Category Archives: Interior Design

Cave Hotels Transform Ancient Dwellings into Luxurious Vacation Stays

Located in central Turkey, the Cappadocia region is known for its breathtaking landscapes and arid climate. Visitors flock to the area to take in otherworldly rock formations and cave dwellings that have been in use for thousands of years. Cappadocia’s incredible appearance is due to volcanos that were active in the area 2 million years ago, leaving behind lava flows that turned into a soft porous stone known as tuff.

Over the years, water and wind have eroded this stone layer, carving out deep pockets and structures known as “fairy chimneys.” Now tourists visit to take in the bizarre formations and partake in a hot air balloon ride, one of the most popular activities in Cappadocia. But where to stay? A cave hotel, of course.

Making the most of its history, Cappadocia’s towns are filled with cave hotels, these ancient dwellings transformed into vacation stays. From high-end luxury to rustic charm, each hotel offers a different experience and ambiance. We take a look at some of the unique cave hotels in Cappadocia, which have transformed ancient dwellings into comfy suites.


Anitya Cave House – Ortahisar


Located in the small village of Ortahisar, known for its rock castle, Anitya Cave House aims to blend modern life with historic caves. With just two units, the project is a labor of love for the owners, a doctor and an actress. They meticulously restored and decorated the house to their tastes, creating cozy, homey rooms that will make you want to extend your vacation. One suite has a private terrace with sweeping views of the valley, allowing you to relax and take in the view while sipping a glass of wine.




Hezen Cave Hotel – Ortahisar


Also in Ortahisar, the Hezen Cave Hotel brings a contemporary twist to the traditional cave hotel. Though historically influenced, the interiors are decidedly modern. Clean lines and contemporary decor contrast with the cut stone walls and views into the countryside. As is the case for many of these vacation stays, the Hezen can help organize a myriad of activities in the area, from visiting the underground city of Derinkuyu to horse back riding.


Museum Hotel – Uchisar


The 30 rooms and suites of the Museum Hotel are restored versions of ancient cave dwellings. True to its name, each acts a museum preserving the history and tradition of Cappadocia. The founder, who is an antiques collector, used his own collections of rugs, tapestries, furs, art from the Ottoman and Byzantine eras to give the space a magical feel. Guests can participate in cooking lessons or dine in the hotel’s restaurant, where ingredients are sourced from their nearby “eco-garden.” If you want a touch of luxury, rooms include jacuzzis with some even featuring massage rooms and a private garden.


House Hotel Cappadocia – Ortahisar

cappadocia-cave-hotel-2Soak in luxury at the House Hotel Cappadocia, which includes a spacious spa complete with a Turkish hammam. The modern interior design keeps the spaces light and bright, with suites having separate living rooms and bedrooms. Each interior is slightly different, with three styles described as Regal Classical, Luxury Raw, and Contemporary Classic.


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This Customizable Partition Lets You Reclaim Privacy in Your Open Office

Like it or not, the open floor plan has become a staple of growing startups and other creativity-oriented office spaces. But those seeking to shut out distractions or escape the oppressive gaze of their coworkers have had few ways to fight back. Luckily, one design firm took matters into their own hands to help us reclaim some private offices space.
Consisting of four hooks and a series of interconnecting plastic components, the Veil creates a hanging privacy partition in a matter of minutes. Each Veil consists of both opaque “closed” pieces and more translucent “open” pieces that easily snap into place, giving you complete control over how much light (or unwanted attention) makes it through. Functioning on a sort of grid, the pieces can be rearranged over time to suit the evolving needs of your workspace—or just your aesthetic whims.

Wanting to carve out some space in their own office, San Francisco design firm Box Clever created the partition for easy use around the floor. The concept was such a hit among visitors to the office that they formed a spinoff company, MatteChrome, to sell their creation.
A one square-meter kit will cost you $99, but combining multiple sets opens up a wide array of easy-to-assemble office design possibilities. After all, if Veil looks good enough to hang in the window at SF MOMA’s Art store, it can surely help you to introduce some picturesque privacy to your workspace.

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Personal Luxury

Showers are stealing the show in the bathroom with the use of luxurious materials and finishes and fully customized options to create a truly personalized haven.

Designers have long understood the desire for a bathroom that acts as a private oasis, a place where people can go to relax and unwind. And there’s no element in the bathroom that can help create this peaceful retreat quite like a shower, which can be designed to accommodate a host of special features – steam, aromatherapy, chromatherapy and more – with a primary function of promoting relaxation.

“In luxury bathrooms, expansive showers that create a spa-like environment with steam, two showerheads, multiple body sprays and room for seating is gaining in popularity,” says Jean-Jacques L’Henaff, v.p. of design for Piscataway, NJ-based DXV/American Standard, part of LIXIL.

