Fighting technology and Loving it at the same time – Visit me on

It’s been a very busy first part of the year but, an exciting and creative one….

Remi on my shoulder

Remi hamming it up!

I had the pleasure of spending half a day with the ever so talented photographer, Laure Lillie, at my home recently.  She was there photographing me (and the cats) for my up coming application to be accepted on

For those of you not familiar with Houzz, it’s a wonderful place to gather decorating ideas and I wanted to be a part of it!

I also enlisted photographer, Jonathan Beach to photograph some recently completed decorating projects at my clients’ homes.  You can see the beautiful photography on my Houzz profile.

Laure emailed me last week and asked if she could do a blog on our photo shoot….”Absolutely, I said, that will be a great introduction to letting everyone know I WAS accepted on”

So, when you have a moment or two, here’s the link to Laure Lillie’s blog  for the photo shoot: and  here’s the link to Houzz to see my profile:


It all started with a beautiful paint color.

As much as I fight technology, I love it just the same for the excitement it can create.  Please share in my excitement and click on “follow me” so you’ll get updates when I post new pictures of my clients’ photographed homes.  And, if  you feel so inspired, write me a review.

Enjoy, Marcia




PackageMackenzie SantaMackenzie OrnamentBoxwood Mantle



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Making Memories To Treasure

tday tableI hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

ThanksgivingMy favorite part of the holidays is the decorating and entertaining.  Because I love to entertain, I start the decorating early.  In that way, you can take your time and be creative in the process.  So, as Thanksgiving arrives, the Christmas season has already begun in our home. While the Christmas tree glistened with its white lights twinkling the Thanksgiving table was aglow with various squashes carved out to hold oil candles and flowers.squash with flowersMiniature pumpkins from Pottery Barn added holiday joy to the center of the table.

On one of my many walks along the Erie Canal I gathered the most beautiful colored fallen leaves of purple, green, gold and orange.  Some of my most favorite colors.  I brought them home and put them into pages of books to dry.  Weight the books down with something and voila a month or so later you have dried preserved leaves.  I reuse them year after year. tday berriesThe art of napkin folding has always intrigued me.  The napkins add a special finishing touch to a festive table.  This year I used silk berries and leaves with burlap ribbon cut in half to make a fringed edge.  I folded the napkins into a cornucopia shape and placed them on the plates. holiday napkin

Special touches abound all around…..For me, holiday decorations are also the glasses, plates, and flatware.  These are the fine details of decorative interior design.  Each place setting usually has placecards, and a small wrapped gift.  This year I made the most wonderful pumpkin bread.breadEach small loaf was put into a pint size rectangle wood berry box I purchased online from Garnish Inc.  I wrapped them with burlap ribbon and silk berries I used on the napkins.  Water infused with pomegranate seeds and sliced apples in my infusion pitcher from Crate and Barrel provided a nutritional thirst quencher and added a special touch of color.  I let the mixture cold steep overnight in the refrigerator.water and glasseswater

Finally the most important special touch was my ten and a half month old grand niece joining us for her first Thanksgiving.


Tday KaleighThere’s something magical to me about the holidays.  Whether I’m entertaining neighbors or family and friends, people who attend our parties love it, because they don’t usually decorate to the extent that I do.  There’s something truly magical about their joyous attitudes and sparkle.



I frequently receive calls from new clients to help them combine two households.  Marrying at a later stage in your life can be a real challenge especially for an Interior Designer.  In the summer of 2005 I married for the first time in my late forties.  I was lucky though, the moving van pulled into my new husband’s driveway and they loaded a grandfather clock, an antique Stickley bookcase and his television.

Ellen Griffin, a New York based Interior Designer married later in life as well and her husband was moving from a 400-square-foot bachelor pad with no furniture.  “The perfect husband for a decorator,” she jokes.  My thoughts exactly!


My husband Rick, will tell you, it’s an everyday adventure being married to me.  I replaced an antique table in a room located off, what I call, the heart of the house.  The room has a beautiful bay window with a view of the lake.  This room,  I have deemed my husband’s man cave.  It has his favorite worn leather chair and ottoman and his television.  A quote by Mary Sarton states, “A house that does not have one worn, comfy chair in it is soulless.”

Somerset Bay

A table that added storage for my husband’s books and paperwork in the den also worked in my clients kitchen giving her additional storage and a place to place a lamp.

Needing a place to store his paperwork and books,  I replaced the antique table with a piece from one of my companies, Somerset Bay.  It has a small drawer for pens and chargers and two doors for storage.  It made him very happy.

