The Insider: Alexis Varbero
Schwartz Design Showroom
As president of Schwartz Design Showroom, an exclusively to-the-trade firm with locations in New Jersey and Connecticut, Alexis Varbero works alongside the area’s finest interior designers. The family-run operation was launched by her grandfather in 1945, with her aunt and mother both sharing the venture until Varbero joined in 2004. Needless to say, design is in her blood.
Here, we ask the decorated insider what the industry looks like now and what lies ahead.
Top trend: The concept of a great room. Over the years, I’ve seen homeowners forgo traditional living rooms for larger multipurpose rooms that break down the barriers among cooking, entertaining and family living. Recently, I have worked on quite a few formal living room projects that were ultimately turned into landing pads for pool tables.
How is the industry changing? Manufacturers are investing in the details. They’re collaborating with jewelry designers on hardware and turning to faux finishers to create wood grain or elaborate motifs and designs without an air of ostentation. I also see major technological advances in lighting. It has become much more sculptural, combining architectural elements that heighten functional capabilities to truly transform spaces.
For the art-focused: Caryn Krueger of CSM Art & Frame in Chatham is a valued source for the interior design trade in New Jersey. She specializes in paintings, prints, posters, photography, lithographs, mixed media, antique prints, sculpture, custom framing and mirrors. I have also had the pleasure of working with the Sorelle Gallery in New Canaan, which specializes in emerging artists from around the world and has created innovative ways to let customers experience the art in their own space without having a piece leave the showroom.