Friday, July 27, 2012

My Internship Continued

Let's continue where we I left off on the journey of my internship.

I have been able to attend a couple employee meetings held at Inside Outside. These meetings have addressed problems such as the lack of efficiency in the showroom and shop, timeliness, the same mistakes being made multiple times, communication between each other, customers, distributors, etc. among many other things.
Before each meeting I print out a current project list for everyone to have their own to make notes on. This is very helpful, because, as we go down the list, we are able to discuss all the current clients and their projects, give input where needed and all become more familiar with the clients who we are not working with. There is always going to be disagreements during a meeting but it is how those disagreements are handled that decides whether the meeting will go smoothly or not. Once the meeting is over I will compile all the notes taken and revise the current project list to be printed out before the next meeting. This type of meeting with a printed out copy of the project list is a very simple, yet very helpful, way of communicating between employees. After these meetings everyone has a better understanding of what needs to be done and what they have in store for them in the near future.
A couple days ago, first thing in the morning, I walked in the door to the office and they were having a shop meeting. I could not get to my desk so I patiently waited. I was a part of this meeting but not on purpose. The topic of this meeting was about the amount of time it takes to install materials, whether it be cabinetry or counter tops, how mistakes are made and how they can be prevented and overall communication so that things are not forgotten or misunderstood.
There was a recent job located about an hour and fourty-five minutes away from Inside Outside. The guys loaded up everything into the truck to be delivered and installed and left early that morning. They did not return till later that day just before we closed. They had forgotten some materials and sinks at Inside Outside so they had to make another trip back to the project site. Everything that needed to be loaded, taken and installed was written on a material release form, put on the clipboard, that is meant to be looked at by the shop employees, and placed in plain sight. The form was not looked at. The employees saw material with the name of the client they were delivering and installing to written and tapped on different materials in the shop. Instead of reading the material release form they assumed that was all there was to take. Needless to say Mr. Tim and Nicole were not very happy during the meeting. They listed the things that needed to be changed and/or improved as well as the things that those working in the office/showroom needed to work on.
Lesson # 5: Listen and follow directions
Lesson # 6: Ask questions if you are unsure about something. I think it is safe to say that any employer would rather someone ask a lot of questions rather than ask very few and make many mistakes.
Lesson # 7: No one is an irreplaceable employee. If you do your job, since that is what you are at work to do, chances are you will not be replaced.
Projects I have worked on:
I have had the opportunity to work on many projects with Kristi, Nicole, and Mrs. Pam. Most of them have involved countertops and some sort of backsplash whether it is a continuation of the granite or a decorative tile and others have involved cabinetry too.
I have been able to help space plan kitchens and bathrooms, decide what types of cabinetry should be included and where, suggest granite colors to be used in accordance with what is already in the house or the look the client has described he/she wants, and help with a decorative tile backsplash design.
I have worked side by side with Kristi on a couple large kitchen and bathroom remodels. Space planning of the cabinetry was a large part of the projects. One of the jobs required very specific cabinetry parts specified in certain areas of the kitchen along with two tight corners that had to be worked around to fit cabinetry into them. The layout worked out beautifully and when Kristi was able to put it into 20/20 and see a perspective view the clients were very happy with it and approved the plan.
The other kitchen design we worked on was unique and very difficult because of the number of doors in the room and the small amount of space we had to work with. There were four walls in this room and every one had a door or entry way on it. The client also specified that she wanted the cabinetry to look like pieces of furniture. This means that, if possible, she did not want the cabinetry to touch in some places and have a high level of detail. She wanted many different appliances along with other features which, when trying to draw out a plan for her, was extremely difficult. As a result, a plan has been made as best it could be, per the client’s requests, and we are still waiting to meet with her to discuss it.
Inside Outside
Work Room

Inside Outside
Work Room (2)

Inside Outside
Work Room (CAD-Template Machine)

Working on the CAD-CNC Machine:
Matt asked me to help him one day by drawing out the templates Mr. Tim had previously gathered from the job site. The program I was using was a form of CAD but not the kind I am used to using. I was given a drawing with dimensions to look off of and, although it took a while to learn all the computer controls, it was great to be able to learn something new and help out in another area of Inside Outside.
When I was finished drawing the templates into the CAD program, it was then printed onto a plastic sheet material to be laid onto the stone slab and cut to fit the countertop template given.
It made me very nervous knowing that the drawings I had made on the CAD program would be how the machine outside knew where to cut the slab. One line drawn wrong could mean the loss of part of the material or worse the whole slab. Thank God everything worked out great and, although I hate how nervous it makes me to get back on CAD to print out another template, I had a lot of fun experiencing something brand new and would gladly do it again.
Lesson # 8: Never be afraid to learn something new. Whether you make a mistake the first or second time or do it perfectly every time, you are learning something from the experience regardless.

