to my clients how really impractical and a downright wrong decision an indoor doggie pit in the lobby would be. I explained it would be unsanitary, unsightly, and…not a good use of their budget.

Downcast faces aside, my clients didn’t put up too much of a fight.


bright red lobby, sygrove associates, lobby interior design ideas that didn't fly, marilyn sygrove

Lobby Color Scheme – Bright Red

During every lobby, interior design project their almost always is one resident who just has his or her mind set on a design element and it’s really hard to get that person to budge. Situations like this can hold a project up for months.

One such situation was a lobby re-do in a stunning mid-century modern condo building in the city. The resident of note was dead set in having us use bright red, not as an accent color, but as the dominant color of the entire area.

I love strong color, don’t get me wrong. Many hotel lobbies are done up in red with dramatic effect. But in an apartment building’s common area, where residents through every day? Not. A bright red lobby, red walls, red flooring, red furniture… just doesn’t fly.

Thankfully, it wasn’t too hard for me to convince the holdout resident in this case to change his mind. Thankfully, the other residents agreed with me. We used pops of red and everyone was very happy in the end.

Phew, again!

lobby interior design ideas that didn't fly, old nail holes in wall, marilyn sygrove, lobby interior design nyc

Revolving Artwork

We’ve worked on more than one lobby re-design project where the residents got stuck on the idea of having revolving artwork on the walls. Every month new pieces would be hung so there would always be something fresh to look at. And, in one or two instances, artists living in the building wanted a way to showcase their work.

Although changing the lobby artwork every month or so seems like an intriguing idea, in practice, it’s a nightmare.

Here’s why:

Art is a very significant element in all our lobby interior design ideas. In my experience, when art is integrated into the overall design, the more welcoming the room. Changing art all the time erodes the meticulously conceived look and feel that we aim to achieve.

But there’s an even more important reason that revolving lobby artwork doesn’t fly: it messes up the walls!

Each time the art changes, new holes are put into the walls. They get scratched and marked up. That’s not what anyone wants to see on a daily basis (unless you live in the Chelsea Hotel!).

Thankfully, I’ve been able to convince all my wishful revolving artwork clients to instead settle on distinctive pieces that are interesting, surprising, and look fantastic right where they are!

Read: How To Pick Art For A Room That Complements Your Interior Design

I’m an interior designer. But my job description also includes “the voice of reason”. Having designed more lobbies than I can count, I’ve developed an innate sense of what’s in the best interest of my clients. My goal is to make sure that the majority of residents are ecstatically happy with their new lobby and that it will serve as a wonderful welcome for many years to come.



Sygrove Associates Design Group is an NYC interior design company. Our company’s founder Marilyn Sygrove is the lead interior designer on all projects. And she’s as tough as you are when it comes to quality, aesthetics, and coming in on time and on budget.

It all starts with a design consultation with Marilyn. She takes the time to thoroughly understand your design needs then personally directs all interior design, planning, and installation activities. Her work has been delighting clients, co-op and condo boards, and homeowners for over 30 years.

You can reach Marilyn by email at [email protected] or call her directly at 212.757.0631






Please follow and like us:

Common Interior Design Terms [& What They Mean]

When I was just getting started as a New York City interior designer, I was horrified to see the blank stares on the faces of my clients while I was waxing poetically about the perfect Schluter or the ideal flitch. It didn’t take me long to realize that if I wanted projects to run smoothly, my clients and I had to be on the same page right from the start.

So I began, right at the beginning of a project, to provide a glossary of the common interior design words and terms I’d be using during our conversations. This practice has proven to be a lifesaver.

So, if you’re working with (or plant to work with) an interior designer anytime soon, I recommend that you bookmark this page so you can refer back to it during your project. It’s not only very handy; it will also make you look very well versed in interior design!

Common Interior Design Terms
[& What They Mean]


A Schluter strip creates a transition between a tiled floor and the wall. It serves to protect the edge of tiles from being chipped or cracked. The most well-known company that produces Sschluters is, not surprisingly, Schluter Systems. Although many manufacturers make this product, interior designers call them all Schluters (similar to when someone asks for a Kleenex what she really wants is just a tissue.

interior design terms-schluter,

Example of a Schluter strip


Lead Time

Lead times are a measure of the amount of time that elapses between initiating a process and completing that process. Examples include the time it takes to fabricate cabinetry, build/upholstery and ship furniture, and the manufacturing time to make custom carpet and area rugs. We always identify long lead-time items early on because they can affect the critical path of a project.