The shower cannot be an afterthought in the bath; every detail must be considered while designing the overall space. “Showers are essential to the design of a bathroom. They are not only a functional space for quick and easy cleaning, but also a place of escape or invigoration,” says Eric Moore, interior designer at the Kohler Design Center in Kohler, WI.

The addition of special features that customize the shower for each individual user is one key trend in the industry. Other trends include health and wellness features, digital controls and technology that add convenience and function, water conservation and finishes and materials that create texture and warmth. That’s according to manufacturers recently surveyed by Kitchen & Bath Design News.

With a growing focus on health and wellness in our culture, it’s no surprise to hear these elements are important in the bathroom as well.

According to Céline Marcotte, business development manager for Graff in Milwaukee, WI, “The bathroom has become a refuge for wellness and rejuvenation.”

Benjamin Fix, senior director of thermostats and showers at GROHE, based in Germany, and also part of LIXIL, agrees. “The prime area for evolution in the bathroom is related to health and wellness,” he says. “If you look at what consumers are doing today with technology and wearables, it’s a natural evolution that, at some point, you will be able to collect some really important data from your smart bathroom products.”

Ryan Ramaker, director of product development for Hansgrohe, based in Alpharetta, GA, says the shower itself has become a retreat. “Many people are now treating their showering time like they would treat their workout/gym time; with a set-aside time period each day for relaxing, deep massaging or a powerful clean before a long day at the office,” he says. “Today’s showers offer all of these experiences, typically in an overhead shower, a rain head shower or a hand shower.”

Additional features that promote wellness and relaxation are also on the rise. The addition of steam is just one example. “Many homeowners are beginning to see steam showers as a necessity, not just a luxury,” says Martha Orellana, v.p. of marketing and sales at Long Island City, NY-based Mr.Steam. “They are focusing on natural, non-pharmacological ways to improve their health and well-being, and are embracing steam as part of their wellness lifestyle.” Building these wellness features into the bath is a trend they don’t see slowing soon, she adds, noting that demand for a home wellness experience in the steam shower is being addressed “by adding aromatherapy, chroma lighting and music therapy – which are becoming ‘must haves’ for a healthy bathroom environment.”

Customization is essential in every area of the home; today’s consumers have clear ideas of what their space must include, and how these elements should function. And with multiple users in each home, versatility is critical.

“Customization in the shower is the most significant ongoing design trend, and one we’re paying a lot of attention to,” says Marcotte. “This trend has taken off largely because more customizable products have come to market, allowing designers to create a bathroom that truly reflects the design scheme in mind.”

“When thinking about showerheads, designers should consider personal styles of homeowners,” says Michael Poloha, senior product manager for Moen in North Olmsted, OH. They also need to know what functions their clients need most, in order to choose the best options.

Moore says that consumers want easy updates that improve their existing shower, allowing them to create a custom dream shower with multiple water delivery ports, steam and music. Paying attention to each person who will be using the shower is also important. “Most of my clients come in as couples and express a need for different things within the shower, so the number of water delivery ports is not to maximize, but personalize the shower experience for each person,” he says.

Other considerations, such as aging in place and multi-generational users in one household, also play a role in customization. “A move toward low- or no-threshold showers is on the rise, as that configuration is suitable for both young and older generations of users. Incorporating hand showers mounted on a slide bar is another popular option, as it is easily adaptable to users of all sizes, and works whether standing or sitting,” says L’Henaff.

Showers are claiming more attention in the bath, manufacturers say, both taking up more space and claiming a space of their own, separate from the tub.

Today’s bathrooms have a “shower-centric focus,” according to Ramaker. While particularly true in the master bath, he says this is also becoming more common in secondary baths, especially if multiple users are vying for time in the space. “Showers are more efficient than baths, provide hotter water for longer than baths, and have a lot less clean-up at the end. This saves time, money on heating and water bills and gets everyone out the door to work and school more efficiently,” he states.

Greg Weyman, v.p. of marketing at Basco Manufacturing Co. in Mason, OH, says that while square footage of a bathroom isn’t necessarily changing, the size of the shower area is growing significantly in most bath remodels. This increase creates a need for larger enclosures. “While 48″ and 60″ openings still dominate the market, the adjustability of those sizes for a precision fit is a product innovation we continue to work with at Basco,” he says. As for height, he says, most enclosures are at least 76″ tall to take advantage of popular floor-to-ceiling tile designs.

