Ellie Cullman and Tracey Winn Pruzan, authors of ‘Decorating Master Class’ sit down to talk to New York Social Diary about the decorating process,  what made it into their book, what they didn’t talk about, and what they wish they knew when they first started decorating.

One of the questions was …… where does one to begin ?  Ellie says before looking at fabric, paint colors and furniture, one must take a good look at their rooms, and how they function.

Ellie says…….” It’s not enough for something to be pretty and it’s also not enough for something just to function, because if it’s not pretty as well, then you’ve missed an opportunity.”

What does she mean? Take a good look at the rooms measurements, and plan the room around the intimate interactions, such as spacing between a couch and chair, rather than just focusing on how it presents well.

She mentions that often designers will ignore the very basics that design is intended for…..-interacting with each other.  She said distance is critical when arranging furniture.

Something that has struck me is that when we go to the places we go to, it can often be quite hard to find a place to do the interview, to talk and finding eye-to-eye contact and the right distance between people,”

Take a good look at your space… can you have a cup of coffee with a girlfriend, or is your home set up to be show worthy only without any practical elements?

They then ask Ellie, how to make an apartment luxurious without any money.  I think we are all interested in this question, right ladies?

She commented that Architectural Digest offered her to do an apartment with only $5000 to spend for a piece in their magazine.    She comments how she ended up putting it together………

“We had the best time. First of all we have an incredibly talented group of women in our office and everybody had done their own apartments on a budget. We went all through Staten Island—we got a light fixture [there] for $40 that I swear would have been $2400 any place else. Then we found this man who told us on 67th Street and Madison, that on certain days to follow the Sanitation Department [truck] picking up all the big stuff. And then Salvation Army—invaluable, Housing Works—invaluable.”

Check out New York Social Diary for dozens of pictures of her home.  Be sure to also check out their two books on Amazon for more expert tips on decorating with a designer mindset, along with some noteworthy practical wisdom….

The Decorating Master Class, Amazon,

The Detailed Interior:$33 On Amazon

Ellie Cullman – Cullman & Kravis

More Links

– A Federal-Style Mansion in Houston -Allan Greenberg and designer Elissa Cullman- Arch Digest

-An embroidered linen covers the walls in the master bedroom in a Connecticut house; Arch Digest

-5 Secrets to Design Success From an Industry Veteran domainehome.com

Tracey Winn PruzanAD DesignFile

Elissa Cullman Seen In Arch Digest 2 Elissa Cullman Seen In Arch Digest

Architect: John B. Murray Architect, Designer: Elissa Cullman, Photographer: Eric Piasecki, Article: A Clean Sweep, June 2012 Ellie Cullman - decorated Oprah's House in HawaiiEllie Cullman - decorated Oprah's House in Hawaii 2

Ellie Cullman – decorated Oprah’s House in Hawaii, Seen At Oprah.com

“The interior decorator went back to her drawing board, and by the next time they all met, Oprah knew Ellie was on the right track—especially when Ellie, a former folk-art curator, suggested they go shopping for the kind of extraordinary antiques that are part of the American heritage.  The horses on the hills surrounding the ranch provided Oprah and Ellie with a strong theme for the living room. On one of their shopping trips, a late-19th-century American weather vane in the shape of a galloping horse caught Oprah’s eye, and Ellie made it the centerpiece of the room. The designer also transformed a reproduction tea canister into a lamp and placed it on a side table near one of the sofas, which were upholstered in a Boussac chenille. The curtains, elaborately embroidered in India, were also made just for this room.”  Read More of this at Oprah.com