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Inside The World Of Interior Design With Lenore Spinelli

I had the recent pleasure of interviewing New Jersey’s luxury interior designer Lenore Spinelli. Lenore is the founding principal of Lenore Frances Homes & Interiors, where she has skillfully united her passion for interior design with her real estate services, offering convenience for clients who are looking to buy, sell, and/or decorate a home.


Catering to national and international business executives and representatives, entrepreneurs, and other successful professionals, Lenore makes sure her clients can find everything they need in one place - from real estate buying to real estate listing, to, of course, high-end interior design and renovation. Blessed with her uncanny design skills and extraordinary team of architects, mortgage brokers, and millwork specialists, Lenore has assisted with a local production of TLC’s Trading Spaces and has seen her work featured in numerous Design NJ Magazine editorials.

So, without further ado, please welcome Lenore!

Q: You are both a real estate agent and an interior designer. How did you come to this unique combination and what benefits does this give to your clients?

Lenore: Real estate is a huge commitment financially that also requires a huge devotion of time and energy. I had to approach the idea of this career combination with the two serious questions:

1. Is there a conflict of interest?
2. Will real estate be so demanding that the design side and my clients lose out?

After thoughtful consideration, I came to the conclusion that I needed to build a team to properly accomplish my goal of serving my clients in the most beneficial way possible. This means giving home buyers the benefit of someone who understands their needs and wants for a new house, while also having the vision to make it the client’s perfect home.

Pam Engle, also from Century 21 Alliance in Moorestown, is my right hand in making all of this possible. With our combined 30 years of experience in real estate and design, we work extremely hard to ensure that the process is efficient and that my attention is properly focused on getting the best result for their new home.

living-room-design-hammontonImage Source: Lenore Frances Homes & Interiors

Q: What excites you about the design industry these days?

Lenore: Things are changing for the better. For example, on my last visit to High Point Market in North Carolina, it amazed me how much the vendors have realized just how valuable their relationship with us designers can be. The majority used to only concentrate on the large orders they could get from retail stores, not allowing designers to buy just what they needed for a particular client. With so many retailers having to close their doors, this attitude has started to change, and many are reaching out to us to build equitable relationships.

Q: Who are some interior designers that you find inspiration from?

Lenore: Sarah Richardson for blending old with new and also mixing high-end quality pieces with less expensive (but expensive looking) accents. And Jan Showers for her touches of glamour without being pretentious.

living-room-with-fireplace-designImage Source: Lenore Frances Homes & Interiors

Q: How would you describe your preferred design style?

Lenore: I design to help my clients develop their own style within the context of the architectural style of their home. Personally, I like things easy on the eyes, which include appropriate dramatic touches and architectural detail.

I also like the term “New Traditional,” mainly because I value the way things used to be made and built. When working on older, historical homes, I strive to conserve and enhance the beauty of the home while adding modern touches needed for today’s lifestyle.

Q: Where do you like to do your design shopping?

Lenore: The very first place I shop is the client’s home. There may be hidden treasures waiting for me to restyle, repurpose, or re-upholster. Clients love it when I can see the value of what they already own. Otherwise, where I shop depends on where their investment dollar is willing to take me and the quality they are looking for.

hammonton-living-room-interiorImage Source: Lenore Frances Homes & Interiors

Q: Tell us about the virtual staging services that you provide. Is there any way to estimate the return on investment for that?

Lenore: Yes, I have an excellent example for a Tavistock condo in Cherry Hill, which I virtually staged. The condo was on the market and in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) on a Friday and by Monday I had an offer, which closed soonthereafter. Can you ask for anything more?

When it comes to selling a property, so often, unflattering pictures are used to represent the home on the MLS. However, with virtual staging, I will give an agent a guide on taking good photos, even with their cell phone. During the process, the photos are usually too dark to show the space well, so they are lightened and the appropriate furniture and accessories are virtually placed, making the listing look professionally designed and very appealing to its buyers.

It's important to note that I never misrepresent a property. If needed, and if the client is willing, I will go to the home and list everything I believe will help to improve the features of the home before the pictures are taken.

Thank you to Lenore for sharing her time and expertise with us. I am impressed how she is efficient and resourceful in her designs, and I’m sure her clients are happy when they get to see a beloved piece of furniture freshened up.

I find her integration of interior design and real estate purchasing to be an exciting niche, as who wouldn’t want their Realtor to be deeply knowledgeable on architecture and interior design? I imagine it would be much easier to find a home that fits your needs with a design professional being the one who walks you through the properties. (Yes, I am jealous Lenore isn’t local to me!)

I can imagine myself asking a ton of questions on how to open up a kitchen, create more storage space, renovate dated bathrooms, and the like. And, I would love to hear the answers not from a real estate salesperson but from someone with design expertise (and the ability to help me accomplish it).

To learn more about Lenore Spinelli and see her portfolio, visit her website and follow her on Houzz.