On the other hand, Tim Schroeder, president of Duravit USA in Duluth, GA, says that as many Americans move toward a tub for soaking and a separate shower, they see more compact shower sizes. The firm is also seeing a trend toward creating a “wet room,” with very little enclosure but a larger tile space that includes a bench and open storage for showering.

When it comes to style, the clean lines that are in favor throughout the home show up in shower design as well. And while polished chrome and brushed nickel are still in demand, manufacturers say they are also seeing a demand for warmer finishes beginning to take hold.

“We see a lot of clean, simple looks that not only transform a space into one of elegance, they also make the space very easy to keep clean and maintain,” notes Ramaker.

Weyman sees frameless shower enclosures, with less metal and more clean lines, continuing to be in high demand. In many configurations, he says, features like glass-to-glass hinges eliminate the need for a metal header. “Heavy glass shower enclosures with a quality you can feel with every close is driving much of the market growth – in all shapes and sizes,” he adds. “Even in shower areas where it may be more typical – slider units or swing doors – the consumer is looking for the enclosure that will show off their premium tile designs – while still providing a designer feature in the shower area.”

L’Henaff agrees that clean, contemporary lines continue to be popular for their appealing styling and ease of maintenance. “More specifically, we see a movement toward pure, simple forms that provide elegant utility, offering truly functional spaces for the user. This lends itself to integrated modular design that discreetly incorporates organization and storage capabilities into the architectural aesthetics,” he says.

“The most popular colors for bathtubs and shower enclosures continue to trend toward white and off-white shades because they provide a clean look and suit the overall design trend toward clean, contemporary styling,” L’Henaff explains.

But Schroeder sees interest in something different as well: “After years of very stark, white bathrooms, people are exploring color through tiles and shower trays.” He adds that people are exploring materials in a new way as well. “From black matte hinges and fittings to material innovation, consumers and designers alike are moving beyond the standard glass and chrome,” he states.

A touch of luxury is showing up in finish selections as well, as people branch out from polished chrome and brushed nickel. “In addition to smart technology, consumers want unique fixtures that make a statement in terms of style and design,” Poloha says. As matte black becomes more popular, Moen responded by expanding its portfolio of fixtures available in that finish, he adds. “The matte finish trend offers a contemporary look that complements a variety of décor choices, allowing designers and homeowners to experiment with fresh ideas,” he states.

Weyman says that at Basco, they’ve seen growth in niche finishes like black or wrought iron to complement the white subway tile look. “We’ve also seen a resurgence in gold finishes, with the rise in more muted or rose gold tones versus those of previously trending gold. In terms of glass, clear glass continues to dominate to showcase the tile within the shower area and to make the room feel more spacious,” he points out.

Kristen Baum, senior product manager for Brizo Kitchen & Bath Co. in Indianapolis, IN, says that the rise of gold, and even the “re-birth” of bronze, is currently influencing the industry. “It allows us to put that warmer finish on a contemporary product, and it takes it to a whole different design perspective,” she notes. “That’s what people are liking; the juxtaposition of those warmer finishes on more modern faucets and fixtures.”

Baum cites the incorporation of natural elements like wood and natural stone as trending. Bringing an element of nature into a man-made object really warms up the room, giving it some texture, she adds.

Technology that enhances and simplifies the showering experience is in great demand, manufacturers claim. Digital controls are emerging with new innovations all the time.

“A huge trend right now in showers involves the ability to provide a fully customizable shower experience through products that are intuitive,” says Fix.

“One upcoming trend in shower controls is the use of capacitive touch technology to enhance the user experience and simplify the functionality of shower controls, which is particularly useful when the user has wet hands as they operate the controls,” adds L’Henaff.

“Steam showers that integrate seamlessly into homeowners’ technology-driven world are in high demand,” adds Orellana. “Wireless, touch screen, intelligent controls, innovative steam dispersion and precision temperature control are becoming necessities. Choosing Smart Home compatible systems is also trending. Even homeowners who are not incorporating Smart Home systems now are planning for the possibility of adding one later,” she says.

Connectivity is something that manufacturers are tracking. Millennials who have been exposed to digital technology from birth are coming into the market, looking for less visual clutter, Baum believes. “They will spend more money on those things that matter and provide a more functional benefit,” she notes. “That may mean operating your shower from your phone, or starting your shower and having it warm up from your phone; we’re tracking that,” she says.

Poloha adds, “At Moen, we know that consumers have a growing desire to be connected throughout their homes. We were determined to find a way to improve consumers’ experiences with water by adding the benefit of smart technology.” This led to the creation of the U by Moen shower, the first Wi-Fi/cloud-based digital shower on the market. “The incorporation of an app allows users to control their preferences, and customize everything from shower time to water temperature,” he says.