Shop (Right Side)

Shop (Left Side)

Showroom pricing/organizing:
Beginning about halfway through the internship, Nicole asked me to start pricing all the items displayed in the showroom. If we had the most current price list for the products I was able to look up the price for each item and if we did not I called the distributor and asked them to send us one. I priced out about 350 items and once I got to my fourth distributor I noticed something different. The price book specifically said “cost price.” I started to worry because all 350 items I priced before may have said the same thing or something similar and I could have overlooked it. I went back to all the items I previously priced and most of them had to be re-priced using the cost price in the formula we use to get the retail price.
Although I have had some mishaps while pricing, I have learned so much about the price of materials and what distributors offer. Having to price some things twice has made me learn about those products two different times which I feel makes me remember information better anyway so it was actually a good thing. I have also become much more familiar with the location of all of the materials in the showroom and feel more confident when showing clients around.

Lesson # 6: If you have to redo anything because you made a mistake, think of it as a learning experience to better understand the subject and/or process. It will also be far less likely for you to make that same mistake again.  
The entire Internship experience will be something I will never forget. I have learned so much and have met so many great, knowledgeable people. I feel much more confident in myself and my abilities and am ready to apply it in my final year of school!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

My Internship

Where to start…
I really enjoyed being a part of Inside Outside for the past 7 weeks. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. Having the chance to watch and listen to the employees interact with the clients, distributors, representatives, contractors, builders, and each other, I have gained a much better understanding and appreciation for those who work in this industry.   
Now I will tell you the reasons why I have enjoyed my internship so much!
So, my first site visit was to a rather interesting client’s condo.  When we arrived I was the assistant with the shoulder bag full of all the supplies we would need to do the site measurements. Although these particular clients love to sit down and talk for… let’s just say they would have probably cooked dinner if we would have agreed to stay. Good thing Nicole, the daughter of the owners of Inside Outside, had another appointment to be at afterwards. Anyway, we did the site measurements and gave them some advice about the backsplash design and whether or not to have the backsplash come all the way to the wall/corner or have it stop at the counter. Personally, from what I have seen before, I think doing the backsplash at an angle going from the end of the countertop to the end of the cabinet looks really nice, but I was mainly just watching and listening to what the other girl was telling them and their reaction to her suggestions. After we had finished what we came to do, we told them we would call them with the price estimate as soon as we could.

My second site visit was to a client’s house that was being remodeled. She was from Kentucky which made the entire situation a little more complicated. I’ll try to make this as short as possible but there were so many things that went on that it may be difficult for me to.
So I accompanied Mrs. Pam, the owner of Inside Outside, to this client’s house. Along with the contractor and client, who we knew were going to be there, just about everyone else that was involved in the design process of this house was there as well. Why would they all be scheduled to meet on the same day at the same time you may ask? Well this goes back to her living out of town and needing everyone to meet at once because she is only in town for a short amount of time.
GREAT! LET’S MAKE IT A PARTY! This had to have been the most unorganized “professional” party I have ever been to. I was definitely joking about the party part.
Now back to the story. So a meeting that should have been finished within 30 minutes, or less, has now taken 2 hours. It’s a good thing we have all the time in the world otherwise that would have been a problem. Yes, that was also a joke. Even though we were a little rushed…
Lesson #1:   You must always make the customer feel as important as you can and, especially in this case, show her that you are willing to meet with her for as long as she wants as many times as she wants. 
After she had met with all of the other people and Mrs. Pam and I got our site measurements, it was our turn to meet with her. We began to talk with her about her color scheme. She walked us around her whole house as she explained the concept she was thinking for us to get a better picture of how she wants her kitchen and bathrooms to look. It was very difficult to explain to her the different materials and colors we had available for her to pick from so we invited her to follow us to the showroom. Since she would never get to really see any of them in person before choosing what she will be using, she agreed to come.
On our way there we called Kristi, the designer back at the showroom, to tell her the types of materials and colors she was looking for and to have some examples pulled for her to look at. We arrived back at the showroom and, since Mrs. Pam had another appointment to go to, Kristi and I were now in charge. We sat down and began to show her what Kristi had pulled out for her to see. The client kept turning towards me and asking my advice because I was the one that was at the house and could really picture the materials in the spaces. This made me feel very useful!
So, by the end of the meeting with her, she had chosen the countertop and backsplash materials, along with the backsplash design, she wanted to use. Even after all of that difficulty before, it turned out to be a good meeting with a lot of decisions made, which does not always happen.
Unfortunately a day later we found out that the countertop material she wanted was discontinued, and, because blue countertop material is not easy to find, it took us a little while to find her something different. That is all part of the business though. Some things work out perfectly while others things fall off the deep end but all you have to do is get it done and move on.
Lesson #2:    Do not ever let any problem, big or small, stand in your way.

