Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Set Designer in Me

Hands down one of my favorite shows to watch is “Modern Family”. It’s a hilarious show that depicts the lives of three related family households: The father, his daughter Claire, and her younger brother Mitchell.  Each family is totally different yet they all balance each other out and make the show amazing. Every house has a signature look that matches their personalities perfectly, and this is especially important so that the viewers can immediately figure out whose house is whose. Thumbs up to the set designers for this show.

The Dunphy Family

Phil and Claire Dunphy's house exterior

The Great Room
 Phil and Claire live in a house with design sense that reminds me of pottery barn. It is cozy and comfortable with a spin on the traditional look. They use a lot of color and accents through out the house but the colors work and reflect their personalities.

I really like the plates on the wall and the use of warm colors in the kitchen.
Gives it a rustic country feeling.

                The residence of Mitchell and Cameron is primarily design with neutral and warm colors. Their house is a mixture of traditional, contemporary, and Asian design.  

It’s an upscale neo-modern gay d├ęcor that compliments Mitchell’s personality best.

The Dining Room

 The kitchen is bland and in my opinion doesn't reflect their
personalities and design style. But I do like the cut out in the wall
that connects and opens the living room with the kitchen. 
If it were up to Cam there would be bright colors everywhere, which is exactly why he has no business decorating baby lily’s bedroom.

He got too carried away with their daughter Lily’s pink, flower room which is a disaster. Above her crib is a mural of her two dads painted like Greek gods floating on clouds. All you need is common sense to see that that is just doing the most. It is over the top and needs to be covered up, but on the flip side every time they show her room I crack up laughing because it has Cam written all over it. His dramatic over the top personality definitely shows up in this room.

The exterior of their home matches Jay well because
he is an architect, so the features in this house also show that.

I really like the front door with its abstract geometric mosaic of windows and a handle that is off center and diagonal. Can you see it?!

Heavy leather furniture, but you can see
Glorias touch from the zebra print lamp shade.

Jay, Gloria, and Manny live in a modern home that is colorful and eclectic.

Bold red kitchen

So many choices when it comes to seating in this kitchen, but all the design work together,
 even the what would seem to be random zebra print chairs.

The design taste from this family most likely comes from Gloria. The bold use of colors, decorative accessories, and modern furniture matches her personality and fashion sense.

The design set for this show is amazing and I really like it. I would improve the set decorations for the kitchen of Mitchell and Cam because it's soo boring. That was the only disappointment I had. But tell me what do you think?!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Flower Power

Flower Power
Here is a really neat idea for a flower arrangement. This is a unique approach to a traditional flower arrangement and I wanted to share it with you guys. Instead of purchasing a bouquet of flowers try this.






Either way you can’t loose. These vases are super cute and I absolutely love the yellow zinnia flower. The vases are from CB2. From a design standpoint this type of arrangement evokes balance and harmony. These vases can be applied in any room setting; coffee table, kitchen table, or even in the bedroom. I would like to see this yellow zinnia flower and either of the two vases as a center piece on this coffee table.

The yellow zinnia flower creates a nice contrast with the red in this interior perspective. The vases add a sense of symmetrical balance and rhythm within the space. It has balance because there is a feeling of equilibrium present. Visual rhythm is created when colors, lines or forms are used in a consistent pattern. Visual rhythm applied to these vases in the form and  make the eye move much like rhythm in music that makes our bodies want to move. These vases are simple, but make a strong statement with the form and shape.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

If I were a chair

Bicci Purple Damask with Silver Nailheads
     The first moment I saw this chair I was super excited and it was love at first sight! Not only is it amazing, but it's also affordable. It's from Home Dec furniture Company. The subtle klismos leg and the nailhead detail adds to the feminine grace that captured my attention. It is a must have.

You Can't Judge a Book by its Cover, Or Can You?

