Designer Spotlight: Doryn Wallach

By Kate Riley June 29, 2010

Today I have another designer in the spotlight:  New York based interior designer Doryn Wallach, a veteran of several design firms and also a contributor to ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. 

Doryn’s goal in designing for her residential and commercial clients is to create a unique, beautiful and workable interior that improves their quality of lifestyle.  She has quite the eye for mixing traditional and modern styles, elegance with comfort, and plenty of pattern and texture for interesting interiors.   Doryn was kind enough to send along some pictures of her most recent project, and also answer a few questions for me!

 doryn 6


Q:   I love your mix of traditional style with modern glamorous pieces, your spaces are so elegant, yet comfortable too.  How do you begin the process of decorating?

“I always start with the bones of the home because you shouldn’t stray too far from the style, but you can always add a "twist". For example, in a Nantucket cottage, you may want to bring in beautiful linen fabrics and modern caned chairs, but throwing in a fun wallpaper or oversized modern light fixture can glamorize it a bit and make it feel a little more modern.”


doryn 3Q: I’m impressed with your use of texture.  What are your favorite tricks for introducing layers of texture in a rooms with fabrics, wall treatments, and accessories?

“I love texture. I think every designer has something they are better at in certain areas and I like to believe that mine is color, texture and balance. I think every space should have many different textures to complete the look and add depth to the space (think of it as painting a landscape).

If you find one piece you love for a space, work around that. Doesn’t matter what it is (lamp, carpet, fabric, accessory) and balance that texture. Make sure it’s always surrounded by opposite textures. For example, a wall color and a couch could be the exact same color, but if the sofa is in a beautiful cotton velvet and the wall is in a suede wallpaper with a subtle hammered nail head design around the perimeter, you will see a beautiful contrast and can get away with keeping the colors the same.”


Q:  Many people can’t afford a high end designer, yet want to incorporate a high end look in their home.  How is big impact best achieved on a budget, can you offer some tips?

"High end" really means nothing to me.  Nowadays, there are so many amazing products on the market that look just as beautiful as their expensive counterparts that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a beautiful interior.

doryn 4 *don’t miss that painted ceiling and decorative molding !*

“. . . Find some pictures of rooms you love from high end design magazines and search the internet. I love or for things like this. You can always find a less expensive version of what you’re looking for.

Even accessories from a store like Home Goods can complete a space and make it look more high end than it is, and they are cheap, cheap, cheap (I use many of them in my work, you’d never know).

Also, check out the website – she has amazing solutions for more expensive pieces, I adore this site! Of course, if there’s a certain piece you see that you want to splurge on, go for it – but make sure it’s a piece that you will use or that is in a prominent place in your house and build your space around that. “

Q: Your choices in lighting are completely breathtaking.  What are some of your favorite designer sources for chandeliers and sconces ?

“Thank you!  My favorite go to resources for lighting are Oly Studio, Circa Lighting, Remains Lighting, and where I get most of my lighting is on 1stdibs – a lot of my lamps are antique. “

doryn 2

Q:  You’re a member of the NKBA.    Do you see any kitchen and bath design trends on the way out ?  On the way in ?  Is there a secret to creating a timeless look in a kitchen and bath ?

“It’s hard to say as kitchen and bath design is forever changing. I think people are getting a little more bold and staying away from the all white kitchen, but it is a look that most people are attracted too. What I do see is people getting more daring with their backsplashes and countertop finishes. I have seen a lot of use of concrete for countertops, Ceaser stone and even great colored Corians (yes, CORIAN!).

I have seen people getting more bold with their oven colors too. Viking makes some amazing oven colors now.  Oh how I wish someone would hire me to do a very fun and colorful kitchen.

doryn 8For bathrooms, buyers are getting more cognizant of the environment and dual flush toilets are becoming very popular.   One trend I hope a client never asks me to do in their home as "cool & trendy" as it may be, URINALS. Yes, they are making a big impact in residential spaces now-a-days.

My best tips for kitchens and bathrooms is keep it simple and work with the space you’re in as much as you can.

If you have a very traditional home and love a more modern kitchen, don’t go all out modern (remember, this may not be your home forever and you have to consider resale).

But, stick with cabinets that have a very clean lines and add modern hardware . . . “

*CG note:  I love how the glamorous oval mirror over the modern vanity mimics the shape of the oval window.*

“. . . Don’t use fussy tiles or countertops and add modern accessories where you can. Same goes for a modern apartment if you prefer a more traditional kitchen.  

doryn 9


In bathrooms, I usually say the same thing over and over again. I prefer to do wallpaper in a bathroom as opposed to tiling up the walls (this depends on the bathroom, in a small full bathroom with little ventilation, sometimes wallpaper is not the best bet and a vanity with clean simple lines.”

doryn 5 *swooning over this wall treatment and mirror combo *


“Remember, you can change up a space by just painting a vanity a fun color, changing hardware (you can make it a kids vanity, a modern teenagers vanity, or a guest vanity) and a very cool wallpaper. These are small things that can be changed easily and won’t scare away someone that may want to buy your house in the future.”



Gorgeous inspiration Doryn, thank you for sharing your insight and tips today!  I too am a big fan of Reichel’s blog.   You can check out even more on Doryn’s list of chic finds for home for 2010 right here.  


Don’t forget the Stars & Stripes Party officially starts tomorrow, but I’m going to do my best to get it posted by 8 p.m. PST tonight so you can link up ! 

Stay tuned, I’m so excited !


  1. Congratulations to Doryn for having such a great eye – love this, especially the bathroom with the black and white wall treatment and that gorgeous mirror! :-)

  2. Doryn is so talented Kate. I adore the last two images. That mirror with the wallpaper print in black and white is gorgeous.

    Art by Karena

  3. Bam…did you hear that? It was my jaw dropping to the floor. Let me pick it up and then say that the first photo of a Doryn living room is YUMMY! I just printed it to add to my wishlist of living room plans. Thanks for sharing!

  4. This interview was great! For us beginner decorators, it was nice to get glance into professional’s ideas and thoughts. I love the living room at the top. It looks so cozy, but yet glamorous.

  5. So much eye candy here, but the hexagonal bathroom floor really caught my eye.
    Great reminders on both texture and accessories!

  6. Wonderful inspiration photos, and I enjoyed reading the interview. :)

    Kate, I have a 4th of July treat recipe post for tomorrow, but I also have a Red, White, and Blue post today…would it be okay to link up both? If not, I can just wait until tomorrow. :) Hope you’re having a great week!

  7. That first room pictured is incredible! It was already a fabulous space, but the built-in banquet, the overall cozy but elegant feel. Love it!

  8. Wow, I love her lighting choices, especially the one in your third picture! Amazing how something like that can totally make a room! Thanks for the eye candy and interview.

  9. Wonderful designs, thank you for the personal introduction, Kate!

    I had to giggle when she said residential urinals are “cool & trendy”. Our house was built by the original homeowner, completed in 1951, and it has a urinal, which is original to the home. My fiance loves it, uses it everyday. Lucky for me it’s in the basement restroom.

  10. my heart stopped looking at this beautiful rooms! i am in love with the design, pieces, wall treatments, etc. etc. i am so incredibly impressed with her incredible talent. WOW. kudos!!!

  11. Great post. Glad to hear that Doryn has noticed the trends in including Corian® in backsplashes and countertop finishes! I look forward to checking out the lighting resources she mentioned in her interview. – Christine from DuPont

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