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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.

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The Most Beautiful Place of Worship in Every State

Not only are these structures spectacular, but they’re designed by such high profile architects as Eero Saarinen, Moshe Safdie, and Frank Lloyd Wright

 

From coast to coast, places of worship span nearly every architectural style, whether it’s a futuristic church in rural Indiana designed by one of Finland’s greatest architects (Eero Saarinen) or the recently restored Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Unity Temple in suburban Chicago. Mormon temples’ spires soar into the skyline and some Jewish temples are shapely in style, whether it’s a modern box or in perfect pitch with Feng Shui’s curvy chi. And no matter how many decades it’s been since their construction, a tiny steeple in the woods will never slip out of vogue.

St. Lawrence Catholic Parish (Fairhope, Alabama)
With its all-wood interior, and pendant lighting, plus the octagon-shaped elevated skylight, morning sun pours into St. Lawrence Catholic Parish’s interior, reflecting off the stained-glass windows.

 

Church of the Holy Ascension (Unalaska Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska)
Photographed as often as the state’s moose population, this church’s Russian icons date back to the 16th century (including a mural gifted by Russia’s last czar) and services are in Slavonic. Built in 1896, the church received a full restoration 100 years later.

Photo: Getty Images/Dmitri Kessel

 

First Christian Church of Phoenix (Arizona)
Based on Frank Lloyd Wright’s drawings—commissioned by Southwest Christian Seminary in 1949 but never built—First Christian Church of Phoenix’s triangle-shaped building with a 77-foot-tall spire has been a must-see for design fans since its 1973 completion. There’s also a free-standing 120-foot bell tower.

Photo: Getty Images/UIG

 

Eureka Springs, Arkansas (Thorncrown Chapel)
Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Prairie style, this 37-year-old Thorncrown Chapel crafted from mostly Southern pine wood and featuring a staggering 425 windows is on the National Register of Historic Places (a rare feat considering its age).

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Temple Judea (Tarzana, California)
Earning the Herman Coliver Locus Architecture award from the AIA in 2012, the year it was completed, Temple Judea’s striking exterior includes mosaic steps and a laser-cut metal veil of Hebrew letters.

Photo: Courtesy of Herman Coliver Locus Architecture

 

Mile Hi Church Sanctuary (Lakewood, Colorado)
The spaceship-like design of Mile Hi Church Sanctuary, completed in 2008, features a dome with exterior arches—just like another dome structure constructed on the property during the 1970s. Sanctuary seating is angled on a half-moon curve. Pictures is the Community Center which stands adjacent to the Sanctuary.

Photo: Courtesy of Mile Hi Church MOS Photo Team

 

Hartford Connecticut LDS Temple (Connecticut)
With formal gardens in front, the Hartford Connecticut LDS Temple boasts an elegant entry. Once inside, this new temple (open since 2016) features gold Art Deco-like railings around the bapistry area and soaring ceilings with crown molding in the Celestial Room.

Photo: Courtesy of Hartford Connecticut LDS Temple

 

Historic St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (Lewes, Delaware)
Dating back to 1708, the churchyard (resting places for many notables in Lewes) in front of Historic St. Peter’s Episcopal Church is framed by a wrought-iron archway and then, beyond, is the brick chapel (built a century later). The original communion table is still in use for Sunday service.

Photo: Getty Images/John Greim

St. Bernard de Clairvaux (North Miami Beach, Florida)
St. Bernard de Clairvaux is more widely known to tourists than parishioners (for Sunday-morning mass). During the 1920s, William Randolph Hearst bought the stone monastery cloister (dating back to 1133 AD in Spain) and shuttled it to New York City in parts. Not until the middle of last century, however, was it reinstalled in Florida.

 

Emmanuel Episcopal Church (Athens, Georgia)
Crisscrossed wood beams and pendant lighting brighten up the interior of this Episcopal church’s new chapel in a recent renovation, recognized by AIA for the Faith & Forum National Design Award for Religious Architecture. (The church dates back to the 1890s.)

Photo: Courtesy of Houser Walker

 

St. Benedict’s (Captain Cook, Big Island, Hawaii)
Past its traditional Spanish Gothic exterior, St. Benedict’s—framed by lush tropical landscaping—is a tapestry of murals, frescos and folk art on the inside. Built by a priest in 1899 who also wanted to add colorful accents, he used the art to teach spiritual lessons to illiterate Hawaiians.

Photo: Getty Images/John S. Lander

 

First Indian Presbyterian (Kamiah, Idaho)
With its cornflower-blue exterior and charming Gothic Revival design, First Indian Presbyterian’s prairie perch is fitting. It was built in 1871 by the chief of an Indian tribe and still meets today, singing hymns in the Nez Perce language.

