Monday, August 27, 2012

Family-friendly interior design

The room is fresh and lively; its a place where the family has fun together, says designer Rachel Reider. (Michael J. Lee)

Room by room, interior designer Rachel Reider has worked with the homeowners to update this Sudbury Colonial. Throughout the multiyear process, a neutral color scheme prevailed. But when it came time to focus on the family room, the owners were ready for a more vibrant palette. "It was exciting to try something different in this space," says Boston-based Reider, who selected furnishings with shades of lime green, blue-gray, lavender, and orange and a mix of patterns and textures. Located off the kitchen, the room has a creative, casual vibe that promotes togetherness for the family of four, says Reider. "They love it. It's where they always want to be."

  1. A LARGE-SCALE PIECE by Amy Maas and bought at Jules Place in the South End incorporates the room's dominant hues and serves as a focal point; the multiple layers of oil paint and high-gloss varnish offer textural appeal.

  2. THE SLEEK GAS FIREPLACE with a surround of dark wood and Pietra Cardosa replaced a traditional wood-burning brick one, giving the room a more modern flair.

  3. THE OTTOMAN was custom made by Plantation Design in durable faux snakeskin. "You can eat at it, put your feet on it, and it wipes clean," says Reider. Its round shape also promotes easy circulation around the room.

  4. THE ULTRASUEDE SECTIONAL and wool carpet are light gray. If you're not used to rooms with lots of color, Reider says, it's best to have a neutral foundation. "Layer the color and pattern in smaller accent pieces. That way it doesn't feel like a huge commitment."

  5. CERAMIC BOWLS made by Heather Knight serve as eclectic wall art. "We sent her paint chips of the room's color palette, and she matched the glazes to them," says Reider. "They bring a 3-D quality to the space and are a great conversation starter."

  6. A COMFORTABLE BENCH by Charles Stewart Co. upholstered in velvet provides additional seating as well as soft texture.

  7. A CARVED WOOD TABLE from Pfeifer Studio adds a "fun and funky" element, says Reider. "Someone once described it as a chess piece, and I really liked that."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Is Fashion Dictating Interior Design Trends?

By Emily D'Alterio

With globalization increasing societal fluidity, trends are faster-paced than ever before, with the recycling of trends or the development of unique modes an ever-present element of interior design.

This kind of trending gives a deep insight into the zeitgeist of an era and a people.

While trends are dictated by various catalysts – from the economy and cultural climes to the backing of the rich and famous – fashion itself has long been a catalyst and a major influence on interior design.

Chair Inspired fashion

Fashion brings it with it a fast-paced mentality that virtually says "out with the new and in with the even newer."

According to Canadian décor expert Michael Penney, interior design has seen a distinct change of pace since fashion became a key influencer.

"(Past clients) would say, 'I'm doing a French provincial style' and they would do their whole house in one look and they would leave it like that for 30 years – and that was sort of the way people decorated," Penney said. "But now when you look at fashion magazines, you see that designers and stylists are pairing all different kinds of styles, all different looks together, and shoppers themselves are free to create their own mix in their clothing. I feel like in the same way they're doing that at home and they're getting a little more brave, and they're realizing they don't have to do a formulaic look."

Shoe Inspired interior design

These same sentiments are shared by architect and interior designer Blainey North, who says creativity is not limited to one industry and design should not be limited by these sector segregations.

"I truly believe that architecture, fashion and film crosspollinate and inform each other," she said. "I'm constantly inspired by the creative work of others outside of my discipline."

Referring to a recent project, The Sydney-based designer illustrates just how prominent a feature fashion can play in dictating design.

"Essentially we deconstructed the dresses from the (Christian Dior) show and created spaces around that," North said. "The wallpaper, the curtains and the chandeliers were all drawn from the collection."

re cover jenny design

The incorporation of fashion elements into interior spaces is always going to create opportunity and extend the boundaries of traditional interior design constraints, but could this trend move the industry along too quickly? With fashions coming and in and out of style in such a short space of time, it seems conceivable that encouraging these kinds of seasonal furniture and design changes could have impacts that more than offset the newer-is-better sentiment, encouraging the epitome of unsustainable design.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Holly Kopman: 'No crying in design'

It was two of Holly Kopman's great passions - music and design - that brought the St. Louis native to the Bay Area nearly 20 years ago: She moved here to follow the Grateful Dead, as well as study interior design at Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Kopman owes her interest in the latter to her uncle, who was an interior designer. "He taught me the importance of a well-designed house and how a home affects a person's outlook on life," she says.

