This Interior Design Idea Makes Any Decor Upscale
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This Interior Design Idea Makes Any Decor Upscale

Want to elevate your decorating scheme exponentially? Upholster one of your doors.

By Alice Welsh Doyle
Thu, Mar 31, 2022 11:23amGrey Clock 3 min

IN THE CALCULUS of amateur decorators, doors are seldom given much thought, but designers look at them differently. They see doors as an opportunity to add colour, detail and distinction to any home whether at the front entrance or even in the design of a lowly closet.

A particularly luxurious trick in designers’ bag of wizardry is the upholstered door—a craftsperson glues a thin layer of cotton batting or Dacron padding to the door, then stretches fabric over it, just as with upholstered furniture. Designer James Shearron of Bories & Shearron Architecture in New York City likes how such doors introduce an intimate, inviting element to any space. “Simply put, upholstered doors are pretty to look at.”

The technique lets you express your personal style and add character to your home, said Tralona Boisne of French Finish Wall Upholstery. “Whether your guests like the design or not, an upholstered door is sure to be a topic of conversation.”

The Appeal

An upholstered door oozes old-school luxury. “The treatment elevates a room in a unique way,” said Alexandra Pappas, of Manhattan’s Pappas Miron Design. The cushioning effect, said Mr. Shearron, “brings warmth and dimension to a hard surface.” He and his professional partner Dick Bories judiciously apply the technique to the inside front door of New York apartments, “so when you are in your beautifully decorated home, you aren’t staring at a fire door.” Their firm swaddled such an ugly metal door in the windowless foyer of a local apartment, studding tomato-red leather with a traditional flourish of brass nails (tacked in the shape of woodwork panels) to suit the space’s prewar DNA. For a touch more pizazz, the client swapped in an octagonal doorknob of chunky green glass.

The Tips

Choose tough textiles such as velvet or leather—faux or real. “While we can stretch any fabric for a door, some react more to inside variations in temperature,” said Ms. Boisne. Linen and silk, for example, are more susceptible to wrinkles or sagging, she said. Added Ms. Pappas, “A fabric like velvet is more forgiving as far as wear and tear because it has natural dark and light moments within the weave, so any marks incurred won’t be as noticeable.”

But don’t clad just any door. Ms. Pappas urges clients to forgo the treatment in any highly trafficked room, “especially if children and pets are in the mix.” Better candidates, she said, include dining rooms, libraries and bedrooms, which don’t welcome bustling crowds.

The right hardware can help spare your material as well. Ms. Pappas’s firm protected the velvet-cosseted closet doors in a Manhattan apartment with C-shaped hardware. “When you open the door you are not touching the fabric itself,” said Ms. Pappas. Though nailheads can highlight upholstery’s subtle billowing character, for this project she forewent the tacking for “a more-contemporary application.” Whimsy, too, can lighten the weight of tradition that padded doors typically bear. For a bathroom door in the aforementioned New York apartment, said Mr. Shearron, “we applied the nailheads in a starburst pattern in the centre.”

The Caveats

Maintaining upholstered doors goes well beyond the occasional wipe-down or a fresh coat of paint. Should a lurching guest spill Merlot on one or a clawing tabby fixate on its velvet, you have to replace the fabric. And manufacture and installation are best left to professionals. “The process is labour intensive, which makes it…pricey,” said Ms. Pappas. At Ms. Boisne’s shop, the cost of labour alone ranges from $1,800 to $2,400. She notes that upholstered doors may require new hardware to fit the extra girth, an additional expense.

Also consider your appetite for the inevitable patina. “Fabrics will fade and leather will scuff,” said Ms. Boisne. But though practicalities may limit where padding will work, aesthetics don’t. “These doors work in every type of interior décor, from traditional to modern—even in a white-box contemporary space,” said Mr. Shearron. “You can use silver nailheads in a geometric design, for example, and the upholstered door will add a layer of interest.”



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A Killer Golf Swing Is a Hot Job Skill Now

Companies are eager to hire strong players who use hybrid work schedules to schmooze clients on the course

By CALLUM BORCHERS
Fri, Jun 14, 2024 5 min

Standout golfers who aren’t quite PGA Tour material now have somewhere else to play professionally: Corporate America.

People who can smash 300-yard drives and sink birdie putts are sought-after hires in finance, consulting, sales and other industries, recruiters say. In the hybrid work era, the business golf outing is back in a big way.

Executive recruiter Shawn Cole says he gets so many requests to find ace golfers that he records candidates’ handicaps, an index based on average number of strokes over par, in the information packets he submits to clients. Golf alone can’t get you a plum job, he says—but not playing could cost you one.

“I know a guy that literally flies around the world in a private jet loaded with French wine, and he golfs and lands hundred-million-dollar deals,” Cole says.