Photo: Getty Images/Francis Dean

 

Unity Temple (Oak Park, Illinois)
One of Frank Lloyd Wright’s commissioned designs, and in the same Chicago ‘burb where he raised his family, Unity Temple is fresh off an extensive facelift to the tune of $25 million that replaced every pane of glass and honored Wright’s original color palate.

Photo: Getty Images/UIG

 

North Christian Church (Columbus, Indiana)
Finnish architect Eero Saarinen is more widely known for his industrial designs, including the Womb chair, than places of worship but that’s what makes North Christian Church so intriguing. It was completed in 1964.

Photo: Getty Images/Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge

St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church (Ankeny, Iowa)
With one section of the limestone and weathering steel building jutting out into the prairie, this church is some serious eye candy. The sanctuary’s cathedral ceiling is stunning with honey-hued wood panels supported by steel beams, with pews positioned at a subtle V.

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Basilica of St. Fidelis (Victoria, Kansas)
Also called Cathedral of the Plains, this basilica—completed in 1911—is on the National Register of Historic Places and flaunts 48 stained-glass windows reportedly now worth a million dollars.

Photo: Getty Images/Wallace Garrison

 

Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption (Covington, Kentucky)
Since 1901, services have been held in this basilica, crafted from Bedford stone and red-ludovici roof tile and inspired by St. Denis in France. Three pipe organs prove the acoustics in here are amazing.

Photo: Getty Images/Raymond Boyd

 

St. Louis Cathedral (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Holding reign as the oldest continual operating Catholic cathedral in the country, St. Louis Cathedral’s triple steeples have welcomed parishioners since 1727, and rebuilt in 1794 after a fire. It’s located on Jackson Square.

Photo: Getty Images/Jeff Greenberg

 

Wilde Memorial Chapel (Portland, Maine)
Now a site for weddings and funerals, this gorgeous Gothic-style chapel was built in 1902, using cypress for the interior, hiring a Boston firm to craft stained-glass windows and carving oak pews by hand.

Photo: Getty Images/Portland Press Herald

 

Baltimore Basilica (Maryland)
Carrying the distinction of being America’s first cathedral, Baltimore Basilica was constructed in the early 1800s and received an extensive restoration over an 18-month period between 2004 and 2006. Also worth seeing: the Pope John Paul Garden next door.

Photo: Getty Images/MyLoupe

 

Harvard Business School (Boston)
A gift from the Harvard Business School’s class of 1959, this cylinder-shaped chapel designed by Moshe Safdie and built in 1992 received LEED Gold Certification, in 2011.

Photo: Getty Images/John Greim

 

Islamic Center of America (Dearborn, Michigan)
Since 1963, much of the Detroit area’s Muslim population has met in this mosque, constructed in 2005 and North America’s largest mosque. Spanning 92,000 square feet, it cost $14 million to build and can hold 1,000 people for prayer services.

Photo: Getty Images/Raymond Boyd

 

Saint John’s Abbey (Collegeville, Minnesota)
This Benedictine monastery was established in the 1850s by five monks from Pennsylvania and is now home to one of the country’s largest Benedictine abbeys. In 1961 Marcel Breuer constructed the church’s contemporary concrete structure, which includes the largest wall of stained glass in the world.

Photo: Getty Images/Robert W. Kelley

 

Fulton Chapel at University of Mississippi (Oxford)
While not used exclusively for religious services, this historic building—a landmark on campus since its 1927 debut—can accommodate up to 650 people for performances of many kinds, including theatrical events.

Photo: Getty Images/Wesley Hitt

 

Community Christian Church (Kansas City, Missouri)
Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture shines in the Community Christian Church design, a project he was commissioned for in 1940. But it wasn’t until 1994 that the designs for his Steeple of Light—lit every weekend—came to fruition.

Photo: Getty Images/UIG

Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church (Helena, Montana)
Resembling a modern farmhouse, Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church worked with an architect to create a cozy—but contemporary—vibe for Sunday services. Lots of right angles and clean lines gave the this Lutheran church a fresh look.

 

St. John’s Catholic Church at Creighton University (Omaha, Nebraska)
This grand chapel on Creighton University’s campus featured arched stained-glass windows, soaring ceilings and columns everywhere.

Photo: Getty Images/Eric Thayer

 

Ravella at Lake Las Vegas (Nevada)
Sin City is filled with wedding chapels but this one is less kitsch and more elegance, featuring columns and hand-carved pews (and no Elvis). While scriptures are being read, take a peek outside and you just might think you’re in Tuscany…not Las Vegas.

Photo: Getty Images/Ethan Miller

 

Stark Union Church (Stark, New Hampshire)
Particularly when fall foliage is in full swing, Stark Union Church’s open bell tower, plus the adjacent covered bridge, frames the landscape beautifully and its emerald-green shutters evoke a storybook setting.

