Friday, July 1, 2016

The Best Kitchen Countertops by Bobby Berk - Design Campus

Bobby Berk: When it comes to selecting kitchen countertops for your home, there is a daunting amount of choices. We’d like to go through a few of the most popular materials to make the task of picking a countertop material a little easier based on your design preferences, application and of course budget. Here are the best kitchen countertops and why:
Natural Stone Countertops ($$-$$$)
Granite ($$-$$$):
The most popular countertop material, is available in a wide array of colors. It’s cut into long thick slabs that require few (if any) seams. Most manufacturers make single-piece countertops that can be made up to 10 ft. long. The slabs are sealed with an impregnating sealer, which makes the stone resistant to stains from everyday wear. An annual seal is required, as well as require regular care. This includes selecting and using a stone cleaner as opposed to a more abrasive chemical cleaner when caring for your countertops. Stains should be wiped up quickly. You can expect to pay anywhere from $60 to $250 a sq. ft., depending on color, brand, and fabrication.
The Tom Kat Studio - Granite Kitchen Countertop Sink
The Tom Kat Studio
Marble ($$$):
Marble is considered one of the most elegant and sophisticated countertop materials, and the veining intrinsic to the material is praised for its natural beauty. It is very durable, but porous, so it’s susceptible to stains. It can be polished or honed, but should be regularly sealed in order to prevent staining. Many homeowners will acquiesce to the required maintenance despite because of its beauty. $125-$250 a sq. ft.
Mim Design Marble Counter Kitchen Island Sink
Mim Design
Slate ($$$):
Comes in red, gray, green, black and purple. Some types of variegated purple slate has veining and shades of contrasting colors. It is very heavy due to its high density, although it is soft, so scratches can occur. These can be buffed out with steel wool. Slat can be fabricated into sinks to match the countertop, if desired. Slate is a great option for a low maintenance lifestyle or application, as it is a non-porous material and very easy to care for. It has a naturally matte appearance, but it can be made shiny with an application of lemon oil. Slate countertops cost from $100-$200 a sq. ft., depending on color, brand and fabrication.
Molitli Interieurmakers - Slate Kitchen Countertop Sink Industrial Rustic
Molitli Interieurmakers
Soapstone ($$):Typically dark, greenish-black or lighter green-grey. Can be fabricated into sinks to match the countertop. Soapstone is very porous, so it has to be sealed with mineral oil in order to reduce staining. Cracks can be expensive to fix, so the maintenance is important. It typically costs from $70-$100 a sq. ft.
Lauren Liess - Helen Norman - Soapstone
Lauren Liess Interiors | Helen Norman Photography
Concrete ($$): 
Pre-cast concrete is preferable to poured-in-place countertops, because they are honed, cured and sealed off site. They are typically 1.5” thick and available in slabs up to 10’ in length. The concrete mixture can be stained to a variety of colors by adding dye in the manufacturing process. This can make for some interesting finish options. Cracking is typically an issue with any concrete product, so the structure of the countertop is often fortified with mesh, rebar, or fiberglass product. Custom concrete countertops range in price from $85-100 a sq. ft.
HGTV Chip and Joanna Gaines - Rachel Whyte Concrete Kitchen Island Countertop Sink
HGTV Fixer Upper with Chip & Joanna Gaines | Rachel Whyte Photography
Plastic Laminate ($):
Plastic Laminate, also known as Formica, is an enduring and strong material that is made from layers of paper that are suffused with resin to form the hard surface layer. It’s available in endless colors and designs, but the matte finishes are the only ones you should specify for a countertop. Note that there are two thicknesses. The 1/16” thickness is for general purpose applications including countertops. The 1/32” is for vertical grade applications and backsplashes. It comes in sheets that range from smaller pieces at 2’x4’ up to 4’x8’. Larger wider sheets can be custom ordered from certain manufacturers. This is by far the most affordable material. You can buy pre-fabricated counters that are ready for installation and these can cost about $100 for an 8 ft. counter. Custom applications will range from $15-$25 a sq. ft.
Tri-State Countertops - Plastic Laminate Kitchen Island
Tri-State Stone & Tile, Inc.
Wood ($$-$$$):