Inside Outside
Front of the Showroom

Inside Outside
Front Showroom Display
Inside Outside
Middle Showroom Display

Along with the site visits, it was always nice to be able to talk one on one with Nicole and Mrs. Pam when we drove to and from the site visits. I was able to ask questions and get answers that were very helpful without any interruptions, unless someone cut us off... that was not good. So along with learning a lot, there were plenty of laughs along the way as well which made it oh so much better!
I learned so much over the course of the internship and surprisingly a lot of it was about me. I have become more aware of the strengths and weaknesses I have and can now improve upon my weaknesses and build upon my strengths. When talking with Nicole, Mrs. Pam, and Kristi I always seem to ask every week or so how they thought I was doing or how quickly they thought I was learning. I don’t think anyone enjoys hearing the negatives about themself but those who are looking out for your best interest will tell you the truth, in a nice way of course, so you will know and be able to sharpen any skills that are in need of some improving.
I am very lucky to have worked with the type of people I have at Inside Outside. It is a family owned and operated business and, although families can have their moments, you can tell that everyone cares about each other. I like knowing that I am surrounded by people who work very hard to take care of not only themselves or their employees but their family. The dogs and cat are even there too! GANGS ALL HERE! There is GW, the spoiled little kitty who refuses to lay on anything but a box, Spencer, the black lab who eats GW’s food, Oscar, Spencer’s brother and, here recently, partner in crime, and last of all Francis, the adorable white French bulldog whose tongue hangs out of her mouth all the time, snorts, and does a cookie dance around a cookie for about 5 whole minutes before eating it.

GW Sleeping


Oscar and Spencer

Four Wheeling Francis

Okay let’s get back on subject.
Unhappy Customers Experiences
So while I have been interning I have experiences some, let’s just call them unhappy people. The first unhappy client was one who had been waiting on tile to be delivered and was told that it would be here that day. She was very upset but finally I was able to explain to her the situation, although I may not have understood it completely myself, and she accepted the day of delivery and hung up.
Next, another woman was told about a specific delivery time one of the tile distributor’s trucks could get the order to us. She was not happy with the amount of time it would take so she told us to get them to deliver it to us the next day no matter what we had to do. We listened to the customer and told the distributor we needed the material the next day. As promised, the material arrived at Inside Outside the next day and we called the client as soon as it arrived. She was very happy until we told her the freight charge for a next day delivery. She had told us to get it there the next day no matter what and that is what we repeated back to her when she started complaining about the amount she owed. We apologized for it being so much but that is what the distributor charged and Inside Outside does not absorb freight charges. Although the customer was unhappy, we kept calm and explained the situation as best we could and eventually she paid us the amount due. She really did not have a choice sense we do not allow material to leave the store/shop without it being paid in full and boy did she want that tile!
And the next encounter with a lovely customer was when a woman called asking for Nicole with a very mean tone in her voice. Kristi asked what the call was in regards to and she told her that it was very difficult to explain. Basically…. She was mad because Mr. Tim had hit her brick mailbox knocking it down and drove off. How difficult is that to explain? Anyway, Mr. Tim sent the husband and email explaining what had happened. He was leaving their house and he accidently backed into the mailbox but barely hit it. He got out and looked at any damage there was to be seen. He noticed a pile of bricks on the opposite side of the mailbox. He knew he had not done the damage he had seen since he only bumped it and he saw no further damage so he drove off. The husband replied by admitting his cousin had actually hit it a month or two before and that Mr. Tim had not caused any further damage. His wife just wanted someone to pay for the mailbox to be rebuilt. ENOUGH SAID!
Only one left I promise, although there were more than just the ones I have listed. So this next woman was complaining because the molding she ordered to frame a mirror in her bathroom had been the wrong one and completely different than the one she had picked out originally. We knew this because the one she first picked out was discontinued, which we let her know, and she came back in to select a different one. Kristi had spoken with her about the one she wanted, remembered the exact product number and name and ordered the amount needed from the distributor. The tile came in and, when about to be installed in the client’s house, the client decided it was not the correct molding. She then called Kristi. Since Kristi had nothing written down about the day the client had come in and chosen that specific molding to be used, it was her word against the client’s and the client is always right in this situation. Therefore, Kristi had to search high and low for a rare type of molding the client had now asked for that could be delivered the next day.
 Kristi had an appointment to go to so she gave the job of calling the distributors to me. I had found the specific molding the client wanted and called the distributor. They said it had been discontinued and they had no more in stock. GREAT! But then I saw that it was actually manufactured by another company. Even though I was unfamiliar with the company, I called them to see if they had any. They told me that even though it was discontinued they still had 41 pieces. GREAT! Or so I thought. About an hour later I found out that Inside Outside had had a lot of trouble with this company regarding damaged materials and payment of those materials but, since they did not recognize me, they agreed to send the ship the order. Then they found out it was Inside Outside who ordered the molding and refused to send it to us. THERE WENT THAT GREAT IDEA!
So, the client was explained the situation and decided she liked the molding that had originally been delivered so all was well eventually.
Lesson # 3: Always Always, Always, take as detailed a message as possible and include the date and name of the person you are speaking with and maybe even the time of day. You can NEVER have too much information!!
Lesson # 4: It is always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the distributors your company works with (or in this particular case, no longer works with)

To be continued in the NEXT BLOG!!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Lessons Learned

This week I have learned a lot but I am going to focus on one or two main things.