The acronym COM stands for Customer’s Own Material. COL stands for Customer’s Own Leather. Furniture manufacturers use these terms to let interior designers know that they will accept nearly any fabric and apply it to any of their pieces.


The term mitered describes the process of joining together two pieces of material, such as wood or glass, that have been cut at angles to form mitered corners. Material that is cut this way, at a 45-degree angle, form beautiful, elegant (and snug) 90-degree corners.

interior design terms-mitered edge

Example of a mitered corner (courtesy of J Pocker)



Despite being one of the most frequently used terms in interior design and architecture, the word elevation is often misunderstood. An elevation is a simply a drawing that illustrates the front or side of a room or building. Often confused with a floor plan, which shows a space from above (as if you are looking down on the room from the ceiling) an elevation gives you the opportunity to see everything from many different viewpoints.

interior design terms-elevation

Example of an elevation








RCP – Reflected Ceiling Plan

An RCP is a drawing that shows items located on the ceiling of a room or space. Drawn to display a view of the ceiling as if it was reflected onto a mirror, a reflected ceiling plan is a very handy tool to show clients what their finished ceiling will look like.

Interior Design Words-Reflected ceiling plan

Example of an RCP


CFA – Cutting For Approval

A CFA is a small snippet of fabric from a bolt that has been reserved for a project. It serves as the confirmation of that the fabric pattern and color is consistent. When matching colors for a client we must often purchase fabric from different bolts, especially when we are re-ordering material. We’ll ask for a cutting from the bolt before the fabric is shipped. A CFA ensures consistency particularly when the design requires a large quantity of material.

Ogee Edge

Although ogee may sound like a surfing maneuver, it’s a very common interior design term having to do with countertops. Ogee edge refers to a concave arc that flows into a convex arch. Ogee edges, not to be confused with bullnose edges, are frequently used in traditional kitchen designs.

interior design term-ogee edge

Example of an ogee edge







Punch List

A punch list is a document that contains all the tasks that must be addressed before the project is deemed complete and our clients can move in. Commonly the punch list will include things like minor repairs to finishes, cleanup, and outstanding minor installations that are not part of the construction scope.

Trompe L’Oeil

Trompe L’Oeil is a French term that means deceive the eye”. It is an art technique that’s meant to create an optical illusion. Objects depicted in trompe l’oeil appear three-dimensional when in reality they are rendered on a flat surface, such as a wall.

interior design terms-trompe l'oeil

Example of trompe l’oeil




Bullion is decorative fringe comprised of twisted fibers that are generally in longer in length than average fringe – sometimes as long as 12”. Bullion adds drama to furniture and is often affixed to the bottom apron of sofas and chairs. You’ve likely noticed bullion on the bottom edge of theatrical curtains, too.

interior design terms-bullion-fringe

Example of a chair will bullion fringe (to find out more about this chair, visit


Renderings and Sketches

A rendering is a highly detailed, three-dimensional view of a room, an interior, or a façade. People often confuse renderings and sketches. But a sketch is quite different. It’s usually rough and hand-drawn, with a minimal amount of detail.

interior design terms-interior design rendering

Example of a rendering

interior design sketch

Example of a sketch




A section is a drawing that symbolizes a “cut through” image of what has been designed. It reveals the construction methods and material types used in the design.

interior design section

Example of a section



A flitch is a very thin piece of wood veneer sliced from the trunk of a tree. It is often used to finish exposed sides of cabinetry and millwork.

interior design terms-flitch

Example of a flitch



I hope this glossary of common interior design terms is helpful. It’s my pleasure to share it. If you have questions about interior design, please post them in the comments.


Marilyn Sygrove is the leading apartment and condo building lobby interior designer in the New York City metropolitan area. She also is a highly sought after residential interior designer where she applies her expertise in designing public spaces to the rooms her clients spend the most time in.

You can reach Marilyn by email at [email protected] or call her directly at



Please follow and like us: