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Category Archives: Interior Design

The US housing market is slowly — but surely — returning to normal

Continue reading The US housing market is slowly — but surely — returning to normal

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6 steps to make social media help your brand

Mark MacDonald

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

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6 steps to make social media help your brand

Social media is a communication tool that will make or break your business’s brand.

Our marketing-cluttered world is demonstrated on social media. Simply open the global Twitter feed, and you’ll see millions of people saying something. In real time, your feed churns so quickly you can’t keep up, and little breaks through.

But certain people’s and brand’s posts are “must reads” since you really enjoy their content. Imagine if your business was a must-read brand! It can be.

Here’s how:

1. Discover your thread

Stop trying to be something to everyone. Think about what your business does extremely well and for whom. How are you a solution to a major concern or a path to a specific goal?

Establish a communication thread with fences to keep every department focused on that thread.

2. Lock down what your thread looks like and talks like

Now, decide what your visual brand looks like. It starts with a professional logo/symbol that’s unique and simple enough to be recognizable as a small social media icon. Establish and lock down 2-3 colors that limit your designs.

Then — a more difficult task — create one voice for your brand thread. List keywords to use (check with Google to see if people are looking for them). Ensure your icons and descriptions are consistent across all your social media profiles and on your website.

3. Limit your words and outlets

Edit all content to the fewest words necessary to get your idea across. Use keywords, hashtags and links to give people more information if they want it.

Don’t try to communicate everywhere; limit the social media feeds to only ones you can do extremely well for your brand. Only have the bandwidth for one? Probably Facebook will work.

4. Create a reasonable schedule

Based on the amount of people who follow you and the kind of people you’re attracting, think about when they’re mostly free (before work, lunch, evenings, etc.), and post at those times.

Don’t overdo it; simply think about (or research) the lifespan of a post. Twitter is short-lived, so you can post a lot. For Facebook, not so much. Be consistent.

5. Entertain near the thread

Stop pushing information, and think about ways to entertain those who follow you. Make sure it’s not mindless entertainment (although occasionally that’s fun); instead build on your thread and get people to understand and expect certain types of posts.

Don’t surprise followers with content; if you jump the fence too many times, people will unsubscribe from your feed. Attempt to entertain 80 percent of the time with 20 percent being marketing or promotions.

6. Build an audience

When a certain type of person sees you’re helping them solve their concerns or giving them hope toward obtaining a goal (and you’re doing it consistently), you’ll gain followers.

People will start to rely on what you have to offer them (your thread). Your visual brand consistency lets them notice you in the cluttered social media world, and your posts will say, “Wait, I have something you must read.”

Just make sure you deliver. All the time. Every time.

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About the Author

Mark MacDonald

Mark MacDonald is a Bible teacher, speaker, best-selling author of “Be Known For Something,” and communication strategist for BeKnownForSomething.com. He empowers churches to become known for something relevant (a communication thread) throughout their ministries, websites, and social media. His book is available at BeKnownBook.com and Amazon.com.

Continue reading 6 steps to make social media help your brand

Mid-century Modern goes mainstream

Mr Bigglesworthy furniture reflects the passion of business owners Dan and Emma Eagle. Photographed in the McClew House designed by architect Ken Albert in 1966.
STEPHEN TILLEY
Mr Bigglesworthy furniture reflects the passion of business owners Dan and Emma Eagle. Photographed in the McClew House designed by architect Ken Albert in 1966.

It’s perhaps the strongest furniture trend this year, and it shows no sign of slowing.

Mid-century Modern pieces are appearing in new furniture collections throughout the country as demand soars.

Of course, there are the classics that have never gone out of style, such as the Eames lounge chair, G Plan furniture and Saarinen tables. But, increasingly, the look is finding favour with a younger generation, which didn’t see the furniture first time round.

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A guide to paint sheens, from glossy to matte

Yas sheen yas (but also, in some cases, no)

Sam Frost

So you’ve done the hard part—after much debate you’ve finally settled on a paint color. Now, the merchant wants to know what sheen you want and there are so many choices. We asked artist Mary McMurray to help us sift through the options.

For the past thirty years, Murray has run her own color consulting business, called Art First Colors for Architecture, in Portland, Oregon. Her unique perspective—she’s an artist and also became a licensed painting contractor in order to mix her own colors—makes her an authority on the medium. Here’s a cheat sheet for choosing the right paint sheens.