Water conservation is more than just a buzz word; it’s a serious consideration that impacts the way manufacturers move forward with products and design. Many regions throughout the country have specific regulations that manufacturers must consider, and even in areas that do not, consumers increasingly desire products that give them the experience they want without being wasteful.

“Even in areas unaffected by regulations, more and more homeowners are looking for high-performance, water-conserving faucets and fixtures that will reduce water use without sacrificing performance,” states Fix.

Moore agrees: “Consumers are aware of water conservation and want products that not only save water, but do so without sacrificing power and performance.”

“Water conservation awareness and regulations have had a tremendous impact on the industry, catalyzing the creation of products that
are not just effective in their aesthetic, but in their function,” agrees Marcotte.

“The continuously growing interest in water and energy conservation is driving demand and innovation in eco-conscious products,” says Orellana. “In new and remodeled bathrooms, homeowners are often opting for the indulgence of steam over a soaking tub so that they can have luxury, relaxation and water conservation.” 

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10 Children’s Rooms That Show The Fun Side Of Interior Design

This week’s roundup from Pinterest shows how children’s rooms can be designed to encourage play, even in the most minimal of homes. Examples include a room that divides territories for two brothers and a room with secret storage for toys.


Apartment renovation, France, by Les Ateliers Tristan & Sagitta

Changing floor surfaces and pale blue paintwork create a visual divide in the children’s room of this renovated Parisian apartment, giving two brothers a side each to play in. Other details include a model plane that hangs down from the traditional ceiling rose.

aa-duplex-yael-perry-interiors-residential_dezeen_pinterest-sq-1704x1704A|A Duplex, Israel, by Yael Perry

This renovated apartment in Sharon, Israel, features a small play area with blocks of colour painted onto the walls, and wall-mounted storage shaped like houses.


Adorable House, Japan, by Form

Skylights funnel daylight into the first floor of this top-heavy family residence in Tokyo, which features a pared-back children’s room with white walls and simple wooden furniture.


Sleep and Play, Russia, by Ruetemple

This Russian summer house feature a multi-level play area with a suspended net above the master bedroom, allowing its occupants to supervise their children without getting out of bed.


Tel Aviv apartment, Israel, by Toledano Architects

A plywood cabin is located inside the children’s bedroom of this Tel Aviv apartment, creating a nook for its youngest residents to escape to. According to the architects, the space is laid out like a playground and filled with objects that promote creativity.


Toy Management House, Australia, by Austin Maynard Architects

Storage for toys takes priority in this remodelled Melbourne home, which has built-in floor cupboards that conceal clutter and a hybrid bunkbed and bookshelf in the kid’s bedroom.


House for a Photographer, France, by Alireza Razavi

A mezzanine level transforms the attic of this summer house in Brittany into a compact bedroom, with a ladder connecting the sleeping and playing areas.


The Family Playground, Taiwan, by HAO Design

This Taiwanese home contains a set of stairs that doubles up as a bookcase. It connects the kitchen with a play area featuring window-shaped cutouts and a cushioned reading space – designed to encourage more family time.


The Rough House, Canada, by Measured Architecture

Toy building blocks can be used to create drawings on the cupboards in this children’s play room, contained within a house in Vancouver.


Bernoulli House, Switzerland, by Rafael Schmid

A kid’s room featuring neon wall transfers and toys contrasts with the pared-back interiors of this Zurich residence, which otherwise eschews colour in favour of all-white walls and cabinetry.

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8 Small Spaces Where Paint Can Make a Big Impact

Don’t forget about these little areas in your home. The right paint color can inexpensively transform a space.

During my years of painting people’s homes, I’ve learned that small spaces don’t have to be boring or go unnoticed. All it takes is a little paint. By adding paint in strategic places around the home, you can easily and inexpensively transform a space. Plus, there is a good chance you could accomplish at least one of these eight painting projects during the course of one weekend.

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Here are eight spaces to consider painting and my tips and tricks on making even the smallest places have a big impact.

1. Entryway. When a guest arrives, their first impression is based on your home’s exterior and the front door. Realtors call this curb appeal. But the very next thing guests will notice is the area right inside your front door, so you should use it to make a statement.

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If your home has a formal entry, choose a paint color that is one to two shades darker than the next room. A darker paint color in the entryway can make the space feel more inviting, like a warm hug.

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If your home has an open floor plan without a defined entryway, use paint to create one. Try a bold color on the wall surrounding the front door and an adjacent wall as visual borders for the entry.

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2. Hall bath. Small bathrooms might appear to be limited when it comes to design, but they can easily be transformed with a quick paint color update.

