Trina Sholin is a self-taught interior designer, and her husband Steve has a strong background in construction. The couple had been flipping houses to make a living but they started doing similar renovations on RVs on the side and in 2019, it became their full-time gig.
“Steve takes care of all of the maintenance and operations of the RVs, using his decade long experience with RVs, and I handle all design and social media as well as being hands-on during renovation,” Trina wrote on their website. “Basically, we both wear 17 hats as do so many small business owners!”
The couple started this journey when they were seasonal full-timers in Alaska for Steve’s job and were living in an RV themselves. “I couldn’t handle how drab, dark and unappealing the interiors were no matter the year or the brand. This got my wheels spinning as to how I could make the interior more aesthetically pleasing while maintaining function. We spent three years living in that RV and I couldn’t believe the difference it made and how much more it felt like a home after I completed the renovation.”
A few years later, they started living full-time in Arizona and wanted to get back into camping, so they bought a fifth wheel, a 2004 Keystone Montana. It was at this point that their love affair for Keystone Montanas began. “It was so ugly, but the layout was perfect and it was in great condition,” Trina said. “I could easily see the potential.”#2
They began the renovation by ripping out everything “RV” and replacing it with things they would put in their home. “We put in a chandelier, real tile, and many other beautiful features and completely changed the look and feel of the trailer. People couldn’t believe the transformation!” Trina and Steve thought they might be on to something, so they put the renovated trailer up for sale.
“It sold immediately and the rest is history! We buy, renovate and sell RVs as well as offer consulting for clients that need help and guidance in renovating their own RV.”#3
OK, there’s no way these RVs are ever intended to go on-road again. Table, loose objects, swinging light fixture… But nice manipulation of camera angle to make it look spacious.30ReplyView More Replies…View more comments#7
Rokas is a writer at Bored Panda with a BA in Communication. After working for a sculptor, he fell in love with visual storytelling and enjoys covering everything from TV shows (any Sopranos fans out there?) to photography. Throughout his years in Bored Panda, over 235 million people have read the posts he’s written, which is probably more than he could count to. Read more »
Ever since 1961, when President Kennedy came up with the idea to design the Rose Garden at the west end of the White House, the garden has become an icon by itself.
Designed by the gardener Rachel Lambert Mellon, it has been home to a colorful selection of magnolias, cherry trees, roses, tulips, and other botanical beauties. Both harmonious and subtle, it has framed the view toward the Cabinet Room and the Oval Office and reflected every changing pattern of American history.
But on Saturday, the First Lady unveiled her Rose Garden remake that was meant to bring the space to its original roots. But the redesign received strong backlash on social media with people being far from impressed with the results. The internet dubbed Melania’s makeover “#RoseGardenMassacre,” comparing the result to a lifeless “parking lot.” The hashtag is now trending and people have a lot to say about it.
Every time I look at pictures of the ruined—-sorry—-“renovated” Rose Garden, my first thought is “Where TF are the roses”? Then again, we must remember her rows of red “Handmaiden” Christmas trees. A woman of little taste and imagination—-of course, look who she married. Unless drumpf has a meltdown tantrum from sensory overload when he sees too many colors all at once.3ReplyView more comments#3
The iconic Rose Garden came to being after President Kennedy and the first lady returned from a state visit to France. In the summer of 1961, they visited the gardener Rachel Lambert Mellon and invited her to bring the space back to life.
In a piece written for the White House Historical Association in the early 1980s, Mellon revealed that “Kennedy noted that the White House had no garden equal in quality or attractiveness to the gardens that he had seen and in which he had been entertained in Europe. There he had recognized the importance of gardens surrounding an official residence and their appeal to the sensibilities of all people.”
The garden was begun in the spring of 1962 and finished at the end of the same year. Most importantly, its creator said that “It was truly President Kennedy’s garden” and he always showed how much he cared about it.#4
That Melania Trump took on a task so clearly associated with the Kennedys doesn’t come as a surprise, since President Trump told Fox & Friends that “We have our own Jackie O. It’s called Melania, Melania T.”
Today, the flowers in the garden are largely pastels chosen according to the tastes of the first lady, including taller white roses, which were in honor of the first papal visit to the White House by Pope John Paul II in 1979. The most obvious change to the garden was the addition of a 3-foot-wide limestone walking path bordering the central lawn.
