Our Throwback Thursday videos are all about introducing you to the extraordinary antique and vintage items in our gallery. Each piece has a fascinating history and we hope you enjoy learning about it as much as we do!
Our Throwback Thursday videos are all about introducing you to the extraordinary antique and vintage items in our gallery. Each piece has a fascinating history and we hope you enjoy learning about it as much as we do!
You hear it again and again – Join a professional organization! Attend a networking event! In your head you’re thinking, but I’m not looking for a new job, why should I spend my precious free time networking and exchanging business cards?
News Flash – there are TONS of reasons professional organizations are worthwhile! But in the essence of time, here are my top four…
Typically, professional organizations will hold their events in a variety of locations to try to appeal to members located in different neighborhoods or areas of the city. If you are a person who loves to try out new restaurants, breweries, hotel bars, or whatever the venue this is great news for you! At each event you get to check out a new hot spot in town without having to make any reservations or plans on your own.
You’re thinking, isn’t this networking? The answer is no. I’m not talking about making new connections here, I’m talking about keeping old ones. It’s no secret the design industry in DC is a small one. You really don’t know how many people you already know in the industry until you attend an event. I’m constantly running into past co-workers, former professors and industry acquaintances. Professional organization events are a great way to keep up with these people on the fringes of your social circle. If you are nervous about not knowing anyone at a professional networking event, don’t be. Odds are you’ll know someone else there before you walk in the door.
“Hi, I’m so and so and I work at so and so company.” Making the effort to stay involved in a professional organization isn’t just a benefit to you but also your company. Every name tag with your company name on it or contact list with your company email is free advertising for your company. An employer appreciates seeing that you are not only committing to being deeper involved in your industry, but that your effort is reflecting positively on the company as well and who knows where that might lead?
Professional organizations are completely volunteer run. Do you think those awesome events, wacky fundraisers and packed trade shows plan themselves? Let me tell you, they don’t. Joining a committee is an easy way to kill two birds with one stone – 1) you automatically meet people in the organization and 2) you get to brush up on those rusty event planning, fundraising or other life skills you haven’t used in awhile. Professional organizations need help putting together outreach campaigns, connecting with students, planning events, and lots more. Each organization is always looking for volunteers! Contributing a couple hours a month to a committee is completely worth the benefit and who knows what skill (be it professional, life or leadership) you’ll develop?
Jennie Carman is a Certified Interior Designer & Brand Coordinator at SR/A. She served as Director of Programming for the NEWH DC Chapter in 2016, and has been an active member of the organization since 2014.
40% of Americans made New Year’s resolutions this year, according to a recent article in The Washington Post, and I’d bet a lot of those resolutions involved in setting up a home gym. Have you ever considered how the design of your gym influences your experience there? Is it warm and invited? DO you feel motivated walking into the space, or does it feel cold and sterile? In multifamily buildings, in particular, the fitness center can often be overlooked in the building’s design, but it’s also one of the most heavily used amenities within the building. SR/A prides itself on making sure this often-forgotten space is one that encourages, invites and, perhaps most important, sells to prospective residents.
Here’s a round up of some of our favorite fitness center designs from past multifamily projects…
For this conversion project, our design capitalized on the existing architecture. The bold silhouette graphic draws the eye upward, emphasizing the impressive height of the space. This fitness center feels both homey and inviting.
The random floor tile pattern adds an unexpected design feature into this suburban building’s fitness center. It is a good example of how a small (and cost effective) design element can have a big impact within a space.
A photographic mural ties together the two levels of this two-story fitness center. Including a loft space allows for greater separation between fitness activities – machines are all located on the lower level enabling the upper level to be reserved for yoga, Pilates or more restorative fitness activities.
This yoga room was designed as a soothing and relaxing space, separate from the complex’s fitness center. Wooden screens and sheet draperies allow plenty of natural light to penetrate the space, while still creating an intimate lounge used pre- and post- workout.
A wall graphic featuring work from graffiti artist, Tristan Eaton, adds urban sophistication to the fitness center in this building located on the SE Riverfront. Stepping away from the usual typographical murals in fitness centers can be a breath of fresh air for prospective residents.
There are two things that I love most in life: Good design, and craft beer. Design is my profession, and beer is my hobby. However, as much passion as I hold for each, they often fall into both categories.
