Monday, January 30, 2012

Office Space

The only time the Mister (Ron) and I "work together" is when he decides to work from home. I love these days as we tend to get a lot done separately, but it's nice to call the other over to ask an opinion. I always thought we'd be good work partners in the future, and we are always dreaming up new business ventures or projects together...we'll shall see!

Ron certainly has a very creative side, and although he is a "consultant," his firm is very creative in their business model and approach to solving problems. They use a lot of visual tools such as capturing a meeting's outcomes through the use of graphic facilitation. The firm is also getting ready to undergo a rather large renovation to make the space larger, more functional and aesthetically speak more to their brand. They are using OTJ Architects who are a group of wildly talented designers, and they have come up with an impressive space design.

The interior design aspect of it needed a bit of tweaking, so Ron asked me to come on board to help collaborate with the overall vision. Ron is a founding partner, so I've been in and around conversations relating to their brand and aesthetic. I love that he is passionate about this piece of the design and we share an appreciation for aesthetically pleasing environments. We met together with the architects last week to revise the interior plan a bit. It was so much fun working together on this, and it made me inspired to write a post about how important the design of a workspace plays into not only productivity but just being excited to go to work every day!

I think DC, historically, has been labeled as a either a cubicle world or with a good ol' boy traditional aesthetic. However, things are changing, and I'm excited to see the recent introduction of more creative, modern work spaces. My first job was in cubicle land, and the design-minded part of me hated it! It was so uninspiring and mundane. I still remember walking in and thinking, "How do you come to an office like this every day for 10+ years!" Thankfully, I was only there for about 2 years. Being young and not yet clued-in that interior design was my calling, I chose my next job based on 60% "the job" and 40% on location and aesthetic. I know, it sounds shallow - but my work environment directly correlates to my productivity! I swear. I ended up landing at a fun, nonprofit consulting company that created strategic development plans and planned large fundraising dinners and events. I loved it. Even better - the office was house in an old carriage house in Georgetown and my workspace was in a large room with windows all down one wall. I looked forward going to work every day even if I had a stressful schedule that day. I was motivated by my workspace.

I think a space needs to be creative and exciting regardless if the company you work for is in an artistic field or not. Your space says a lot to your clients when they walk in the door - it's your first impression.

via Inc.

A new medical group, One Medical Group, has come to realize the importance about the design of their space. They offer wonderful health care in a beautiful, relaxing space. Gone are the cold, hard chairs in the white and brown waiting room. Instead, they offer flannel robes and soft sheets in a colorful, fresh setting. Sign me up!

Interior design is not just for homes - it affects all areas of life. And I bet, even if you are a pure function over design type person, that you would choose to work at the "prettier" office :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I'd like to make an introduction....

Virginia Johnson, meet my
five readers. Readers, meet Virginia Johnson.

Virginia, who graduated from Parson's and worked for Helmut Lang, as come to be well known in the fashion world for her illustrations. It's no surprise that Kate Spade scooped her up as her illustrations are a perfect visual display of the Kate Spade brand. In 2001, she began her own line of textiles and books where she creates designs using watercolor which are then silk screened onto scarfs, bags, clothes, children's wear and home wear.

I may be late to the ball game, but I just discovered the famed illustrator and textile-creator, Virginia Johnson. It all started when I went to the book signing for Deborah Needleman's new book, The Perfectly, Imperfect Home. I salivated over the interior illustrations, and immediately googled the illustrator. Thanks to the web, I was opened to the world of Virginia Johnson where I discovered she had done work for Kate Spade - fitting!

Then, it wasn't until my recent trip to New York where Viriginia and I met again. I was roaming around the John Derian store, and picked up the most STUNNING scarf. I oohed and aahed over it. Then as if the stars aligned, I noticed the scarf was signed, Virginia Johnson. How could this be? I could now find constant enjoyment of her work by wearing it every day! Alas, the price tag beckoned for $195 buckaroos. Having already spent way too much in the Big City, I pushed myself out of the store without said scarf in hand. I have continued to dream about it, and am now considering making the purchasing plunge since it's 30% off on her site. I told the Mister that this would be an investment piece. He scoffed when I said "investment" as there is no financial return on investment. However, I beg to differ - the return on investment is pure joy every day.

images 1/2/3/4/5/6/7

Monday, January 16, 2012

Blank Canvas Day

This Saturday I'm teaming up with Cary Umhau and Joey Katona who are the creators of a new movement called Spacious to lead a very fun event. Cary and Joey launched this initiative a few months ago, and their vision is one that every person NEEDs to be a part of!

The Spacious mission says it all, "We’re engaged in a playful revolution to help people bust out of the straitjackets, cubicles and little boxes we all find ourselves in from time to time." Their vision is to help people realize that there is more to life, but in order to discover what else is out there we have to be willing to have fun, engage with people who may not be carbon copies of ourselves, challenge ourselves to do new and even unusual things....or as Spacious eloquently puts it "bust out of our straitjackets, cubicles and little boxes."