But after the first lady tweeted the first images from her renovation, the new Rose Garden received many mixed reactions.#7
Once they’re gone, the next First Lady will need to replace the trees with seedlings grown from cuttings of the originals. Thing is, it’ll take 60 years to get them to where they were before she cut them down.-1Reply#32
Those are all Spring flowers….they do not last for the whole summer so, no, the garden did NOT look like that all summer long….maybe the trees were sick or something?1ReplyView More Replies…View more comments#40
I am really getting tired of entertainers bitching about homelessness and hunger in the US but will instead rally for support for other countries. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are needy people across the globe. My problem is that they will point fingers at people they don’t like and accuse them of not helping the problem yet they refuse to help as well. If you don’t fix your backyard, you have no business fixing others’ backyards.4ReplyView More Replies…View more comments#41
Those are all Spring flowers….they do not last for the whole summer so, no, the garden did NOT look like that all summer long….maybe the trees were sick or something?1ReplyView More Replies…View more comments#45
The original design sucked. Oh, and the trees are gone ALL YEAR LONG…. BTW, it was already ADA compliant! (The vitality of plants requires they be removed?!… Wow.) SO much wrong in this remark.0ReplyView More Replies…View more comments#51
Liucija Adomaite is a creative mind with years of experience in copywriting. She has a dynamic set of experiences from culture, advertising, academia, and journalism. Liucija received her Master’s degree in Comparative Literature from Leiden University. Before that, she studied at Goldsmiths, University of London which is famous for its progressive vision on contemporary cultures. She has set out on a journey to investigate the ways in which we communicate ideas on a large scale. Her current mission is to find a magic formula for how to make ideas, news, and other such things spread like a virus. Read more »
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Think all schools have to look plain and boring? Well, then allow the interior of a student residence at the Cité Internationale Universitaire in Paris change that belief. As part of the urban festival Rehab 2, artists gave in to their imaginations and decorated the walls just as they pleased – and the result is nothing short of amazing.
The festival ran from June 16 to July 16. Unfortunately, the exhibition will be on display only for a limited period of time. Soon the school will close for major renovation and all this awesome art will be erased.
Still, the photographers managed to capture it in pictures, proving that just for once, the school environment can be stimulating, inspiring, and absolutely wild.
Check out some of our favorite pictures below, and let us know in the comments, which one you like the best.
Why would a designer decide to open a brick-and-mortar design shop selling product, given the nonstop chatter of a retail apocalypse? Is an online operation less complicated, or does e-commerce just present a different set of challenges? AD PRO asked four designers who currently have, or have had, shops of the brick-and-mortar or online variety to weigh in on their experiences, so you can make an informed decision.
“I am tactile. And I also strongly feel that design is about discovery,” designer Sarah Hamlin Hastings, owner of Fritz Porter Design Collective in Charleston, South Carolina, explains about the benefit of a brick-and-mortar versus an online-only shop. “The internet is great if you know what you are looking for. But what about the sense of discovery when perusing a quirky little antique shop or running your hands over a sumptuous new mohair or finding a woodworker who makes beautifully designed pieces in his garage workshop? That is the curated shopping experience I wanted to create.”
After moving to Charleston in 2010 only to discover a lack of nearby design resources, Hastings decided to launch her own hybrid business—a curated retail store, a textile showroom, and an interior design business—which opened in 2015. And while she felt the personal and financial risk of opening a successful brick-and-mortar store was higher than an online-only business (as far as investing in inventory, overhead costs, and dealing with slim profit margins when working with independent artisan vendors), she found great gratification in seeking out interesting pieces and being able to tell artisans’ stories and promote their craft.
Similarly, interior designer Paloma Contreras, co-owner of Houston-based Paloma & Co., launched the brick-and-mortar concept store this year with business partner Devon Liedtke (the store also has a strong online component). The aim was to “showcase unique items that tell a story—whether they are antiques or found objects, original art from emerging American artists, or handmade pieces by artisans from around the globe.”
“It is really nice to be able to showcase our style and point of view without any type of filter,” Contreras says. “We don’t want to offer things that are available at a dozen stores in town or hundreds of stores online. For us, the most important thing has been finding things to offer our customers that are not only signature to our style, but also have an interesting story to tell.”