Wood is a traditional countertop material that can really add warmth to a space. Many people have been concerned in the past with the viability of wood as a countertop material, because of its porous nature, however wood has been found to have more anti-bacterial effectiveness than plastic as a cutting surface. It does require maintenance to keep a good seal. Polyurethane can offer good protection for a few years, but it’s aesthetically preferable for many people who prefer to accentuate the natural beauty of the wood by using less chemically synthetic mineral oil. This treatment requires more maintenance and reapplication every 4-6 weeks is a deterrent to more low-maintenance lifestyles.
Despite woods higher degree of care, it is a great option for certain surfaces such as food prep areas, dining counters, and food chopping blocks. It is the only countertop material suggested for cutting and chopping. The most popular species of wood for countertop applications are rock maple, walnut, oak, cherry and teak. It should be protected from extra hot cookware, as it is prone to burn stains at very hot temperatures, but scratches can be sanded out.
Carl Mayfield Photography - Wood Kitchen Countertop
Carl Mayfield Photography
The three forms of wood counter production include edge grain, end grain and wide plank. Edge grain are made from pieces of wood that are thin and long and glued together with the edge grain facing upwards. End grain countertops, or butcher blocks, are assembled from short, square pieces of wood with the end grain facing upwards. These are typically from 4-12” thick. Wide plank counters, the most traditional style, are made by gluing planks of wood together at the edges of the planks. These can be susceptible to warping or cracking if not properly and regularly maintained. Pre-fabricated countertops can be ordered at most lumber yards and wood dealers. 1.5” x 25” wide counters come in 8’ to 12’ lengths typically. Wood countertops vary in price depending on the species of wood, but can be comparable to natural stone and man made solid surface. Expect to pay anywhere form $35-$250 a sq. ft.
Stainless Steel ($$):
Stainless steel is beautiful, and extremely durable. It is resistant to rust and corrosion, and can withstand extreme heat (up to 800 degrees). Stainless steel countertops can be prone to scratches, so some people prefer to only use it on vertical surfaces as a backsplash. Either way, it can create a very clean, modern, industrial look, or go with something more traditional like a farm house kitchen. It can be prone to fingerprints and water stains, so it needs to be cleaned to maintain a nice appearance. You can’t use any caustic chemicals on it, including bleach cleaners, but it can be disinfected with a mixture of water and vinegar. Pre-fabricated stainless steel countertops are typically fabricated with a wood core, and can even be installed DIY, as you would with laminate. Prices range form $70-$150 a sq. ft.
Palmerston Design Consultants Inc - Stainless Steel Kitchen Countertop
Palmerston Design Consultants, Inc.
Ceramic Tile ($-$$):
Because of the grout lines in a ceramic tile application, many designers and builders have shifted away from tile for countertops. Tile is probably best used on backsplashes or auxiliary work surfaces such as an island, eat-at countertop, peninsulas, wet bars and butler pantries. Don’t use tile intended for wall applications, as it can easily leave cracks in your finished surface. Tile that is intended for counters or floors is best. Ceramic tile can be applied right to plywood or over laminate countertops. The best installation method is using a ¾” plywood with a ½” cement backer board. The cost will of course depend on the type of tile you select, but basic tile can be very affordable. The cost for installation will run between $30 and $50 a sq. ft. plus the cost of your tile.
Martha Hammond Houston Pride Realty - White Ceramic Tile Kitchen Countertop
Martha Hammond Houston Pride Realty
Man-Made Solid Surface Countertops ($$-$$$):
These materials, such as DuPont’s Corian, Wilsonart’s Gibraltar, and Aristech’s Avonite, are made of 100% acrylic, 100% polyester, or a combination of acrylic and polyester. These engineered countertops have properties that make them very durable and ideal for a lot of different applications. They come in almost any color imaginable, and can be customized to almost any design, including intricate inlay patterns. They are also made to look many types of other stone, and can be fabricated into sinks to match the countertop material.
Part of this category is quartz-composite materials such as DuPont’s Zodiaq, Silestone, Cambria and CaesarStone, which are just a few of the composite products on the market. Engineered stones like these are much harder and have a depth, clarity and luminance not found in other solid surfaces. Quartz composites cost slightly more than conventional man-made solid surface counters. The whole category is priced at $150-$200 a sq. ft. for solid-surface materials.
DuPont Corian Kitchen Countertop
DuPont™ Corian®

How to Create a Functional Home Office by Bobby Berk - Design Campus

Bobby Berk: Nowadays, more than ever before, people are working from home and/or bring their work home with them in some capacity. Creating a functional office or workspace in your home will allow you to increase your productivity, whether you are taking care of general home management tasks, such as bill paying, or working out of your home office on a full-time basis.

You might have a child or teenager who uses your workspace to finish homework, or you may just like the idea of having an office set up in case you ever get around to starting that novel you always said you’d write. In any case, there are a few factors you might consider when you start to put together your home office. Read Bobby Berk’s advice on how to create a functional home office.

First, consider the type of work you’ll be doing in the space. Do you work primarily from a laptop, or do you have a larger PC or iMac that takes up even more work surface real estate? You’ll want to think about how the space will need to function and what type of special equipment, such as a printer, that you’ll need to keep out. Next you’ll want to assess what your horizontal work surface needs are. Some people prefer additional space to get crafty with physical projects that require a bit more room to spread out. If you’re a designer or other professional working with visual media, you’ll need more space to work! This could also include wall space, such as idea boards or pin boards. If you have more than one child doing homework, maybe you’ll want to consider a longer countertop or trestle-propped work surface so they can work side-by-side. For more basic work needs, or for smaller footprints where floor space is valuable, you may consider a wall mounted desk to open things up visually below your work surface. Take an honest appraisal of what these requirements are, and pick an appropriate desk or shelf size that will meet your current and future needs.
Bobby Berk Home Office Loll Designs Wallbanger wall mounted desk
Bobby Berk Home Office Wythe Industrial Modern Desk
Bobby Berk Home Office Tierra Wall Flats
You will want to have some tidy storage solutions. This could factor into your selection of a desk, which might include drawers for supplies and perhaps a file drawer. Open shelving above your desk is a great place for magazine files, boxes of paper and other supplies, and of course accessories. Make sure that your storage is ample and organized, and that similar boxes and files are used to create a cohesive, open storage look. Some people prefer to use a couple of matching open shelving units that flank their work chair to prop up a horizontal board or counter which becomes the work surface. Make sure the top of the work surface is the appropriate height at 29”-30” from the floor.
Bobby Berk Home Office LAX Wall Mounted Desk
Bobby Berk Home Office Built In Wall Shelves Magnum Mid-Century Industrial Desk
Make sure your work-space reflects your personality. Add decorative flare that speaks to you. You can layer materials that contrast with your wall surface. One fun idea, is to use cork sheets to cover the wall behind your desk. They’re pretty affordable and sold on numerous online retail stores. This allows for endless photo and memo pinning and a fun, customized textural element that is also great for absorbing sound. You can also put up a bulletin board or mood board that gives you inspiration. You can also use a dry erase board, a calendar or some other type of collage. A large or small piece of artwork can create a focal point to anchor your space, or you can pin magazine clippings or vintage post cards in an artistic arrangement. If you only use shelving and don’t have room for a board, a picture or two in a frame will personalize the look, or a shelf full of leaning frames. A couple of pops of color will enliven your office and give you a boost of energy in your space. Regardless of how you decorate, the happier you are to work there, the more productive you will be.
Tina Hellberg Home Office Cork Board Wall Minimal Scandinavian Interiors
Tina Hellberg
Bobby Berk Home Office Yellow Grey Bars Tempaper Wallpaper
When you select an office chair, be sure to consider the amount of time you will be using your work-space. If you have to sit for long hours, something with better ergonomic design including proper back support and adjustable armrests and seat height will allow for longer sustained work periods, especially for someone working full time from home. Office chairs can be expensive, but work injuries resulting from bad posture are no joke! We think a good chair is definitely worth the investment. Consider whether you need to roll on a hard surface or carpeting, as some wheels work better on either of these surfaces, but not necessarily great on both. The chair you select can often be the most sculptural piece in the office set up, so pick something that you love, and that gives your space some added personality.
Bobby Berk Home Office Annett Swivel Armchair
Lastly, consider using a good task light and make sure that general lighting is sufficient to reduce strain on your eyes and give you ample light to see what you’re working on. One of the things that makes even a well-organized and decorated work space look cluttered is a mess of cords. There are lots of cord management products that help hide cords, including wall strips and under-desk cord management solutions. Don’t skip this step, which can be a bit tricky to figure out how to deal with, but the initial investment in time and money will ultimately make all the difference!!
Bobby Berk Home Office Pablo Link Wall Mount Clamp Light
Bobby Berk Home Pablo Pixo LED USB Charging Lamp

Making a Small Room Appear Larger - Design Campus

When it comes to designing and decorating small spaces, there are a few tried and true tips the best designers use to make a room appear much larger than it actually is. Some of these techniques go against common logic, so let’s take a look at these methods, including misconceptions about making your spaces feel bigger. Here are Bobby Berk‘s top 10 tips on making a small room appear larger.
1. CeilingsOne misconception people have is that a dark ceiling feels visually impeding. We’ve had great success with dark or wallpapered ceilings, as the eye is drawn upward which gives the effect of a more vertically expansive space. Keeping walls and flooring light reflects more light and makes the space feel larger. Dark colors can make a room feel cozier, as more light is absorbed. Dark colors can work in small spaces, but lighter walls will definitely make the space feel bigger than dark colors will.
dark ceilings
2. ScalingMake sure the pieces you select are in scale with the room. One large piece such as a sectional that spans the width of the wall, or a large etagere or display piece can actually fill the room, giving the effect of more space. This is another counterintuitive technique, but it can be successful if you stick to one large piece in lieu of several smaller ones with the same function (such as several chairs as opposed to a sectional). Don’t crowd the room with lots of large pieces however. Consider smaller scaled end tables and chairs.
one large piece
3. Base SelectionAnother note about the pieces you select; Use chairs, sofas tables etc. that have legs rather than solid bases or skirts. Being able to see under and through pieces makes the room feel visually extensive. This effect can also be achieved with wall-hung desks, open shelving, and lucite pieces. If you don’t have a lot of room, consider a translucent glass coffee table or one with open storage below, for instance. When you can see through it, it will trick the eye into believing there’s more room. Sometimes using all pieces with legs can make for a ͞leggy͟ arrangement that looks visually cluttered on the lower plane of the space, so consider one solid or skirted sofa base and other open or legged pieces but avoid that too-many-legs trap. A pedestal base table such as the iconic Saarinen tulip table is a great solution to this pitfall.
floating sofa
4. Storage
If you can pick furniture with double-duty uses or storage, you will effectively reduce visual clutter, give yourself ample storage for things you don’t always want out, and reduce the number of pieces required in the room. Consider decorative boxes to store smaller trinkets.
multi0functional coffee table
5. Mirrors
Mirrors reflect light and make the space look visually twice as big. Consider a large mirror or arrangement of several mirrors to further open the space.
6. Float
Consider floating furniture. Sometimes we like to think that if we push everything to a wall it will leave as much space as possible in the center of the room, but floating pieces a bit away from the wall or doing a seating arrangement in the center of the room can allow visual room and/or physical circulation that create a nice open effect. Utilize a space plan that gives the small space flow.
Floating Furniture
7. Windows
Don’t use heavy window treatments which can tend to impede visual space. Opt for roman shades, or go Dutch! If you must use curtains, make sure to hang them high. The closer the ceiling, the taller the space will feel.
8. Stripe Effect
Horizontal stripes can have the effect of making a room feel more expansive on the horizontal plane, while vertical stripes make a room look taller. This can be achieved on the floor with a rug as well.
9. Scheme
If you stick to a controlled color palette, the room won’t feel so chopped up. You can go monochromatic or tertiary, but keep it light, airy and cohesive. Your staple furniture pieces should be neutral, and you can layer with patterned pillows and art. Make sure there are a variety of finishes and textures to make your space interesting in a subtle fashion.
10. Pathways
Hallways and adjacent rooms should be airy and consistent in color to visually flow from space to space.

Designing Model Homes with HGTV's Bobby Berk - Design Campus

Designing Model Homes with HGTV's Bobby Berk - Design Campus: We at Bobby Berk Interiors Design have been doing some design work for home builders lately, and we thought it would be a good idea to share some of the things we’ve learned about designing model homes. There is surprisingly little information on the subject. In some ways, the process is a lot like designing a space for a private residential client, and there’s a large degree of crossover where the basics are concerned. In other ways, model homes create some unique design challenges and your approach should be a little different. In merchandising a model home, you have to consider the fact that you are presenting a product that is intended to appeal to a particular buyer profile and demographic. If you do your job right, the space should have an appeal that will not alienate buyers, but invite a large base of tastes to see the potential of a particular floor plan, which will in turn translate into sales for the building company.