Kopman worked at Rebecca Bradley Interior Design in San Francisco before starting her eponymous firm ( in 2000. On her website, she writes: "The process of interior design should be fun. There is no crying in design." The phrase is one she did indeed utter to a client who had burst into tears after a dining table the client purchased didn't pan out. Fortunately, Kopman's collaborative approach to design can serve as the antidote for such situations. "The most enjoyable aspect of my job is working closely with my clients and vendors to create custom lighting and furniture that fits my client's needs," she says.

Longtime and repeat clients are not uncommon for Kopman. She has been working with one homeowner since 2005. "Every year we decide to add another dimension to their house," she explains.

"It is such a pleasure for me to see how a house can evolve with a family." Forging close relationships with her clients is a win-win: "They completely trust my design aesthetic, which makes the design process so much smoother because they let me handle the details and they just sit back and reap the benefits."
The Kopman cheat sheet

Pillow talk: "Don't underestimate the power of the pillow. Attention to detail is very important and pillows can pull a whole room together. Lovely trims and properly sized pillows with the right fill add a little luxury to any sofa or chair. I like to have my seamstress make custom pillows with fabrics from Dedar, which is an amazing line, or from vintage textiles." (

Fresh paint: "One trick I like to use is to paint my walls and trims the same color but in different sheens. This gives the room dimension, makes uneven ceiling lines vanish, and allows the furniture and details to really take center stage."

See the light: "Add a Lucite base, as well as a new lampshade from Blanche Field in Boston, to any average lamp or glass jug and you have a work of art on your hands. These two simple updates work every time." (

A good vintage: "Invest in something that has some history and it will remain timeless. I know that there are many readily available options to choose from and they can be had instantaneously, but there is something to be said for an antique, one-of-a-kind piece. Allow that to become the focal point in your room, as antiques give a room soul. One of my favorite places to shop for antiques is Candace Barnes." (

On remodeling: "Get the bones of the house right and do not miss details. Properly sized windows, doors, trim and great hardware are a must. There is a subliminal quality that you can feel in a home when you walk through the door. The acoustics of the room are a tell-tale sign for me."

Great wall: "Wallpaper the inside of your closets. I love to add the element of surprise when you open a closet door. It makes everyone smile to see a well-dressed closet."
A few favorites

Custom lighting: "It is like the jewelry of the room. The whole room can be very simple, like a little black dress, but with the addition of a stand-out piece the room is elevated to a new level. David Weeks is one of my favorites; his lighting is like floating art when installed." (www.davidweeks

Heath Ceramics: "I try to use tiles from Heath in all of my projects; I admire the way they glaze and shape each tile. They are local, and I like to work with local vendors to lower my carbon footprint. I also think their plate ware is to die for and love giving serving pieces as gifts." (www.heath

Agraria: "I love their scented candles and tassels. The scents are complex and spicy, setting the tone for any room. Cedar Rose is my favorite of their fragrances." (

Read more:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bicentennial House Decorating Contest Winners Announced

--written by the Bloomfield Bicentennial Committee

Bloomfield has been in full celebration mode all year, as residents have been honoring the 200th anniversary of the town's founding with events from the Bicentennial Opening Ceremonies March 23 (on the exact date of the signing of the town charter in 1812!) to the planting of the Bicentennial tree to themed concerts and discussion series.

Few will forget the sight of members of the Town Governing Body joining "General Joseph Bloomfield" in period costume, recreating the original scene. Now it's time residents have shown their spirit with the Bloomfield Bicentennial House Decorating Contest.

The theme, "Happy Birthday, Bloomfield!" was expressed in the way residents decorated their homes to celebrate the town's history and the special occasion.