How do you pick a color for this small bathroom? Look around your home for spots of color that crop up in your art or drapes. For example, a living room that is mostly beige with blue accent pieces would coordinate well with a bathroom painted in that same shade of blue.

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Dark colors also have been trending with homeowners I’ve worked with lately. To offset the dark nature of the paint, we typically recommend keeping the other design details, such as the floors and sink, light to make sure the room still feels open and bright.

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Worried one color will overwhelm the small space? Consider installing a chair rail as a natural divider. Then paint the lower portion of the wall in a statement color while leaving the wall area above a neutral tone.

3. Bookshelf. Whether the bookshelves in your home are built-in or freestanding, you can easily create style with paint. Remove the shelves from the surround and paint the back wall of the case. Don’t be afraid to go bold with your paint color, because once the shelves and objects on the shelves are in place, your color choice will seem more subtle. You will get an instant pop of color without being too in-your-face.

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4. Closet. This space is often overlooked when it comes to paint, but a fresh coat of paint on the walls and shelving in your closet can go a long way. With a small- or medium-sized closet, keep your paint color choice bright and light.

With a large walk-in closet, consider using a paint color that complements the attached room.

For shelving, use an oil-based paint for durability against scratches and scuffs.

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5. Hallway. Hallways are typically long and narrow and, depending on the lighting, can also be dark. When choosing a paint color for the hallway, consider the paint colors in connecting rooms and then go one to two shades lighter. The colors will complement each other and coordinate the home’s overall design. Plus, a lighter shade will brighten up the passageway.

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Pretty in Pink: We’re in Love With These 10 Blush-Colored Bathrooms

There are many trends from the ’50s that are better off buried. The fixation with Jell-O, for example. Conical bras. McCarthyism. However, there are some things that should be allowed to stick around, pretty much forever. Nearing the top of the list: vintage pink bathroom tiles.

After all, Millennial Pink is still enjoying its moment. And homes featuring this pink perk aren’t in short supply: The Save the Pink Bathrooms campaign started by Pam Kueber of Retro Renovation estimates there might have been approximately 5 million pink home lavatories built from 1946 to 1966. They could even be found in the White House, when first lady Mamie Eisenhower redecorated the presidential living areas with her favorite hue.

There’s more than just random trendiness going on here. Pink is a calming color and can help enhance some skin tones, making you look just that little bit fresher when you stumble in for your morning shower.

If you want to join Eisenhower’s illustrious ranks and tint your world a pretty rose shade, perhaps the pink bathrooms in these 10 homes for sale will make you blush with joy.

2323 Robinson Way, Huntsville, TX

Price: $199,000
Pink perks: The previous homeowners clearly weren’t strangers to the appeal of a good blush-toned decoration. One of the two bathrooms features vintage pink tiling halfway up the walls, topped by a complementary green wallpaper.


901 Ben Lora Ln, San Benito, TX

Price: $187,000
Pink perks: This home’s stone exterior doesn’t prep you for the vintage tile in the eat-in kitchen and both bathrooms. While there’s a teal-and-black combo in one bathroom, the one pictured below has pink tiling with a thin black border reminiscent of pink poodle skirts.


636 Green Briar Rd, Elkins Park, PA

Price: $199,000
Pink perks: This three-bedroom home features a spacious living area with a wood-burning fireplace. In the bathroom, the lovely pink shade graces the tile and even some of the ceramic fixtures.


3434 Oak Ridge Dr, Joplin, MO

Price: $169,900
Pink perks: Original wood floors, colorful accent walls, fireplace, large shady lot, and vintage tiling—what more could you need? The pink in this bathroom is painted on, but there’s matching tiling installed around the bathtub and on the floor.


326 Primrose Dr, Louisville, KY

Price: $309,900
Pink perks: Cozy amenities including a built-in hutch, two porches, and a marble fireplace are apt for a home on the aptly named Primrose Drive. The bathroom with pink tiling and black accents comes with linen storage, a contemporary vanity, and a matching diamond-patterned floor.


42 Cornell Dr, Dennis Port, MA

Price: $309,000
Pink perks: The green-trimmed exterior of this home is just a preview of the country design inside. Naturally, that wouldn’t be complete without a pink-tiled bathroom set off by patterned green wallpaper and pink ceramic fixtures.


113 Cross St, Bennington, VT

Price: $129,500
Pink perks: “Yes, it’s pink!” boasts the listing. Built in 1900, this New England home’s vintage accents include exposed kitchen beams, a brick hearth with a wood stove, a breakfast nook, and, of course, a bathroom with a pink tile, sink, and tub.


