Friday, August 10, 2012

I'm Moving!

Welcome!  I'm so glad you're here, but I thought you should know...

I'm MOVING!  I have MOVED!

You can now find me at I'd love for you to visit me there.  And just so you know I am moving 12 of my previous posts from this blog to the new one.  I will post 3 per week through September.

I'm in the process of setting up my own self-hosted Wordpress blog.  Are you impressed with my ever-evolving blog skills?...meh!  Me either!

Anyway, if you've clicked through to here from Pinterest (or anywhere else for that matter), please check back as I will be publishing all the new details soon.

Monday September 3, 2012 - to be exact.
NEW CONTENT coming to the new blog Monday, October, 1, 2012.  Stay tuned!

That's my planned Launch Date.  I will change the link in all my social media profiles and also post the new details on this blog.

Thank you for visiting and I hope to see you again real Sept. 3rd!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I Am A Writer

Yes, I am in fact a writer.

How do I know this?

Because my "About Me" section to the right says so.

It used to say that I am a "wannabe" writer.

That changed yesterday, with a little encouragement from Jeff Goins and his book, You Are A Writer.

Funny thing is, I've always been a writer.  It's always been a part of me.

I called myself a "wannabe" because I've never been paid to write a thing.  It really never occurred to me that I could.  I've always just done it for fun or as a way to get a bunch of jumbled up thoughts out of my head, clear my mind. 

When I was young I thought all writers lived in New York City and wrote for magazines or something until they got their big book publishing deal.  That did not appeal to me (the moving to NYC part).

But Interior Design appealed to me, and that's something you could practice anywhere.

I am an interior designer.  I've never had trouble declaring that.  Not since graduating with a Bachelor of Interior Design, working in an architecture firm, and passing the NCIDQ exam.

The difference is that I worked really hard for that title.  I've been paid for that.

I've never worked hard at being a writer.  I just write whenever I want, about whatever I want.

I have two blogs.

My first is a faith blog, where I simply tell stories about all the times God has revealed Himself to me and how awesome He is.  It's one of the ways I worship.

My second blog, the one you're reading, is about Interior Design...imagine that.

Now at forty, I'm starting to think differently.  I've discovered that I have a message to share.  It's no coincidence that I've been blessed with an inner designer AND an inner writer, neither of which should go to waste.

I am currently in the process of writing an e-book to help others discover their inner designer.  As a way to get there, I am participating in Jeff Goin's 15 Habits of Great Writers.  This is my response to the Day 1 Challenge:


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chevron - Even Dogs Love It!


It's a wildly popular print right now. That's why I was ecstatic to find this rug at Target.

I wasn't even looking for one, but there it was on the shelf with all it's zig-zaggy cuteness, beckoning me with just the right colors for my kitchen.

How did it know that my other rug was completely trashed?

Needless to say I couldn't resist. At 2' x 6' it sits perfectly in front of my island-sink counter. And for $30 it was a steal!

Turns out it's comfy too - as evidenced above by my girl Indy.

So why is this blog-worthy?

1). Because I LOVE it and wanted to share!


2). Because this is an experiment.

As you know I'm FAR from techy, so this is my attempt to upload a photo to my blog, taken with my phone, edited in Instagram, installing a "Pin It" button, and then Pinning it to one of my boards - Chevron & Other Cool Patterns. Whew!...that was hard work!

Go check it out on Pinterest and let me know how I did!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Should I Hire a Designer or a Decorator?

"Should I hire an interior designer or an interior decorator?"

That's where we left off in the last post.  Here's the deal, you have to decide what type of professional you'll need based on your individual project requirements.  That might not sound very helpful, but here's what you don't want to happen:

You don't want to hire someone and find out half way through the project that they don't possess the specific skills needed to complete your project to your expectations.  This doesn't mean that you have to know how it should be designed (that's why you're hiring someone).  But you do need to have a pretty good idea of what the final outcome will be.  Not exactly what it will look like, but how you anticipate your room will feel and function.

For example, do you need help picking colors, deciding on some drapes and accessories?  Or is your entire room or house in need of a complete overhaul?  Is it strictly a cosmetic overhaul, or will it require some demolition, construction, electrical, or plumbing work?