In the same vein as Hastings and Contreras, interior designer and author Kirsten Grove of Boise, Idaho–based We Three Design Studio and design blog Simply Grove, says, “When you’re a designer, you’re a natural curator. Having a shop of your own allows you to curate items that you really do believe in and find beautiful. It’s an easy partnership when done right and in the right market.”
However, for Grove the challenges of running her own design shop ultimately took their toll on her design business, and she folded it in 2018 after just one year in operation. “I had always wanted to own my own shop that sold furniture and home goods. It was one of those things that I had to get out of my system,” she admits. “But there were a few tricky aspects, one being that Boise is a really hard place to have a successful home retail shop. It was hard to gain regular customers who weren’t just looking for sale items.”
In general Grove sees pluses and minuses to both brick-and-mortar and online shops. “A brick-and-mortar space allows your clients and customers to see and feel things in person, while having an online shop gets rid of the unexpected overhead costs,” she explains. “But a huge drawback for an online shop is shipping costs and angry customers who have received something damaged or an incorrect order.” But she adds, “If you’re able to create a team that only focuses on your shop, it’s totally doable!”
Michelle Adams, the former Domino magazine editor who ran online shop The Maryn for two and a half years, during which time she hosted four pop-ups, found that it’s a misconception to believe that an e-commerce business doesn’t require as many overhead costs. Her expenses turned out to be too high to make her business viable.
“Opening a shop represented the ultimate creative outlet for me, as it required editing the market for the coolest products, creating a brand identity, and developing the lifestyle imagery to support it,” Adams says. However, the cost of running a design shop included expenses that one might not think of up front, including employing a full team to help with order fulfillment, the website, customer service, accounting, photography, and so on. Then there were also warehouse costs, high-interest business loan payments, press outreach, marketing fees, and insurance. Additionally, Adams curated her product selections from artisans around the globe to keep her assortment fresh and unique. “But importing comes with a lot of hidden costs that eat away profit margins,” she says. Another financial burden was her inability as a small business owner to compete with the free shipping offered by larger e-commerce sites.
Once the financial challenges became too great, Adams decided to close up shop. Based on what she learned, she advises, “Be realistic about what you’re comfortable spending, and absolutely stick to it. I made the mistake of thinking that investing a little more here and there would help my shop get over a hump, but in the end it only put me into debt.”
Likewise, Grove urges, “Before you do anything, run your numbers and be very honest with yourself. If you don’t create a cushion for the first three months, things can get tricky.” Yet, she adds, “An online shop can be time-sucking but worth the work. And a brick-and-mortar can become a beautiful extension of your brand.”
Paloma Contreras and Devon Liedtke Launch E-Comm to Meet Instagram-Fueled Demand
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The United States and China are locked in a tit-for-tat trade war that will boost the price of materials that go into home renovation and construction. The higher costs come as iBuyers such as Zillow, Opendoor and Offerpad are expanding into new markets with plans for fixing up and reselling homes.
Many of the products iBuyers need to paint, repair and in some cases renovate kitchens and other rooms will become more expensive in the next few months as the U.S. importers who pay the tariffs pass on the added costs to American consumers. The National Association of Home Builders said tariffs will boost housing construction and renovation costs by $2.5 billion.
“In iBuying, it’s razor-thin margins anyway, so any sort of ripple in the pond has the potential to disrupt,” said Mike DelPrete, a real estate strategist who tracks the iBuying market.
That’s not necessarily a deal-killer for the biggest iBuyers, said DelPrete. Most are well-financed and don’t necessarily need to make a profit from each house they sell as they build out their business models, he said. Some, like Zillow, are hoping to generate profit in other ways, such as attracting mortgage customers as sellers move up to their next purchase, he said.
“What’s happening right now in iBuying is a land grab, and a lot of these companies don’t need to be profitable right away,” said DelPrete. “But if you’re a big iBuyer and your buying and selling thousands of homes a month, higher costs have a potential impact.”
Zillow is the iBuyer who is expanding the fastest. It purchased 898 houses and sold 414 in the first quarter, the company said in its earnings report last week. That was a gain of 80% and 200%, respectively, compared to the fourth quarter.
“In Q1, we received more than 35,000 seller requests, and that demand is rapidly accelerating,” CEO Rich Barton said on a conference call after the company reported its earnings to Wall Street. “We now receive one request every two minutes, which is nearly $200 million in potential transaction value per day.”
Zillow and the other iBuying companies cited declined to comment.