"The Bicentennial House Decorating Contest fosters town pride," said Janice Litterio, Chairwoman of the Bloomfield Bicentennial Committee. "Although many residents are excited about Bloomfield's 200 year Anniversary, not everyone has time to attend Bicentennial Committee meetings. This contest enabled individual families to participate and express their creativeness."

Committee members from each of the three wards visited and judged the applicants' homes. Homes were judged between August 3 and August 6 on creativity and the facilitation of Bloomfield's 200th Birthday theme. Winners were announced on August 7 during National Night Out.

Janice Litterio, Chairwoman of the Bloomfield Bicentennial Committee said, "Originally there was supposed to be one winner in each ward. However, in the end there were seven entrants and the judges decided that each display captured the true essence of the contest theme. The other judges and I were thoroughly impressed by the level of participation that each entrant exuded when we visited their home. Therefore, all entrants received a winning certificate from our committee."

The "brainchild of the Bloomfield Bicentennial Committee," according to Litterio, the House Decorating Contest may have in part been inspired by photographs of the 1912 Centennial celebration in town, which show many homes draped in bunting and other commemorative decoration. With the July 4 celebration now passed, timing for the contest is perfect in keeping with the celebratory theme.

"National Night Out was selected because the night lends itself to community," added Litterio. "Many residents throughout town have block parties and join their neighbors in local unity."


After a busy summer, Bicentennial events take an August respite before revving back up in September with Oakeside Mansion's Victorian Tea on Sept. 9.

October events will include Bicentennial Walking and Bus Tours on Oct. 6, Pumpkin Carving on the Town Green on Oct. 26 will have a Bicentennial theme, as will the Bicentennial Spooktacular on Oct. 27.

Several Bicentennial programs are available for viewing at the WBMA-TV Website,, for those who may have missed them live, or want to re-live the day. Select 'Media Center' at top then 'Community Events' in the player.

Official bicentennial merchandise is now on sale at and at the Bloomfield Civic Center at 84 Broad Street... Volunteers are needed for many Bicentennial events; email or visit the Website for more information.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Titan Interior Design Moved

We (Titan Interior Design) moved!

Hong Kong (Head Office Interior Design)

New Address : Room 826 8/F Yick Tai Industrial Building 650-652 Castle Peak Road Kowloon

Old Address : Unit 5, 19 Floor, Nan Fung Centre, 264-298 Castle Peak Road, Tsuen Wan

Mobile: (852) 9830-9842
Mobile: (852) 9098-3320

Tel: (852) 3695-0180 (852) 2781-3452
Fax: (852) 3695-0182 (852) 2783-1690

Titan Design Facebook

Monday, August 6, 2012

New Interior Designers Speak

I have occasion to meet and know many fledgling interior designers and I’m convinced that the talent and drive they bring to the profession will raise the bar for the practice of design as well as the design business. Seeing so much promise and opportunity, I’m curious to know what the profession is doing to nurture this new talent. How are we working to recruit the best and the brightest, and once they’re on-board, what are we doing to keep them challenged?

To find out what it’s like for young interior designers working today, and to get their personal perspectives, a colleague and I sat down with a group whose work experience ranged from one to five years. Of the 10 designers we talked to, all are working in a variety of small, medium and large firms in the Midwest; all are graduates from the same interior design program.

When asked why they became interior designers, they agreed that they like being creative, are challenged by the work of creating environments, and enjoy the flexibility and options interior design provides.

Although some design firms discuss mentorship programs as an incentive for potential new employees, few employers actually offer formal mentoring. Yet young people coming into the profession say mentoring would help them. While they often aspire to launch quickly into major design responsibilities, these young designers don’t want to make mistakes. One designer, now her firm’s human resources manager, proudly told us, “We offer mentorships as an incentive for new designers to join us. We want to teach them our ways from the start, and believe that mentoring makes a difference in the success of our internal collaboration and quality of client work.”

But today, it is not unusual for mentoring to go both ways. As the new designers reminded us, they bring unique value to firms that hire them. Like no other generation before them, they have expertise in current design tools such as Revit, BIM modeling, CAD, and Mediascape. These technologies enhance designers’ speed and accuracy at a time when design time and billable hours are shrinking, making their technical expertise a highly valued skill. As one designer put it, “I thought I would have to be in the profession for 10 years to do what I am doing now in only five. My knowledge of new technologies has given me an edge.”