There are many times at my desk when I lose track of time because of how wrapped up I am in some of the architectural details I feel the need to perfect for our projects. I enjoy smoothing out design wrinkles wherever possible, and sometimes it doesn’t occur to me that I’m at work. As they say, “find something you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Similarly (or perhaps conversely) with craft beer, I take what should be a beverage made for relaxation and recreation, and nearly turn it into a job! I always strive to taste new beers rather than drink the same old thing. When I find a new one, I write a detailed review and compare it to other brews I’ve tried. I travel out-of-state to track down rare beers that aren’t distributed to Maryland, or aren’t distributed outside of their respective breweries at all! Alas, there are only so many hours in a day to enjoy one or the other, so I find myself frequently asking how I can combine these two passions. My past personal projects include a stylized chalk mural inspired by a seasonal beer that I display on my beer fridge, a collection of limited-release and hear-to-get bottles, and most recently some pendant lamps made from said bottles.
As SR/A has evolved over the years, and we explore avenues outside our usual multifamily residential niche, I don’t see why our next specialty couldn’t be brewpubs and breweries. The idea of designing a brewpub would be an exciting new challenge for us that I feel we are more than equipped to take on. to have a hand in the process of developing a space where people come together to support their local craft brewers would be an absolute dream come true for someone like me. I’m excitedly looking forward to making this possibility a reality, so if anyone out there knows a brewer who wants an awesome public space from their brewery, please send them our way!
Brendan Horman is an Interior Designer at SR/A, and is the latest staff member to earn his NCIDQ certification. He has too many favorite breweries to list here, but will never turn down an imperial stout.
Nothing is ever all black or all white and 2017 was just that, a mix of good and not so good. My lasting impression of the 2017 is somewhat morose. On the business side, we saw concerning changes occurring in the market. There was a decline in multi-family new construction projects compared to prior years, RFPs did not pop up in the same numbers and bids were fought fiercely. Many of our clients were under tremendous pressure from their investors and the marketplace, which in turn challenged us to continue delivering stunning designs while contending with lower budgets and more restrictions. On a personal level, there were too many sicknesses, hospitalizations and losses. In many ways it was a hard, heartbreaking year.
On the other hand, we do have a lot to be thankful for, and I am grateful for all the good that happened in 2017. The SR/A team had two wonderful weddings and two of our staff earned their NCIDQ certifications. I started painting which has been a long-time dream. We renovated half of our house, found new friends, reconnected with old friends. In the gallery, we met new artists, new clients, started the consignment program and the gallery took a fun direction towards local artists. I’m excited to share that La Collection is on path to be showing 100% original art in 2018. We now have a strong presence on social media via LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram and saw an increase in sales on our Etsy and Chairish stores. There has been a lot of forward movement this year and that is wonderful.
I am hopeful for 2018. If we do not go to war with North Korea, if the Stock Market does not crash and if the Middle East does not explode, it looks like it can be a good year. The gallery will continue to grow and show local artists as well as new concepts. The ID firm will look to expand its reach into new areas of design, such as hospitality and senior living, and new regional markets, along with our traditional DC-area multi-family new constructions and renovations. We will keep on giving back through our pro bono work and addressing the affordable housing crisis. So yes, in many ways I am glad to see 2017 behind us, but I am also excited and positive to move forward into 2018 and all the possibilities it brings.
Wishing all a cozy and happy holidays and a…
Sabine Roy is the President and CEO of SR/A Interior Architecture and Design. Sabine and her husband, Sean Saidi, Principal at SR/A, reside in Maryland with their reclusive cat Phisy and their gregarious dog Margot.
Just in time for your holiday present wrapping, watch as SR/A & La Collection Owner Sabine Roy shares her secrets for tying the perfect bow!
Did these videos inspire you to create your own perfectly-tied bows? If so, we want to see them! Share on Facebook or Instagram and tag us @srainteriordesign!
Holiday shopping? In today’s post, our staff share their favorite holiday gift picks from La Collection. Stop by the gallery to take advantage of our holiday sale and let our designers help you pick out the perfect present for everyone on your list!
My mother-in-law loves flowers, but trying to keep fresh ones on your desk at work can be so much maintenance. This realistic silk orchid will be the perfect way to put a smile on her face every day.
– Abigail Youngstrom, Staff Designer
I appreciate the use of a simple, intentionally imperfect-looking form, as well as the integrated filter. For someone who appreciates both tea and art, this gift would be a unique and satisfying blend of both form and function.
