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How 3-D Printing is the Wave of the Future for Interior Design and Architecture

Let's Demystify 3-D Print Technology & How it Impacts the Design Build Community There is exciting news for all you design lovers out there. 3-D Printing is becoming more accessible, more affordable and faster than ever. Still not sure how the process works and can't seem to wrap your head around it? Check out this video above to give you a visual understand of the process. Let's start with the basics. 3-D Printing is a 35 year old additive (key word!) manufacturing process that builds material layer upon layer, and is controlled by a computer. Currently we can print material using wood, plastic, metal, glass and organic material (food and organs!  Yes you heard that right!). This is technology that's going to impact our industry as much as the industrial revolution. A Rococo table, is being 3-D printed using contemporary materials and colors.  A great way to make the old new again. 3-D Design and Printing is here and only getting bigger. In 1995, it was a $295 Million Dollar Industry. In 2014, it grew to a 4.1 Billion Dollar Industry. By 2020, it's projected to be a 21.3 Billion Dollar Industry. According to Ben Uglow of Morgan Standley These are number you can't ignore. There are some titans in the industry who are creating innovative pieces of furniture in a way that is forward thinking and environmentally conscious. Dirk van der Kooij is printing furniture that is Cradle to Cradle using 100% recycled plastic, printing locally and with less environmental impact.  Check out more of his work here. Bram Geenen has streamlined the process to be more efficient using a thin expensive carbon fiber skin that is printed on top of 3-D material without waste. Check his work out here. Lilian van Daal is inspired by nature and Biomimicry.  With her designs, she is changing the shape and feel of furniture being built with 3-D printing so that it's hard where it needs to be (legs for support) and soft in other areas (like the seat and back). There are Still Challenges This isn't a magic box.  You need tools or you need help. Inexperienced designers will need education or an engineer to build the CAD models to then manipulate and customize designs in scale, proportion, material, etc. They haven't perfected the process of the conception to finished product. This is still expensive technology at this phase in the game.  Printers run anywhere between $50,000 to $100,000. How Can You Design Your Own Line?   What's exciting to me about all this is that there is NO barrier to entry.  Currently, if a designer wants to develop their own collection of furniture, they have to work with existing powerful brands who hold the magic key.  As 3-D printers become more accessible, designers can soon create their own line whenever they want, or print one-offs.  It will be like a Kinko's for the design build industry.  This is nearly impossible with expensive traditional manufacturing.  When you design your own piece, it's highly customizable where you can easily change the color, dimension and entire concept. Now Watch This! If you printing furniture blew your mind, check out an entire HOUSE (above). This home was built in 24 hours and only cost $10,000! So Where Are We Going? To the moon, Alice! You heard me.  Norman Foster + Partners has completed a project with robotic arms that will be sent to the moon to 3-D print homes made of moon dust! And now, the sexiest scientist I've ever seen, Neri Oxman.  Neri is a material scientist at MIT and is printing wearable skin embedded with organisms to help humans survive in interplanetary travel. It's crazy! Check out her TED Talk here. Story of Provenance If you've read this far in my blog, that tells me you're interested.  Great!  So now you can participate in the conversation and join the community which is your opportunity to be a part of a new story. In printing your own designs, you can create an emotional connection and customization in your work to share with your clients about being at the forefront of the industry.  That's quite impressive! Because of all this, I've joined the Board at Print the Future which will be the next wave of printing ideas on demand.  We've set up a Pop-Up shop in NYC during the month of March 2017 so you can see the printer with your own eyes. I am incredibly inspired and can't wait to see what the future holds!


Benefits of Standing at Work

How many of us are guilty of sitting like this at work? Our design firm has a holistic approach to living and what we create in our environment, our bodies and our lifestyle.  An office is no exception.  If you think about it, most of us spend a huge amount of time sitting at a desk in front of a computer.  We've been hearing it for years, that sitting stationary for hours at a time has negative effects on our health and that getting up periodically or adding stand up desks has impressive benefits to your health. Health Benefits of Standing at Your Desk 1. Reduced Chance of Obesity 2.  Reduced Chance of Diabetes 3.  Reduced Risk of Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure 4.  Reduced Risk of Cancer 5. Lower Chance of Desk Small things we try to do in our office is take a mid-afternoon break for some exercises: Or other other simple exercises like these:     Your posture should look like this while you're at your desk: Don't worry.  Your desk can be a huge asset to you! We were first turned on to the best of the best in Sit-Stand Desks by one of our high tech clients, but not everyone has the option of purchasing a new desk and some may not have the budget for the Bugatti version. Here are a few options to help maximize your comfort and health benefits while at work: Flexi-Spot Sit-Stand Desktop Work Station This desk workstation is a simple way to give you the same benefits as a sit to stand desk.  The Flexi-Spot is easy to adjust with handles on the sides and 12 height settings (adjustable to reach your individual height). It has a deep surface area for up to 2 monitors plus accessories, and a retractable keyboard tray.  We've been testing this version awhile and it's been steady with solid construction, smooth and easy to operate. A cool design element is the built-in groove for a tablet or phone. Price: $269.99–$349.99 What we Love:  You can place this on any surface to transform it into your own desk workspace.  Built with environmentally friendly materials. What we Suggest: Set an alarm every hour to remind you to stand or sit.  Sometimes you're so focused that you forget to move.  Flexi-Spot has other products, including height adjustable desks, sit-stand-move options, and under desk bikes. Stir Kinetic We first learned about the Mac Daddy of all Sit-Stand desks from one of our awesome high tech clients. Not only does it have a sleek modern design with telescope legs and recessed ports for AC and USB outlets, but it's the technology that really sold us.  The touchscreen interface is within the desk and tracks the usage, movement and data of each person who uses the desk.  Whisperbreath is one of our favorite features.  When it's time to move and get off your seat, the desk will slowly rise then lower 1 inch.  This is a gentle reminder to take a deep breath and transition. Price: $2,990 - $4,990 What we Love:  The technology, hands down, is the most impressive aspect of this desk. What we Suggest: The current models have a very modern design.  We'd love to see more styles on the market. We want to encourage you to move, stand up and breathe, so no matter what your budget is, these desks and desk accessories are a great start living a healthier life.