In some cases, academia is ahead of the profession in using the newest software programs. Due to this, top-level designers are often not as skilled in using these tools as those just entering the profession. The group expressed concern for senior members of their firms. Though their superiors have greater in-field knowledge, in the eyes of the new generation the seasoned designers are at a disadvantage due to their lack of experience with technology. Many, in fact, said that they would be willing to up-mentor the tenured designers to help them learn the latest technologies. But it doesn’t appear that there are any formalized programs in place for this to happen. Yet, when I think of combining this reverse mentoring with a traditional mentoring program, I realize it would lead to the generations understanding one another better, as well as benefit the work being done, the client, and the user.

Today’s young designers are sensitive to the fact that the economy dictates market conditions and that they will need to adjust to volatile conditions throughout their careers. They realize the need to be flexible considering the changing market realities of the interior design profession. They also recognize the need for lifelong learning and building experience within various client markets such as healthcare, higher education, and corporate.

As a member of the senior generation, I feel it’s important to guide new designers and help them recognize and learn from the wealth of the interior design experience possessed by their seniors, including deep understanding of clients’ markets, client relationships, and proven design success. But I also recognize the technical skills and willing spirit of the new generation. After all, design is about people and creating environments for the complex creatures that we are. There’s room for growth from both generations and mutual mentoring is key to everyone’s future success.

Georgy Olivieri, MBA, LEED AP, is eastern director of A+D and sustainability strategies for Kimball Office.

See other Metropolis POV pieces by Georgy here -

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Home Renovation Safety

The Four P's in home renovation safety could help to save your life, protect your investment and help make your home a dream home reality...

Please read through our basic safety equipment checklist and tips before starting a project.

AND always carefully read the manufacturers instructions before you use any tools, chemicals or electrical equipment, if in any doubt - seek professional help.

When you start to imagine and plan a project, the first stages are usually Plans and Permits

  • Planning - is the time spent on measuring and feasibility studies of the proposed project to suit your home and lifestyle (often with an architect or engineer)
  • Permits - submit your building application - check up on codes at your local building office to see if your plans will pass inspection - this is vital in making sure that your project adds value to your home as well as improving the quality of your home life.

    ***Also ask them about any home improvement safety advice or leaflets they may have.

  • Protection - The third and most vital "P" is Protection, that includes your own personal protection and that of those around you.

    When you are just starting out on an exciting new project, unfortunately often the last thing on your mind is home renovation safety.

    But - while you are waiting to hear the decision from the local building office - use this time to make sure that you know what home renovation safety equipment you will need and read any home improvement safety information available. Make yourself a home renovation safety shoping list.

Read Manufacturers Instructions

If you are going to use hand or power tools - read all of the labeling, instructions and warnings thoroughly - now instead of skimming over them later when you are busy with contractors, material orders, deliveries etc.

Home Safety Tip - Know what you are doing before you start a phase of your project and know your equipment before you use it.

Home Safety Tip - If there is quite a distance between power supply and what you are working on - only use recommended heavy duty extension cords

Study Products Before you Buy

If you are deciding on which products to use - read the instructions and warnings before you buy to see what home improvement safety equipment and safety measures they recommend when using each and every product.

Check any chemical ingredients and find out how they can affect your family and your home and see if there are any safer, easier to handle alternatives.

Project - the fourth "P" is for your project, so you get the green light and the first thing that you do is...

Go out and actually buy all the home renovation safety equipment that you have on your pre-prepared home renovation safety equipment shopping list!.

Basic Equipment

Again, always follow the manufacturers instructions and safety guidelines, this list is only to remind you of some of the basic home renovation safety equipment you should have at your home before you start your home improvement project:

  • Safety Glasses - whatever work you are doing - your home renovation safety starts with protecting your eyes. There are so many styles to choose from but the most important point is that they protect and are comfortable. If your safety glasses are comfortable you won't be continously reaching to take them off.