Last week, President Donald Trump hiked tariffs to 25% from 10% on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. In retaliation, China announced plans to raise tariffs to 25% on $60 billion worth of U.S. products starting June 1. President Trump has threatened to expand tariffs to a further $300 billion of Chinese imports.
The construction imports from China now carrying a 25% tariff include: concrete, nails, screws, ceramic tiles, and asphalt roofing shingles, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Also on the list: light fixtures, kitchen cabinets, circular saw blades, stainless steel used for appliances and various types of raw materials that go into U.S. building products.
Tariffs, also known as duties or levies, are collected by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents from importers – U.S. businesses – as goods enter the country. In other words, no one is handing China a bill. Typically, those American importers pass the added cost to their distributors who eventually pass it on to the consumer at the end of the line – in the renovation industry, that’s the guy sent to Home Depot, Lowes or similar retailers to pick up supplies.
“To be clear, tariffs are taxes paid by American businesses and consumers, not by China,” said David French, senior vice president of government relations at the National Retail Federation.
Kathleen “KK” Howley is HousingWire’s real estate editor. Previously, she covered housing as a senior contributor for Forbes and a senior reporter and columnist for Bloomberg News. While at Bloomberg, she won the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism for reporting on the 2008 financial crisis. She also won the New York Press Club’s Newswire Award for best continuing coverage of a story, and several awards from the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Follow her on Twitter: @KK_Howley
On the surface, hotel bathrooms are fairly standard. A shower, a sink, a toilet and some nice, fluffy towels and the space is ready to go, right? But not so fast—whether the project is a new build, a renovation or an adaptive reuse, designers often must overcome unanticipated challenges when creating bath areas for guestrooms. Not only must the space meet the latest guest demands and brand standards, but a wide range of logistics can affect the overall look of the room.
The hottest coffee shop in the city of Carmel, Ind., a suburban community just north of Indianapolis, isn’t located on Main Street or in a strip mall. It’s the Carmel Café & Market, a student-run coffee shop that is part of the DECA business program at Carmel High School. The renovation of the Carmel Café & Market, which was once a small spirit shop, is an excellent example of how to design for the needs of young entrepreneurs.
Treat Students as Owners
Student involvement in design is always important, but for entrepreneurial spaces, it is absolutely critical. Operational issues have a great impact on the design of a business space, and young entrepreneurs must learn to think through the impact of the built environment on efficiency and profit. At the Carmel Café & Market, the owners are the students, not the teachers, so their input was critical to the design process.
“This is not class where teachers run the business and students get credit for participating,” said Richard Reid, DECA advisor and IB Business Management teacher at Carmel High School. “This is truly a student-run business, so we made sure to use the design process as a learning opportunity.”
The design of the Carmel Café & Market renovations, completed in September 2017, involved multiple charrettes with students and their faculty advisors. Early sessions focused on operational issues and how the space would work. How will orders flow in and out? Where will customers queue up? How many back-of-house coffee stations do we need? How will customers exit? Students explored these issues and collaborated with architects and interior designers to find solutions. In addition to floor plans and renderings, students developed and reviewed flow patterns to create the optimum space for operations. Every aspect of the business received scrutiny, all the way down to the design of the frappe-making station.
Grace Marchese, a student at Carmel High School and director of operations for the Carmel Café & Market, was one of the stakeholders involved in the design charrettes.
“I learned how much thought goes into designing a space for a business,” Marchese said. “Every single detail matters, and it is these small details that build on one another to create the overall feel you want to have.”
The design team also worked with students to create signature spaces that reflect the Carmel Café & Market brand. Students reviewed design concepts and commented on branding, look and feel, efficiency and product placement. Based on student input, the design team added items such as a performance stage for student singers and musicians.
The collaborative process involving students not only resulted in a better design, but it also gave these young entrepreneurs a valuable experience in creating space for their own business.
While the Carmel Café & Market is currently a coffee shop, the students and design team specifically focused on creating a flexible business lab that could serve multiple needs. This flexibility is crucial to allow students to respond to different market forces and to change their business model over time.
“Students can rearrange the space to improve operations and the customer experience,” said Reid. “And if they decide one day that their business model should change, the facility will accommodate a new kind of business.”
