How can I decorate when I don't have time to decorate?

You have great intentions to decorate a room, an entire home or even just a window, but  lack the time it needs to get started. Weeks go by, years maybe, but every day you get further away from achieving your dream home.

Frustrating as it may seem, your goals are still achievable as long as you still have 'the dream'. Any successful decorating project starts with a need, then becomes a dream and eventually a reality.

You may have a need or a wish for a home that you feel comfortable sharing with your friends. Or, maybe you have to start over and begin the task of home renovation, especially if your home was harmed by Hurricane Sandy.

Wherever you are now, you can begin the transformation today. It may begin with a phone call to get an estimate for painting.

For instance, last week I met with a family to choose paint colors. As of yesterday, the scheme is in hand and the painter was contacted to schedule the job. This was on their to-do list for years, but it took a phone to make it happen.

The only difference in tackling or not tackling your to-do list may be as simple as making a phone call or sending an email to get things going. 

A phone call to me pointed another client in the direction of renovating their kitchen, that was destroyed by flooding from Hurricane Sandy. While we had to work with the same size kitchen, I presented three different options for a kitchen floorplan to give the space a more open and updated look.

Whether choosing paint colors, sofa selection, flooring or total renovation, the goal as a designer is to create your dream home and move things along to get you there quicker, with less stress and within your budget. Everyone has a to-do list or a wish list for their home.

What's on your decorating list, that could start with a phone call today?

To obtain an estimate for your renovating, remodeling or decorating project, click this link -
Interior Design help in NJ to email me or call 732 690-2030 to:

     Set up a meeting to discuss your project today!

        Have a great day,
        Mary Alice

Who are The Best Interior Designers in Ocean and Monmouth County, New Jersey?

Who are The Best Interior Designers in Ocean and Monmouth County, New Jersey?

Designing a home can be an overwhelming challenge for the majority of homeowners. Today, there are innumerable resources from the home furnishings industry and scores of websites that sell on-line furniture, window treatments or flooring. 

However, while an array of options is limitless, there still remains a problem for many in how to determine the correct furnishings to finish their homes.

One of the best answers  of the question “who can I call and trust for interior design help” is my list of some of my competitors, that have a long and successful track record in my area of Ocean and Monmouth County, New Jersey. On my list of respected interior designers is the following:

1.       Byford & Mills – besides their store location in Little Silver, NJ, they offer not only in-store design service, but also help with residential decorating projects.
2.       Lawrence-Mayer-Wilson Interior Design –a full-service design firm, LMW has been in existence since 1980. Their store features not only furnishings but a wide selection of fabric samples and accessories. Their staff is well-versed in all phases of interior design.
3.      Sheila Rich Interiors – besides space planning for both residential and commercial interior design, Sheila has over 30 years experience, including active membership in the NJ ASID and participation in the International Interior Design Association.
4.       Zakson’s in Brick, NJ – not only a showcase for high end furniture, the store features art, accessories, carpet, rugs, and wallpaper. Interior designers are on staff to work with clients at their main store and also at their outlet store.
5.       Geri Ruka – Geri Ruka of Spring Lake, NJ has over 31 years of experience working as a full service design firm handling all phases of interior design, including custom cabinetry design.

While there are many talented designers across the state, two of the most important elements in a successful design experience are:
The ability to listen to clients needs and problems before designing the home
Experience in all phases of design from new construction to remodeling

The combination of the two elements above, with your willingness to start a design project, will help to ensure a successful result and enjoyable experience.

Schedule a Free Initial ‘Getting to Know You' Consultation in New Jersey by Clicking on the Link Below.

M. A. Smith, Ltd.
Interior Design
732 690-2030
Allied Member ASID
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York

Rebuilding your Home after Hurricane Sandy

For Homeowners Who Must Rebuild their Homes From Hurricane Damage

Many of my clients suffered damage to their homes as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Some will rebuild from the ground up and others will need to rebuild portions of their home.
However, before they receive my help with interior furnishings, they will be involved with the construction phase of their rebuild. 

One home that suffered damage will have new entry doors. The doors will not only comply with hurricane resistant building construction, but will help to reconfigure the entry area to provide better traffic flow.
Some clients will hire architects and construction companies to create a new floorplan with the existing footprint of the home. Often, I work closely with client, their architects and builders to make sure the floorplan suits the lifestyle of the homeowners.

