Category Archives: About Me

Recipes and Renovations

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It’s holiday time. You have the whole family and close friends coming over for a meal. If you are anything like me, you decide on the table settings and menu in advance and find that as much as you plan, you are cooking non-stop for 2 days before the event. But…I also decide to make new things – oh why do I torture myself with this unnecessary pressure? Because I love to please our guests, of course!

I begin with the basic structure of how I would like the meal to go. How is this like designing a lobby you ask? It is all about the flow, logistics, space-planning and the ambience. I decide on a color scheme and a theme, set out the china, crystal, silverware, table cloth and napkins – the basics are covered. Then I decide how to bring in the warmth and wow factors. To me, that sounds just like a lobby!

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Honestly, I find inspiration in the tons of magazines I subscribe to from cooking and lifestyle to architectural and design periodicals. Interior design and cooking is all about your resources. I particularly miss Gourmet Magazine – it had it all – dishes, table settings, centerpieces as well as room interiors and travelogues. It was a sad day when it was no longer in print. Thankfully, I still have a library full of the old copies to refer to and….as with most things today, you can find it on line: http://www.gourmet.com/

I do the same for lobby design projects. My library is full of beautiful books that I regularly peruse for inspiration – color, details, ambience. I love the touch and feel of paper. That will never change for me!

The format for preparing a meal is so similar to how I approach a design project, it’s crazy! Shopping for ingredients is like shopping for materials. Having all of the ingredients lined up before I start cooking is like having all of the furniture, area rugs, wall covering and light fixtures ordered before construction starts. While the the last dishes of the meal are cooking I chill the beverages and open the red wines to breath. As the punch list is completed, we unwrap the furniture and place it where it belongs.

The guests arrive and they are offered a drink. Voila’ – just like the lobby reopening!

All is right with the world!

How My Dog Helped My Business

Pets have always been a big part of my life. My Mom was as crazy about animals (and bugs) as I was! When I was born we had Speckles, a large dog that was half Dalmatian and half…who knows what! He was fearless and his post was right beside my playpen. Yep, my fate as a dog-lover was sealed.

As an adult and parent myself, the legacy continued…so when my kids were little they begged me for a dog, and Hershey came into our lives. She was a wonderful rescued Chocolate Labrador Retriever who came to work with me daily, gracing my offices with her cheery presence. Hershey oversaw the business activities from her perch atop the conference table, where she also took her daily nap, greeted vendors, and welcomed clients. All this while doing her main job: alerting us to messengers and deliveries.

So how did my dog Hershey help my business?

Well, most clients who came to visit would pet and make a fuss over her. They were always so delighted to see a furry friend in a business environment. Sometimes I wondered who they actually came to see…me or my dog!

Hershey become the Sygrove Associates mascot and was featured in my monthly newsletter for years. She was always “dressed” to fit the season. For August she may be pictured preparing culinary delights at the grill, spatula in “paw.”

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September features Hershey on her way “back to school” on the bus or busy teaching “biscuit math” in the classroom.

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November always featured her presiding over a bountiful Thanksgiving table laden with turkey and the fixings. It has been such fun to come up with creative settings that punctuate the feeling for that month. My clients couldn’t wait to see what Hershey would be up to each month.

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Then a wonderful thing happened. At the end of a presentation for a large 75-story cooperative building hallway project, I handed each board member a folder containing the requisite information they would need to make a decision. Inside each folder I had added a surprise: a Hershey’s chocolate bar.

“What’s this for?” they asked.

I went on to explain that Sygrove Associates has a very key staff member who is brown, furry and wags her tail. The treat was is my way of honoring Design Dog Hershey. At this, the entire board perked up and chimed in. One by one they told a story of a rescued Wheaton Terrier, Daschund, and even a Heinz 57. Dog lovers, all of them. Right then and there they told me that we got the job!

Never, in all of my years in business, would I have guessed that my dog would be the determining factor in winning a project!

Hey, You never know….

Sadly, after 15 years of service and loving companionship Hershey was laid to rest. We have photos and videos of her but we have an imprint of her paw for posterity. She is forever part of us. Will I ever replace her? That is unimagineable, but I do peek at dogs being walked near me and I size them up and think to myself “ could I adopt again”? I even check out dog rescue websites occasionally but I am not ready……yet.

16Hershey on Valentine’s Day