Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 45
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

Prudential Fox and Roach, Realtors

Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate

Henderson Sotheby's International Realty

N.T. Callaway Princeton Office

Stockton Real Estate, LLC

Weichert, Realtors

Advertise in Town Topics

Iris Interiors

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Weather Forecast

It’s New to Us by Jean Stratton

INTRIGUING INTERIORS: “Graced With Grandeur features an exceptional collection of the world’s finest home furnishings, as well as full interior design service.” Designer and owner Gina Naughton is pictured in the handsome showroom, next to a fireplace made of dry-stacked Bucks County ledge stone, and a mantel of raw walnut wood.

Graced With Grandeur in Pennington Combines Design Service and Retail

One of the pleasures of interior design is helping clients to define their style.”

Certified interior designer Gina Naughton, owner of Graced With Grandeur, showroom and design service, enjoys assisting clients to achieve the setting and environment that reflects their personality and style.

“The philosophy is that the client is the most important focal point of every job,” explains Ms. Naughton, who opened Graced With Grandeur in the Shops of Pennington, just off Route 31 North, last May. “We believe that home is a state-of-being, a place that, like a mirror, reflects our sensibilities and our life-style.”

Ms. Naughton, who formerly had a showroom and design business in New Hope, finds that clients are especially interested in classical and traditional styles today, and she can help them achieve that look by designing the interior of an entire house or just one room.

“A lot of people like Country French now. They want something very beautiful and also to suit their life-style. They tend to select simpler, less elaborate styles. For example, just panels, not a lot of fringe or puddling on window treatments. Soft colors are popular now, and people want a more comfortable feeling that is easier to live with. They’re not making such a grand statement.”

Sometimes, she adds, “the major challenge is to help push people out of the box. Help them to experience something new. Perhaps adding a leopard ottoman — something they may never have thought of, but then love.”

Genuine Rapport

In order to help clients as effectively as possible, Ms. Naughton asks them to fill out a questionnaire at their initial meeting. “I want to know about their life-style: do they have kids? Pets? Do they entertain a lot?

“We spend a great deal of time learning about the client’s needs and tastes. We get to know them, listen to them, and are dedicated to developing a genuine rapport with every client.”

More people are working with designers than in the past, she adds. “People are less intimidated to hire a designer now. They are comfortable having a professional help them.”

In order to get a sense of the client’s preferences, Ms. Naughton shows them pictures. “This helps to determine what they like or don’t like, including colors, styles, fabrics, etc. Clients often have ideas of what they want, but it’s up to me to embellish them.”

A very important part of design is attention to detail, she adds. “Details are the soul of designing. Therein lie the personality and character of a home. At the heart of every design, details give an overall impression of cohesiveness. It is the point at which the eye may rest and reflect, linger and delight.”

Accessorizing is an example of the emphasis on detail. Lamps, accent pieces, artwork, and pillows are all part of the finishing touch. “It can make such a difference to the room,” points out Ms. Naughton, who has helped clients in central New Jersey, New York, Bucks County, and at the shore.

Uncommon Selection

She meets with clients three times during the course of a project: the first time to take pictures, measure, and discuss the budget. “I ask them to give me a range for their budget, and I’ll tell them about prices they can expect. If we go forward, I want them to understand that we have a partnership. They are committed to me as a partner.

“On the second visit, I make a preliminary presentation, including samples of fabrics, as well as drawings. The third visit, we finalize everything, and make the purchases. We can help clients choose from an uncommon selection of fabrics, trim, wallcoverings, custom upholstered furniture, lamps, florals, bedding, and exceptional window treatments in our showroom. “

Indeed, the showroom is filled with a splendid selection of items, from sofas and upholstered chairs, to large antique-style clocks and appealing groupings of mirrors, to whimsical beaded lamps, to chenille-trimmed tapestry pillows and pineapple-shaped cut glass vases. With her eye for detail, Ms. Naughton has selected items that are intriguing and specific, yet which blend together to create an extremely inviting “whole”. Areas of the showroom display small room settings, suggesting design ideas to clients.

Displays change as items are sold, adds Ms. Naughton, and everything in the showroom is available for purchase by the general public, not just to design clients.

Greatest Pleasure

Helping clients achieve the house of their dreams is Ms. Naughton’s greatest pleasure, and seeing a client happy with the final outcome never ceases to delight her. “I first realized this after one of my first jobs — an attorney’s office. There was a party after it was completed, and everyone admired the office. People came over to tell me, and I felt great. It gave me confidence.”

One of the important qualities of a designer is at the beginning of the project, to be able to visualize the end result and see how things will come together. As she says, “Attention to detail is one thing, but creative vision requires more than merely an eye for design. It requires the ability and talent to conceptualize a completed interior, the ability to orchestrate harmony out of detail.

“It is our pleasure to participate in a vision of creativity and servicing ways of living through beautiful, meaningful, and extraordinary design.”

Graced With Grandeur’s showroom is open seven days from 10 to 6 and also by appointment. 609-270-5559.

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