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Designing Mind

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Among the countless projects Gina Whalen has overseen, it’s her first that truly stands out. “The house was stale, dated, and simply not up to my clients’ standards,” says the interior designer. Once Whalen saw how she could transform the grand 7,000-square-foot Bryn Mawr home room by room, she was hooked. “I love creating beauty and practicality for people,” she says.

Personal decorating style: Eclectic yet classic, with some Hollywood glamour. I like to mix traditional pieces with more modern flair—especially by adding some great texture, fabric and color to the space.

Favorite room in her house: My basement. I transformed a cinder-block space into a lap of luxury. It includes a state-of-the-art gym, a spa-like bathroom, a full bar, a place for the kids to play, and a separate space for entertaining. 

Most prized possessions: My art and paintings. Each one has a story. My husband and I collected most of them while we were traveling. 

Designers who inspire her: Candice Olson and Mary McDonald. Both are timeless and glamorous. 

Favorite design advice: Don’t be afraid. I tell my clients all the time to live outside the box. 

Color she can’t design without: Black is a gorgeous, sexy, powerful and neutral color. It can be used either as dominant or as an accent.

Her definition of good taste: Using your own style, with refined, classic appeal.

Element she tries to incorporate into a space: I’m mildly obsessed with light fixtures of all kinds. I use them in every room—even closets and bathrooms. 

Biggest decorating faux pas: Matching fabrics in a room. Layering coordinating colors and fabrics is much more stylish and sophisticated.

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