Compact Wine Coolers for Any Space

Do you Love Wine and Want More of It? 3 Wine Coolers to the Rescue!   Sr. Designer Sara Plaisted, on a recent Design and Wine Italian tour with Adam Japko (of Wine Zag), about to bring home cases filled with her favorite wines.   As wine continues to increase in popularity and our tastes become more refined, it makes sense to want to save your favorite wine for a special occasion without it spoiling. Sorry to say, your regular refrigerator just won't cut it. But maybe you don't have the space in your home (or the budget!) to bring home cases of wine to store in your own wine cellar. Except this this lucky client who has a refrigerated whole room wine cellar: Lori Dennis Interior Design Project: Villa del Sur Construction: SoCal Contractor Before you start... Top 3 Things to Look For in a Wine Cooler 1. Single or Dual Temperature The ideal temperature to store sparkling wines, white and red wine is somewhere between 45º and 60º.  Coolers are available in either single or dual temperature compartments to keep them in their own zone.  Your regular home refrigerator is about 40º, which will be too cold for wine and will also dry up the cork. 2.  Noise and Vibration Nobody wants to have a constant humming appliance in any room in the house.  Another reason your refrigerator won't work for wine storage is because the vibration disrupts the maturation process of the wines.  Think of your wine like a precious sleeping baby - it's best if she sleeps in a dark quiet room with nobody fussing with her. 3.  Racks We all like a little flexibility.  Having adjustable or removable shelves allows you to store big bottles along with regular size bottles.  We also love the seamlessly smooth and fully extendable racks with separate slats that keep the bottles from rolling into each other. No room in your kitchen for a wine cooler? Just build a custom Armoire Bar! And Voila! Let's find you the best bang for your buck! In working with client's budgets big and small, we've compiled a quick list of our 3 favorite wine refrigerators (or wine coolers) for any size and any budget. 1.  Whirlpool Undercounter Wine Cooler for a Modest Budget Surprise!  You can store up to 51 bottles in this 24" wine cooler! Whirlpool offers sizes starting at 15" wide (storing up to 34 bottles) with a single temperature controlled zone - great for those of you who only love either red or white wine. Check out Whirlpool Wine Centers here. 2. Viking:  Under Counter or Full Height Wine Cooler for a Mid to High Range Budget    The Viking Pro Dual Cooling Wine Cellars come in sizes between the undercounter 15"-24" wide  (storing between 25 and 40 bottles), or larger units at 30"wide full height which can store up to 150 bottles.  With soft close hinges, heavy-gauge full extension and smooth glide shelf racks, and alarms when the door is left ajar, Viking offers high value with multiple options. Check out the many options of Viking Wine Cellars here. We added this compact 24" Viking undercounter wine cooler at the end of an island in our a small beach condo kitchen.  These fit great in any lower cabinetry space, or as shown in the armoire above. Using 3 narrow wine coolers, we created this chic home bar in Hollywood Hills on Blue Jay Way. 3. Sub-Zero:  Built In Full Height Wine Cooler for a Larger Budget The Big Daddy of Wine Coolers. It's a close race between the Viking and Sub-Zero wine refrigerators.  However, Sub Zero was the first company to build a storage system for wine and are considered the top of the line in manufacturing of quality and durable products.  These coolers also have two temperature control systems and low vibration, They also have undercounter sizes between 15 and 24 inches wide and full height coolers between 27 and 30 inches wide.  See all Sub-Zero Wine Cooler options here.  Works great in our modern kitchen design with stainless steel exposed finish.  Or as a double unit with custom panel doors.   Who needs milk when you have wine?  Many thanks to our friends at Ferguson who specialize in all ranges of wine coolers, along with appliances, plumbing and lighting!    Don't forget your wine glass! We've tested all the unbreakable wine glasses on the market and have found these to be the best.  They're perfect to take on a picnic, camping or to have around the pool.  Also great for all the clutzes out there who often break a glass simply by washing them in the sink.  (You know who you are.) Purchase here. If you're interested in any of these wine coolers, we'd be happy to help you find the perfect fit for your home.