Ok…so here’s the downfall to being married to an Interior Designer.  I was at a client’s home and saw a glass plant stand against one of her kitchen walls.  I thought wow, wouldn’t that piece from Somerset Bay look fantastic there!

Yes, you guessed it… The next day, I said to my husband, “Can you help me load your new table in my car?”  I got the “look” from him.  “Don’t worry honey,” I said, “I’ll order you another one.” The piece worked beautifully in my client’s kitchen and she loved it.  A table that added storage for my husband’s books and paperwork in the den also worked in my client’s kitchen giving her additional storage and a place to place a lamp.

I’ve always felt that rooms should be welcoming spaces that delight the eye and put you at ease.  Whether they are a blend of neutrals or vibrant colors, minimalistic or organized clutter, you want rooms that invite you in revealing their beauty slowly.

Dina Kitchen

A refreshing space soothes, surprises and delights.

Jonathan Pond

My garden pond soothes and delight’s your senses.

The most refreshing spaces, whether a bright kitchen or a classic garden, soothe, surprise and delight.

Properly placed furniture leads you into a room without creating walls.   Properly placed, it should invite conversation.  A beautiful home that’s loved and cared for immediately puts you in a good mood.

Lexington Ivory Key

Lexington Home Brands Ivory Key invites conversation.

One of my favorite things to do is helping clients rearrange their furnishings.  I love visualizing where pieces could be moved to create this feeling of surprise and delight.  With my vision,  I see moving an extra table with two chairs away from the dining room table and chairs to a location in front of a window that’s across the room and has a beautiful view of your garden.  The table now has its own space and in the winter on Sunday’s you could enjoy your newspaper and coffee at the table.  Yes, we will have to move your baby grand piano but, I have a great spot for that too!

Lexington Twilight Bay

Lexington Home Brands/Twilight Bay table and chairs invites your senses to sit and enjoy the view.

Delight your senses.  Have me come and take a look at your room.  I’ll leave you with a quote by Samuel Johnson.  “To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition.”  I second that emotion.



Baseball and Beer Bridal Shower


Color themed polka-dot straws to mimic baseballs for the ice tea from Shop Sweet Lulu.

Well it’s been quite a busy summer – One fun “project” I worked on was a beer and baseball themed shower held at my home for my niece, Tracy.   I always love a challenge and this was a good one.


Coming up with new ideas for her theme of beer and baseball was the challenging part.  To enhance my senses, my husband and I took a day trip to the town that has every souvenir you can think of for baseball…..Cooperstown.  I had never been there and what a lovely place it was.  So amazing we have such beautiful towns so close to us.  We enjoyed a scenic lunch on the veranda of the Otesaga Resort Hotel.  If you’ve never been, it’s worth a trip to have lunch and enjoy a glass of wine by the lake.


Ice cold sangria ready to serve in a beverage dispenser.

My husband, who’s such a good sport, followed me around as I meandered in and out of shops.  In one shop,  I found a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle of the United States with all the baseball stadiums.  My mother-in-law, husband and brother-in-law, Len worked diligently putting the puzzle together before the shower as I was using it as part of my centerpiece.

Nestled behind a building and downstairs, we came upon the Chocolate STUDIO.  One of the owners, Heather made the most adorable chocolate half back, peanut butter filled baseball candies for my favors.  So very cute and so very delicious!!


Creamy peanut butter filled chocolate baseball shaped favors.

As we were walking past a shop I wasn’t going to stop in, the owner spoke to us as she sat outside with her dog.  I explained I was looking for things for my beer and baseball themed shower.  “Please go in she said, you might see something.”  Well I’m glad I did. Most of their products are made in the State of New York.  I found an 8″ round baseball cutting board made in the Catskills from New York hardwood.  The artists laser engrave the distinctive baseball stitching and “Cooperstown” in a vintage baseball font.  It was a perfect raffle drawing prize.

So many creative people out there….

  I can’t thank Katrin Naumann enough for her artistic talent.  She painted an entrance ticket booth for my front storm door.  On the backside, which faced into the house, she put; “Had a ball/Catch you later”  How fun is that!FPT_0094FPT_0056


The mantle with Miller High Life bottles and packages wrapped in beer bottle wrapping paper for the raffle gifts.

I love collaborating with the ever so talented, Nanette Haynor from Whistlestop Florist who created the flowers for me.  When we get together there’s electric sparks as our creative juices flow. I just loved the mums formed into a baseball that I nestled inside a baseball glove.  The flowers in the pot for the centerpiece carried the bride-to-be’s color theme.  Nanette used dried pincushion flower pods in the arrangement as we kept the round baseball theme going.  I bought Pottery Barns wooden caddy holder for part of my nieces shower gift.  Inside each cubby was a beer bottle filled with flowers.