One thing I have been told multiple times this week is when you are taking notes and/or a message,  always, always, always, take as detailed a message as possible an include the date and name of the person you are speaking with. The time of day is sometimes helpful as well to refer back to when the call was made.
Earlier this week a client contacted us about the travertine molding she had selected. When her contractor picked up the order that was delivered to us he brought it straight to the client’s house to be installed. She looked at the molding and thought it was the wrong molding. She quickly contacted us with the problem her problem.
The girl I work with, who has been working at inside outside a couple years, was the one working with this client. The first molding that was chosen by the client was different from the one that had been ordered and delivered because it was discontinued and a new one had to be selected. The employee of Inside Outside, let’s just call her Amy, had previously told the client about the discontinuation of the molding she had selected and that she would need to come in and choose another one. When the client came to select an alternative molding, Amy showed her the other options available. Amy did not take down any notes about which molding she chose, on what day or at what time, because she was very familiar with the molding the client chose and immediately spoke to the distributor and submitted an order form for the new molding selected.
The molding was delivered on time, and, jumping back to the beginning of the story, the client’s contractor came to pick up the order and delivered it to the client’s house. She then called us explaining that the molding she received is not the correct molding. When Amy was asked to pull out her notes from the day the client selected an alternative molding, she did not have any. The only thing Inside Outside could defend their actions with is Amy’s word and, when dealing with a client, that is not enough.
Onto the next portion of my story involving ME!
Amy was not going to be in the office till the end of the day so she asked me to find out if we could get another molding she had found, that the client approved, from the distributor in time. I called the distributor and first asked if they had the molding in stock. The woman I spoke to told me that the molding I was asking for had been discontinued and they had no more in stock. I thought I was going to have a meltdown, mainly because I knew Amy would be extremely frustrated, more than she already was.
After looking through the distributor information, I noticed the name of the company that made the molding and decided to take a chance and call them. I told them that I knew the molding was discontinued but was wondering if they had any more left in stock. They told me they had 41 pieces left and the project called for 38. At this point I was pretty excited because I had helped resolve a major issue.
Little did I know I had been talking with a company who refuses to do business with Inside Outside because of a past situation. This situation included a project that was using tile from this company. All of the tiles had an oily, blotchy sheen to them, that they were not supposed to have, so they sent a whole new order of correctly made tiles. The company then tried to charge Inside outside for both orders of tile when the first ones were unusable. This problem went on for about a year. The company called again, about three weeks ago, asking for us to pay what is due so apparently the situation is not over.
Obviously I had no clue about all the commotion going on with this company, so when I went ahead and ordered the molding from them, they did not recognize my name and agreed to send it to me.


We told the client and she was very thankful for all of our help and was very excited herself.

Until….  The company called us back and said “We know who this is and we refuse to work with you all ever again”

Way to go Jody.  
All I could think was, we had just called the client and she was finally happy instead of angry, and now we have to call her back and tell her what had happened.
Amy and the owner of Inside Outside went to the client’s house to speak with her.
After a couple hours meeting with her, the client decided she liked the first molding, that she supposedly did not select, and all was well again.
Thank you Lord.

Lessons Learned:

-          Take detailed notes including the date, person you are speaking with and maybe even the time of day.

-          Become more familiar with the distributors your company works with


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Current Trends of 2012

Of course it always depends on the person whether they actually like what is supposedly “the current trend” so everyone is different. Personally, I do not like knowing that some of the things in my home could be the exact same thing someone right down the street from me has in their home. If it were up to me I would have everything made the way I want it, not the way it is sold in a store, or I would like to make my own fixtures, furniture, and materials, etc. Now if I happen to like the way things look at the same time that it is the trend then so be it!
Trends change like the weather and that says a lot especially in Mississippi where it is 95 degrees and sunny one hour and the next we are caught in a severe thunderstorm with 60 mph winds and flooding. This actually happened yesterday come to think of it. Confusing… YES!
Although trends are changing all the time, I am going to give you some information about the most current trends of 2012.

Color Trends

If I had to guess, most people would rather be in a happy, joyful mood rather than a sour, unhappy mood. “With the global and economic troubles, everyone is trying to bring in as much color to lighten the mood.” (Dunlap, 2012)
I don’t think anyone can say they don’t ever need a burst of energy. Color can be a simple way to provide that BOOST that you need! And for those who are already in the best of moods all the time, you will also appreciate the bold, vibrant colors just as much since your personality matches that of the colors.
So let’s talk color! 