     Design firms receive a lot of portfolios from recent graduates who are looking to land that first job. It's obviously important to have the skills and education, but it's as equally as important to have an amazing portfolio. Your portfolio is a statement of who you are and your design style. The content and layout need to coincide and tell a story about the work that it easy to follow. When I was designing my cover page I wanted something clean, fresh, and modern.
     This is my cover page that I created for my exit portfolio. Immediately from looking at the cover I want to capture their attention. Choice of font, color, and use of positive and negative space is all very important for a portfolio. I didn't want to get too crazy with graphics, because sometimes they are too distracting and take away from the work. This is a good starting point to set up the format and layout for what can be epected next. It makes a statement that represents me as a designer, and I am happy with it. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Evils of Procrastination

How many times have you promised yourself to do something later, when really you should have taken care of it earlier? Regardless of what the task is, checking an e-mail, or doing an assignment-we all experience it, regardless of age, culture or beliefs. It’s human nature. It just sucks because so many of us get attacked by what I like to call this “evil spirit” of procrastination. Well I am tired of it and refuse to be in bondage anymore! So I did some research and self-reflecting and here are a few tips that helped me overcome it so maybe it will help for you. The thing is, you have to actually do it. Baby steps; take it one day at a time. Most of it is a mindset, so challenge yourself and as Nike says, JUST DO IT!

Ways to Overcome Procrastination
1. Recharge Daily
Make sure you are getting the proper amount of rest. Yes I am sure you are busy, but we all are. Your body needs its rest or it will lay you down and make sure you do.
2. Get a Friend Involved
It's harder to procrastinate when another person is involved. Having an accountability partner is always a great way to make sure you get tasks done.
3. Reward Yourself
You're much more likely to continue down this path to recovery if you reward yourself sometimes after you complete that not so fun task. It doesn’t have to be anything super awesome, just enough to keep you encouraged and on the right track.
4. Do Things in Pieces
Once again, baby steps, approach things in little pieces so you won’t feel overwhelmed. Then the steps don’t seem impossible and you will have a bunch of little victories
5. Don't Be Afraid to multitask
Sometimes it’s feasible to do two things at once. For example: Make flash cards while listening to music, or watching TV, or talk on the phone while you tidy your apartment.
6. Prioritize
Perhaps you're procrastinating on a task because it's really not that important, or it’s so important that you are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. If it sounds like a good idea but in the end it's really not that important to you, don't let it hang over your head.
7. Get in Touch with the End Result
Before you begin a task or project that has high procrastination potential, get in touch with the outcome. When the task is finished, what will that mean to you? What will be better in life as a result?
8. Just Do It!!
Don't think about it too much, just jump in and get it done!

The Dash: Poem by Linda Ellis

It's not the date you were born, or the date you died, that really matters. It's "the dash" between those years and what you do with it, to make a difference with your life. This poem is very sentimental, but reading it made me think about what I will be doing with my life after I graduate and what kind of impact on the world I want to make. No matter how big or small, it made me think about life differently and really think about what truly matters. While I am still alive, I want to make my time here on earth count. After reading this poem if you want to find out more information about her go to her website.

I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend
he referred to the dates on her tombstone
from the beginning to the end

He noted that first came the date of her birth
and spoke the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years

For that dash represents all the time
that she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not how much we own;
the cars, the house, the cash,
what matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
that can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
and more often wear a smile
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read
with your life’s actions to rehash
would you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent your dash?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Team Dynamics

