Practicing mindfulness, mastering stress, eating right and getting enough sleep are all important factors contributing towards good health. So are our interior spaces, according to New-York based interior architectural designer, Michele Alfano, WELL AP, NCIDQ, ASID, IIDA, ASSOC AIA, principal of Michele Alfano Design in Hudson Valley, NY.

One of Alfano’s clients understood that spaces can greatly influence our health, as well as our emotional state of mind, and wanted to redesign their 1,700-square-foot basement as if it was an extension of the first floor. To counteract the feeling of being inside a basement, Alfano applied her poeticmodernism® principles and paid special attention to ceiling design, use of colors and materials, acoustics, ergonomics and light to naturally engage all the senses, and promote playfulness and good living.

“Flanked by elongated Italian brick and a custom-made iron railing, one starts to descend down stairs to the living lounge. The open space blurs the lines between kitchen, family room and playroom -- shaping the way to live for the better,” Alfano explained. “The custom and sustainable kitchen area has a warm, lounge-like atmosphere that disguises its utilitarian purpose.

“Materials take center stage -- the lines of the custom natural wood cabinetry shift its cerused oak finish, Calacatta-inspired porcelain slabs and modern light fixtures to the hearth’s lounging side,” she went on to say. “The design makes it hard to tell where one space ends and the next begins.”

For the main flooring, which flows from the family room to the guest bedrooms, Alfano utilized 16- x 32-inch porcelain tiles from Dado Ceramica’s Emotion collection in the color, “Anthracite,” which was inspired by cement.

In the main guest bathroom, various shades of white and gray were used to create a biophilic design. On the walls of the main guest bathroom and second guest bathroom, 12- x 24-inch porcelain tiles from Fanal’s Snow collection were employed in a glossy finish, which complement the honed 24- x 24-inch porcelain floor tiles from Ceramica Pastorelli’s Denverstone collection in the color, “Grey.”

Both guestrooms feature custom, concrete sinks. The unique curvature of the sink in the main guest bathroom is special because it has moss incorporated into the design, according to Alfano. “I wanted guests to inherently have a connection to the natural world in the bathroom,” she said. “Design that connects us to nature is proven to inspire us, increase our productivity and a stronger sense of well-being. I wanted guests to leave the bathroom feeling relaxed, refreshed and happy.

“The minimalistic wet room in the second guest bathroom combines a freestanding tub and open shower,” Alfano added. “The curbless design not only reduces tripping, but also makes the bathroom seem a lot more spacious.”

For the living room’s fireplace surround, kitchen backsplash and guest bathroom backsplash, Alfano also employed large-format slabs of Calacatta by Neolith, which add a nice accent to the neutral-themed spaces.

Altogether, the project took one year to complete and the clients have been overjoyed with their new, chic living areas. “The clients love it,” Alfano said. “They told me guests come and they don’t want to leave.”


Hudson Valley, NY

Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Interior Architectural Designer: Michele Alfano Design, LLC, Hudson Valley, NY

Tile Supplier: KJ Tiles Co., Monsey, NY (Ceramica Pastorelli’s Denverstone collection, Dado Ceramica’s Emotion collection, Fanal’s Snow collection, Calacatta by Neolith)

Tile Installer: Artistic Tile Installation, Monsey, NY

Millwork Fabrication: Five Star Millwork, Pearl River, NY

Stone Supplier/Fabricator/Installer: Faithful Countertops, Paterson, NJ

Concrete Sink Supplier: JM Lifestyles, Randolph, NJ