Tangerine Tango was named the color of the year for 2012. This was chosen on purpose because an electric orange-red color is energizing and uplifting. This color has also been proven to look great with almost every skin tone which is a big bonus to most people.

Other bright colors such as blues, purples and greens, paired with neutrals such as charcoal grey will also be showing up more often this year in furniture lines, finishes, and materials
            Speaking of materials let’s talk about those next!

Material Trends

Materials used in 2012 will be a very important factor when designing a space. These materials must be made out of recycled content, at least partly, be recyclable after being used, or have the option of being reused in the future. The problem of over-floated landfills is very big and designers will try to do everything in their power to choose the right materials for their designs. ("Commercial interior design," 2012)

Texture Trends

It’s all about NATURE! Even if made out of synthetic materials, the natural look will pose as a very trendy element in designs. An example of this would be a flooring material that has a very natural wood look to it with the texture of wood but made out of vinyl.
               Wall paper will also become more popular this year but only in a textured pattern.

Pattern Trends

Although this pattern has already been seen here or there, the Chevron pattern will grow into its own during 2012. This pattern is multifunctional in that it can be bold or subtle, masculine or feminine, and modern or traditional. (The Design House Interior Design , 2012)
I think this pattern is very interesting and can give any space some personality no matter how little the pattern is used. Because of its flexible design, no one has an excuse not to use it!
Other geometric patterns will also be seen a lot more this year. To make your room sing, choose soft furnishings with geometric designs and rugs to make a statement with abstract shapes in bright hues. ("Top five interior," 2012)

Outdoor Trends

                Homeowner’s seem to want to bring the outdoors in. “Homeowner’s today want their outdoor space to be an extension of their home and are taking steps to create an inviting area to relax, play and entertain guests.” (Perkins, 2012)The amenities offered today gives owner’s a huge variety of outdoor design options allowing one to do just about anything to make their outdoor living space as unique as they are.
Some of the most popular options seen in outdoor living spaces include:
Sliding glass doors, that have the option to slip into a pocket, allow you to create a wide open space from the interior of the home to the exterior uniting the two spaces into one. 
-          FIREPLACE
A fireplace is sometimes thought of as the heart of the home. They are being used more and more in outdoor spaces. Fireplaces exert a feeling of warmth and comfort to those living in the home. It can also serve as a light source in most occasions especially when trying to create a relaxing environment or mood. Those states that have extremely cold winters will appreciate the warmth these fireplaces provide so they can better enjoy the outdoors during the winter months.
Some sort of outdoor coverage or protective covering is preferred. This allows for privacy while also protecting you, or the furniture, equipment, etc. you may have in your outdoor living space, from the natural elements. Weather can be damaging to most anything so any type of protection is important. Also, if you have some sort of covering whether it is a completely enclosed area or just a covered deck, you would be able to enjoy your outdoor living space even if the weather is not so great.
Next I will list a couple of the most popular features in an outdoor living space.
1.       Lighting
Lighting is a great feature to have at night because it allows you to enjoy the space even after the sun goes down.
2.       Fireplaces
We already went over the advantages of a fireplace so we’ll skip on to the next one.
3.       Outdoor Kitchen/Cooking Area
When cooking in a regular indoor kitchen, many times it can be very messy or an odor from the food may stick around for a long time. Another great benefit of having an outdoor kitchen is the natural aeration of the smoke that gathers along with the odors I had previously mentioned.
No one wants a stinky house!
And with an outdoor kitchen usually comes a GRILL! This is the most sought after appliance for an outdoor space. Gas, stainless steel grills are the most popular, which I’m sure you could have guessed. Having a grill, entertaining some friends, and having a great meal all together on the furniture/seating area provided, which I will be discussing next, sounds like fun to me!
4.       Furnishings
Large-scaled furniture pieced seem like the ideal way to lounge and relax in an outdoor setting rather than on smaller, stiff, structured pieces of furniture. Although a lot of the beach style outdoor furniture is similar to the smaller scaled furniture this specific style will always remain a popular choice. Lastly, water/weather proof materials/finishes are always a must.
5.       Accessories
Accessories, such as lamps, rugs, pillows, artwork, etc. spruce up the outdoor living space giving it a personality and making it feel like part of the home.
All of this cannot be done without a good design first. Many outdoor spaces are completed in stages, therefore, it would be best to pre-plan in order to avoid unnecessary obstacles such as having to rip out and re-do landscaping or dealing with a major issue involving utility lines, etc. All of these problems can be dodged with good design.
The importance of good design and an emphasis on pre-planning is becoming increasingly significant with outdoor spaces as the available options, amenities, and elements continue to grow. When planning or designing an outdoor living space, it is important to consider all of the furnishings and features the homeowner will want the space to accommodate now and in the future, so they can plan for technology needed for the area’s intended use. (Perkins, 2012)