I was recently involved in a group project and now that it’s over I am happy. However, I realize that working in groups is something that I will be doing for a large majority of my career. I don’t mind groups, in fact I actually like them, but what I don’t understand is why it is so hard for people to work together in a team? We have be working in groups and doing team projects since we were little kids, yet very few people really understand how to be a "team player". There are those who are too pushy and then you have that person who could care less and will just do enough to get by. One of my biggest fears is to work for a firm where the people don't work well together and the team dynamics are poor. It's so important to understand how to work in a group environment especially if your job profession will require it.
         I can recall several times how I felt when I was working in groups that were in utter chaos. I was so frustrated and didn't even want to participate. Inconsiderate people annoy me, especially those who think that only their ideas are important and worth discussing. I have been involved in various organizations and have had ample time to see myself in action.
Typically I am the one who initiates things and get the ball rolling, but I make a conscious effort to include everyone and make sure we are all on the same page. I believe everyone’s thoughts are important, no matter how big or small and I like for everyone to feel included. This is important when working with other people.
Even though working in teams can be frustrating, when you have a great team they can be very beneficial. More resources are available and groups are able to complete larger scale projects. Groups work also leads to more diverse solutions. Two heads are better than one! Another plus to working in groups is that it’s easier to detect flaws and catch mistakes. What you may miss, someone else might see. Groups and teams also provide an even greater understanding of what needs to be done. Everyone will have their interpretation of what needs to be done and how to do it, but if you put them all together you can learn more from listening to other peoples perspectives and then apply what works best. It is also a great way to hone communication skills. Discussions and active listening aid to the success of being a better communicator.
All in all, like I said, working in groups doesn’t have to have such a negative connotation if everyone would be mindful that it’s a group and everyone has a voice. Everyone has ideas and they should be taken into consideration.

Working 9 to 5

Sorry it’s been awhile since our last convo. I’ve been so busy with classes and wrapped up in my programming document and trying to redefine my portfolio. While trying to get everything together for school and prepare for graduation I am slightly overwhelmed and nervous about what’s next. Every now and then the reality that I am really about to graduate and start my life hits me in the stomach. No more long nights in the studio working on projects and no more Spanish classes. It is finally about to happen, I’m graduating. Only 75 more days left before I enter the “real world”. I’m excited because it’s been a long time coming, but I’m anxious because I still have some things to figure out. Every time I think about it my stomach turns a little. It’s a bitter sweet feeling. I know I am mentally prepared and I am ready to embark on this adventure, but I am apprehensive about things like: Where am I going to live? Where am I going to work? Will I like my job? These are the thoughts that I am excited and nervous about. I realize these feelings are completely normal and just about every graduate feels like this at one point or another so that makes me feel a little better.
I know I can and will succeed as an interior designer but first things first. I must find a job. I really want to move to NYC and experience the fast pace life. “They say” if you can make it there, then you can make it anywhere, so that’s exactly what I plan to do. Initially living in the big apple might be a bit much for me, but I know I will be just fine. Well at least after I land my first job.
Like I said, I have been thinking about this a lot lately and one of the reoccurring thoughts that I can’t escape is how are my interviews going to be? So to help myself out I decided to answer a couple questions that I am sure to help me during the process.

Question #1: What are you able to do? (What can you bring to the table?)
Bottom line, I understand that Interior Design firms are concerned with getting work completed in a timely matter and getting it to clients. With that being said, I can demonstrate that I have great technical skills and interpersonal skills. I am more than comfortable using programs such as AutoCAD and Revit Architecture. I am able to create detailed floor plans, elevations/sections, and other plans such as electrical or RCPs. If you need a plan hand drafted and rendered for a specific type of client, I can do that as well.
Other attributes that I bring to the table are excellent moral and ethical character, a positive and outgoing personality, great work ethic, and a great sense of what it means to be professional and work well in a team environment.  I also have good time management and communication skills. These are essential skills that every interior designer should possess, which is the reason why I got involved in various organizations. Being a part of those organizations enabled me to get to know myself better as a leader and a team player. I learned my strengths and weaknesses and was able to work on them.
Question #2: What are you willing to do? (What are you willing to sacrifice?)
In all honesty I have been realistic in my expectations and I realize that as an entry level designer there are things that I may have to do that I don’t want. However, with that being said, I am willing to do whatever is needed to get the job done. I don’t mind working in the library filing samples or spending time working on specifications. In the end, it is going to make e a better designer and knowledgeable about interior design. Ultimately, I want to learn and be exposed to various aspects of design and business management. I have great presentation and listening skills and I am also able to clearly convey my thoughts and present them to other professionals and clients alike. Most importantly designers are problem solvers.
In my senior thesis class we had the opportunity to work with a real client and design an outdoor kitchen and pool. I really enjoyed having the dialogue with the client to discover their likes and dislikes and exactly what they wanted to gain from the project. In the end, my presentation had a personal touch to it. I was able to present to the client and explain to them the design decisions made and they understood everything. At the end of the presentation they didn’t have any questions because I thoroughly covered it all. Being able to talk about the problem, my design concepts and come up with creative ways to solve it are skills that are priceless.