14 Fairlawn Rd, Louisville, KY

Price: $279,500
Pink perks: When you need a break from your porch swing, stroll inside this four-bedroom home, past a fireplace with built-in shelving and recently renovated kitchen. This bathroom’s pink tiles surround the pink sink, ceramic soap holders, and floral accent tiles. But be warned: You might have the occasional visitor asking to see your charming bathroom.


124 Ridgewood Ave, Berlin, NJ

Price: $175,000
Pink perks: The rose-tinted bricks on this three-bedroom rancher are just a preview of the colorful interior. Amenities include the rooftop solar panels to the modern kitchen to the retro pink-and-black bathroom.


309 Greenview Ln, Havertown, PA

Price: $299,900
Pink perks: The previous homeowners installed new carpeting and appliances and updated the electrical and plumbing systems, but they left intact the charming bathroom. Pink tiling with a black border wraps halfway up the walls and fully covers the interior of the walk-in shower.


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The do’s and don’ts of stock photography

You already know using your own images is the best way to visually portray your brand. But there are still times when you simply don’t have the photo you need.
Then, you’ll need to head to a stock photography website to find the right image. Take a deep breath, though. Stock photography has come a long way. And with the right tips, you can find some dazzling images to market your business.
And gasp! If you do it correctly, your customers may not even know it’s a stock photo!
Simply follow these do’s and don’ts of stock photography when selecting images, and you’ll be good to go.
Stock photography don’ts

It’s best to avoid these three types of stock images.

1. Photos of people looking directly into the camera

Portrait Of Happy Businesspeople

These pictures look forced and cheesy, which means others likely won’t receive them well either. Instead, opt for more action-orientated shots of people.
Researchers at Georgia Tech and Yahoo Labs research found photos with faces are 38 percent more likely to receive likes and 32 percent more likely to receive comments. When the models are doing an activity, they sell it better.
2. Photos of obviously fake scenarios

concept money and small tree in jar and sunshine

When was the last time you saw an adult using a piggy bank or planting a tree in a jar of money? These images represent literal concepts, like saving or growing your investment. But the result is often hokey. If the stock photo is of something you wouldn’t see in real life, keep looking.
Instead, go for the big picture. Think about the emotion behind the concept you’re portraying, and try to find an image that captures its essence. That’s what people will respond to. Or if you really want to stick with the literal, again, opt for action shots that could happen.
3. Illustrated photos of digital or abstract concepts

Innovation concept, consultant in management doing presentation

You’ve seen images like this everywhere. While the images may include the word you’re writing about, they don’t capture the feeling or experience behind it. Plus, they’re ubiquitous, which means people are tired of them, and they don’t visually differentiate your brand.
Instead, visually portray the digital experience or abstract concept. For example, say you’re talking about social media. Are you discussing the moment when you snap the must-have selfie? Or perhaps the feeling when you agonize over whether you’ll get any likes? Dig deeper, and go beyond the surface here to discover images that will resonate. Your images will be richer, and they’ll better illustrate your message.
Stock photography do’s

Use these tricks to find better images on stock photography sites.
1. Narrow your search
Describe the picture you want to find. If you don’t like the images that appear at first, add in qualifiers or substitute synonyms to find exactly what you are looking for.
2. Stick to photographs
Generally, stock photos, as opposed to illustrations or renderings, look more authentic. Applying this filter to your searches may make the golden images easier to find.
3. Listen to the data
A Curalate study found that images with a single dominant color, lots of light and a high amount of background perform better on social. Though, of course, the best data will come from your own analytics. Test and learn what works for you.
4. Find your brand’s visual identity
You can grab photos from a wide variety of sites. But they should all look cohesive and complementary as you scroll through your social feed.

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5 fatal errors to avoid when setting client expectations

Every now and then a news item crops up about an interior designer or decorator accused of egregiously overcharging or bilking a client. These rare occurrences make sensational headlines.
However, in my 20 years of experience counseling designers, I have witnessed that most complaints against designers arise not from fraud or greed but from misunderstandings that could — and should — have been avoided in the first place.
Because of the complexity and subjectivity involved in design projects, confusion can occur at many points in the process. It goes without saying that clear and responsive communication is an essential skill for any designer.
I have identified five key points in the intake process where misunderstandings often occur that lead to disagreements and even lawsuits later on. Take care to avoid these fatal errors when setting expectations with prospective clients.
1. Costs

Prospects naturally want to know how much the project is going to cost them. Many designers, in an effort to be honest and realistic, will say they don’t know or it depends. Unfortunately, that can set up erroneous expectations for both parties.
What the prospect really wants to know is whether they can afford the project or whether the cost is worth it to them. I recommend providing an example or two from a similar type of project so that the prospect can get a ballpark idea of possible costs.
Then, follow that with a clear and thorough review of your fees and how you bill, including travel fees, drafting fees, markup, shopping fees, and administrative fees. Be clear about what is and is not covered in each fee. Ideally, you should provide this information in writing as well.