Big News This Week!

We Had a Fantastic Week Filled With BIG News! Exciting News! Kabuni Acquires Design Campus. After 6 years of labor and love, I have sold Design Campus to the privately held company of Kabuni, a design resource and digital marketplace that links designers with homeowners. Kabuni is awesome for 3 important reasons: 1 - It's strong online platform and phone app bringing together Designers, Homeowners and Artisans. 2 - Kabuni House - a co-working space catering to the Design Build community, a place to network, learn and be inspired. 3 - Social Mission of Building Better Homes for Everyone, where proceeds from their designer marketplace helps to end the cycle of poverty and homelessness. Sold! I'm thrilled to join the team as strategic adviser to help continue and grow the online educational and business platform. Read More HERE   Thank you Ocean Home! Coastal Kitchen Design: Lori Dennis, Inc. Construction: SoCal Contractor Our Coastal Kitchen Project was featured in the latest issue talking all about latest in Kitchen Trends. Read More HERE     Thank you Houzz! Houzz included our modern bedroom in Hollywood Hills in their article on Platform Beds, Bedtime Stories. Having a low-profile platform bed maximizes warmth next to  a cozy fireplace. Thank you again to Kabuni, Ocean Home Magazine and Houzz!


Decorilla names Lori Dennis as Top Interior Designer in Los Angeles

Thank you Decorilla! Decorilla has just named Lori Dennis, Inc. The Top Interior Designer in Los Angeles. We are so thrilled to be recognized by Decorilla for our expertise and design inspiration throughout Los Angeles. "WHAT WE LOVE: Lori is a design powerhouse." Check out the post from Decorilla!


Pantone is Feeling Fresh with the 2017 Color of the Year

PANTONE Color of the Year 2017   GREENERY This shade of lemongrass green is a perfect color choice for the new year. It brings a feeling of balance, harmony and renewal, promoting peace, reassurance and restorative energy. Let's all say aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Our philosophy in interior design has always been to bring the outdoors in, to add touches of nature to our immediate surroundings and to create an environment rich with wellness. Here are a few examples of how we've incorporated green into our designs over the years: Delicate and Sophisticated Wallcovering makes this Powder Room feel luxurious. Simply adding lush plants and flowers to any room immediately adds texture, dimension and beauty. A bold stripe of green runs down these facing sofas and pillows. Fresh pops of green in a kitchen backsplash and stools. A soothing built-in banquette sofa in the Master Suite. A pop of green on the glass counter in this His and Hers bathroom and closet. A simple tape trim on this crisp white bedding adds a touch of elegance. No better way to relax and unwind that in a warm bath surrounded by nature. And now, a little something for your Flashback Friday: My tiny baby girl, Elle Yerushalmi, when she was only 3 months old, learning the art of relaxation in her nursery. For ideas on how to mix and match Greenery, here are a few Color Schemes from Pantone: We hope this inspires you to bring in your own touches of green into your life and into your home!


7 Great Tips for Hosting Guests During the Holidays

Hosting for the Holidays? Here are 7 GREAT Tips (plus a bonus) To Make Your Guests Feel Right at Home. 1 Create a Beautiful and Festive Entry 2 Leave A Luggage Rack So Guests Can Keep Their Belongings Stored and Off the Floor 3 Have Your WiFi Access and a Free Outlet / USB Available for Charging 4 Offer Organic Toiletries and Supplies in the Bathroom 5 Have A Soft Cozy Robe and Plenty of Towels Available 6 Light a Lovely Fresh Smelling Candle 7 Make the Night Stand Welcoming with Books for Casual Reading, Fresh Flowers and A Light. Offer Plenty of Pillow and Blanket Options for Guests Who Like To Sleep Light or Hot. BONUS! Leave a Carafe of Water and Glass Near the Bedside. We Wouldn't Want Anyone Feeling Parched. Any (or all) of these ideas will be sure to help your guests completely comfortable in your home this holiday season!


What is the 2017 Color of the Year?

Benjamin Moore's Pick for 2017 COLOR OF THE YEAR Shadow Last year, Benjamin Moore selected Simply White as color of the year.  As the months went on, they were getting a bit antsy and felt drawn to something deeper and richer.  In thinking about the play between light and dark, and how objects change from sunrise to sunset, Benjamin Moore set their eyes on Shadow. More than just a color, it's soft.  It's moody.  It's a dance.   All the beauty of life is made of light and shadow - Leo Tolstoy Shadows are the echo of an object between the surface and light source. Light is beautifully filtered through the room, casting shadows that add another layer of texture to the space. As the sun moves throughout the sky, shadows change shape. Ethereal shadows of glass. Shadow 2117-30 Ode to Aubergine Ombre of deep and royal amethyst. Where have we seen this rich aubergine? Women's Fashion Inspired by Nature In Men's Fashion In sultry home decor mixed with wood, leather and splash of white. If purple isn't really your thing, try adding just a splash and see how you like it.  It looks bright and fresh when paired with white or light grey. A striking color scheme to use with Aubergine is a light green: Contrasting light colors with dark is bold in this landscape design. Deep purple orchid with dewy green background. Purple has long stood for Wealth, Royalty, Luxury, Spirituality, Creativity, Mystery and Magic. Paired with a mossy green. A mix of bronze, purple and taupe create a calm and peaceful bedroom. I'm curious to see what home furnishing will be popping up next year with various shades of Shadow.  Lighting, rugs, upholstered furniture and plenty of accessories will range from a sweet lilac to a deep dark eggplant. Set the mood for your space and see how you feel with a little shadow. Design Teams of Lori Dennis and SoCal Contractor at the debut party of Benjamin Moore.