The first thing that we recommend when you begin your programming and fact gathering is to research the builder. What kind of homes do they already sell? What is the price point in the development where they’re building and how does this compare to other home product in the area? Is this a luxury product or mid-level? What is the buyer profile in that neighborhood? Are there a lot of younger families? Is it an age-qualified development? What other homes are available nearby, and if there are models for these developments, it might behoove you to go and tour those developments to see what the other designers have done in that market. Take stock of what they are doing well and make notes about what you think needs improvement. These are all good things to keep in mind when you begin the design process.
Another important thing to consider, is that home builders will try to upsell options to their buyers, which come at a higher cost than the standard finishes and fixtures. You will want to showcase the types of upgrades that are available to buyers and really wow them with some of the more luxe finish options. Because a model home is really an opportunity to inject some features that are intended to wow buyers and sell them a lifestyle, you may even consider putting some special features in the home that are not necessarily options. We did some ceiling treatments in our last model, for example, that were prohibitive on a production scale, but that our builder client wanted to show in the model anyways. You will have to have a discussion with your builder to decide how best to strike the balance between showcasing options that buyers will be able to purchase for their own homes, and design features that are not necessarily appropriate for production. When it comes to flooring, cabinets, fixtures and other materials, obtain a list of the vendors that the builder offers their buyers. A lot of times, the builder will have good working relationships with these vendors and use these relationships to try to get as much product donated for the model homes as possible. This saves the builder on costs, as the vendors are usually happy to offer product under the umbrella of marketing costs, since showing these products in the model will generate sales of their products. You will likely be using many of these products, so be sure to get in touch with these vendors through the builder to obtain sample product. You will want to put together a small but thorough material library for the project, and this can help get your creative wheels spinning when you see what type of choices are available to you. Sometimes a vendor may be limited in selection, which we have run into. If they don’t have decorative tile that packs an impactful enough punch, for instance, you may want to explore some other designer choices. Don’t let your designs suffer, because of a lack of choices.
Designing Model Homes
Bobby Berk Model Home – photographed by Christopher Mayer
Nowadays, people expect to be able to customize their homes. Builders are starting to take note of the value in making their home product as customizable as possible. This especially appeals to millennials, which are a large and emerging demographic that designers and builders need to consider. Customization has really become important to most buyers in general, though. Although the days of cookie-cutter homes with a sea of beige carpet and granite are thankfully coming to an end, a model home is not exactly the place for wild design experimentation either. Remember that when you’re selling the idea of a lifestyle through your designs, you want to get buyers emotionally connected to the space. The best way to do this, without alienating too many personal aesthetics with an overly-niche design, is to stick with neutral fabrics and colors on beds and sofas. Bring in print with pillows, throws, rugs and curtains. This also makes it easier to change a look up with greater ease in the future. A controlled color palette is often a good idea, as it makes the transitions from room to room more seamless. Typically, greys, blues, earth tones, creams, whites and blacks are a good jumping off place to build around, and then you can bring in accent colors to give character to different rooms. Buyers will expect to see a pulled together and “decorated” space, but that doesn’t mean kitsch or corny design schemes.
One of the things that we love about working with builders is that unlike a typical client/designer relationship, there is usually much less back and forth over specific selections. There is a larger degree of trust on behalf of a corporate builder client, and this makes the process of the selection of furnishings and finishes more expedient and an all around easier task. There is also a shared interest in getting the project finished in a timely manner, and you will have a team of professionals that are very knowledgeable at your disposable. It’s definitely a welcome change of pace to be working so directly with the construction team and have that type of open communication, especially when you’re working through any special challenges or need assistance in executing a design idea. Typically you will have an assigned superintendent that will be your point of contact during the construction process. There are also a number of other people that get involved, from marketing staff, to purchasing people, landscapers, etc. Builders don’t always put together a “cheat sheet” with everyone’s role on the project, so if they don’t have something like that for you when you start on with them, ask someone to list the people you’ll be working with. This way, you’ll know who to go to with questions or issues that are sure to arise. It will make your life much easier if you establish all your contacts from the beginning, as you will no doubt be copied on hundreds if not thousands of emails over the course of the project.
