More “Reality”

Reality Television has come to the Niblo house for the second time this year! Our first debut was this past summer with my episode of Flea Market Flip.




This time around will be this coming Thursday’s episode of “CHOPPED”

My friend and chef extraoadinaire, Tara Cianella and owner of Tara’s Italian Cucina was chosen as a competitor on the show. For the past three years she  has catered our Christmas party much to the delight of our guests.

Tara called me and asked if she could use my home to film the cooking segment of the show and I quickly agreed. The crews spent the entire day at the house filming. I was not allowed to be present and I have no idea of the outcome but I am looking forward to watching.


Good luck Tara..we hope you win!



And It Begins…

Usually I am the first one to start when a showhouse is in the works. This time has been really different for me. With a September 27th deadline, today was the first day I began working in my room. I think the reason for the delay was the theme I decided on this time; a Swedish/Gustavian style sitting room. The following two photos are from Pinterest and are very typical of Swedish style;





I thought it would be nice to pay tribute to two parts of my ancestry through design. Having Swedish heritage, I have always loved the light and airy style associated with the region. My thirty something years of collecting antiques afford me the opportunity to showcase my pieces in that style, while also highlighting my British heritage with the use of pieces from my extensive colllection of Minton china ( which is my maiden name).

This year’s showhouse is new construction; a nicely detailed home with many tasteful amenities. I was awarded the sitting room, which is right off the kitchen. It is a bright and sunny room and has been pre painted in a very soft grey color.


I decided to keep the color as is and just enhance it with a border stencil from The Stencil Gallery in England which is appropriately named “Gustavian”





Following is a sample of some of the pieces that will go in the room…




There is much more to be done but I am excited for this year’s room as it has a lot of special meaning.

More to come….

Showhouse News

Once again, I have been selected to participate in this year’s Saddle River Designer Showhouse. I will be designing the Sitting Room off the kitchen in a brand new traditional style home in Saddle River, NJ. My mind is already racing with inspiration as I plan the space which opens to the public October 4th through November 12th.

If you are in the Tri State area, please plan to attend. This year’s charity benefits the Department of Patient Care: Patient Experience at the Hackensack University Medical Center.

I will be updating my progress as usual with a lot of “behind the scenes” photos on my blog and social media. I am looking forward to another successful event!




As they say, “Better late than never”,  and so it goes for my room at this year’s Mansion In May. Although it is already over, the house opened on the first of May preceded by a fabulous and fun Preview Gala under a tent on the property of the stately Alnwyk Hall in Morristown, New Jersey.


The theme of the gala was ‘The Great Gatsby” which was a perfect compliment for the room I chose on the first floor which I named “The Ante Room”


The space was small, but strategically placed between the living room and grand reception hall. I imagined visitors being asked to wait while the lady of the house came downstairs to greet them. I decided on an Art Deco theme from the very beginning. The room had two ceiling fixtures in place which would call for a pair of matching chandeliers, small in scale but grand enough to make a statement. Looking at the BEFORE photos makes it hard to imagine that this room could be transformed, but I had hope. Structurally, it was intact, it just needed lots of architectural interest.


My sketches for the room included crown moldings to house cove lighting, chair rail, a fake fireplace mantel, mirrored boxes and decorative corner details.


After calculating how much wood was necessary, I dragged Hubby and my power tools to the room to begin. He would cut and I installed. The room was only 10’6″ x 13′ but the ceiling was 9′ so I needed his help to hold up the crown while I nailed. We make such a good team!


The dropped ceiling in the room did not hide an older decorative plaster ceiling as in the rest of the house, so I chose to keep the ceiling and just paint it all black. Between the air ducts, speakers, fire sprinkler and light boxes, there were just too many things going on to try and disguise them, so the black made them all disappear.

I purchased two 100 light strings of white LED Christmas lights and attached them to the crown molding to put indirect lighting onto the ceiling, creating a glow.


After the moldings were finished, I was able to paint the upper half. I chose a shade of blue from Benjamin Moore, who was the paint sponsor of the house. It turns out that mostly everyone on the first floor chose blue without knowing we would all match.


The wallpaper was chosen because it looked like the walls were tufted, but for a fraction of that cost. 12″ mirrored tiles made it easy to direct glue to the insides of the boxes.


I made Art Deco decorative corner pieces to apply over the mirror and applied high shine silver tape for an added detail.




The carpet in the room was removed to reveal a badly damaged parquet floor, so that was replaced with a smooth paint grade plywood. I sketched out my design,


I copied the pattern using green “frog” tape as it does not let the paint bleed like the popular blue kind.


I then painted the diamonds alternating black and white.  I only needed one coat of each color as it was heavy duty exterior patio paint.


When all was done , a simple pull of the tape reveals nice clean edges. I finished with four coats of polyurethane.


Because the room was so small I knew I would have very little room for furniture, so my accessories also had to make a statement. I decided to make a copy of a painting from the very well known Art Deco artits, Tamara de Lampika, except with my own twist. This is the original that I chose to copy;


And this is my 36″ x 48″ version. I dressed her in hot pink for a fun pop of color!


and hung on the wall


Some closeups of room detail…ceramic buildings


I had cornices and drapery panels made to give the illusion of windows and to cover unsightly items on the wall.



A 60″ round custom banquette was made for the center of the room


Calla lillies in a silver vase…The photos of my grandparents have gone into every showhouse I have done since the 80’s!


The crystal chandeliers were a perfect fit for the room as were the decorative peacocks.

And the finished product! (photos by Wing Wong Memories TTL.)

_W1A1262-70 Sue Niblo Space 6 (from door to inside) sm

_W1A1271-78 Sue Niblo Space 6 (to painting) sm



This is the most exciting “sneak peek” yet!

All of the designers at the showhouse received an email from Sol at Design Hub Home in Millburn NJ  ( saying that he was willing to be a supplier of lighting to all who are participating. I went to his beautiful showroom and as I walked in, two of the most perfect chandeliers were hanging right in front of me.


They will work perfectly with the Art Deco theme and have lots of sparkle from the large crystals attached.

A big thanks to DESIGN HUB HOME for your generosity and support of Mansion In May!

More New Stuff

I had to tear myself away from the show house yesterday to concentrate on my very patient clients and their needs. Several  have projects that are requiring tile, so I made the rounds to local stores. I had noticed the new BLACKMAN showroom while driving last week, so I made that my first stop. I had no idea they carried so much merchandise. A big bright beautiful showroom of tile, lighting, bath fixtures and kitchens for inside or out. On the way out I took pictures of my favorite things.

One client is redoing a kitchen and I knew she would love this really fun faucet; only to admire, though…the price starts at $2500 depending on the finish. I like to refer to things like this as a “splurge” item.


The same client also wants a farmhouse sink. These were the most unique I have ever seen: cement, mosaic and hammered metal.


This was kind of creepy but clever! (it’s a mannequin…)


These bath vignettes are so attractive!!


Can you see the gold and white “eggs” hanging on the wall?


A closeup of the crystal wall sconce and gold tile-


Each riser on the stairway is done in different mirrored tiles


The flowers on the chandelier are all porcelain


From there I went to Wayne Tile. The choices available are overwhelming but the most striking part of the showroom is the m0saic section, visible as you first walk in.

Mosaic trees, mannequins, ocean waves, and murals as high as twelve feet high are everywhere.


Every one of these are made from thousands of pieces of colored glass.

Can anyone use these in their home???