I love this idea, and it may seem a bit radical for some folks, but those are probably the folks who really need to experience some Spaciousness in their lives.

So what is this intriguing event going on this Saturday you may ask? Well, it's called Blank Canvas Day. It's a bit of a mix between a party, art therapy, and reuniting with your inner child. I was inspired to do this event because so many of us (artists or not) have a fear of starting....of putting the first dollop of paint on the canvas, or typing the first letter on a Word document, or even reaching out and just saying hello to someone. We fear we'll fail, or do it wrong, so we don't do anything at all, and that is where we miss out on the "more" part of life.

Even as an interior designer where my job requires me to be creative every day and churn out new ideas, I can get paralyzed when I've hit a creative block or my perfectionistic tendencies win out and I just can't move forward. However, I tend to break through when I take the pressure off myself, go for a walk, and just start creating design schemes. I can then take my time to edit, change, move, fix, etc. But I have to start somewhere...

So this Saturday, we plan to do just that - challenge each other to just start. It's going to involve a bit of play, some drawing, some painting, and some laughing. At the end of our time together, my hope is that people will walk away a bit freer, a bit more lighter and ready to just start somewhere!

Space is limited and if you'd like to sign up you can do so here.

I hope to see some of you on Saturday!

images 1/2/3

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I ♡ New York

I returned from NYC on Sunday night with an extra pep in my step, a desire to move there and a brain flowing with creative motivation. The trip was just what I needed to get this new year off to a good start. I've decide that I'm going to start budgeting in at least 3 trips to NYC a year for professional development/inspiration! We had a super productive weekend, and I thought I'd do a quick recap of the weekend via my iPhone photos.

We started our mornings off with large, nutritious breakfasts. I had the best Florentine Benedict at Alice's Tea Cup paired with lavender and bergamot Earl Grey tea.

We admired the fabulous, outrageous architecture of this building - can you imagine that being your office building? You'd feel inspired every day you walked in!

Took short breaks to do a little clothes shopping. I fell in love with this mohair coat at Paul Smith's.

Was tempted do a little shopping for Max and considered purchasing these PUGZ for him until the Mister put the kabosh on them.

Fell in love with the wallpaper and feminine little chair in the Paul Smith dressing room.

Swooned over this wool and silk rug at ABC Carpet and Home. I need a project where I can use this stunning piece of art work! Photos don't do it justice.

Loved the simple design of this high chair and the fact that it allows the child to color all over it using crayons. Brilliant!

Dreamed of purchasing this punchy print at Paul Smith's. Anything with a sketched or watercolor quality makes me weak at the knees.

Stopped for a late lunch at The Smile. I'm obsessed with not only the food but the ambiance of this quaint little restaurant.

Was inspired by this wall hanging at John Derian's. You can never have enough decoupage!

And of course John Derian even has cool hardware on his front doors. I'd love to use these in someone's home.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

In Need of an Inspirational Weekend

This week has felt like I've been slogging through it. I still am not back on my regular sleep schedule, which affects me greatly. My body is one that needs a sleep routine much like a newborn baby. We had one of our water mains break yesterday afternoon, which caused me to spend the afternoon in my Hunter boots with a mop, and all the towels we own dashing around trying to soak up the 1" water all over our basement (and tenant's apartment) floor. Thankfully, I think we caught it at the right moment. Crisis averted.

I mention all this because I'm in need of an inspirational trip to get my creative juices flowing again and get back into the swing of things. Luckily, I had scheduled a trip to NYC with a good friend of mine who also happens to be a client. She is building her first house, which should be done next month, and we are needing to do a bit of last minute furniture shopping.

I absolutely love New York, and I ask the Mister about once a month if we should think about moving there for a couple of years. Of course, I dream about the small little apartment we'd keep up there so we could keep our "home" in DC, but have a comfortable place to stay when we go up. Sadly, I don't for see that happening in our near future, but a girl can dream, right?

I hope to have some fun posts next week when I return. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I'm Gonna Be Honest...

It's been hard to get back on the horse today. I just want to return to this moment:

Monday, January 2, 2012


Happy New Year! I can't believe the new year has arrived, and I just realized that I need to apologize for the lack of posts. It's been a whirlwind since Thanksgiving (as you can clearly see) since my last post was Nov. 21. All I can say is that I'll try better in 2012 :)

I'm not one to make a strict list of resolutions and try to check them off by the end of the year. However, I prefer to use the new year to reflect on the happenings of last year and loosely make goals for what I'd like to do/change/add for the upcoming year. I've spent today doing just that, and I'm excited to see what adventures are in store for 2012.

This past year, I continued to grow my business, which I am very thankful considering the economy these days. I think that when the world feels like it may go to hell in a handbag, people have more of a need to surround themselves with beautiful things. I'm thankful I'm in the business of providing that beautiful respite for clients.

I wish to you all a year of beauty and enjoyment of the simple things in life. Cheers to 2012!