Fabulous Dining Rooms and Fun Table Settings

Flashback Friday! Our Favorite Dining Rooms We've been working with our clients lately to prepare table settings for the fall holidays.  All this planning and preparation has us thinking about some of our favorite dining rooms from past projects.  While these are not necessarily in the fall theme, they're a great inspiration for any style you feel drawn to.  Pick and choose for favorite and have fun with it! In our Hollywood Hills dining room, we added fresh pomegranates for a pop of color. One of our more casual Breakfast Nooks at Villa del Sur. Fill the table with white serving pieces and let the food be the star! In this formal dining room, we added big beautiful purple hydrangeas that not only look and smell great, but add texture to the table. This sexy bachelor's dining room table is topped with organic succulents and moss. Nothing says classic more than blue and white in this transitional dining room.  Sprinkle in accents of gold to bring the luxury up a notch. When the table is not set, simply add a group of topiaries to add height, color and texture. And because we're in California, we can't forget about those indoor outdoor dining spaces. A sweet little outdoor retreat off a master bedroom suite. We love the bold linens, white vases with different textured designs and a water dispenser filled with lemon and rosemary. Powerful pops of orange with blue accents fill the table of this Spanish Style home.   This table was all about color, and lots of it! We took our color inspiration from the Andalusian cement tiles in this custom table top. We hope you enjoyed our Flashback Friday in Dining Rooms.  Now go have fun creating your own special tablescape!


How to Hire an Architect or Interior Designer, Part III

Welcome to the Final Post about How to Hire and Architect or Interior Designer. Let’s re-cap what we’ve discussed so far: 1 – What’s the Difference Between an Architect and an Interior Designer? Laying out the differences and similarities and who each professional can do what for your project. 2 – How do I Find an Architect or Interior Designer? 4 key places to find your perfect match. 3 – Pick Up the Phone Tips and preparation before your initial conversation. 4 – Meet your Architect or Interior Designer The importance of this face to face meeting. 5 – Understanding the Interior Designer or Architect’s Process Their approach on how they will work through your project. 6 – Defining the Services of an Architect or Interior Designer What services to expect from the beginning to the end of a project. To read our previous blogs, see Part I and Part II of Hiring an Architect or Interior Designer PART III #7 It’s the Digital Age, baby. How do I know what my project will look like? How do designers and architects envision what they want to create in a space and then describe it to their client?  It’s hard for most people to visualize.  Thankfully, there are a variety of approaches to tackling this issue so that the designer can explain visually what’s going on in their head and translate it into something you can see and understand.  With large scale projects (and often larger budgets), a 3D Model or computer rendering is presented in the early phases to help you get an idea of what your space could look like.  This is a key portion of the design phase where the architect can build it all virtually before they break ground with actual construction.  With smaller budgets this may not be feasible, so you might be presented with examples of other finished designs and styles that similar in look and feel.  In the early stages, ask if this is something you’ll be provided, or if there will be an additional fee. We’re in the 21st Century and technology allows us to communicate much more easily and efficiently.  You can email or post your favorite inspiration images and send them directly to your Architect or Designer, or as we prefer - save them in Pinterest or a Houzz Idea Book for easy reference.  Designers and Architects can then also present concepts and designs online when you’re working across the country or around the world. #8 So let’s talk money. How much is an Architect or Interior Designer? In a previous blog (here) we’ve talked about the cost of hiring an Interior Designer, but here's a brief recap. Something to think about – Architects or Designers who offer the lowest bid might only provide minimal work, or might up-charge down the road.  The lowest cost is not always the best idea and quite often is more expensive in the long run.  Remember, you get what you pay for. Hourly Much like a lawyer or other service professionals, Interior Designers or Architects might charge by the hour for the time they spend working on your project.  Ask for an estimate of the time they feel it might take so you’re prepared for what the cost range will be.  If there are any project changes or additions, nothing will need to be renegotiated in your contract. Flat Fee Flat fees are most commonly used on larger scale projects.  The Architect or Interior Designer will give you a quote with their fee structure along with a list of services and time line within your scope.  This is the most transparent in terms of fees and expectations.  This structure will account for the amount of time it will take to complete your project, and will also come with restrictions on how many revisions are included.  It's important to ask how many design revisions or change orders are permitted and what that cost will be. Percentage An Architect typically charges between 15%-20% of the total construction budget.  Let's say your budget is $1,000,000, then your architect might charge about 18%, or $180,000.  Note: if your budget increases, so does the fee. Project Cost The Total Cost of a project is Hard Costs (Construction) plus Soft Costs (Fees and Inspections).  It’s safe to assume that soft costs will be another 25%-30% of the hard costs.   #9 Build It and They Will Come Now, Where Do I Find a Builder? Your Architect or Designer may refer you to a builder they prefer working with and have had a successful relationship in the past.  Or you may bring your own builder into the project.  Whatever path you decide, you will have a separate contract with the builder and they will act as a partner on your project along with you and your Architect or Interior Designer.  It’s helpful to have a builder on the team during the design phase of pre-construction.  They will offer their feedback on feasibility and costs within your budget. Find an Interior Designer on Houzz or ASID Find an Architect on Houzz or AIA Find a Builder on Houzz Find a General Contractor on Houzz Best of luck building your dream team to create one of your biggest and most beautiful investments! To read our previous blogs, see Part I and Part II of Hiring an Architect or Interior Designer