– Brendan Horman, Interior Designer
This well-sized artwork by Fabiano Amin would be the perfect gift for my boyfriend who loves all things red, white and blue. Without a doubt, the modern interpretation of the flag will bring vibrant colors and whimsy to any room which I know he would appreciate.
– Jessica Watts, Associate
It is the hardest thing to buy a gift for my sister. She has amazing taste and her house is a calculated mix of Italian modern and gorgeous antiques. Nonetheless this stunning bowl is perfect. A beautiful, delicate Portuguese porcelain, it can be used for fruits or left empty to show its fineness. I am sure she’d love it.
– Sabine Roy, President & CEO
I love that this bowl is as beautiful as it is functional. The hand-carved wood makes it a perfect gift for anyone who appreciates quality craftsmanship, and the pop of turquoise gives it a fun, modern twist!
– Jennie Carman, Interior Designer
These two little pups remind me of how playful life can and should be. They come in two sizes which is perfect for placement on an end table or fireplace mantle. A (non-barking)addition to the family.
– Lyle Ganz, Associate
When I was in design school, hand renderings were a requirement for a majority of our projects. By hand renderings, I mean colored drawings literally produced by hand to visually depict the space I was designing. This required utilizing paper, architectural tools, colored pencils, pens, and a few tricks passed on by fellow students like using eye shadow to create shadows and highlights. I quietly hoped that the professional world would not require me to produce countless renderings. This hesitancy was probably due to the grueling all-nighters that usually accompanied these types of projects. To this day, I still have the bulk of this past work stored in my parents’ basement because I find myself unable to part with projects that took blood, sweat, and yes tears to produce. Design school truly is harder than most realize!
While I count myself lucky that my professional life has not been filled with producing hand renderings, such visual drawings are still essential to represent a design before the building is complete. In the multi-family industry, projects often take around two years from start to finish. Renderings can help clients and future tenants visualize what the space will look like – all before they can step foot inside the building. Therefore, they are invaluable marketing tools.
Professional renderings are most often produced with computer programs such as 3D MAX, Archicad, Revit, AutoCad, and Sketch Up. Utilizing a computer does lead to amazing results such as photorealism, but it is still a time intensive process. For this reason, we most often work with firms who specialize in renderings. One such firm we have done a lot of work with this year is F13 Design Studio, led by Mike Secrist.
So what are the steps required to ensure your design is accurately represented in a 3D rendering?
1) Determine alongside the client what rooms will be featured in the rendering set. Focal amenity areas such as the clubroom and outdoor pool areas are common in multi-family projects. You will then need to determine how many views of each space will be created and what angle will most favorably convey the design features in that room. Make sure that the client is up to date with all of the latest selections.
3) Gather all material samples for walls, floors, ceilings, and furnishings and properly label. It will be important for your renderer to have physical samples so they can make adjustments for color accuracy. I recommend ordering a separate set for the renderer so that you retain materials that you will likely still need access to during this time.
4) Review your presentation files to make sure there is enough information to convey all material placements, fabric applications, and anything necessary to accurately reflect the selections you have made. Additional diagrams to indicate furniture placement, for instance, and spreadsheets listing pertinent vendor information may also be necessary.
5) Schedule a face to face meeting with a local renderer, or virtual meeting sites, like GoToMeeting, can be helpful for a long-distance renderer. Walking the renderer through the design presentation is an invaluable step as it works to minimize misunderstandings and clarify important aspects of the design. The renderer may also request additional information or documentation during this step.
6) Scrutinize the rendering submitted by the renderer. Careful examination is important to determine that the design has been accurately represented. Important elements to review are color accuracy, correct material placement, fabric applications, furniture frames, lighting, and architectural details.
7) Record all discrepancies in a manner that can easily be interpreted by the renderer. This is a very detail oriented process, so I recommend creating separate pages for each discrepancy found. Include a snip of the rendering (and other supporting visual documentation) to provide further clarity. Expect to go back and forth with the renderer a few times before the rendering is 100% accurate. It is a process!