1. In general, there is a sheen scale

The first thing to know is that sheens typically exist on a scale, usually from flat (no shine) to glossy (ultra-shiny), with steps in between. According to McMurray, a loose sheen scale that accelerates in shine quality looks like this: flat > matte > eggshell > satin > semi-gloss > gloss or high-gloss.

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The sheen designations can be a little confusing at times because each paint manufacturer coins their own. For instance, at Benjamin Moore, satin is also referred to as Pearl. At Farrow & Ball, sheens are referred to as emulsions. In general, however, a scale will exist.

2. Shine tends to equal durability

The general rule for matching a paint sheen to the room is this: The higher the shine level of the paint, the more durable it will be. This means different sheens are appropriate to different areas of the home, depending on their activity level.

There can be exceptions to this, thanks to modern developments in paint formulation. For instance, Sherwin-Williams now makes a line of flat paint called Emerald that they advertise as having the same “washability and durability as the matte or glossier sheens.”

3. Low sheen for low traffic rooms

The lower end of the spectrum, that being the flat and matte sheens, are typically used for low-traffic rooms since the finish is susceptible to marks and stains that don’t easily wipe off. This makes these finishes good for places like adult bedrooms or home offices—as opposed to kid’s rooms where there is more activity.

When picking a flat sheen for a wall, McMurray suggests using the highest quality paint possible, as it will be more durable in the long run. “If you do happen to get a handprint on a flat-finished wall that you used a cheap paint on, and you try to wipe it off, it’s probably going to destroy the finish,” she says.

4. Higher sheen for high traffic or moisture-prone rooms

Since higher shine equals higher durability, use an eggshell, satin, or semi-gloss in the bathroom, kitchen, hallways, and kid’s rooms. This ensures that constant exposure to moisture doesn’t affect the finish and impromptu stains or scuffs can be cleaned off the walls easily with a sponge and cleaner.

In the bathroom and kitchen, make sure to extend the same sheen to the ceiling that’s being used on the walls. “In the kitchen, it depends on what kind of cooking you do and how much ventilation you have,” says McMurray. Some people might be able to do a matte finish in a kitchen but a safer bet would be eggshell or higher, for ease of wiping down splatters.

5. Highest sheen on trim and doors

Baseboards, doors, and trim are probably the hardest hit surfaces in your house. For that reason, opting for satin or semi-gloss will protect them. “For trimwork, I like satin or semi-gloss depending on what the project is,” says McMurray. The higher sheen will highlight the architectural features and allow them to contrast with the body of the wall surface nicely, while also surviving nicks and scrapes better.

Just be aware that higher sheen paints are thinner in consistency, and can be harder to work with and control for a smooth finish (depending on your painting skills, of course). For this reason, self-leveling paints, like Benjamin Moore’s Advance line, are extremely helpful. McMurray does not often specify a gloss or high-gloss finish, except for the occasional client who wants a standout front door.

6. Consider the overall effect in the room

In addition to selecting a sheen for its function, McMurray cautions people to also be aware of how it will look in a room. Consider the wall surface quality as well as the sheen’s overall effect. Lower sheen paints will soak up more light rather than reflecting it, which is good if there is imperfections in your wall surface that need to be hidden. Shinier paints will reflect light and draw attention to bumps and divots in drywall or plaster.

The latter can be “very distracting,” says McMurray. “I like flat finishes on the ceiling, partly because that doesn’t offer any distraction with light bouncing off the surface and it creates a calmer effect,” she says.

Noise amplification is also something to consider. “If you painted a whole room in semi-gloss, the light would feel very noisy,” says McMurray. “You would get a lot of glare reflected and it wouldn’t be a very calm and peaceful environment.” She has read studies wherein it was discovered that audible noise increases with the degrees of sheen.

7. For the exterior, go more matte

Exterior paint has a similar range of sheens, yet here McMurray cautions against painting your whole house satin, even if the logic is that the shinier finish will stand up better to the weather and elements. “Then your house looks kind-of like a big plastic box,” she says. “So I would not recommend satin on the siding.” Instead, save satin for the exterior trim and paint the body of your house flat or “low-lustre.”

Looking for the perfect shade of white paint? We’ve got you. And check out all our advice for painting your home here.

