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!


Wrap-Around Bow



French 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!


Lavender Orchid

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


Handmade Teapot by Mier Luo

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


Colorful Stripes by Fabiano Amin

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


Molded Glass Bowl

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


Walnut Bowl by Alan Dattelbaum

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


Ceramic Chihuahua

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.

2) Compile all documentation already produced for the design: floor plans, elevations, reflected ceiling plans, details, finish schedules, etc. 

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.

Final Rendering of the lobby of our Eisenhower Ave project by F13 Design Studio

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.

The field of interior design has many facets and encompasses many different services ranging from staging, to FF&E procurement, to finish selection, to interior architecture, and so much more in between. While designers’ specialties may vary, each have one common responsibility more important than any part of the design: the health, safety, and well-being of occupants.

Depending on where you intend to practice interior design, there may be requirements to prove that you understand more than aesthetic design – that you’re able to design accessible spaces; that you can ensure safe egress in the event of an emergency; that you understand how roles and responsibilities are divided among the different parties involved in the design process – this is where NCIDQ certification becomes invaluable. While an interior designer may accumulate all necessary knowledge on safety- and accessibility-related codes over years of experience, trial, and error, there is still a limit to the services they can legally offer in many North American jurisdictions. Certification not only gets designers into those more restrictive markets – it sets them apart from other designers and puts them in a tier of qualified individuals who collectively raise the standard of professionalism in the interior design industry.

Another important benefit, not to be undervalued, is that certification instills a certain sense of pride, accomplishment, and confidence. Even in areas where certification is not required to practice interior design, being a Certified Interior Designer is inherent proof that you thoroughly know your industry and that clients can trust you to get the job done safely and efficiently. Whether your jurisdiction requires it, or you want the personal satisfaction, NCIDQ certification will be a worthwhile endeavor that will easily pay for itself over time.

At SR/A, we have two NCIDQ certified interior designers on our team – Jessica Watts, and Jennie Carman – and I aim to be the third. After completing the thousands of supervised work hours required, and studying for three solid months, I just finished taking my last two certification exams. I look forward to seeing my results in a few weeks. Fingers crossed!


Brendan Horman is an Interior Designer with SR/A Interior Design. He earned his degree in interior design from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) in 2014. Outside the office, Brendan enjoys planning his future tiny house and drinking craft beers.

Slide background
Slide background
Slide background
Slide background


If you know the SR/A team, it’s no secret that many of us are animal lovers. On any given day it’s possible to see one of the staff’s dogs in the office keeping watch over our desks, greeting gallery customers, and patrolling the kitchen during lunch time. That’s why it’s no surprise that when we choose to give back to the community, one of our first instincts is to help animals. On September 23, SR/A held our second annual adoption event and fundraiser at La Collection in partnership with City Dogs Rescue.

Though we typically hold several events at La Collection throughout the year, the dog adoption event is my personal favorite. La Collection comes alive with energy as adoptable dogs literally take over the gallery. Most love the attention, belly rubs, and ear scratches they get from customers and passers-by, while those that are little shy, as some rescue dogs are, can easily find a quiet spot in the gallery where they can settle down to watch the show. At our 2016 event, all the dogs present were adopted within a couple of weeks after the event, and we’re happy to report that it looks like several of the dogs this year also met their forever families at the event.

This year, SR/A organized a silent auction as part of the event. I’m pleased to say we raised over $600 for City Dogs Rescue, over double the amount raised at the 2016 event. This would not have been possible without the generous sponsors who donated goods and services for the silent auction:

Giving back to the community is part of our firm culture. As much as we love dogs, SR/A is proud to have supported other animal organization in the past, such as earlier this year when our team participated in Design for Felines with the DC Humane Rescue Alliance. However, City Dogs is an organization close to our hearts here at SR/A. My fiancé and I adopted our dog Lander from City Dogs in 2015 and our principals, Sabine and Sean, adopted their dog Margot in 2016. Here are Lander and Margot sporting their “alumni” bandannas at this year’s event.

If you’d like to learn more about City Dogs Rescue, please check out their website: www.citydogsrescuedc.org. And, be sure to keep your eye out for the date of our Third Annual Adoption Event next fall!


Jennie Carman is an Interior Designer at SR/A Interior Design. She earned her MFA in Interior Design from The George Washington University in 2014 and previously spent several years in the event planning industry before moving into a career in interior design.