    Some of the modern safety glasses come tinted for outdoor use. Prescription safety glasses are an important investment.

    Modern styles can look chic but do they give you adequate protection. I prefer full eye protection for my safety glasses rather than trying to look cool in them, they have an important job to do!.
  • Workgloves - there are different workglove materials for different jobs, for example latex, canvas and rubber gloves for working with chemicals and solvents. other workglove types for working with metals and woods which range from lightweight to heavy duty.
  • Head Protection - Hard Hats are essential once your home converts into a construction site. They are also useful when assessing your attic or basement for conversion - before the work even starts. Always protect your head.

    Basic hard hats are bright so that other people working on site can easily see you. There are also fancy interior design - hard hats painted with logos and flags.

    Some jobs require a hard hat with full face mask.
  • Respirators - breathing in dust and particles is a real hazard and wearing the right type of face mask or respirator is an important part of home renovation safety.

    As soon as you start to use the hammer and chisel or plug in electrical equipment - the first thing to rise is the dust.

    Basic disposable nose and mouth dust and mist masks vital to wear but remember that they are only going to protect you against solid particles and those that are non-oil based.

    Sometimes a full respirator mask is a necessary home improvement safety equipment item, especially for hot and humid environments and when using chemicals.
  • Home Safety Tip - Try not to cut corners with your safety - if you are going to buy disposable masks - buy enough to get you through so that you are never without one when the dust starts to fly - AND - go for masks with a metal nosepiece so that they can adjusted to fit well on any face.
  • Hearing Protection - if you subject your hearing to continued "unprotected" high decibel noise levels - there's a good chance that you are going to incur permanent damage and hearing loss.

    Wear good quality hearing protection.
  • Protective Clothing - Why take risks of burns and rashes when you could be wearing the right sort of protective clothing that is especially design to protect you from chemicals and/or not get caught up in machinery.
  • Ergonomic Products - ergonomics relates to the efficiency of people in their work place, and from studies - some great products have evolved to protect and give your back and joints support while you are working.

Personal protective equipment is a vital part of home renovation safety. Good project planning also plays the important role in knowing what you are doing before you start and giving yourlself enough time so that you are not rushing to finish.

More accidents happen when people are under the pressure of time, it's easier when you are in a hurry to forget vital steps, turning off valves, stabalising equipment, wearing your home renovation equipment.

But, unfortunately accidents do sometimes happen and that is why the following is so important:

  • First Aid Supplies - not only should you have a properly and fully stocked first aid supply box - but it should always be easily accessible. Imagine if something happened and no-one on site could find the first aid supplies because they were buried under a pile of materials that had just arrived!.

    Keep your first aid supplies well stocked and accessible at all times and tell everyone on site where it is located.
  • An Extra Pair of Hands - An important aspect of successful home improvement projects is having the help when you need it. An extra pair of hands is important when lifting heavy objects, helping you secure a ladder, reach difficult to get to areas, supporting materials while you bolt them together - you get the idea.

    It's important not to over extend yourself or go beyond the capabilities of what one person can do.
  • Work Boots - sometimes what really helps you get through a long day on site - safely - is wearing the right kind of work boots, and not just trainers etc.

Toxic materials

While you are waiting for your permit to come through - source the best materials for your proposed project - the least toxic and least harmful for you and your home - this may lead you to save some money as you study all the options available.

If in doubt about products try this government site which is especially for wood safety and Home Improvement Safety when using chemicals and pesticides.

Getting Help - Asbestos & Lead

There are a number of jobs you should NOT do on your own, make sure that you get the help and advice you need regarding any removal of asbestos or lead based paints.

If you home was painted before 1978 (even if someone has painted over the old paint since) - get your home tested - please don't try to remove old lead based paint yourself.

What you will need is a certified lead evaluation and abatement contractor.

The Lead Hazard Abatement Program can help confirm the status of a certified contractor near you, give them a call on (609) 633 6224

You might find it easier to go to this government web site for more advice and Home Renovation Safety Leadbase Information

Remember - your safety and that of those around you should always be more important than your project.

Careful home renovation safety leads to a successful home improvement project.

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