Tee times and networking sessions have long gone hand-in-golf-glove. Despite criticism that doing business on the course undermines diversity, equity and inclusion efforts—and the fact that golf clubs haven’t always been open to women and minorities —people who mix golf and work say the outings are one of the last reprieves from 30-minute calendar blocks

Stars like Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie West helped expand participation in the sport. Still, just 22% of golfers are nonwhite and 26% are women, according to the National Golf Foundation.

To lure more people, clubs have relaxed rules against mobile-phone use on the course, embracing white-collar professionals who want to entertain clients on the links without disconnecting from the office. It’s no longer taboo to check email from your cart or take a quick call at the halfway turn.

With so much other business conducted virtually, shaking hands on the green and schmoozing over clubhouse beers is now seen as making an extra effort, not slacking off.

Americans played a record 531 million rounds last year. Weekday play has nearly doubled since 2019, with much of the action during business hours , according to research by Stanford University economist Nicholas Bloom .

“It would’ve been scandalous in 2019 to be having multiple meetings a week on the golf course,” Bloom says. “In 2024, if you’re producing results, no one’s going to see anything wrong with it.”

A financial adviser at a major Wall Street bank who competes on the amateur circuit told me he completes 90% of his tasks by 10 a.m. because he manages long-term investment plans that change infrequently. The rest of his workday often involves golfing with clients and prospects. He’s a member of a private club with a multiyear waiting list, and people jump at the chance to join him on a course they normally can’t access.

There is an art to bringing in business this way. He never initiates shoptalk, telling his playing partners the round is about having fun and getting to know each other. They can’t resist asking about investment strategies by the back nine, he says.

Work hard, play hard

Matt Parziale golfed professionally on minor-league tours for several years, but when his dream of making the big time ended, he had to get a regular job. He became a firefighter, like his dad.

A few years later he won one of the biggest amateur tournaments in the country, earning spots in the 2018 Masters and U.S. Open, where he tied for first among non-pros.

The brush with celebrity brought introductions to business types that Parziale, 35 years old, says he wouldn’t have met otherwise. One connection led to a job with a large insurance broker. In 2022 he jumped to Deland, Gibson Insurance Associates in Wellesley, Mass., which recognised his golf game as a tool to help win large accounts.

He rescheduled our interview because he was hosting clients at a private club on Cape Cod, and squeezed me in the next morning, before teeing off with a business group in Newport, R.I.

A short time ago, Parziale couldn’t imagine making a living this way. Now he’s the norm in elite amateur golf circles.

“I look around at the guys at the events I play, and they all have these jobs ,” he says.

His boss, Chief Executive Chip Gibson, says Parziale is good at bringing in business because he puts as much effort into building relationships as honing his game. A golf outing is merely an opportunity to build trust that can eventually lead to a deal, and it’s a misconception that people who golf during work hours don’t work hard, he says.

Barry Allison’s single-digit handicap is an asset in his role as a management consultant at Accenture , where he specialises in travel and hospitality. He splits time between Washington, D.C., and The Villages, Fla., a golf mecca that boasts more than 50 courses.

It can be hard to get to know people in distributed work environments, he says. Go golfing and you’ll learn a lot about someone’s temperament—especially after a bad shot.

“If you see a guy snap a club over his knee, you don’t know what he’s going to snap next,” Allison says.

Special access

On a recent afternoon I was a lunch guest at Brae Burn Country Club, a private enclave outside Boston that was the site of U.S. Golf Association championships won by legends like Walter Hagen and Bobby Jones. I parked in the second lot because the first one was full—on a Wednesday.

My host was Cullen Onstott, managing director of the Onstott Group executive search firm and a former collegiate golfer at Fairfield University. He explained one reason companies prize excellent golfers is they can put well-practiced swings on autopilot and devote most of their attention to chitchat.

It’s hard to talk with potential customers about their needs and interests when you’re hunting for errant shots in the woods. It’s also challenging if you show off.

The first hole at Brae Burn is a 318-yard par 4 that slopes down, enabling big hitters like Onstott to reach the putting green in a single stroke. But to stay close to his playing partners and keep the conversation flowing, he sometimes hits a shorter shot.

Having an “in” at an exclusive club can make you a catch. Bo Burch, an executive recruiter in North Carolina, says clubs in his region tend to attract members according to their business sectors. One might be chock-full of real-estate investors while another has potential buyers of industrial manufacturing equipment.

Burch looks for candidates who are members of clubs that align with his clients’ industries, though he stresses that business acumen comes first when filling positions.

Tami McQueen, a former Division I tennis player and current chief marketing officer at Atlanta investment firm BIP Capital, signed up for private golf lessons this year. She had noticed colleagues were wearing polos with course logos and bringing their clubs to work. She wanted in.

McQueen joined business associates on the golf course for the first time in March at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. She has lowered her handicap to a respectable 26 and says her new skill lends a professional edge.

“To be able to say, ‘I can play with you and we can have those business meetings on the course’ definitely opens a lot more doors,” she says.

MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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