Interior Design Job Outlook

Let’s face it….with all industries there is a frightening reality that there will not be a job available for us at some point. Many people entering into the interior design industry are afraid of this very thing. As a student about to venture out into the unknown that is ‘The Real World’ I am told by many people that it is going to be extremely difficult to find a job and that they do not think I will be able to find one right out of school especially in the field I am in. To all those people I would like to say THANK YOU! Those who doubt me give me the perseverance and drive to want to prove them wrong!
With that said…. Let’s look at the current job outlook for interior designers.
·         After several years in decline, the industry as a whole is starting to see a modest recovery, as seen in the ASID Interior Design Billings Index ending in 2011 with positive scores supported by renovation and remodeling projects. ("American society of," 2012)
·         May 2010- Approximately 40,120 interior designers in the U.S.
25% decrease since May 2008
16% decrease in specialized design firms since 2008
·         19% growth of interior design employment from 2010-2020
Designers will be needed to respond to consumer expectations that the interiors of homes, offices, etc. meet certain conditions, such as being environmentally responsible or more easily accessible. ("Occupational outlook handbook:," 2012)
·         27% growth of interior designers in specialized firms from 2010-2020
Although remodeling projects that use interior designers are related to economic conditions, remodeling of large public spaces and facilities, such as hospitals, hotels, or schools, are often funded by a long-term project. Regardless of economic conditions, companies will budget money over many years so that they can afford remodeling efforts when necessary. ("Occupational outlook handbook:," 2012)
While the industry has contracted, interior designers are finding employment as sole practitioners, self-employed consultants, and in-design related businesses. ("American society of," 2012)
I hope I was able to fill you in on some new information about the current trends of 2012!!

Works Cited
American society of interior designers issues 2012 industry trends report. (2012, February 29). Retrieved from
Commercial interior design trends for 2012: Finishes, colors and materials – commercial interior design news. (2012). Retrieved from
Dunlap, M. (2012, March 19). Hgtv’s david bromstad predicts 2012 interior design trends . Retrieved from
Occupational outlook handbook: Interior designers. (2012, July 11). Retrieved from
Perkins, J. (2012, May 22). Home design outdoor living trends reviewed by sisler johnston interior design. Retrieved from
The Design House Interior Design (2012, January 12). Trend of 2012: The chevron. Retrieved from
Top five interior design trends for 2012. (2012, May 22). Retrieved from

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Innovative New Products

Innovation is one of the key factors of success in our fast-paced society. Here are a few of the latest innovations being introduced to the design industry:

Interior Materials

·         Ultra High-Strength Concrete

-          Concrete can have a pretty complicated mathematical process in order for it to be made into a material that is able to be constructed into a solid object which is exactly what concrete has been used for so far; solid objects such as walls.
-          Now that the particle density can be set for the specific application, it can be modeled into other objects. I know this is a little scientific so let’s break it down.
-          Less or more water and additives can be put into the concrete mix depending on its future use. Since the use of these very expensive additives is completely unnecessary in most applications, the cost of the material is reduced by up to 35 percent
-          This concrete also has the potential to greatly reduce CO2 emissions.
-          One great example of a future use of concrete is a lamp.

·         Sea Balls

-          Commonly referred to as Neptune Balls
-          These balls made of seaweed fibers are used without additives as an insulating material with fire preventing properties.
-          Brown in color, and can be found washed up on beaches
-          It contains very little salts and no protein which means it will not rot and it is not harmful to the human body.
-          Highly suitable for building insulation due to its low thermal conductivity.

·         Coconut Wood Composites

-          Wood derived from coconut palm plantations
-          This helps to avoid using valuable tropical woods from rain forests etc.
-          Can be used in the furniture industry and as flooring
-          Instead of rings like most other woods, this wood is characterized by its spotted structure referred to as Cocodots.
-          This wood is much harder on the edge of the trunk which is the part that is primarily used for material production.
-          Coconut wood composites are made up of a thick MDF core to which coconut wood is applied.

·         VarioLine

-          It is an alternative material to plywood, MDF, and other structural construction panels. It is a colored alternative that can withstand time and whatever else nature and humans can throw at it. (Dent, 2010)
-          A versatile, integrally foamed, thermoplastic, lightweight element with a very good ratio between weight, mechanics, and costs. (Dent, 2010)
-          Characteristics include: lightweight, durable, abrasion-proof, chemically resistant, low maintenance, recyclable, and high performance in extreme weather conditions.
-          Complies with the B2 fire rating and other fire ratings with the appropriate additives.
-          It can be nailed, screwed, milled, sawed, riveted, and welded

According to the Industrial Technologies Arm of the Research and Innovation department of the European Commission, it is estimated that 70% of all new product innovation is based on materials with new or improved properties. ("10 innovative materials," 2012)