Continue reading A guide to paint sheens, from glossy to matte

Dezeen’s latest Pinterest board focuses purely on minimalist design

Our latest Pinterest board is dedicated to pared-back design, architecture and interiors – from John Pawson’s immaculate London workspace and studio to the all-white interior of a hilltop house in Portugal. Follow Dezeen on Pinterest ›

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Everything You Need to Know About Kate Middleton’s Interior Designer

For starters, he was recommended by Prince Charles.

royal family apartment

When you’re renovating a royal residence, you want design help from the best of the best. That’s why Prince William and Duchess Catherine enlisted the help of Ben Pentreath when they moved into their Kensington Palace apartment.

What made him qualified? For starters, he studied at the Prince of Wale’s Institute of Architecture before opening his own practice in London in 2004. Oh, and then there’s the fact that he came highly recommended by Kate’s father-in-law, Prince Charles, after the work he did on the Poundbury model village in Dorest and Charles’ Duchy of Cornwall estate.

kate middleton interior designer
THE NEW YORK TIMES/VIMEO

With Pentreath’s help, the royal family settled on a neutral palette paired with modern sofas an dramatic curtains for their apartment. The floor boasts an oatmeal-colored carpet with a large patterned rug that grounds the seating area. And, of course, there’s abundance of side table lamps — though we believe Kate mixed in a few of her own lamp and pillow purchases from places like Anthropologie and Zara Home, too.

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However, the apartment wasn’t the pair’s first collaboration together: Penatreath also worked with Kate on Anmer Hall, which is the family home they escaped to after the birth of Princess Charlotte. The Georgian mansion is located on the Sandringham Estate, which is where the queen holidays, and has 10 bedrooms (no big deal).

anmer hall

If you want to live in a home Kate Middleton would approve of, Pentreath has two books you can take cues from: English Decoration, which was published in 2011, and he just released a second book, English Houses. This means it’s only a matter of time until we’re best friends with Kate, right? Right?!’

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HOME PRICE GAINS SLOW IN JULY

Case-Shiller 10-City Index down to 4.2% from 4.3% in June; 20-City down to 5% gain from 5.1%.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 5.1% annual gain in July, up from 5.0% last month. The 10-City Composite posted a 4.2% annual increase, down from 4.3% the previous month. The 20-City Composite reported a year-over-year gain of 5.0%, down from 5.1% in June.

Portland, Seattle, and Denver reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities over each of the last six months. In July, Portland led the way with a 12.4% year-over-year price increase, followed by Seattle at 11.2%, and Denver with a 9.4% increase. Nine cities reported greater price increases in the year ending July 2016 versus the year ending June 2016.

The chart below depicts the annual returns of the U.S. National, the 10 -City Composite, and the 20- City Composite Home Price Indices. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded a 5.1% annual gain in July 2016. The 10- City and 20-City Composites reported year-over-year increases of 4.2% and 5.0%.

Before seasonal adjustment, the National Index posted a month-over-month gain of 0.7% in July. The 10-City Composite recorded a 0.5% month-over-month increase while the 20-City Composite posted a 0.6% increase in July. After seasonal adjustment, the National Index recorded a 0.4% month-over- month increase, the 10-City Composite posted a 0.1% decrease, and the 20-City Composite remains unchanged. After seasonal adjustment, 12 cities saw prices rise, two cities were unchanged, and six cities experienced negative monthly prices changes.

“Both the housing sector and the economy continue to expand with home prices continuing to rise at about a 5% annual rate,” says David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The statement issued last week by the Fed after its policy meeting confirms the central bank’s view that the economy will see further gains. Most analysts now expect the Fed to raise interest rates in December. After such Fed action, mortgage rates would still be at historically low levels and would not be a major negative for house prices,

“The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Index is within 0.6% of the record high set in July 2006. Seven of the 20 cities have already set new record highs. The 10-year, 20-year, and National indices have been rising at about 5% per year over the last 24 months. Eight of the cities are seeing prices up 6% or more in the last year. Given that the overall inflation is a bit below 2%, the pace is probably not sustainable over the long term. The run-up to the financial crisis was marked with both rising home prices and rapid growth in mortgage debt. Currently, outstanding mortgage debt on one-to-four family homes is 12.6% below the peak seen in the first quarter of 2008 and up less than 2% in the last four quarters. There is no reason to fear that another massive collapse is around the corner.”