Photo: Getty Images/Education Images

 

Princeton University Chapel (New Jersey)
Marked by the “Song of Vowels” sculpture (Jacques Lipchitz) out front, and next to the Firestone Library, this soaring cathedral hosts worship services every Sunday as well as concerts.

Photo: Getty Images/Barry Winiker

 

Loretto Chapel (Santa Fe, New Mexico)
Modeled after Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, this intimate Gothic-style chapel in downtown Santa Fe features the often-photographed, free-standing circular Miraculous Staircase.

Photo: Getty Images/Ernesto Burciaga

 

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral (New York, New York)
Sunlight glinting through the stained-glass windows and the vaulted ceilings create a calm setting in the midst of bustling Manhattan at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, built in 1878 and in a Neo-Gothic style. A $177 million restoration wrapped up in 2015.

Photo: Getty Images/Manuel Romano

 

First Baptist Church (Asheville, North Carolina)
Built in the 1920s based on architect Douglas Ellington’s designs, this dome-shaped church is packed with Art Deco detailing, such as diamond-shaped panels and floral motifs in the sanctuary, and has a brick-and-marble exterior.

Photo: Getty Images/Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge

Gol Stave Church (Minot, North Dakota)
Located in Scandinavian Heritage Park, which was established in the late ‘80s, structures reminiscent of what you’d find in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark are here. Gol Stave Church is one of those, a true replica of the church in Gol, Hallingdal, Norway.

 

The Old Stone Church (Cleveland, Ohio)
Dating back to 1855, a medieval exterior gives way to Tiffany stained-glass windows inside Old Stone Church where not only are Presbyterian services held on Sunday, so is weekday afternoon yoga.

Photo: Getty Images/Raymond Boyd

 

Boston Avenue United Methodist Church (Tulsa, Oklahoma)
Towering above downtown Tulsa, Boston Avenue United Methodist Church’s Art Deco design debuted in 1929. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places.

Photo: Getty Images/Jordan McAlister

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Oregon (Bend)
Modern in design, the Unitarian church in Bend—completed in 2016—was also designed to be sustainable and eco-friendly. It spans 19,000 square feet and has breathed new life into the church, including a boost in membership.

 

Beth Sholom Synagogue (Elkins Park, Pennsylvania)
Frank Lloyd Wright’s lone synagogue design lies in this Philly suburb riffs on Mayan Revival architecture and its interior lighting casts a soft glow at night, as seen from outside, and thanks to translucent fiberglass walls.

Photo: Getty Images/Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge

 

Church of St. Gregory the Great (Portsmouth, Rhode Island)
On the Portsmouth Abbey campus, Church of St. Gregory the Great’s design—at the hands of architect Pietro Belluschi, featuring a redwood interior and fieldstone walls (sourced from nearby land)—was inspired by a 16th Century church in Ravenna, Italy.

Photo: Getty Images/Elise Amendola-Pool

 

Unitarian Church in Charleston (South Carolina)
A popular tourist attraction is the Unitarian Church in Charleston’s Gothic-style graveyard with its drooping Spanish moss. Tours of the church’s interior—completed just after the Revolutionary War in 1776, making it Charleston’s second-oldest church, and inspired by Chapel of Henry VII at Westminster Abbey—are led by docents each September through June.

Photo: Getty Images/River North Photography

 

Chapel in the Hills (Rapid City, South Dakota)
This eye-catching design recalls Norway, not South Dakota, but that’s because Chapel in the Hills (http://www.chapel-in-the-hills.org) hearkens back to South Dakotans’ Norwegian heritage. Built in the 1960s, it’s a replica of the Borgund stavkirke, which dates back to 1150 AD and is in Laerdal, Norway.

Photo: Courtesy of Brian and Joyce Kringen

 

Fisk Memorial Chapel at Fisk University (Nashville, Tennessee)
Located on the Fisk University campus, the chapel has welcomed guest preachers like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesse Jackson since its 1892 construction. Among the unique attributes are the church’s three-sided balcony, and one of the country’s finest pipe organs.

Photo: Getty Images/Raymond Boyd

 

Chapel of Thanksgiving (Dallas, Texas)
Thanks-Giving Square in downtown Dallas is marked by this Phillip Johnson-designed chapel the resembles a wedding cake. It debuted along with the square in 1976. The stunning stained-glass window (Glory Window by Gabriel Loire) on a spiral ceiling is a must-see.

Photo: Getty Images/Raymond Boyd

 

Salt Lake Temple (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Since its construction in 1893, this temple has served as an inspiring design for other LDS Church temples around the United States. It’s also the largest of all temples, clocking in at 253,015 square feet and took 40 years to complete.

Photo: Getty Images/Bloomberg

 

Union Christian Church (Plymouth, Vermont)
The craftsmanship inside Union Christian Church, which was built during the 1840s, truly shines, including the wooden walls and ceiling. Fun historical fact: President Calvin Coolidge used to be a member of this church and he lived across the street.