Question #3: What do you want to do? (What about design gives you personal satisfaction?)
                What do I want to do?! I want to learn and absorb as much information about interior design as I possibly can. I am still discovering myself as a designer so gaining exposure to the industry in every aspect is what I want. My dream job would be one that allows me to travel to other states and various countries as a PM or in another position. I want to travel and gain exposure to different cultures and their styles of design. I really enjoy design because it is personal, for me and for the client. Whether in residential or hospitality it is making a direct impact on those who will use the created space. It gives me satisfaction to know that I will be able to touch the lives of others through my creativity.
                The part I like most about design is the schematic phase. Developing different ideas and testing them to see which ones work best is challenging, but also very rewarding when I have it figured out. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, so I try to find those other ways.  I am also interested in sustainability, so I want to be able to work with a firm that shares that same concern.        
                My firm of choice to work for would be an international hospitality design firm that designs hotels, restaurants, bars, lounges, and retail all over the world. Like I said, I want to travel and I want to design. Who says I can’t have my cake and eat it to?!
Now after completing this exercise I feel less anxious about what’s next and ready to embrace it!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A little Light

If you need a new task lamp for your desk at home or at the office I have the lamp for you! The Tolomeo table base lamp from Hive Modern. It’s super cool and I can definitely see this lamp being on my desk at work.  It is made from extruded aluminum and knobs in polished die-cast aluminum and tension cables in stainless steel. Don’tcha just love it?! Plus it comes in 5 different colors but this is my favorite.

            Aside from the aesthetics most importantly it’s practical. It is fully adjustable and has direct lighting. This lamp could be used in any desk rather at home or at the office. It has that ability depending on what color you choose. 
When I look at this lamp I see two distinct elements of design. Line and shape are emphasized in the design of this lamp. I can see a continuous movement in lamp that reminds me of a line, while at the same time the shape is defined and stands out from the space around it. Although it’s thin it doesn’t just blend in or look too plain to me. It has its own unique interest and style. Now I can’t mention the elements and not give a shout out to the principles. I know it’s a bit geeky to think about the principles and elements of design, but they really are important and every great designer knows this. Balance is the obvious principle to me because without it “literally” it wouldn’t stand up, but figuratively speaking it does possess balance in the sense that it’s proportionate and the size of the base compliments the lamp. It also has some visual rhythm going on. When I look at it it’s not obtrusive or a strain on the eyes. There can be great contrast with the lamp depending on what type of accessories are place around it.
This lamp reflects my personality and can even speak about the type of firm I want to work for. Unique and stylish, yet not too flashy, like my design taste. I like modern design with a twist of historical influence. Before I did my internship this summer at Allen Saunders Inc. in Miami, Fl, I thought I liked more traditional design, but being there showed me that I can have my cake and eat it too and have the best of both worlds. Ultimately I want to work for an international firm that does a little bit of everything. Traveling and being exposed to different cultures while working would be the perfect job for me. An environment with people that have a sincere appreciation for design and put forth their best efforts and work together as a team (like the lamp) would be ideal. I know I have the potential to become an excellent project manager one day and I would like to do so. Currently I enjoy hospitality and residential, but I don’t want to limit myself to just those two. I want to gain exposure to various types of design. The more the merrier. Why not?!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A working progress....

When I tell people I’m in school getting a degree to become an interior designer, many people (adults and young people) respond saying, “Oh, how cool, I wish I was doing what you’re doing...it looks so fun.” Or, “I like decorating my room n stuff; you should come over and take a look!” Or, “Hmm we should have you over and come give us some decorating tips, my house could sure use it.” So - I thought it’d be fun to share with you my main concerns that I try to educate people on daily. These are the two most common misconceptions about being an interior designer that I have encountered. Enjoy!