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Interior design recovery robust but uneven

Michael J. Berens

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

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Interior design recovery robust but uneven

 

After several years of modest growth following the recession, the interior design industry experienced a surge of activity in 2015 that continued into the first half of this year. Although demand softened somewhat in the third quarter, in most areas of the country the industry has made a full recovery.

But not in all. While some states have seen big gains, others are still struggling to return to their prerecession level, as indicated by data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

An analysis of BLS State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates (OES) for interior designers for the years 2010 to 2015 (the most recent available annual data) shows most states have rebounded since the industry contracted from its peak following the economic downturn, which began in late 2008 but had its biggest impact on the industry in 2010-2011.

About half the states’ estimated figures for 2015 show employment at or around prerecession levels. (BLS data does not include self-employed designers.) Some states have even well exceeded those levels, and others have made a big comeback after two or more years of substantial declines.

A few, however, have experienced erratic growth and have yet to reach a healthy recovery.

Since 2010, 13 states have exceeded their prerecession employment levels by 30 percent or more, as of May 2015. Five have seen gains of more than 100 percent. Utah went from a low of 190 employed designers in 2012 to 520 in 2015, an astounding increase of 173 percent in just three years.

Others include South Dakota (133 percent), Alabama (122 percent), Rhode Island (111 percent) and North Dakota (100 percent). Close behind are Oklahoma (95 percent), Mississippi (92 percent) and Nevada (90 percent). Rounding out the list are Colorado, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.

In terms of numbers of employed designers, Texas leads the pack for biggest gains, having added 1,650 positions between 2011 and 2015, for a total of 4,780. California continues to hold first place as the state with the most interior designer employees — 6,770 — but it experienced fewer highs and lows during the period from 2010 to 2015.

Other states with a big boost in employment are Illinois (890 new positions), New Jersey (780), Ohio (740) and Colorado (690). Several other states — Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Utah— each exceeded 300 new positions.

Nine states have made notable comebacks in just the past two years. Mississippi, for example, by 2013 had lost about a third of its interior design employees (50 positions) but rallied, reaching 260 employees in 2014. Nevada’s employment level fell from 370 in 2010 to 210 by 2013, but it rebounded to 400 by 2015. In addition to Utah, Rhode Island and Ohio (mentioned above), Wisconsin, Michigan, Kansas and Virginia have also enjoyed resurgences in hiring during 2014-2015.

Several states have not been so fortunate.

In Connecticut, interior design employment waxed to 980 designers in 2013 but had waned to 620 by 2015, a decline of 37 percent. Minnesota, which reported a prerecession level of 1,090 employees, fell to 730 in 2015, a drop of 33 percent. And South Carolina, which bounced back to 470 employees in 2012, counted only 390 in 2015, a 17 percent loss. Oregon’s employment levels have see-sawed throughout the post-recession period, jumping from 300 in 2011 to 640 in 2013, up to 850 in 2014, and then back down to 750 last year.

Looking across the data, it is difficult to say what accounts for the rise and fall of activity in particular states. Interior design activity is dependent on many factors — the overall health of the economy (federal, state and local), personal income and worth, construction activity, housing prices, population density, consumer confidence, lifestyles, attitudes toward luxury and consumerism, and more.

In some cases, such as in Utah, Colorado, Nevada and the Dakotas, there is a clear link between overall growth within the state and renewed demand for services. In other cases — Rhode Island, perhaps — the location of firms may have less to do with their hiring patterns than the source of their clients.

In any case, given the significant increases in hiring over the past two years and the recent slowdown in demand for services, we can expect to see less volatility in employment for 2016 and possibly 2017.

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About the Author

Michael J. Berens

Michael J. Berens is a freelance researcher and writer with more than 30 years of experience in association communication and management. He can be reached at mjberensresearch@gmail.com.

Continue reading Interior design recovery robust but uneven

20 Top Designers Show Us Their Living Rooms

Designers are often their own toughest clients. Free from any homeowner preferences or restrictions, designers’ personal space is the ultimate laboratory for their creativity and can be a calling card for their talent. The results range from over-the-top grandeur to sleek minimalism, and showcase each designer’s signature aesthetic. The areas used for entertaining guests are often particularly striking, so we’ve gathered 20 living rooms that top designers such as Alexa Hampton, Jamie Drake, and Nate Berkus have created for themselves and their families. Peruse these stylish spaces from the pages of AD to find inspiration for your own home.

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