You have to determine your needs beforehand so that you can make a good hiring decision.  If you require other professionals (like an architect, contractor, plumber, etc...) then you need to know that the person you hire to design your project understands how to navigate that entire collaborative process.  You will need a "designer." 

You will NOT be able to determine if a person is a "designer" based on what they call themself OR their services!

Let's face it, people don't know what they don't know. This is true in all industries, but especially in Interior Design, because there's so much confusion about the difference between design and decorating.  Even amongst professionals.

Many people who exclusively provide decorating services don't even know that's not really design.  They think that what they do, decorate, is ALL there is to design, that they are the same thing.  They don't know there's an entire design process and that they are just providing the last step of that process.  Therefore they innocently continue to refer to themselves as designers.

To complicate things further, many actual designers, those who know and employ the process, often take on decorating projects but they still call themselves "designers" and their services "design."  For whatever reason, they do not draw any kind of distinction between the two, confusing the issue even more.  This is probably because it's so hard to articulate the subtle difference between the terms.  Obviously - as evidenced here by my ramblings!

It's my hope, that if you get only one thing out of these ramblings it's this:

Not all projects require the entire design process. Sometimes they just require the last step...decoration.  If that's the case then a person's title really doesn't matter.  A designer or a decorator could get the job done.  Without your own understanding of your project needs, you will not be able to assess your potential designer's ability to complete your project.

If you determine that your project does require a designer, be sure to ask your candidates about their process...this should tell you everything you need to know!  And of course you'll also want to carefully consider their credentials and previous work, but the most important factor is how well you connect with the person you ultimately end up hiring.

The journey is just as important as the destination.

And speaking of might be wondering if it's important to hire a design professional that has the 3E's (Education, Experience, Examination)?  Again, it depends on your project, but all other things being equal, I'd choose the 3E's everytime!  But that's a TAWNT.  I don't know about you but I'm ready to move on to a new topic!  Like maybe the actual design process itself...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Interior Designer or Decorator? - Yes, There IS a Difference

After all that differentiating between the terms design and decorating, we're still left with the questions:

"Is there a difference between an Interior Designer and an Interior Decorator? And if so, which one should I hire?"

Since we determined that there is in fact a difference between design and decorating, I think it's safe to say that "yes" there is also a difference between a designer and a decorator.

In an earlier post I stated that:

Designers design and decorators decorate.

But now that we've thoroughly explored the difference between design and decoration, I think it makes more sense to say:

Designers design AND decorate, while decorators just decorate.

When we defined design, we said it's a process and that decorating is the final step in that process. Given this, I would define a designer as someone who engages in that process and concentrates on the project as a whole - someone who is equally concerned with the functional aspect as well as the look of the entire space.

Through the use of concept, floor plans, elevations, photos, samples, details, renderings, etc...A designer will present you with a complete vision and a plan to achieve that vision (subject to your approval) before your project ever even begins.

A decorator would be someone who concentrates on applying products and materials to the room and is pulling it all together as they go, taking it one piece at a time. In other words, they've not gone through the design process and are not operating from a cohesive plan. They are more concerned with the individual elements of a room and how they look.

Let me just say for the record:

There is nothing wrong with this approach IF, as the client, you are comfortable with it. Your project might not require all the steps of the design process. That's up to you to decide.

So should you hire a designer or a decorator? We'll wade into that next week. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sharing Design Philosopy

I would like to interrupt my regularly scheduled THREAD to share a very interesting article from Fast Company, entitled "Pinterest's Founding Designer Shares His Dead-Simple Design Philosophy" by Sahil Lavingia.  I know this is not the post that I promised this week, however I believe that Lavingia's insights about design dovetail nicely with what we have been discussing the past few weeks.

Although my views are specific to interior design, and his come from a web design perspective, Lavingia hits several of the same points that I have been trying to convey about design in general.  You can read the whole article here (and I highly recommend that you do).

The following are snipets from the article that I consider most relevant to our discussion:

"Design shouldn't be designated a specific function or industry."

"Design is shrinking the gap between what a product does and why it exists."

"Stop thinking about design in terms of ...visual style; it is about the product as a whole.  Designing is figuring out the purpose of your product and how you orient everything else around it."

[For our purposes, the "product" is our interior space].

"Good design is using reason to make decisions and to solve problems."