With all that is involved with home re-construction, it can be a time of great upheaval. However, it can also be a time to reinvent and ultimately restore a house and improve its safety and functionality. 
If you or someone you know is involved in rebuilding, here are a few points to note:
  • Partner with your builder or contractor and make sure you understand the best ways to rebuild using hurricane resistant building materials and construction. 
  • Take the time to read links that give you detailed information such as:
The Institute for Business & Home Safety's website:
If you have any questions relating to rebuilding or need referrals for architects or licensed contractors, please email me at:

Let's get this done together and let's do it right!

M. A. Smith, Ltd.
Interior Design
732 690-2030
Allied Member ASID
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York

How Long Will it Take to Decorate My Home?

Photo courtesy of Coastal Living Magazine

How long will my decorating project take to complete?

 If you have major construction planned, the most important thing to keep in mind is to: 
  • Have a detailed construction calendar and budget plan. 
  • Work up a calendar with all involved and list everything that needs to be done. This way everyone on the construction team knows when YOU want to get the renovation done. This way you'll have a grasp of the costs at each step of construction.
  • Daily or frequent communication with the builder or contractor is key to keep things moving. Will you be able to communicate through email or phone or both?

If you are remodeling and need to change flooring, wall board, lighting or planning a new kitchen or bath, the most important thing to do is:
  • Go to home improvement stores, tile and flooring stores, kitchen and bath resources, or appliance stores as soon as possible to choose your selections
  • Some items may need to be ordered, so you need to factor the time waiting. 
  • Again, use a calendar and a list to determine what is feasible and most important to achieve time wise and budget-wise.
If you are in need of an update to a room, the most important thing to do is to:
  • Know exactly what you need to get a 'finished' room done. 
  • Yes, you may need to buy furniture, but don't forget that accessories, lighting and rugs will pull it all together and make you room look finished. 
If you're still not sure where to start or what to do, or if you can be ready in time for a holiday or special occasion, you may need some help from an interior designer.

An interior designer has an eye for what works and what doesn't work. We'll tell you what can or cannot be accomplished within a given time frame or budget.

Most important, we provide you with the encouragement to press on and make the decisions without stress or doubt.
M. A. Smith, Ltd.
Interior Design
732 690-2030
Allied Member ASID
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York

Why Gratitude Will Keep You on Track

Gratitude will keep you on track in almost any situation in life. Survivors tell stories about how the most seemingly insignificant thing kept them from losing their sanity.

Since we are battling devastating conditions here in the northeast after Hurricane Sandy, I will share a few of the things that I am grateful for today:

  • My family, including pets! - they are safe
  • Friends and neighbors who continue to amaze us
  • Our community of Toms River,NJ - people of all ages stepping up
  • Other states from across the country who send utility trucks to help
  • Our JCP & L for doing the best they can
  • 101.5 radio for one of the best stations with pertinent info
  • Facebook, and Apple for essential communication using my iPad, iPhone and Verizon Wireless
  • Our Governor Chris Christie - a true leader
  • Hope and determination -instilled in my by my parents
I could go on, but you get the point. Keep moving. Say "Thank you God for ...... Then, right foot, left foot. One step and one day at a time.

M. A. Smith, Ltd.
Interior Design
732 690-2030
Allied Member ASID
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York

What to Say When You Don't Know What to Say

Here in the northeast we are faced with the aftermath of a horrific hurricane.

So, at first I thought I should postpone blog writing and dig in the trenches, as so many are doing these days.

However, while I was 'digging' I remembered what Mom used to say to me when I needed some encouragement. She always said - "this too shall pass."

Now this piece of advice was from a woman who lived through losing two brothers at an early age. She also lived during the eras of the First and Second World Wars, the Great Depression, the Vietnam War and to top it all off - breast cancer.

If Mom's saying can inspire me, I only wish and pray that today it will inspire at least one person who needs some hope amidst their losses.

Truly, this tough time shall pass and we'll get there one day at a time, together.

M. A. Smith, Ltd.
Interior Design
732 690-2030
Allied Member ASID
Serving New Jersey and Metropolitan New York