“Live flower baseball”


Wooden caddy with beer bottles filled with fresh flowers I used as part of the centerpiece on the kitchen table with the desserts. The caddy was part of my niece’s shower present that could later be used for napkins and silverware for a buffet.

I have so much fun with the decorating part of the event…..The dessert was predetermined after I found baseball cupcake liners and banners.  My sister, Barb, who is an excellent cook and baker made the wonderful assortment of cupcakes with decadant frostings.


Cupcakes with decadent frosting topped with banners.

I love surprises and what a great surprise it was…Grace, My friend Dina’s daughter, came decked out in a Yankee uniform to do the traditional call out of “POPCORN, PEANUTS and of course, CRACKER JACKS…..


“Peanuts, Popcorn and of course Cracker Jacks.”






Back deck ready for the gathering of guests and lunch.

With all the rain we had I was hoping it would be a beautiful day so the guests would be able to gather for conversation and lunch on the deck.   As you can tell by the picture above and below it was a glorious day indeed.

outside3The marvelous photographs were taken by Jonathan Beach of Beach Photography.

Do you have an event coming up?  Make it extra special for the recipient by not only holding the event with food but also by setting the stage for the theme.  It enlightens the guests senses and really enhances the party.

Would you like me to help you with an event?  Give me a call…


Doors/Gracious Formality

When we moved into our condominium eight years ago, the hallway along the staircase was a real eyesore.  It was dark, long and narrow.  There was a French door that opened into the hallway from the vestibule and covered most of the sliding doors to the closet.  Every time we had guests it made it very awkward to access the closet doors.

I contacted my contractor and shortly thereafter he installed two 18″ French doors.  He reworked the door frame so it allowed us to open the doors into the vestibule rather than into the hallway.  What a relief to be able to get into the closet freely as guests are arriving.

On the other side of the vestibule there is another French door that opens into the kitchen.   It’s nice having the ability to close off the vestibule.  By keeping the French door closed to the kitchen and leaving the small French doors open it leads the guests through them and down the hallway into the living space rather than into the  kitchen.


My vestibule French door looking from the kitchen adds charm and invites lingering.

After we had been in our condo for about a year I added two more French doors to the opening of the the kitchen from the dining room area.  In doing so, it created a gracious formality to the look of the dining room.

I’ve always had an affection for Dutch doors.  Maybe it’s because of the fond memories of the Dutch door that enhanced the conversation between Wilber and Mr. Ed on the television show, Mr. Ed.  Even producers of television shows used doors to appeal to their viewer.  Remember the six-paneled swinging door of the 50’s that Lucy Ricardo chose to separate her kitchen from her Living Room?  Whatever happened to swinging doors?

Recently I worked on a contemporary remodeling project of a clients kitchen.  I had seen these wonderful glass doors in my Interior Design Magazine.  After investigating them, my client fell madly in love with them.  We installed them in her kitchen down a very short hallway on three door openings;  One door straight ahead (half bath), two doors on the right (washer, dryer bump out), and directly across from the washer/dryer we installed two doors (on the closet).  The impact they made was astounding.  What could have been a very dead area demanded attention and added light and reflection.  Even when the doors are closed they open up the space.

Home Swing Doors 005

Even when these doors are closed they open up a room.

Where can you add a door? Whether it’s changing a door or adding a door it can really enhance a space.

At a client’s home in the historical section of Syracuse, I couldn’t help but notice the doors leading to their music room.  The doors were a beautiful combination of lead crystal panes on cherry, but unusual because they were pocket doors.  There were two doors split in the middle.  One went to the left and one to the right. Pocket doors are great for areas where you don’t have the space for the door to open.

The doors used in the market today have been redefined from their style to their hardware.  Look around your home.  Is there someplace that you could add a door or two?


I’ll leave you with a wonderful quote…

“Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open”  John Barrymore


A Fresh Eye – Sometimes that’s all it takes

Dina Livingroom

Dina Chairs Livingroom

Dina Kitchen

Dina Bedroom

Recent photo’s taken by my ever so talented photographer, Jonathan Beach.

Do you love some of what you have already but need help pulling it together.  I can help with accessorizing and styling your rooms.

Sometimes a fresh eye can yield incredible results.