"Every man-made object you use in real life is designed, from forks and desks to keyboards and grocery bags and are the culminations of many hours of thinking and many more hours of trial and error."

[Emphasis mine - Remember in my previous post I talked about design, as a verb, being a thoughtful (aka thinking) process which culminates in the design, as a noun, of a space].

There is also a really great point made in the "Comments" section below the article that states:

"Good design is something you don't see but miss when it's not there."  by Juleeane Zett

Well said...I couldn't agree more!

I hope you'll take the time to read the entire article for its really insightful perspective on design.  Next week I'll resume with our current THREAD and attemp to answer what's the difference between a designer and a decorator...I have a feeling I'll be referring to this article!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Design or Decorate - The Sequel

Can the terms "Design" and "Decorate" be used interchangeably?  We've already established that they are, all the time.  Should the terms be used interchangeably?...I say no.

Last week I explained the difference between the two when used in the verb tense.  Today let's take a look at the difference when being used as nouns, which is even more elusive.  Take these two statements:

"I love the design of that room!" OR "I love the decoration of that room!"

They seem pretty much the same right?  Both terms are referring to the final outcome of that room. But there is a slight difference in that design really means the culmination of the entire design process. Whereas decoration is more reflective of the individual products, finishes, and materials that have been applied to the room.

But let's face it, nobody (including me) is going to take the time to analyze which of these two things they're really trying to say.  In noun form the difference is so minimal that it's almost non-existent anyway.  Plus you would have to know if there was even a design process involved to begin with.  It is possible to decorate a room, on the fly, without going through any real process at all...I wouldn't recommend this, but it is possible.

So what have we learned:

Design (v.) is the BIG Picture process of planning that results in the overall design (n.) of a completed space.

Decorating (v.) is the final step of the design process. It is the physical execution of the details as specified by that process. The application of individual products, finishes, and materials to a space results in its decoration (n.).

The difference between the terms is very subtle, but different none the less!

Which leads us to our next big question:

"So then what is the difference between interior designers and interior decorators?"

Tune in next week as I attempt to answer!

Monday, February 27, 2012

"Design" or "Decorate"...which is it?

Can the terms "Design" and "Decorate" be used interchangeably?

Well they are, ALL the time.

So a better question to ask is, "Should the terms be used interchangeably?"

In my youth my answer was definitely NO, but that's because I defined the 2 terms as people "designer/decorator", and my definition of a designer was someone who possessed the 3-E's (education, experience, examination), and a decorator was someone who did not.  So according to this very limited view, only designers designedDecorators decorated.  End of story. 

However, as I've gotten older and wiser, I've realize that this is a very narrow-minded stance of the interior design profession.  So what's my answer now?...

It's still NO, but for completely different reasons.   As I mentioned in my last post, in order to really understand the difference between the terms, we must first understand the "what" as opposed to the "whom".

Let's dissect:

Both words can be used as nouns AND verbs.  The verb decorate changes form to decoration or decor when used as a noun.  However, the word design stays the same in either case which only adds to the confusion because the word design is often improperly substituted for both the verb and noun tense. 

So let's look at the verb tense first.  You could say:

"I am going to design my kitchen." OR "I am going to decorate my kitchen."

Both make sense, but they do not mean the same thing. In both, the words represent the action that will take place, but it's that action that's different.

To design is to engage in the creative, thoughtful process of planning. This process includes, but is not limited to, such actions as:

building and believe it or not...

If you are designing something you are performing most, if not all of these tasks.  So the term design is never an adequate substitute for any of these actions individually. 

To decorate is to actually implement the final details of the plan, completing the design process. It is the last phase where someone is physically placing items or applying finishes and materials in a room.

You could decorate a pillow by sewing beads on it - applying the beads. Assuming that you bought that pillow at a store, you did not design that pillow. You decorated it. The same premise holds true when dealing with a room. When you are in the planning phase of that room you are designing. When you actually start applying the things you've planned, specified, and purchased you are decorating.

Make sense?...maybe.  But now that you have a better understanding of the difference between the terms as verbs, it will be easier to grasp the even more elusive difference as nouns.  Check back next week as I attempt to explain...and after that we'll tackle the difference between the "whom" - designers vs. decorators.