Also consider how many models they are producing for a community. Are you doing all of the models? Are there other designers doing different models on the project? Establish a story for each floor plan. Consider the context of the architectural style and location of the home. Is it a Spanish or Mediterranean home? (Please God, not another Faux-Tuscan house!) Are you designing for the desert? The mountains? The beach? Or a simple suburban backdrop? Maybe the builders want to showcase a particular architectural style? Are the models different architecturally? Maybe the builder would like to do one floor plan that is more contemporary, maybe one that is more transitional and one that is more traditional. Find out what they’re looking for and make sure that each model has its own distinct character and that there is variety between the collective floor plans. One things that a lot of designers have done in the past is to pick one color and that becomes the strict accent for the entire home. This one’s the blue home. That one’s the orange one. This family has a daughter with a pink room that likes ballet, and a son with a blue room that likes cars. As much as you want to sell an aspirational lifestyle to buyers, I would try to steer clear of doing something too expected like this. When kids get emotionally involved after falling in love with what would potentially be “their room,” it can indeed drive parents to fall in love with a home as well, but kids these days have a wide range of interests and the trite and expected “pink and blue trap” might not be the best approach. Try a design that is a little more gender neutral, and that is more age-neutral. A more sophisticated child’s room is one that a teen could also see themselves in and something that kids could potentially grow into.
Designing Model Homes
Bobby Berk Model Home – photographed by Christopher Mayer
Not only do you have to make the kids happy, assuming you design some kids rooms, but you also have to make adults get excited about their potential spaces: the master suite and closet. We had to push for custom closet in the past, as some models will have the most basic closet solutions that come standard. We’re talking a basic painted MDF shelf and wooden dowel rod– not the most impressive thing to see in a model, and certainly difficult to accessorize and make attractive. Try to get your builder to see the value in addressing every space, including the closet! Be sure to accessorize with pretty clothing, including a few dresses, shoes, men’s dress shirts, nice shopping bags, and attractive baskets that help a closet look well organized. To the aesthetic of the master suite, we would encourage something that isn’t overtly feminine. Women might have a lot of say when it comes to matters of the home, and they may lean very feminine, but men will certainly have a say as well, so finding the right aesthetic is a fine line.
It’s really hard to find good affordable bedding. We would encourage designers to consider having custom bedding made. It makes it so much easier to pull together a scheme when you can customize your bedding to your design. You don’t even have to typically use sheets underneath your comforters, unless a really layered style is what you’re after. You can typically get away with pulling the comforter all the way up, eliminating the need for sheets. If you do use a sheet, grab something cheap at Ikea or another budget friendly retailer. Use a lot of pillows, and create a plush and inviting bed. Remember that mattresses should be as affordably sourced as possible. The budget should extend to things that people can actually see. We’ve even seen beds that are constructed out of a box or that don’t have a headboard or frame, but we like to use real furniture whenever possible. Someone may try to sit on the bed, and you don’t want it to be fake or hard. Another consideration is that models are sometimes sold furnished after a community sells out, so it might be wise to make sure that everything you design is functional for actual use.
You will probably be designing on a fairly conservative budget, and you’ll need to choose where to spend your money. When it comes to accessories, sometimes larger accessories can be more impactful and appear less cluttered than a slew of little accessories. It’s also potentially cheaper to decorate with a couple large pieces than a lot of smaller ones. We have also found that smaller accessories have a way of “walking off,” so this will ensure that things stay where they’re intended. Be prepared to glue down silverware to placemats, washcloths to baskets etc. If you’re going to do smaller framed prints, sometimes you can even take high-res image files to a printer and have them printed, rather than paying top dollar for prints through a dealer. It depends on the piece, obviously, but this could be a good way to save on costs. Another potential cost-saving tip is to consider how you dress your windows. You can sometimes get away with doing a single curtain panel on either side of a large glass slider or bank of windows rather than doing multiple panels, since the curtains will be open anyways. You just need enough curtain to frame the window.  When it comes to finding books, try the dollar store. You can remove the sleeves to make the books look less busy and more non-descript. It’s much easier to fill a shelf with dollar books than drop hundreds of dollars on them. Keep things like this in mind!
All in all, be sure to inject each room with color, pattern, texture and shine in order to make things feel well-layered and visually interesting.
As designers, you already have a lexicon of knowledge. Designing for a model doesn’t necessarily require reinvention of the wheel, but there are distinct things to consider. Hopefully we’ve given you a little food for thought! These types of design projects are truly a pleasure to work on. The construction timeline is typically accelerated, so you’ll be able to turn out an entire home much faster than you might for a private client. Models are great portfolio builders and you can generate additional business from buyers that tour your models. Once you get a good working relationship with a builder, they become the gift that keeps on giving, and you’ll often be brought on for more and more projects. There are some designers who make handsome livings just on designing model homes. If you’re interested in doing some model homes, put together a marketing package and pitch yourself to builders in your area. Good luck and happy designing!

Monday, March 28, 2016

4 Ways to Perk Up Your Outdoor Spaces With Color - Houzz article by Jennifer Ott

Go beyond plantings with these ideas for bringing bold hues to the exterior of your home.
Spring has arrived, which means summer isn’t too far behind. If your outdoor hangout needs sprucing up, now’s the time to hatch a plan for improvements. Plants and flowers are one of the best ways to add color, but you can also perk up the space with paint, furniture and accessories. Here are some ideas to get you started.