Rad Teen Room Ideas

  Thank you Shutterfly for featuring our bedroom design for Rad Teen Room Ideas! Are you looking for ways to make your teen's bedroom reflect them and their interests? Use their easy to navigate filters to check out 75 more Ideas for Boys or Girls Teen Bedrooms with styles like Classic, Global, Modern or Rustic. Have fun!


Ideas From 10 Trending Living Rooms on Houzz

A big THANK YOU to Houzz for including us in their Ideas From 10 Trending Living Rooms   This decorating post talks about all the latest trends from top interior designers on Houzz - like wallpapering the ceiling for a dynamic pop, creating a calm color palette through the use of tone on tone, or making a statement with an eye catching chandelier.  Check out more ideas and see what works best in your home!


Luxurious Moments Happen in the Details – INEX Magazine

Thank you  in+ex Magazine  (pg 14) for publishing our work this month! In our interview we talk about Design Inspiration, Keys for Designing High-End Interiors, Design Advice, and Featured Projects Bond at the Beach and Villa del Sur.


How to Hire an Architect or Interior Designer, Part II

If you’ve been following our blog about How to Hire and Architect or Interior Designer, let’s re-cap what we’ve discussed so far. 1 – What’s the Difference Between an Architect and an Interior Designer? Covering the differences and similarities and who can do what for your project. 2 – How do I Find an Architect or Interior Designer? We suggest 4 key places to find your perfect match. 3 – Pick Up the Phone Where we offer tips and preparation before your initial conversation. Catch Up with Part I here. Part II   #4 Meet your Architect or Interior Designer Once you’ve had a positive introductory conversation with your Designer or Architect and you’re interested in learning more about them, it’s time to set up a meeting.  This can either be at their office or more importantly at your site.  This face to face meeting will give you an idea of their personality and point of view.  From this moment on, you are entering into a significant relationship.  Clear, open and transparent communication will be the key to your success.   #5 Understanding the Interior Designer or Architect’s Process Does the Vision of the Architect or Designer Appeal to You? Are they creative?  Do you like their point of view? Are they listening to you and what you want to do? Does their work excite you?  Are they logical? How Will Your Interior Designer or Architect Approach your project? Once you’ve walked through the space, have them explain their step by step process from the design concept to construction or installation.  Don’t be shy.  Ask questions when you need a better understanding.  Now is the time for clarification so you are all on the same page and there won’t be any confusion or misunderstandings later. Do They Provide You With Drawings? In order to have your project estimated and remodeled or built, the Contractor or Builder will need a set of Construction Drawings.  These are a necessity and filled with clear instructions on how the Architect or Designer communicates their design. #6 Defining the Services of an Architect or Interior Designer Services can be divided into various phases.  Not all Architects or Designers provide the following services, so be sure when you are interviewing and evaluating proposals that you understand which services will be included in their fees. 1 – Needs Analysis or Programming This is an important step that will create a roadmap to guide you through the project.  Your Designer or Architect will conduct a series of interviews and field measurements of the space.  In this process, you will work together to build goals and priorities, budget and feasibility. This is the most important step no matter the size of the project and will allow you to move forward with confidence and clarity.  It is in your best interest to be as clear and honest with your Designer or Architect so they are set in the right direction, otherwise you could both be spinning your wheels. *Something to note: It’s not a good idea to make plans for a big party or to move out of an existing home based on timeline estimates.  Unforeseen situations tend to come up when you least expect it, whether it’s discovering wood rot in the walls, delays in permits and inspections, or furniture stuck on a shipping container at sea.  It’s best to give yourself plenty of wiggle room and roll with the punches. 2 – Problem Solving or Concept Development Now that your goals, priorities, budget and feasibility are established, you’ll start to see your project come to life.  This is one of the more exciting phases where you are presented with the vision of how your project could look.  You’ll be presented with a variety of drawings and space plans that will help you visualize how your project will look and what it might cost to achieve these ideas.  Be honest if you’re not into something, but also be open to new ideas and solutions.  Trust that you hired them for their creativity and experience.  You might be pleasantly surprised! 3 – Solution Development or Design Development Now is the time where you’ll be presented with all the things you can touch, feel and see like material samples, plumbing fixtures and appliances, hardware, furniture, fabric and lighting.  By working through the previous steps of interviewing and concept development, your Architect or Designer has modified and refined their vision and are now presenting you with more custom details for your project.  Your selections from these options presented should fit into your drawings and budget.  Finalized construction documents, specification sheets, and schedules will be completed and a list of items will be given for your approval for the competitive bidding and purchasing phase. 4 – Purchasing Phase This is the administrative and back-end phase of the project, where your Designer or Architect will order all the finish items for your project.  Some work different than others – some have the builder or contractor do the purchasing, some pay for items and are reimbursed by you, some use your credit card so you pay the vendors directly, some mark-up items and charge a lower fee and others charge what feels like a higher fee but don’t mark-up items, therefore extending the designer savings on to you.  Ask what their process is during the interview phase so you’re not surprised.  They will coordinate with various vendors to monitor the details of the order, delivery schedule, conditions upon arrival and any damage or defective items that need to be replaced.  They will also work with the storage and distribution warehouse or job site for the deliveries. 5 – Implementation or Construction Step by step the Builder or Contractor is using what your Architect or Interior Designer has designed for you in the construction drawings, schedules and specifications of plumbing and appliances, hardware, finishes and lighting fixtures.  They might also be overseeing this process at site visits and meetings with the trades to make sure their designs are being installed and implemented as they envisioned and constructed as according to their plans. 6 – Project Completion, Walk Through and Punch List As with any project, there will be some tweaking and refining along the way.  When the time comes where it gets closer to completion, the builder or contractor will do a walk-thru with the design team and client to note what needs to be finished or touched up.  This is the time where they will explain the ins and outs of the space, including features and operations of various systems and components, responsibilities for maintenance and upkeep.  You can finally begin to exhale and start enjoying the transformation. Now you're a few steps closer to understanding how to make the best decisions in hiring an Architect or Interior Designer and getting a grasp on how things work. Stay tuned for the final Part 3 on How to Hire an Architect or Interior Designer. Next Up: #7 The Digital Age of Design #8 How Much do Interior Designers and Architects Charge? #9 Who Will Hire the Builder or Contractor?