·         Transparent LED Signboard

-          Transparent flexible polymer sheet that incorporates working LED lights
-          The polymer film is coated with a transparent, thin layer of carbon nanotubes in a specific configuration to act at ‘wires’ to connect the LED lights. This type of conductive film is an alternative to ITO coatings used in other transparent LED films. (Dent, 2010)
-          This is a more efficient and lower cost process as compared to other similar films produced.
-          The client is able to specify the design of the film and the LED pattern displayed. (Dent, 2010)
-          The films can currently be used in signage and POP Displays
-          Transparency continues to be a popular inspirational property

·         Lighting System Concept

-          This concept is a flexible, modular atmosphere and stylish design to give commercial interiors a unique look. ("The stylish and," 2010)
-          The concept is made of dual layer white polycarbonate slanted sheets with an appearance like conventional boat sails. ("The stylish and," 2010)
-          Between the two layers, lights are inserted and attached to the inside layer while the upper layer is incised with stripes in which the lights glow in a unique, aesthetically pleasing manner.
-          The lights can be different colors such as green, cyan or magenta
-          Each unit contains a metal tube base making it easy to fix to a wall or ceiling and allows for rotation for multi-directional lightings.

·         Verve

The Verve Lighting System is a product that can be used in many different environments such as hospitals, residences, schools, etc. It is a product that, not only makes it more convenient when light is needed in a space, but also reduces the amount of energy used. The addition of wireless controls and the flexibility of products allow you to mix and match to maximize comfort and control in any space. ("What is verve?," 2012)
There are many different products associated with the Verve system but I will list the abilities of all of them combined instead of those relating to each one individually.
-          Dimmers. This is one lighting controlling you would not want to pass up. It would be a very nice feature when you are trying to set a mood.
-           Temperature Adjustments. There are single switches to adjust the temperature in the space. One option you have with this control is to set your air conditioning to eco-mode or even switch off certain power outlets running to devices that drain more energy than others such as TVs or gaming systems.
-          Occupancy Sensors. This system automatically switches off lights and adjusts the temperature in a room if it is unoccupied for a certain amount of time.
-          Energy Savings. All three of the features I just listed, dimmers, temperature controls and occupancy sensors
-          Light Paths. These can be created by programming lights along a path to come on at the same time with the click of a switch. For example, at night when you want to walk from your master bedroom to your child’s bedroom, if a light path has been created, all you have to do is click a switch and only those lights will come on. Another great example is if you program a path from your garage or carport to the front door of your house.

I personally think this is a great feature due to my clumsiness and high probability of tripping over anything, including my own feet.
-          Easily movable. The location of these systems can be easily changed without having to rewire or damage any walls. They can be placed anywhere including a wall, your bedside table, the car, etc. 
Anywhere you NEED it to be, that is where is CAN be. 

Health Care Furniture

·         Pediatric Ward Furniture

-          Ave Birthing Bed

o   Function and design work in harmony to provide mothers comfort during the birthing process and assist health care professionals. ("Newstyle: healthcare furniture," 2012)

-          Duo Baby Cradles

o   This cradle allows mothers to sit up comfortably in bed after giving birth and have their newborn child brought right up to them while still in the cradle.
o   Many times this is ideal for mothers to still be able to see and be close to their child even if they must stay in the cradle due to a health risk. 

-          Breast Feeding Chair

o   This chair has a particular shape offering good, well-needed support for the new mother while breast feeding and avoids pressure and pains to the sore or recovering parts of the body. ("Newstyle: healthcare furniture," 2012)

Smart Home Technology and Security Systems

·         SSAIB- Intruder Alarm system

       With this system installed, instead of having to hurry up, drop your groceries and run to punch your alarm code into the system so it will not call the police to your house, you can simply carry a tag on you. This tag can be attached to your key chain with your car keys, etc. and can be easily placed up against the alarm system without having your eggs cracked after dropping your groceries. 

·         Glass Break Detector

         The Bravo 5GB is a motion and glass break detector all in one. It provides reliable protection for both residential and commercial spaces. Along with motion detection, a glass break sensor is also integrated into it, designed to detect the sounds produced by the shattering of framed glass. The glass break detection scheme used on Bravo 5GB is the extent of an extensive research program designed to study the properties of glass as well as the properties of sound produced by the shattering of framed glass. ("Glass break detector," 2012)
             -  360 Degree Coverage
             -  High Level Static and Transient Protection
             - Immunity motion Detection
             -  Multi-Level Signal Processing
             -  Temperature Compensation
             -  Fast/Slow Detection Jumper 
             -  LED On/Off Jumper
             -  Super Quiet Operation Glass Break Detection
             -  Dynamic Signal Processing-    
                        Determines the difference between glass breaking and  
                        common ringing or bell sounds 
            -  White Noise Rejection Mechanism
            -  Alarm Memory (Latching LED) for Glass Break Sensor   

