The perfect pair- best friends since age 14, these two joined forces six years ago to launch their own successful interior design firm specializing in elegant custom residences and luxury yachts. Here, they designed a holiday table for our inspiration, and provided tips on how to DIY to boot.
What inspired this holiday decor concept that you created for our shoot? We were inspired by thinking of a pretty jewel-tone color that would work well for the space we were decorating, as well as mixing metals to give us that holiday allure.
What is the most important thing to remember when entertaining for the holidays when it comes to setting a perfect table? You always want to add something extra special that stands out from your regular dinner party tables, like adding greenery in your floral arrangement that is relatable to the season. Having it be fragrant so that you really experience the season, such as our table here, where we used eucalyptus leaves, or you can use rosemary or cinnamon sticks as a napkin accessories by sticking them through the napkin ring.
What are your recommendations for colors, materials, etc., for this time of year? Always incorporate greens and metallics. You then want to decide on your main color. We like to include color that surround the interior space so that your table relates well to the home. This color can be your pop in your floral arrangement or your napkin or napkin rings.
What special touches make a table or party special that one might not think to include? Place cards! You always want your guests to feel comfortable when attending a dinner party. Knowing that your host took the time to carefully plan a seating arrangement can really make your guests feel more welcome.
What would you advise against with regard to creating a beautiful holiday table? Never create a tall floral arrangement so that it is in the way of conversation.
City & Shore
Josh Fein and Jenny Zalkin say clients in their 30’s and 40’s are requesting larger tables with more seating because they are entertaining more and taking over the dinner parties their parents used to host.
“We are staying away from glass tops and using warm woods,” Fein says. “They want stain-resistant fabric and we often use pretreated indoor-outdoor fabrics. We are known for timeless design with a longevity of six to 10 years. They can reuse a quality table and just get new dining chairs or change the fabric.”
A couple in their 50’s, who collect art from their world travels requested a table for their Aventura home that looked more distinctive because it could be seen as guests passed the foyer into the Great Room. The result: a high-end custom table with a dove-gray top and curved pedestal legs. The chairs, which were dark wood with gold leaf, were repurposed in a gray lacquer and reupholstered in a tan and cream zebra fabric.
“Ten years ago we were seeing a lot of heavy Mediterranean furniture and heavy draping,” he says. “Now people are asking for a simpler design that is a little more ‘New York’ in sophistication.”
The couple, who own several sets of dishes, also required a large sideboard with marble top for storage that could also be used for a buffet dinner. Chinese opera hats flank an artwork from India they found in their travels.
Another client asked for a warm but eclectic dining area for her downtown Boca condo. She wanted comfortable chairs so guests could enjoy her catered dinners. The curve on the dining table gives off a contemporary vibe without being too modern. A textured rug grounds the dining area.
“Another building was put up front of hers so we had to work with the light,” Fein says “She wanted something contemporary that gave off a lot of light because at night it looked like a black hole through the window. It is an updated version of track lighting.”
South Florida Luxury Guide
Miamians Josh Fein and Jenny Zalkin have known each other since they were 14 years old. They started working together in 2011, when they joined creative forces to launchFEIN ZALKIN INTERIORS, a design firm specializing in modern, elegant custom residences and luxury yachts. Fein’s marketing background includes stints with Architectural Digest andDesign Center of the Americas (DCOTA), where he worked with leading home and design brands. Zalkin is a former image consultant and fashion stylist, a position that helped herdevelop a keen eye for layering and fabrics. “We pretty much see eye to eye, but we rarely make a design decision without the other,” she says. “We see things from different angles, sowe like to double-check. Sometimes I like to take risks, and Josh will either agree with me or think I’m crazy!”What sets Fein Zalkin Interiors apart from other design firms?We are very hands-on with clients and listen to their needs. We don’t like to say we design in a specific style because we feel we can do anything from the most modern to the mosttraditional- and everything in between.
How does your previous work experience influence your design aesthetic?
Josh has tons of product knowledge and is always thinking of the best pieces to use for our clients. I [Jenny] love playing with fabrics and textures, just as I would in fashion.
What design trends are you most excited about?
Cement tiles and the color pink. We haven’t had a client who is willing to use these trends, but we are eager to create something special.