2. Budget

This is the flip side of the coin from costs. Although they may be reluctant to share a figure with you, clients — even the very wealthy ones — usually have some idea of how much they are planning or willing to spend.
If they say they don’t know or haven’t decided, suggest a likely range based on their requirements and ask if they are comfortable with that range. It is better to overestimate than underestimate. Once clients get a figure set in their mind, they will expect you to adhere to it, regardless of any caution you give them regarding possible additional costs.

3. Look

Admittedly, this is a tricky one, because prospects may be influenced by current trends, friends or family members into thinking they want something they may not really want. When presenting your portfolio, explain that these rooms were designed to meet the tastes and needs of particular clients, and that you will work with the prospect through an iterative process to create a design you both agree on.
Never assume you “know” what the client will like or what is best for them. Get explicit confirmation from the client first, preferably in writing or by having them sign off on a design or purchase.

4. Outside influences

Ask the prospect if anyone else will be involved in the project, such as an architect, contractor, consultant or specialist, or spouse or other family member. If others are involved, you will want to confer with them before deciding whether to take on the project.
If you decide to take the project, make sure at the start that the client and other parties are all clear and in agreement as to your role and the services you will and will not be providing, as who has final decision-making authority.
5. Schedule

Establish the client’s expectations for the timeline of the project — in particular whether there is a hard due date, such as a special event or holiday, by which they need the project to be completed. Also, discuss approximate delivery dates for materials, furnishings and custom work to ensure you will have access to the project site at that time.
Advise the client that any changes they or others they have enlisted to work on the project make may affect the schedule deadline. Keep the client apprised immediately of any schedule changes that may arise throughout the project and have them approve the changes.
When clients are uncertain, evasive or wishy-washy, it may be tempting to skip over some specifics until later or to assure the client that everything will be fine. However, you are only digging a hole that you may fall into later if something comes up and the client complains he/she did not agree to and does not want to pay.
In the long run, it pays to take the extra time to probe and provide estimates or hypotheticals to get a surer understanding of the client’s expectations from the start, even if they are not able to articulate them.

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Here’s How Knockoff Furniture Is Hurting the Design Industry

The Internet has given us many great things. For better or for worse, it’s also given us some not-so-great ones. One prime example is the appallingly pervasive practice of stealing designs. In the promo-code frenetic, comparatively-priced world of e-commerce, counterfeiting is the biggest dirty little secret. It’s evident everywhere from the independent Etsy crafters who frequently spot suspiciously similar versions of their work at fast fashion retailers—without the compensation—to the hundreds of home decor sites selling knockoff Eames, Kartell, and Le Corbusier models at IKEA prices. With the near-infinite array of options—not to mention the anonymous nature of online shopping—it can be tempting to go for a price-slashed version that’s barely distinguishable from the real deal. But this constant poaching of designs has real consequences. Just ask Jerry Helling. As the president and creative director of Bernhardt Design, Helling knows the dark side of the counterfeit furniture market all too well–his company’s designs are frequent victims of cheap knockoffs. In 2012, Helling, along with several other industry executives, founded Be Original Americas, a not-for-profit aimed at educating the design community on the pitfalls of counterfeiting; Helling served as its first president. AD spoke to Helling about the problems with knockoffs, why they’re often more troubling than we realize, and what—if anything—the design community can do to stop them.
AD: How did you first get involved with this cause? Why do you find it important?

Jerry Helling: This counterfeiting topic is out of control. When all these companies came together to try to do something about it, I immediately said I was on board. As individual companies, we don’t really have the resources to go through all the lawsuits, so we thought the only way to do anything was to come together collectively and spread the message. Herman Miller and Emeco, some of these companies have gone the lawsuit route, but most of us don’t have the wherewithal to do it. So it began as a messaging platform; we wanted to put out the message of the impact that states have. From my perspective, we’ve done that well.


AD: Can you elaborate on the exact impacts counterfeiting has on the design world?

JH: One is the integrity of design: if copies are acceptable, then the companies that really invest in design can’t afford to do it. This is especially true in furniture, which is a huge investment compared to, say, fashion. The designers then can’t make a living. So it really means that the entire design ecosystem starts coming unraveled. Because if the companies who are really committed to design can’t afford to do it, there will be no original designs to copy anymore! So that was the first and strongest element, and the most visible.

