Category Archives: Relationships

Celebrating World Interiors Day

Airport Tour 2

This past Saturday, May 30, was World Interiors Day, a day to educate others about the influence design has on daily life. The event is headed by the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers (IFI) and has been adopted by ASID as a day to urge designers to share how they give back to the communities they serve.

With that in mind, we’d like to share our community involvement. Each year, we participate in the ASID Washington Metro Chapter’s Spruce Up. The Spruce Up allows individuals or businesses to hire an ASID interior designer for one or two hours at a special rate, with all the proceeds benefitting ASID’s educational efforts. This project allows community members to learn what interior designers do and obtain consultation from highly qualified interior designers that they might not have otherwise been able to afford. Due to high demand, Kayla helped three and Carolin helped four Spruce Up clients.

Furthermore, our active membership in the ASID Washington Metro Chapter has led to our continued support of the ASID Foundation. The ASID Foundation’s mission is to “support endeavors that capture and disseminate knowledge, encourage innovation, and benefit the health, safety and welfare of the public through interior design research, scholarships and education.” The Foundation accomplishes this through numerous programs, all of which can be read about here.

We most recently supported the foundation with ASID Washington Metro Chapter’s benefit: a tour of the Washington Reagan National Airport last Friday. Naturally we were excited to support the Foundation, but just as excited to get a tour of our region’s busiest airport! The tour was centered on the 30 pieces of art commissioned specially for the airport and the integration of the city’s landscape into its design. The group photo seen above is of “Foliated Trellis”, a piece by Kent Bloomer and located in Ticketing Level South.

What’s funny is that as we were touring the airport, we actually ran into two of our clients and Carolin’s close friends on their way out of town! It’s always great to run into our wonderful clients and friends, even if we didn’t get to take a trip ourselves!

The Design Exchange Team

Vendor Spotlight: Marblex, Winner of Three 2014 NARI Contractor of the Year Awards!

Design Exchange, Inc. has collaborated with Marblex for client projects for over 25 years, almost since Marblex’s inception in 1987. It’s easy to see why. In addition to providing high quality natural stone and quartz products, their team is extremely knowledgeable, very gracious, and always willing to go the extra mile for us and our clients.

We always enjoy working with them and visiting their beautiful showroom in Fairfax that features a digital production facility right on the premises with state-of-the-art equipment. As a family-owned business, we marvel that we can never tell which employees are related and which are not. They all seem like family!

Naturally, we were delighted to learn this week that Marblex won three Contractor of the Year Awards from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) for 2014! No surprise!  Just last week, one of our clients stopped by our office and raved again about the Marblex team’s expertise and coordination from selection to fabrication to installation of the beautiful kitchen counters.

Marblex’s award-winning designs can be seen here. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Marblex and seeing what’s to come from them in 2015!

The Design Exchange Team

Congratulations and Applause

It is imperative to us that the furnishings we provide for our clients are excellent quality and beautiful. We rely on our vendors for top notch service, fresh, innovative design, and protection of the environment. There are still family owned and operated businesses that are high on our list. It is no surprise that one of these manufacturers, Century Furniture, is once again on the list of Pinnacle Awards Finalists.

This is the 19th year of the American Society of Furniture Designers annual competition. Finalists were announced during the Las Vegas Market and the winners will be presented with their awards on October 20th during the High Point Furniture Market.
Century is a finalist in FOUR categories:

– Major Collections: Mesa Collection by Chris Bergelin and Thad Bergelin

Mesa Collection

– Occasional Tables: Links Cocktail Table by Pride Sasser

Links Cocktail Table

– Stationary Upholstery: Beaufort Bamboo Chair & Ottoman by Charlotte Moss

Beaufort Bamboo Chair & Ottoman

– Lighting: Parisian Table Lamp by Pride Sasser, Grand Tour Collection

Parisian Table Lamp

I wonder if those Century finalists will arrive at the brand new Century Showroom due to open on October 1st in Washington, DC!