Kitchen Appliances

·        Induction Cook Tops

Reasons for Using this Includes:
-          It can lower your electric bill because it uses magnetism to only heat the bottom of the pan
-          High level of temperature control
-          Speed of heating and cooling is increased
-          Wide selection of offerings, including 30" and 36" cook tops, slide-in and free-standing ranges
Follow this link to WATCH VIDEO:

·        Full Surface Cook Top

Characteristics Include:
-          You can place pots and pans in any arrangement necessary
-          Allows up to four pieces of cookware on the cook top at one time
-         Has a color TFT touch screen indicating the size, shape and location of each piece of cookware
-       Unlike other cook tops with four inductors heating four different zones, this one has as many as 48 conductors providing a continuous cooking surface 
-        Power can be individually adjusted via the touch screen and if a pot is moved, the display automatically updates and the power levels are automatically transferred to the new position. (Quick, 2012)
-          Operating instructions in 15 different languages
             -          It is energy efficient because heat is only used where needed

·        Steam Cooking

       Steaming is one of the best cooking methods for maximizing taste and color, while retaining the most nutrients in vegetables and fish. Especially when the vegetables themselves have so many flavors, simply steaming them and finishing with fresh herbs, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil can produce a very satisfying and delicious dish. You can also Healthy Steam several vegetables or vegetables and fish in one pot for easier clean up. ("Healthy steaming cooking," 2012)

Since more and more people are turning towards a healthier lifestyle including the way they eat and exercise, steam cooking food will also become more and more popular.
It actually already has!
Now-a-days you hear people who want things to be simple but not plain and sometimes they think it takes more effort to cook a healthy meal. Well they are wrong! Steaming vegetables, fish, or whatever you choose cannot be more simple! Since the nutrients as well as the flavors are kept inside when steamed, you will have a tasty meal that many people thought would be bland because of its healthy quality.
Yum Yum Yum!!

·        Sub-Zero Refrigerator

Characteristics include:
-         Dual Compressor
o   It actually already has! Each of the refrigerator and freezer areas have their own dedicated, sealed system to keep food fresher for longer
Inside Outside Sells Sub-Zero/Wolf appliances. While working the other day, the owner of Inside Outside was telling me about a client she met with the night before who decided to put a Sub-Zero refrigerator in her kitchen. When the client went to go visit the Sub-Zero/Wolf showroom in Chicago  she said they had a demonstration of the product. The showroom left a tub of ice cream, without the lid on it, in the freezer part of the refrigerator with a label stating the date it was put in there. The date read six weeks prior to the day they were shown the demonstration and the ice cream was still fresh with no freezer burn.  
-          Crisper and Deli Drawers Form a Special Low-Temperature Zone
-          Max Ice Features Produce 40% Faster
-          Air Purification and Water Filtration Systems
-         Evenly Distributed Bright Interior Lighting
-         Built to last 20+ Years
-          2, 5, and 12 Year Residential Warranties Available
-         USES LESS ENERGY THAN A 100-WATT LIGHT BULB!!! That is Pretty amazing if you ask me
-         Superior Grade Components Used
-          Every Unit is Assembled in the U.S.A. and Rigorously Assessed Before It Leaves the Factory
-         It actually already has Intense Reliability Testing is Done on Every Product By Engineers
-          It actually already has Appliance Details Measured to 3/1000 of an Inch   

Compared to other Refrigerators who characteristics include:
-          One Compressor
o   This compressor is used to cool both areas making neither ideal for the food being kept in them
-          Extra Energy Used
o   More energy is consumed because each side is continuously working against each other to try and maintain a core temperature
-          Defrosting Needed More Frequently 
-          Undesirable Aromas and Flavors Transferred Around the One Air System

Bathroom Fixtures

·         Toto 1G Toilet

      The 1G seems to have all the characteristics a toilet should possess but at the best quality.
Those characteristics includes:
-          Double cyclone flushing system creating a powerful flush maximizing the cleaning action.
-          1.0 GPF
-          Two nozzles, as opposed to rim holes, that use water more efficiently, resulting in less trapped matter and bacteria, which reduces the amount of time spent cleaning the toilet.
-          Bowl and rim are coated in specific glaze sealing the porcelain with a barrier creating a very slippery, bacteria resistant surface
-          Fewer cleaning supplies needed, lowering the cost of maintenance and the amount of materials harming the environment.  

Works Cited:

10 innovative materials to look out for in 2012. (2012, February 03). Retrieved from
Dent, A. H. (2010, May 03). Fabric of the future: innovative design materials to come. Retrieved
Glass break detector. (2012). Retrieved from
Healthy steaming cooking method. (2012). Retrieved from
Newstyle: healthcare furniture. (2012). Retrieved from   
The stylish and innovative lighting system offers stunning commercial interior. (2010). Retrieved from
Quick, D. (2012, April 19). Around the Home, Retrieved from 
What is verve?. (2012). Retrieved from