Go-to paint colors:
Collingwood and Balboad Mist from Benjamin Moore. We are moving away from gray walls and are taking a more “taupe-y” approach.
Favorite home decor stores:
We love Judith Norman, as it has a wide variety of brands; Inside Out for outdoor furniture; Mantra Furniture, which is new, for classic pieces, as well as mixing unique items; and RomoFabrics and Ammon Hickson for fabric.
Favorite architectural gem in South Florida:
While we appreciate all the new architecture being built in South Florida, such as the Porsche Design Tower and Regalia in Sunny Isles, we still love that art deco vibe. It is a piece of history that Miami will never forget.
What’s next for Fein Zalkin Interiors?
We are growing rapidly as a company and as a brand. In addition to high-end residential projects, we are slowly making the move into commercial projects. Our goal is to continue leaving a trace of Fein Zalkin Interiors wherever we go and to build new relationships.
Favorite Designers & Decorators
Josh Fein and Jenny Zalkin of Fein Zalkin Interiors have already made a solid name for themselves, thanks to their elegant approach to single-family homes in Miami, Aventura and beyond. Their attention to details and layering is always on point.
As the centerpiece of every living room, the coffee table is the perfect place to showcase your character by displaying a collection of whimsical knickknacks. “A well-curated coffee table is essential in a well-designed home, because it tells a story about the person living in it,” explains Jenny Zalkin, one of the principals at Miami-based Fein Zalkin Interiors (feinzalkininteriors.com). In addition to the tried and tested trifecta of books, flowers and trays, you can spice up an assemblage with distinctive treasures. “A jewelry box filled with costume pieces from around the world isn’t just a unique display,” adds Zalkin’s partner, Josh Fein. “It makes for a great conversation starter.”
10 desks that do the job
Antique. Interior designer Jenny Zalkin refurbished this antique desk found by her client at an antiques warehouse in Connecticut. The shape lends itself to the balcony’s unusual curve and the ceiling’s angles. “We refinished it in lacquer and topped it with Edelman leather with a metallic bone finish for a more refined appearance,” Zalkin says.
It Takes Two
Fein’s experience in marketing and sales of luxury lifestyle and design industries stem from previous positions with cutting edge design brands Andrew Martin and Tui Lifestyle, as well as with luxury lifestyle plublication, Florida International Magazine and Architectural Digest. Fein offers a keen understanding of both the design industry and consumer audience. Additionally he has an interior design background specializing in yachts and high-end residential projects. A graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design with a bachelors degree in Art History, Fein has spent the last four years as director of marketing for DCOTA. (Design Center of The Americas)
Women of Style
Born and bred Miamian Jenny Zalkin has often been told she doesn’t dress like a native. That’s not an accident. The 20-year-old interior designer embraces a sophisticated yet thoroughly modern approach to fashion that eludes many of her contemporaries. “I stay polished with clean lines, but I also like to play with color combinations,” she says. “like fuchsia and rust, or- dare I say navy and black, which I think is uberchic.” Her wardrobe stables: a Chanel jacket (“I believe every woman should own one”), Bottega Veneta anything (“That leather alone is worth it”) and monogrammed Stubbs & Wootton slippers (“Because…why not?”). Zalkin credits her late mother with influencing her sense of style. “She taught me how to put things together the right way,” she says. “And she was a big shopper. I get that from her, too.” To sate her cravings, regular weekly treks to Bal Harbour Shops (Saks is a favorite) are a must, but Zalkin is an equal opportunity fashionista when it comes to style and has been known to rock J.Crew and Helmut Lang together with enviable aplomb. “I love mixing pieces and hate head-to-toe, one-note look,” she adds. “Fashion is all about the search, the challenge. That’s what makes the whole thing fun.”
As director of marketing for DCOTA, Josh Fein is bombarded by aesthetic inspiration on a daily basis. With its blue-chip inventories of home appointments and the slew of dressed to the nines customers and designers that pass through the center on any given day, there’s no getting away from style. “When you’re dealing with people whose business is design, you have to walk the walk,” says Fein, who describes his sartorial approach as “eternally classic with a hint of Rat Pack.” To ensure he always hits the mark, he sticks to the cardinal rules his grandfather taught him: Great watch (Rolex, usually), impeccable shoes (Gucci and Tod’s mostly) and manicured hands. As for the rest? Just read on.