How to Hire an Architect or Designer, Part I

So you want to remodel your home and you're not sure where to start.  Don't panic.  We're here to help guide you through the steps of starting your project and will point you in the right direction. If this is your first time, the whole process of building your dream might make you a little nervous. Just relax and read up on our 3 Part Series that will help you along the process. Depending on what you'd like to do, you will mostly likely need a Builder or Contractor and an Architect or Interior Designer. #1 What is the Difference Between an Architect and an Interior Designer? While they each have their own special skills, they often overlap in certain areas.  A simplified description might be that Architects focus on the exterior and structure of a building, and Interior Designers focus on the interior (and sometimes exterior).  If you're interested in adding on to your home, you will most likely also need a Structural Engineer.  Both Architects and and most Interior Designers have years of training and are certified to design all types of buildings - not only homes.  They have studied design, architecture, construction, building codes and sustainability.  Both will redesign and move interior walls, plumbing and electrical, and create computer generated construction plans and elevations.  Both specify finish materials for your walls and floors and oversee the progress in construction.  And both focus on beautiful form, function, needs and safety of the users. It's common for people to assume Interior Designers are merely decorators.  While it's true that designers have an impeccable eye for aesthetics, more importantly they are designing how you use and feel within a space.  They create a space plan and appropriately select furniture, lighting, drapery, art, color, texture and finishes so your space feels rich and layered. Looking for a Professional who is a Green Design Expert? Look for an Architect or Interior Designer who is LEED AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional).  Designers and Architects who are LEED certified have advanced knowledge and training in the world of green design and are one step ahead in creating a healthy space for you. If you're interested, I happened to write the book on Green Interior Design which will help you create beautiful interiors while lessening the waste and pollution generated by the building industry.   #2 How Do I Find an Architect or Interior Designer? Word of Mouth This is one of the best ways to look for a professional to help you with your space.  Ask your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues.  Reach out to your online community on Facebook or Nextdoor. Online Check out sites like Houzz or The Franklin Report and Look for Pros in your area. Local Chapters  These organizations are a great source for finding licensed Architects and Interior Designers near you. AIA (American Institute of Architects) ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) IIDA (International Interior Design Association) Websites Once you've narrowed down your search to a handful of Designers or Architects, look through their website. Does their work excite you?  Do you have a similar design style you're interested in? Really think about the kind of space you want and start collecting images.  You can easily start an Ideaboard on Houzz, Pinterest or your own computer files.  Having images you like will help you visualize and begin the creative path.      #3 Pick Up The Phone When you have your list of people you'd like to potentially work with, it's time to start a conversation. Be Prepare to Answer Questions About Your Project: What is the style of your space? When was it built? How many square feet is it? What are your goals with the project? (Would you like to add on? Remodel the kitchen and bathrooms?  Add new windows, doors, flooring, paint and lighting? Do you need new furniture or will you bring in your old items into a fresh space?) What is your personal style? What are your priorities What is on your Wish List? What is your budget? (They ask not so they can spend every dime, but so they know what level of work to be done and finishes they can specify.) When would you like the project to be completed? (They should be able to give you a rough estimate of how long this might take.)  These 3 Tips should be enough to get you started. Stay tuned for Part II and Part III on How to Hire an Architect or Interior Designer. Next Up: #4 Meet Your Architect or Interior Designer #5 Understand the Designer's Process #6  What are the Architect's or Interior Designers's Services #7  The Digital Age of Design #8  How Much do Interior Designers and Architects Charge? #9  Who Will Hire the Builder or Contractor