Carvers’ Guild, a favorite for mirrors, is also a finalist.
– Tempo 1 Contemporary Collection, by Carol Canner

Tempo I

 

 Carolin

PS I am looking forward to my visit to the High Point Furniture Market to see all the newest and best. October 18-23

“An I or an E?”

When that popped up in an email last week my immediate response was “Yes!”
Truthfully, I walk the line. I am sure that I am an introvert at heart but occasionally the extrovert breaks through. This email obviously needed to be opened and read.

The Alpha Business Coaching Newsletter (Yes, Lynda, I always read your newsletters.) was about a recent book by Susan Cain, “Quiet,The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”. Lynda went on to explain differences in the two distinct types. Introverts need quiet time to assess thoughts and ideas before sharing with others. Extroverts have no qualms about verbalizing an idea and then listen for reactions. As I read her thoughts and explanations, I understood myself better and also figured out how the extrovert made an appearance! Over time I have learned that some of the ideas that were in my mind and not heard in group meetings, would have been more beneficial than the ideas that were selected. Finally, in areas of my own expertise, particularly for someone else, the extrovert could appear and speak up!

Lynda has some great thoughts on how business leaders can get everyone’s ideas into the open in the workplace. She suggests providing opportunities for everyone to plan ahead and bring ideas to a group meeting so that those of us who need the quiet time gain the confidence to contribute. A good read. Sounds like the book is, too.

Carolin

PS Sometimes that extrovert actually shows up in MY defense! Balance is great.

Email for Lynda Hess with Alpha Business Coaching: Lchess@alphabizcoaching.com

Recent Reminder of Why We Chose the City of Fairfax

More than two decades ago we were searching for an office space to purchase for our interior design business. We had begun in Old Town Alexandria and later moved to Vienna. We had been renting in Vienna and now had the opportunity to buy. After looking at a dozen spaces in nearby Northern Virginia, we chose the condo in Fairfax Commons on Old Lee Highway, just a block or so off Main Street in Fairfax. Recently I was reminded why we had made that wise decision.

As I drove into the heart of Fairfax on my approach to our design studio on a Monday morning, the parking lots and the Kitty Pozer Garden were fenced off for construction. The “fencing”, created with a series of panels, tells the story of the preservation and restoration project as well as the upcoming events in the City. By December we will be “Walking through Time” in the new and improved Old Town Square. And, yes, there will still be parking.

The City is now, and was then, a destination – not a drive through. It has history and yet is part of today’s world. It welcomes singles, families (young and not so young), businesses and culture. Several wonderful restaurants are within walking distance of our office. Community events are frequent and well hosted. It is a beautiful and pleasant place to work, live and have a good time.

We made the right choice.

Carolin

 

PS I am going to try to make it to the next Rock the Block. I love music!

City of Fairfax Resources:

Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce 

Downtown Park Project 

Design Exchange Approved: A Few of Our Favorite “Fairfax” Things

 Le Mediterranean Bistro

Woody’s Ice Cream

Choices by Shawn 

Bollywood Bistro 

P.J. Skidoos

 

Trip Down Memory Lane with Favorite Clients

“Isn’t it Ironic?” to quote Alanis Morissette – or at least a coincidence – that clients from the past, who moved to Florida eleven years ago, called our studio in Northern Virginia with a question just two weeks before Kayla and I were heading to Florida on another client project? We were able to answer the question by phone and email, but that did not stop us from scheduling a dinner together during our trip.

We met at a wonderful restaurant in the beautiful city of St. Augustine about half way between their location and ours. Even more delightful was the time spent together. Conversation and laughter began the minute they entered the room and continued for over two hours. It was an evening with best friends, even for Kayla who has been with our firm for four years and had never met them before. She had heard some of the stories since they are still on our recently revised website but those stories sounded even better coming from the two of them. Kindness, appreciation and humor are gifts for all.

img-projects-unique

It was a joy to hear about the favorite “Paris” Chair from William Switzer Ltd. (I can appreciate that. Our living room features a pair of them!) And we were asked to say hello to Wayne and Alex at Soulie’s Interiors, the superb, to the trade workroom, that has fabricated and installed window treatments and bed linens for so many of our clients.