Day Trip

Nothing is better than playing hooky on a slow day when the weather is as glorious as it was the other morning when I awoke.  I said to my husband, “let’s take a day trip somewhere.”  So off we went to the Montezuma Swamps.  I’ve always wanted to drive through the swamps and hike the trails.

My love of photographing wildlife and landscapes is my second favorite thing to decorating – Oh OK maybe it’s tied for first.

It was a beautiful sunny day with a gentle breeze and all the wildlife were out enjoying it as well.  My husband did the driving while I shouted every so often, “stop!” to capture a remarkable creature.  Whether it was a Great Blue Heron stalking the edge of the water for his next meal or Mommy and Daddy geese eyeing us suspiciously while protecting their newly hatched family, it was amazing and exhilarating!

The colors of the day couldn’t have been more vibrant and perfect to try out my new digital camera.  My favorite colors of lime green, purple hues and mixed colors of yellows were abundant.

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Great Blue Heron.

I’ll leave you with a saying I love that was written by Patrick O’Leary for the Chevy Tahoe ad:

“There’s a place I travel when I want to roam, and nobody knows it but me.  The roads don’t go there and the signs stay home, and nobody knows it but me.  It’s far, far away and way, way afar, it’s over the moon and the sea and wherever you’re going that’s wherever you are…and nobody knows it but me.”  If you’ve never been to Montezuma, take a day and enjoy……we did.


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Mom and dad guard their new family.

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Every move puts the father goose on guard.

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Mother goose settles down with daddy and babies close by.

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Hues of yellows, lime greens and purples set the stage.

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Muskrat enjoying the grasses.

The Front Porch/Former Splendor

Fielddale lodge

I remember when I was young my parents would drive my sister and I to Albany to visit our grandmother.  As we came upon her beautiful brick home, there she would be, sitting on the front porch in a white rocking chair surrounded by beautifully colored ceramic pots with wonderful flowers cascading down them.

Our home in Buffalo, New York I lived in until I was 12 years old, had a lovely covered front porch.  My family would always gather there after dinner and sit in the naturally colored wicker chairs with lively colored pillows in them.  My friends would see me out and run over – off we went to play.

Whatever happened to gatherings on beautifully decorated front porches.   Now a days even when a new home is built with a lovely front porch do you ever see anyone sitting on it?  Centering ourselves to the back of our homes has become the new norm.

What’s disheartening to me is how unfortunate it is that some people have an entrancing front porch but do nothing to enhance it.


My small but beautifully decorated front porch captivates the senses.

Although I don’t have much of a front porch I have an Adirondack chair, bamboo bench , a potted bush and flowers on it.  As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I’ve made my front courtyard into a “room” thereby enhancing the entrance to my home. It captivates the senses before you enter into my home.  I enjoy going out on my small front porch and sitting amongst my “secret garden” with a cup of tea and book in hand.

Architect and Author, Sarah Susanka was quoted in a Chicago Tribune News interview as saying, “I really like the character of a Cape Cod in large part because I really enjoy the front porch…the house sort of welcomes you before you enter the front door.”

Last summer my husband and I were invited to a friends summer lake home.  Sitting on their beautifully enhanced  lake front, front porch, neighbor upon neighbor stopped by for a drink, conversation and some advice.  It made me think that at home no one every stops by unannounced anymore.  But then I realized the difference at a lake house.  The lake view is considered to be the front of the house and so you are visible to all the neighbors around the lake.  They see you and hop in their boats to come and visit.  If we are focused on the back of our homes, no one can see you.  Could it be our lives have gotten so busy and full we prefer to be in the back where no one can see us?  If you sit out front think of it this way, it’s a way to socialize without having to actually clean your house!

Bed and Breakfasts are very good at playing on your senses.  They provide an instant clue to what is inside.  They do it right by enhancing your first impression of their place.  A porch with comfy chairs, plants and signs of life with people conversing draws you in.

Even though our days of gathering on the front porch seems to have slowly drifted away could we not rethink the possibility of what I call “gathering of the senses?”  As summer approaches start thinking about a makeover for your front porch by adding  pieces of furniture, a wall sculpture, potted plants and trees, an outdoor rug or even a new beautiful light on the ceiling of the porch.  Porches provide a creative way for a staging area for holiday decorations.  Let’s not neglect what is a person’s first impression.  You might find you will even enjoy going out the front to sit instead of the back.

“The house sort of welcomes you before you enter the front door”

I shall leave you with a poem I adore by Garrison Keiller, “The porch promotes good conversation simply by virtue of the fact that on a front porch there is no need for it.”