AD: What might people not realize about the counterfeit industry?
JH: So much of any conversation you read, it’s about the Eames chair, Corbusier pieces, product that’s been out there a long time and has become iconic. But the truth of the matter is, and the part that I was most interested in, is that it’s not just about iconic product. It’s about newer product, product that’s very usable, that might not be iconic, but that a great deal of investment has been put into. It’s not just about protecting the Eames; it could be designs we did a month ago. So it’s about covering all design. It’s protecting the creators and the producers.
You also get into environmental issues. We go through incredible environmental testing and standards at Bernhardt Design. LEED, Level, FSC—the whole chain of control for all the material that goes into our products. The knockoff people, they don’t do that at all. So there’s a certain cost associated with doing all the work up front and having to make sure your whole supply chain is adhering to those standards—and yes, it makes your product more expensive, but it accomplishes what we all say we want to environmentally.

The next issue that usually isn’t talked about is the safety of a knockoff. The legitimate manufacturer is going through an incredible series of strength tests, revising over and over, where the knockoff company just copies from a photo. They have no idea what’s on the inside and what had to be done to make it work. A few years back, we’d sent a sample of our Corvo chair to a certain unnamed company you likely frequent, waited for them to put in the order, and then they went silent. We just figured they’d gone with a different option. About a year later, we got a call saying, “you need to fix our chairs, they’re all breaking.” They had taken our specs and given them to somebody to knock off, and it broke.
AD: How has the counterfeit world changed due to ecommerce?
JH: Anybody around the globe has access now to buy a chair and copy it or, what they usually do, is use drawings. Before, they had to lay their hands on the piece or go off of a photograph, which is much harder. So that’s had a major impact.


AD: What do you actively do to stop counterfeit?
JH: We can do very little. We’re a smaller company and we can’t take something to litigation. So our route has been to educate the design community. Because often, especially in hospitality projects, they might not know, or they might turn a blind eye to stay on budget. We try to remind people about say, the potential for lawsuits if these start breaking, about the child labor that might be used.

The truth is, though, as a consumer culture, we’ve done counterfeits so much—from purses on Canal Street to fast fashion imitations—it’s so normalized. And if you’re going to buy a knockoff purse on Canal Street, you’re going to buy a knockoff chair. So it’s the designers and the companies behind this that have to be targeted. You can’t target the millions of consumers.
AD: What do you say to those who point to designers like the Eames who wanted their designs to be accessible—and whose chairs now sell for thousands of dollars?
JH: That is a bigger question than I can answer: How long should these products be protected? However, the flip side of that, which I’m shocked by, is, after the Milan Furniture Fair, you go to a factory in Asia, and you see 100 of the best new product launches all knocked off. You can make an argument about patent protection on older pieces, but I think it’s harder with the immediate stuff. I mean, Kartell has been knocked off at every turn—they continue to be—and that’s new investment!

AD: What can customers do?
JH: I don’t know the answer to the mass market. The problem is that it’s become so pervasive. When Homeland Security started working with us on seizing furniture, they were like, where do we even begin? They often didn’t even know they were knockoffs. So that’s why we have to go after the people who are doing it, not the consumer. If we can target them, and we can enlighten designers, that’s the best way.

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A French Interior Designer Tries His Hand at Furniture

The renowned French interior designer Pierre Yovanovitch has launched his debut furniture collection and opened his first public exhibition in the United States under the name “Oops,” of all monikers. He explains that word was his response when the R & Company gallery in TriBeCa, asked him to temporarily take over their space this fall (in French, “oops” often expresses surprise or being caught off guard). “The idea had been to create an installation using the furniture there and maybe some of my pieces,” Yovanovitch says. “But it became mostly my furniture — made especially for this. And, in the process, I realized you say ‘oops’ a lot of times during the day.”

His atelier’s one-of-a-kind works are also whimsically titled. There’s the walnut-framed, low and boxy Woody chair, after Woody Allen (“for French people, he’s very New York,” Yovanovitch remarks); the handcast blown-glass Zou chandelier (“zou” is a slangy French term for “go”); the James and Marsha floor lamps, named for the president and first lady in the film “Mars Attacks!”; a circular Donut bench put together without any nails or glue; and the designer’s signature Bear Armchairs — in Papa, Mama and Baby sizes, rendered in sheepskin and oak for this occasion.

“In doing a show, there’s more freedom — and it’s energizing for me to be free,” Yovanovitch says. “It’s different from designing a home, where clients have to live year-round in what I do. This isn’t permanent, it’s lighter, and people have to easily understand it because I’m not well-known here, like I am in Paris.” Although that stands to change: Yovanovitch plans to set up an NYC office later this year.

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