Some restaurant-related equipment is included in the design; however, the Carmel Café & Market is broken down into core spaces focused on teaching broad entrepreneurial skills. Flexible furniture allows students to be creative in how they arrange and rearrange space. A nearby marketing lab provides a board room–type setting for leadership and critical thinking. Presentation space and interactive technology tools give students the ability to engage in problem solving, teamwork and communications.
For John Demsey, it all began with a sofa: an enormous Willy Rizzo curved number that can seat 18. “In the mid-’70s my parents had an apartment at Olympic Tower in New York and they bought some furniture from Willy Rizzo, and the dealer at the time for Rizzo in the United States was C. Z. Guest,” remembers Demsey. (Guest’s representation of the Italian designer Rizzo in the 1970s is a little-known aspect of her illustrious life.)
“When they left the city, they sent it back to Cleveland and it went into storage. So the idea was I wanted to start everything with this couch. And I was in a blue mood. I was very much obsessed with Yves Klein and shades of turquoise.”
That inspiration set the direction for a 17-month gut renovation of his turn-of-the-century townhouse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Demsey, executive group president of the Estée Lauder Companies (overseeing such brands as Tom Ford Beauty, Jo Malone, MAC Cosmetics, and more), bought the 5,300-square-foot home, which he shares with his nine-year-old daughter, Marie-Hélène, after spending nearly a decade in a rented townhouse just two doors down from his new space.
“I decided finally to plant a stake in the ground and to do something all the way,” he avers. “Everything I’ve ever done before was like a stage set. I was never able to have the bathroom I wanted, the closets I wanted, the backyard I wanted, the kitchen I wanted.”
I was in Paris and my friend was wearing these rad Louboutin boots that were turquoise, ocher, red, and gold, and I thought, That’s my color scheme!
Enter Joseph Cornacchia, his architect, who changed everything (even down to the wiring), and Bibi Monnahan, Demsey’s longtime friend and designer.
“John said Yves Klein blue and David Hicks,” recalls Monnahan. “So I went to Stark, and lo and behold they had some Hicks-inspired carpeting that could be done in any size.” Monnahan worked closely with Stark to create custom rugs for the entire house. She then replaced the old brown suede on the Willy Rizzo sofa with a luxurious Romo viscose velvet in a rich azure hue.
Check Out John Demsey’s Vibrant HomeVIEW SLIDESHOW
With the palette set, the project took off. Each piece was painstakingly curated by Demsey and Monnahan, including a few key pieces Demsey found while traveling on business, like the Vincenzo De Cotiis brass coffee table picked up during a trip to Milan and the Golden Clover table by Guy de Rougemont bought at Galerie Diane de Polignac in Paris.
Demsey’s vast art collection is also on display. The fourth-floor guest suite features several paintings by his mother, Renée Demsey, who was the in-house artist for Bergdorf Goodman in the 1970s.
The beauty executive is also a passionate collector of photography, and the installation of 575 pictures from his trove was mapped out room-by-room with military precision. The installation—covering all six floors—took nine weeks. One recent acquisition Demsey is especially proud of is a striking Steven Klein portrait of Nicki Minaj painted blue and wearing a pink Marilyn Monroe wig. (Demsey recently worked with Minaj on a lipstick collaboration for MAC Cosmetics.)
“His life is his work and his work is his life,” notes Aerin Lauder, a close friend and associate. “You see that in his home, his love of pattern and package and texture; it translates into everything he does. He’s definitely more is more.”
Shop The Details That Make Look Of Demsey’s Colorful HomeVIEW SLIDESHOW
That’s for sure.
“Less is bore,” declares Donald Robertson, roving creative director of the Estée Lauder Companies, of his boss’s style. The prolific illustrator, known as the “Andy Warhol of Instagram,” created a Dita Von Teese–themed wallpaper for one of Demsey’s powder rooms, and his whimsical artwork is sprinkled throughout the house. “He’s a fearless kid with a job and a credit card,” says Robertson. “Imagine a four-year-old with really good credit.”
As for that Willy Rizzo sofa, what would the late C. Z. Guest think of its being the design inspiration for Demsey’s home? “My mother adored John and would get a kick out of him having this beautiful sofa in his house,” says her daughter and another Demsey friend, Cornelia Guest. “Especially since he got it from his parents—and I always took all her furniture. Great minds think alike!”
Meanwhile, has Demsey planted a stake in the ground for good? “As long as I can continue walking up the stairs, yes.”