Wood vs. Porcelain Tile

Are you in love with the look of solid wood flooring for your home but think it may be out of your budget? It's time to re-think porcelain tile because it's come a long way, baby! Psssst.....this isn't wood Let's face it, wood is fantastic.  It's classic.  You can dress it up or down, and it's always in style. But now we have other options. And we like options! Now you can get all the look of wood for a fraction of the cost. We've been incredibly impressed with the appearance, endurance and price point of porcelain tile over the years and as the technology keeps getting better and better (you look maaaahvelous!) it's now a strong contender as a wood alternative on floors and walls. Below are some photos of some of our projects using wood and porcelain tile. See if you can tell the difference. (Wood) This project had real wood flooring throughout. But what about the bathroom?  Don't you worry about spills or floods? Nope. Porcelain tiles are perfect in wet/dry or indoor/outdoor areas. Bathrooms and Laundry rooms are ideal, and they're ideal for spaces that have radiant heating. (Porcelain Tile) Porcelain tile is stain and fade resistant and extremely durable - almost twice as hard as wood and stronger than ceramic tile. The wood look matches the grain and distress of natural wood. (Wood) (Tile) Try it on the walls and give your bathroom a laid back, casual style. (Porcelain Tile Walls) (Porcelain Tile Walls) Check out this herringbone layout we used in a lounge / pool side cabana. (Porcelain Tile) There aren't many downsides to using porcelain tile instead of solid wood.  Just make sure you use a qualified tile installer and you're set!


Before and After: Dining Room, Kitchen and Master Bedroom

 And now for another segment of Before and After! Let's start with one of our recent full home remodels. Home Chef Master Makeover Our wonderful clients (who we LOVE LOVE LOVE) wanted to keep the same layout of the kitchen, but really bring it up a notch.  They are extraordinary home chefs and wanted the best of the best in appliances, like a salamander and the first ever US imported Freddy Blast Chiller. The face lift really brightened the kitchen with new floors, custom cabinetry, hood, counters and backsplash, not to mention appliances by Wolfe, Miele, Blue Star and Irinox Freddy (the Italy import story was featured in Robb Report). Bachelor Master Room Makeover This next project was for a bachelor looking for a sexy and dramatic bedroom makeover. Inspired by the East, we completely transformed his basic room into something extravagant. We added black lacquer wall panel and molding with a dark charcoal grasscloth wallcovering, and covered the ceiling in black and gold wallpaper.  His existing rug was trimmed with red velvet and we kept his vintage dresser that he purchased at an auction (beating out Mick Jagger!).  New light fixtures, custom bedding, art and drapery completed the look. Modern Moroccan Makeover This bathroom was sweet as is but not as functional for a young family. The house was originally built in the 1920's, and this modest bathroom had limited storage and function. Our clients wanted a Modern Moroccan feel that would go along with the Spanish style of the home. Here you'll see a neutral color scheme in the Encaustic floor tiles, Andalusian Ogee white wall tiles and hammered metal vanity.  A Moroccan Mirror was re-purposed into the face of a medicine cabinet and was built to slide to the left or right for accessibility.  The overscale pendants were painted a bright turquoise to match the mirror and the gold star ceiling fixture was the cherry on top. Bonus Cost Effective Do-It-Yourself Makeover… If you don't have a lot of space for entertaining in your dining room and it feels a little drab, try these next steps . . . Add a coat of fresh paint and some value engineering. Build (or buy) a bench to create your own built-in seating. Slip cover the base, a few chairs, and add seat cushions and pillows. Still want more?  Tape up your walls and add stripes for a custom fun look.  Choose colors from your accent pillows. Now you're ready for entertaining! What will you do this weekend to freshen up your home this Spring?


Stone vs. Porcelain Tile

Stone is ageless, totally timeless and beautiful. If you're looking for Marble, Granite, Limestone, Travertine or Slate for your home, take a look at Porcelain Tile. It's really stepping up to the plate. (Tilebar) Porcelain tiles installed in a stacked pattern with polished finish for the ultimate modern style. When this "stone-like" alternative first came on the scene years ago, it was incredibly unimpressive. The technology just wasn't there yet and it looked highly pixelated. Nowadays, there are manufacturers who are producing such high quality tile, it will make you do a double take. You'll see the same aesthetics but without the maintenance hassle or price tag. (Stonepeak) Large Porcelain tile slabs installed as a bookmark application in the shower.  What a focal piece! Porcelain tile is stronger than Stone and less expensive to install.  (Make sure you have a quality installer). Like Stone, Porcelain tile contains color throughout so don't worry - a chip won't be as noticeable as it would in ceramic tile. (Tilebar) Calacatta marble look installed in a staggered pattern with a honed finish. Not only is Porcelain tile a nice alternative to Stone, but now it's available in slabs which expands the possibilties! This is awesome for large surfaces and counters, where solid surface quartz and Caesarstone have been dominating the field for quite some time. (Stonepeak) We're so impressed with the Stonepeak slabs used as counters. The large scale tile on the floor and walls is stunning. (Stonepeak) (Stonepeak) (Stonepeak) (Tilebar) Slate look in Porcelain Tile.