We strive, always, to do what is the ideal for each client. How great to have clients who tell us we did it.

Carolin

Resources and Relationships – Again

Last night was one more reminder of how important our resources and relationships are in our professional lives and in our personal lives.  As a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), I was invited to attend the State of the Society Event hosted by the Duralee Showroom at the Washington Design Center.

Surrounded by friends – designers, industry representatives, showroom staff – in a beautiful showroom – we listened to our CEO Randy Fiser speak about where the society is and where we are heading. It is obvious to all that Randy is exactly the leader we need in this changing world.

ASID is always there to help us in our design careers, whether we are emerging professionals or experienced designers. Right now our society is heading up studies on improving the lives of those with autism and dementia. Continuing education courses are available on sustainability, safety and well being for clients, and everything else that relates to improving the design services we offer.

Everything the Society does for us and with us helps us to do more for our clients.

Thank you, Randy!

Carolin

PS: My husband was my invited guest. He was IMPRESSED.

 

ROI – Return on Investment

Starting a business is the dream of many talented individuals. They know they have a skill that can be shared and appreciated. Perhaps that skill is preparing unusual and delicious food and the ambition is to open a restaurant! Maybe they have worked in a restaurant, been a chef and love it. They know how the kitchen works – but do they have all the other skills they need?

We dine out often, and love finding a new place. Sometimes it is disappointing. Recently we entered a new restaurant and could hear people in the bar, but there was only one couple in the dining room. We were greeted and taken to a table along the banquette – my favorite place to sit – usually. Not this time. I’m short, my husband is tall. He let me have his chair and he was going to sit on the banquette. No way. We both sat in chairs on one side of the table. That was just one problem.

The space felt like a painted basement and had patched areas. The glossy painted floor will be slippery when wet from something spilled. The paper atop the table cloths slid part way off the table when the hostess laid down the menus and when we sat down. The Southern American food mentioned in the ad was actually closer to Cajun.

Imagine the money that was invested in opening this restaurant, the equipment, the permits, the rent, the staff, and on and on. The chef’s skill is in the food. The chef also needed the skills of others to make the dream come true.

Imagine if some of those dollars were spent with a business consultant, a graphic designer to co-ordinate the message sent to the media, and even a brief consultation with a professional Interior Designer. Then the guests would know the menu, get excellent service, have a safe, comfortable place to dine, and the chef’s story would be visible all around them while they enjoyed the wonderful food.

They would come back – again and again. They would tell others. The chef’s dream could come true. There would be a Return on Investment – not just financially!

Carolin

Resources, Relationships, Results

Remember when the 3 R’s were reading, riting and rithmetic? In today’s world we learn in business – as well as in friendships – that the three mentioned up top are just as important. Problems can occur when they are least expected and without the established relationships, they may not be easily solved.

Over many years our firm has searched out and found excellent resources for furnishings for our clients’ projects. We support them and they support us resulting in positive relationships. We are careful about our procedures, checking schedules, and planning carefully. Then sometimes the weather can turn everything upside down! Most of the time, a few days delay in a ship date is fine. Other times, that delay can be quite a problem. A phone call, to the wonderful rep, at the reputable resource and, “they should make the truck” became “The items are flagged as “hot!”. They made the truck, and the planned delivery. Results!

Last week, in a two day period, three reps came by to update our library with the newest fabric and wallpaper samples. They save us time and make sure that we have the best products at our finger tips. That is a benefit to us and it produces excellent results for us and our clients.

These resources, relationships, results lead to the 4th R – mutual Respect!!!

Carolin