Manlius Home Featured in the Syracuse Post Standard

House of the Week: Beauty Queen Status

By Marnie Eisenstadt | on March 08, 2013 at 6:00 AM, updated March 08, 2013 at 12:47 PM

The Hepburn has all the features you’d expect from a home named for a film icon — beautiful finishes, granite countertops and California closets throughout.

Post Standard Photo Gallery

But there’s a detail that’s carried throughout the house that might escape a first look: Every corner is rounded. Every angle is smoothed.

“It’s comforting,” said builder Dave Zellar, running his hand over one of the rounded corners. The entries to most rooms are arches instead of square angles.

The house had local beauty queen status: it was featured in the Parade of Homes in 2010. It’s tucked in the Manlius hills in what’s technically a condominium development called Villas at Mallards Landing. That status means the taxes are 40 percent lower than what they would normally be on the property.

There’s a homeowner association fee of $190 per month. That takes care of snow plowing, lawn mowing and landscaping.

The three-bedroom, two-and –a-half-bath home was built for the specific lot. There’s a morning room off the kitchen that looks out over the hills and fills up with sun. It was designed with that effect in mind, Zellar said. And when there’s no sun, the walls make up for it. The wallpaper in the morning room is bursting with pink, yellow and red blooms. The house was decorated by Marcia Philipp.

The ceilings are 11-feet high with crown molding throughout the downstairs. The great room has coffered ceilings, so you get the grand impression without losing that comforting feel. The dining room has a tray ceiling.

The home’s arches extend to the hearth and built-ins in the great room. They all have rounded edges.

And the arched feel continues into the master bath, where the soaking tub with air jets sits in a windowed-nook under a comforting arch. There are stacked pieces of stone around the tub and on the shower wall. Zellar said people questioned whether it would be hard to clean during the tours of the home when it first went on the market.

“Look at it. It still looks perfect,” he said.

One of the home’s most unique details is the upstairs loft area at the top of the stairs. The wallpaper has trees on it and the branches have been painted up onto the ceiling. The window treatment is held up by twigs instead of a curtain rod.

The floors in the loft and throughout the home are oak. Zellar promises they’ll be creakless forever. Even the home’s furnace and ductwork is done so it doesn’t make any of the rattle you might find in another house with forced air heat. The home’s appliances and insulation make for a utility bill that average $220 a month.

The details:

Address: 147 Gadwall Lane, Manlius  Price: $549,000  Taxes: $12,955  Size: 3,200 square feet  Monthly Mortgage: with the standard 20 percent down, the payments would be $2,131.97 a month based on 20 percent down with a rate of 4.125 percent based on the recent national Freddie Mac average. With 24 percent down, the loan moves out of the “jumbo loan” category. Then, the payments would be $1,901.73 with a rate of 3.625 percent.  Built: 2010  School District: Fayetteville-Manlius

Great room: The front entry opens into the great room with 11-foot coffered ceilings. The room has built-ins and a gas fireplace, all with rounded edges that match the homes many arches.

Dining room: The dining room has a tray ceiling, fabric chandeliers and faux painting on the walls.

Kitchen: There are painted wood cabinets that close automatically. There are sunflower granite countertops and a matching backsplash. There are built-ins for knick-knacks at the end of the kitchen island. The stainless appliances are Kitchen Aid and include a double, convection and warming ovens. There’s also a built-in wine rack and bookshelves for cook books. The kitchen opens to a morning room/breakfast nook that’s full of windows and light. There’s a door onto covered veranda made from Stampcrete.

Powder room: The powder room is off the mud entry and is sizable for a half-bath.

Downstairs back hall: There’s a California closet for storing gear, shoes and anything else that needs to be hidden. There’s also a laundry room and office with built-in desk off the back hallway.   Master bedroom: The best feature of this room is that it opens to the same veranda as the morning room. There is striped wallpaper and large his and hers California closets.   Master bath: features a Jacuzzi tub in a quiet windowed nook. There are stacked stones both there and in the shower. There are double sinks and granite countertops.

Upstairs: The loft area has tree wallpaper and faux painting that extends the branches to the ceiling. There’s a window treatment that uses twigs instead of traditional curtain rods, completing the nature theme of the area. There’s another full bath with a single sink and tub-shower combination.

Second bedroom: The second bedroom is painted red and is wired to also be used as a media room. It is a sizeable closet.

Third bedroom: The third bedroom is larger and has a nook that’s the perfect spot for a desk. It has the same sized closed as the second bedroom. The window treatment in that room uses belts instead of curtain ties.

Contact Marnie Eisenstadt at 315-470-2246 or To nominate a house of the week, send an email to