Myth #1:  An interior designer is the same as an interior decorator.   
Reality:  It is not necessary for an interior decorator to receive formal training to do the job because they focus mainly on the aesthetic and are not concerned things such as building exteriors or structures, however interior designer are. Interior designers are distinguished because they must go through formal educational training at a university and obtain a bachelor’s degree which provide them with the foundation and understanding of architectural plans, safety, building codes, and proper selection of materials and fabrics.  After graduating one must go through another process to become a licensed Interior Designer.  

Myth #2.  Designers sit around and play with fabric all day and fluff pillows.
Reality: I wish! Lol, not!! Designers do a whole lot more than that, and it’s sad and frustrating that people don’t realize it. According to the bureau of labor statistics an Interior Designer draw upon many disciplines to enhance the function, safety, and aesthetics of interior spaces. Their main concerns are with how different colors, textures, furniture, lighting, and space work together to meet the needs of a building's occupants (client). Designers plan interior spaces of every type of building, including offices, airport terminals, theaters, shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, schools, hospitals, and private residences. Good design can boost office productivity, increase sales, attract a more affluent clientele, provide a more relaxing hospital stay, or increase a building's market value.
            See, I told you there’s a lot more to it than what meets the eye. I will continue on my quest to educate those around me about the profession because I want everyone to know and understand who we are and what we do.

Design Icons

What do these two pictures have in common?
You probably guessed it; yep they both have on the same circular glasses. That was the first thing I noticed about these two.  If you don’t know who they are then I’m about to tell you. Iris Apfel (left), designer and American Icon and Chip Kidd (right), an exceptionally talented graphic artist.
Iris Apfel is a fashionista with a lot of flare, style, and design sense. She is an American fashion and style icon. Her style is daring and bold. Just look at some of these pictures and they explain it all.

Lovin' the glasses


Iris' lovely home that she designed

Her hallway
                 She loves to dress up and if she likes it she’s buying it. She has a gift for going to junkyards and flea markets and unburying treasure that others would consider trash until they see what she can do with it. She’s no minimalist by a long shot, but her over the top approach to fashion simply works! There was an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute of her colorful and highly accessorized wardrobe. It was entitled Rara Avis (Rare Bird): The Irreverent Iris Apfel. At age 88 she is still young and vibrant, she refers to herself as a “geriatric starlet”, but dress for her is just one of the ways she creatively expresses herself. She is also an Interior Designer and recently released her own jewelry line. She is awesome and I love her funky style!
                Now Chip Kidd, he too has his own design style but expresses it with a different type of medium. He is the associate art director at Knopf, a publishing house, where he has been designing one of kind book wrappers since the late ‘80s. Some of his works that he is best known for are the cover of Michael Crichton’s 1990 novel Jurassic Park and the cover of Cormac McCarthy’s “No Country for Old Men”. His fun, creepy, sly, and unpredictable covers have taken book design to another level and his design is a work of art. He has even written a couple books himself, "The Cheese Men." Here are some examples of his book cover designs.
Cover for book "No Country for Old Men"

He loves comic books and has designer covers
 for just about all of them.
Cover of the popular book "Jurassic Park"
His book "The Cheese Monkeys

        Both Iris and Chip are unique in their own sense, but I am especially fond of Iris Apfel. Not because she is an interior designer, but because she truly appreciates and understands what it means to be creative and daring and to go beyond and step outside of the box. I like that she owns her style and embraces it with boldness, meanwhile Chip is passive and downplays the importance of the cover design. I wonder what it would be like to spend an entire day shopping with her. I know that I can definitely learn a thing or two from her. She has already impacted my design aesthetic.  There is nothing wrong with embracing colors and being yourself (no matter who likes it or not). Being comfortable in “the skin” I am in as a designer is the biggest lesson I have taken away from learning about her. I often get caught up in comparing myself to others, but she has inspired me to embrace me and whatever else that means. In my opinion she deserves to be considered an American Icon because she is a perfect example of self-expression and living life to the fullest. Being creative and artistic doesn’t look a certain way; it is whatever you want it to be. Now go forth and do great things!