Photo: Getty Images/John Greim

 

Chapel by Arlington National Cemetery (Fort Myer, Virginia)
In addition to regular services, the chapel—next to Arlington National Cemetery—is used for military funeral services led by a chaplain and is an excellent example of timeless design with its spire and shapely roof.

Photo: Getty Images/Nicholas Kamm

 

Washington National Cathedral (Washington, D.C.)
As grand as Europe’s ancient churches, Washington National Cathedral was constructed in the nation’s capital in 1907 and has received many refurbishments since, honoring the merging of Neo-Gothic and English Gothic styles. It’s also the country’s second-largest church and on the National Register of Historic Places.

Photo: Getty Images/Salwan Georges/The Washington Post

 

Seattle University’s Chapel of St. Ignatius (Washington)
At first glance, one might mistake Chapel of St. Ignatius for a contemporary-art museum, but no, it’s a place of worship, designed by Steven Holl in 1997. Interior pendant lighting (with exposed bulbs) and white concaved ceilings create an intimate, softer feeling than the modernized exterior.

Photo: Getty Images/Dennis Gilbert

 

Palace of Gold (Moundsville, West Virginia)
Rural Appalachia skewed artsy in 1979 with the construction of Palace of Gold, an ornate palace with blooming rose gardens and a staggering 100 water fountains outside. Marble imported from various spots around the world clocks in at 52 different varieties, and 1,500 pieces of stained-glass are within four windows, proof no luxury was spared in its construction.

Photo: Getty Images/Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post

 

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church (Wauwatosa, Wisconsin)
Resembling a spaceship, the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in suburban Milwaukee is eye-catching, with its floating bowl shape. While based on Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs, it was one of his final commission and not unveiled until two years after he died, in 1961.

Photo: Getty Images/Raymond Boyd

 

Saint John’s Episcopal Church Chapel of the Transfiguration (Moose, Wyoming)
Is there anything more charming than a steeple tucked into nature? Chapel of the Transfiguration is within Grand Teton National Park and constructed from logs, built in 1925. Holy Communion is on Sundays but only during the summer and seats just 65 people.

Photo: Getty Images/MyLoupe
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The Most Beautiful Civil-Rights Monuments in America

On August 28th, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. changed the social landscape of the U.S. with his iconic “I Have A Dream” speech. In the wake of his achievements, we see modern champions of freedom taking their cues from Dr. King, organizing everything from peaceful marches for gender equality to forming organizations that fight daily for our freedoms. Today, on Dr. King’s namesake holiday, we remember the sacrifice and the struggle of the movement this man led and continue his legacy of peaceful change. Let these 9 monuments serve as a reminder that any individual can effect change for the betterment of others.

Photo: Getty Images

Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument – Birmingham, Alabama

Created as a memorial to the protests carried out across Alabama as part of the initiative called “Project C”, this stunning monument serves as a reminder of the violent attacks on freedom. The sculpture depicts attack dogs emerging from stone which surround visitors as they walk through the monument, recreating the terror that protesters felt.

Photo: Getty Images

The Virginia Civil Rights Memorial – Richmond, Virginia

Unveiled by Tim Kaine in 2008, the Virginia Civil Rights Monument depicts 16-year-old Barbara Johns who boldly led a strike on her high school protesting it’s inadequate learning facilities for African-American students. This brave act eventually led to the 1954 decision on Brown vs. The Board of Education, which ended segregation in schools.

Photo: Getty Images

“Landmark for Peace” Memorial in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park – Indianapolis, Indiana

Standing proudly in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park, the “Landmark for Peace” memorial depicts Dr. King and Robert Kennedy reaching out to each other, commemorating Robert Kennedy’s famous speech, given on the day of Dr. King’s assassination, in Indianapolis. While riots broke out around the country ignited by the news of his death, Robert Kennedy was urged to forgo his scheduled speech. Instead Robert Kennedy used this opportunity to highlight the inequalities that divided this country.

 
Photo: Getty Images

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial – Washington, D.C.

This 30-foot statue carved in King’s likeness looks as though it was thrust from the two large pieces of rock behind King, symbolic of the Mountain of Despair, mentioned in his famous “I Have A Dream” speech, and the Stone of Hope.

Photo: Getty Images

The Civil Rights Memorial – Montgomery, Alabama

This beautiful granite monument celebrates 40 individuals killed between 1954 and 1968 who fought for equality during the Civil Rights Movement. A steady stream of water encompasses the engraved names of these individuals, as artist Maya Lin was inspired by the healing properties of water.

Photo; Getty Images

Arthur Ashe Monument – Richmond, Virginia

As the only African-American man to win at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, Arthur Ashe was an activist for equality both socially and in his sport. He was also the first, and only, African-American man to be ranked number one in the world in tennis.

 
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