Category Archives: Resources

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

Sorry for the Absence!

We’re extremely sorry for the absence. Things have been very crazy since High Point Market and getting back into the swing of things here in the office. While we prepare some more in depth posts on this year’s spring market, we will post a few highlights.

Today’s highlight: Decorative lamp shades!

So many of the lamps showcased in various showrooms, had a unique twist to shades this year. Patterns on the fabric, enhancements (gems, beads, etc), and so much more! It was fun to see how many showrooms had them. Here are just a few to enjoy.  🙂

High Point 2014 Spring 429(Group from Dimond Lighting)

High Point 2014 Spring 456

(From Dimond Lighting)

High Point 2014 Spring 1613

(From Cyan Design)

Kayla

Our Pets and Our Homes

It’s not a secret to most that I’m a huge animal lover, especially dogs. Pets have always been in my life, and currently my heart belongs to two female beagle mixes. Like other pet owners, not only am I continually reading up on what’s new in pet care and what I should be doing to best care for them, but I’m also looking for various ways to keep my house from feeling like it’s completely run by the dogs in my life. To assist in keeping these new findings organized, and to share with our clients, friends and family, I’ve created a new Pinterest board, For the Love of Dog. Here, I’ll share new products, great accessories (for our pets and the home), and much more, including other pet related ideas to assist in keeping a home functional for ourselves and our pets. Here are few that I’ve come across recently:

 

Two-piece ceramic dachshund bookend set in glossy white:

Two-piece ceramic dachshund bookend set in glossy white

Luxury Dog Beds:

Luxury Dog Beds

Dog Pod:

Dog Pod

 

 

I apologize in advance if most pins revolve around dogs, but I will try to be fair in my posts. Please feel free sharing some of your favorite findings or if you have suggestions on something I should keep in mind as I research. Enjoy!

Kayla

High Point is 10 Days Away!

Preparing for Market can be quite the task, but it’s something that Carolin and I look forward to twice a year.

The Hotel room has been booked and confirmed, so now the fun can begin!  High Point Market sends out several books as a Market Preview. These include the showrooms that are participating in Market, provides a glance into the various new products and vendors, and even various networking and educational events. We scour the pages looking for anything that catches our eyes. Sometimes we spot items for a specific project or client, but sometimes it’s something that we have to see and keep in mind for future projects. There are many lines that we love to visit to see their showrooms and new additions at each market, but we’ve also found many new resources at Market that we may never have seen otherwise.

It’s true the internet has become a huge help in business and life, but there are things that just have to be seen in person, and for us that’s much of the items you put in your home and office. Fabrics, colors, textures, quality are all very important, but impossible to see on a screen. You may get a good idea, but there’s nothing like seeing the real thing. High Point Market and other trade shows give us this opportunity. It gives us confidence in pursuing something for a client, even if it’s a new vendor.

Kayla

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.

 

Spring: In the Air and On our Minds!

Hard to believe that it’s just about time for the High Point Spring Furniture Market! This year is just flying by! In a little over three weeks, I will be heading down to High Point, lists of specific showrooms and building maps in hand. It’s been a year and a half since I was last at the High Point Market, and I’m anxious to get down there to see what’s new.

I will be scouting products for several of our projects, but it’s always excited and fun to see the newest creations and designs from each manufacturer. I’m very hopeful that the lighting manufacturers have gone to their drawing boards and will have fabulous out-of-the-box designs implementing the use of LEDs. For furniture, I’ll be looking for which companies have something that just blows me away and I can’t wait to share with a client or that will inspire a brand new project. It’s also fun to see if there is a common thread between showrooms. Sometimes it’s a unique or fascinating material. It can even be color – and it isn’t always the color of the year!

This year, I’m thrilled to share some of my findings from High Point with our readers and followers! Is there anything on your list that I might find for you?

Kayla