Since the renderer is essentially building spaces virtually, it should be no surprise that it is quite an intricate process. However, clients and design professionals alike are often caught off guard by the level of detail that must go into creating quality renderings. Even with an amazing design, others would not be able to fully appreciate it without such a realistic depiction of how the space will actually look. Although my days of rendering by hand are long gone, I am deeply grateful for ever advancing digital tools that revolutionize our ability to authentically convey design concepts before a brick is ever laid.
Jessica Watts is an Associate with SR/A Interior Design. She holds an interior design degree from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and has been honing her design skills for the past 10+ years. Before joining SR/A, she worked as residential designer and also interned with acclaimed west coast designer, Timothy Corrigan.
Looking to change up your Thanksgiving tablescape this year? Check out our three takes on festive Thanksgiving table-top décor for oodles of inspiration and tablescape design tips!
Our traditional tablescape emphasizes the length of this copper trestle table with its linear design. By putting shorter décor items in the center and capping the display off with two taller items on either end, we create a balanced look. Using two different items for the end gives the tablescape a nice unexpected element. The pheasant swag in the center is a showstopper piece, and its low height will make passing the dinner rolls across the table a breeze!
We eat with our eyes, so just as food should be a mix of colors and textures, so should your table décor! Our modern Thanksgiving tablescape includes both metallic vases and more textural elements like greenery and an antique wooden bread mold. Think about incorporating decor items in different ways, for instance here our cotton-bud door wreath makes a perfect candle-holder.
Styling isn’t just for the dining table. Adding festive décor to your buffet or serving table makes for a complete holiday look throughout your house. Here we mix gold and silver accents with more rustic pieces for a “collected” look. Also, don’t forget about the floor! Our sideboard features an opening in the center, which is the perfect place for larger décor items like this oversized preserved floral arrangement.
Still unsure of what to do? Just stop by La Collection – all of the items you see in the photos are available at the gallery and we’re happy to guide you to holiday décor that will wow your family this year. Plus all of our botanical arrangements are 50% off between now and Thanksgiving!
There are a great many unique and beautiful pieces of raw material that come through a design resource library. There is also the disappointing reality that eventually these materials will need to be discarded as product are phased out or discontinued. When we must pull these from our library to make room for new products, my mind tends to wander through possible alternative purposes and finished forms those items can take. This desire to repurpose material is especially strong for fabric since my mother is a seamstress. I grew up watching her work, which encouraged my experimentation with sewing and craft projects. As much as I would love to make clothing out of many of the luxurious fabrics that come through our resource library, I lack the patience to follow through with such lofty dreams. However, for several fabric samples I have salvaged, I determined that a smaller version of a garment, pieced together in 2D form would make an exceptional art piece as well as consume much less time to construct. For those who are also keen on repurposing items, I thought I’d share the process of my most recent project.
To make my art, I started with the fabric memo as my inspiration and sketched out a sleek dress design. If you are uncertain where to start, a great place to pull inspiration from is your favorite red-carpet fashion. I then laid my sketch over the fabric, pinned them together, and cut along the outline of the drawing to get the basic shape. I’d also recommend cutting out several corresponding fabric pieces to layer on top to build the illusion of depth. I cut extra layers of the skirt for one and overlapping cross sections of a top for another. Utilizing needle, thread, and craft glue I tucked, stitched, and pasted as needed to make my drawing come to life. Once the miniature garment was assembled, I found an old frame and foam-core board from design school days to mount my piece to.
Although the simple frame enhanced the piece some, I felt the white background was too stark and needed a little more interest. I recommend something complementary to your fabric choice, so it won’t overpower the focal point. Among my mishmash of sewing and craft materials I came across a few vintage clothing patterns I inherited from my mom. After cutting down several busier sections with seam and dart lines into different sized triangles, I pasted two overlapping layers of them to create a stylized backdrop for a cohesive design. You could also consider using a canvas for the base and layering pieces of patterned tissue paper or wrapping paper. A blank canvas can provide a clean look, or a previously painted canvas could add extra interest to layer solid tissue paper over. With the final addition of a hand sketched and white-washed mannequin to anchor my showpiece, I adhered the tailor-made garment to the board and, with much satisfaction, slid it into the frame.
Now, instead of tossing fabric memos once they’re discontinued, I get to admire several favorite fabrics from their home on my wall.
Abigail Youngstrom is a Staff Designer with SR/A Interior Design. She earned her degree in interior design from Baylor University in 2012. Originally from Texas, Abigail enjoys exploring all the sights and sounds of DC.