Top 10 Best Interior Designers

We are thrilled to be included in the TopTeNY's list of Top 10 Most Creative Interior Designers in the world. After scouring the globe, Lori Dennis, Inc. is among a group of elite designers like Kelly Hoppen, Karim Rashid, Marcel Wanders and Kelly Wearstler. Check out the list below and see other creative designs from the world's top interior designers. 10.  Olivia Ann Calleja 9.  Patricia Urquiola 8.  Robeson Design 7.  Lori Dennis 6.  Karim Rashid 5.  Phillipe Starck 4.  Marcel Wanders 3.  Martha O’Hara 2.  Kelly Hoppen 1.  Kelly Wearstler Thank you again TopTeny for including us! Read full article here.


Stage to Sell – Top 5 Tips on Home Staging

It only takes a few seconds to make a first impression. Staging your house to sell requires a completely different approach than how you might decorate your home.  For starters, think of it as property - a house that you would like to sell rather than the home you like to live in.  Changing those 2 words (House and Home) in your vocabulary will do wonders to your perspective.  Just like when you sell your car, if you want a maximum on your return, you fix a few things that show wear and tear, remove personal belongings and give it a deep detailed cleaning.  Your goal should be to sell your house in the least amount of time for more than the asking price. Here are a few STATS: - The cost of staging is typically between 1% and 3% of the list price and generates about 8% to 10% return. - Staged homes sell 50% - 80% faster than un-staged home, eliminating carrying costs. These 2 items alone support the argument that staging pays for itself. - 90% of buyers first view potential homes on the internet and form an opinion within 7 seconds of seeing it. Knowing this, staging your home to not only look great in person but also in photographs is key. Follow these Top 5 Tips on Home Staging and get into the mindset of potential home buyers: 1.  De-Clutter and Edit Remember Coco Chanel's famous quote: "Once you've dressed, and before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off."  The same applies in this situation.  Less is more.  Way more.  When people walk into the space, they want it to feel inviting, comfortable, peaceful and clean.  Remove furniture that is crammed into a room.  Take out personal photographs, memorabilia and chachkies that add unnecessary layers.  Clear off your counters of stacks of mail or things to be put away.  People want to want to see the house and architecture, not your things, and they want to be able to envision themselves living in your house and making it their home. 2.  It's not Personal Your overall goal would be to appeal to the masses, so keep it neutral.  Your space should be attractive to both men and women, young and older, and cross cultural.  You wouldn't want to exclude any potential buyer.  Think of it like this - you're selling the most delicious vanilla ice cream. But that doesn't mean that it has to be boring.  Clean and contemporary paint colors that won't scare people off would be a warm white or soft grey. 3.  Rearrange Existing Furniture Create an open floor plan in the public spaces so the room feels larger.  Place furniture in a symmetrical layout so it implies balance and peace. 4. Time to Update Perhaps it's been awhile since you've fixed up your place, so it might need a little make-over.  If your budget is tight, simply clean the house, de-clutter and rearrange the furniture making everything feel lighter and brighter.  Replace your sofa pillows, bedding, bathroom towels and shower curtain and purchase new planter pots for the front and backyard.  If you have a little money to spend you could revive the landscaping, replace the light fixtures and update the plumbing and electrical systems to current standards.  With an even more flexible budget, you could paint the exterior and interior.  Paint is always the biggest bang for your buck and makes a home feel completely new again.  Purchasing new flooring or lightly remodeling the kitchen and bathroom will give you more return on your investment.  Remember to keep it neutral with your selections, perhaps with a transitional, broad style that appeals to the masses.  Now is not to time to get fancy - you can do that in your next home. 5.  Hire a Stager and Rent Furniture Why hire a home stager?  You may not have the time to stage your home yourself, especially if it's completely empty, or  maybe you're just at a complete loss as to where to start.  Or maybe you think your home is fine the way it is, in all it's stunning glory.  Well, it might be helpful to get an outside eye with a fresh perspective.  Depending on your needs, you can hire a stager for a few hours to give you quick tips and help you rearrange and edit, or pay them a flat fee and they will stage a few rooms or the whole house.  We promise you, it'll be worth every penny.  When your house sells faster than you ever imagined and you're toasting with your celebratory glass of champagne, you'll be thanking me later.


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Lori Dennis is a top Interior Designer, speaker, best selling author, star of HGTV’s The Real Designing Women and co-founder of Design Campus.

 

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