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INTERIO DESIG CAREE


VAULT CAREER GUIDE TO

INTERIOR DESIGN

2005 Vault Inc.

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INTERIO DESIG CAREE


VAULT CAREER GUIDE TO

INTERIOR DESIGN

SARA FOREST AND THE STAFF OF VAULT

2005 Vault Inc.

Copyright 2005 by Vault Inc. All rights reserved.

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All information in this book is subject to change without notice. Vault makes no claims as to the accuracy and reliability of the information contained within and disclaims all warranties. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, for any purpose, without the express written permission of Vault Inc. Vault, the Vault logo, and the most trusted name in career informationTM are trademarks of Vault Inc. For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, contact Vault Inc., 150 W. 22nd St., 5th Floor, New York, NY 10011, (212) 366-4212. Library of Congress CIP Data is available. ISBN 1-58131-326-8 Printed in the United States of America

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Sara Forests acknowledgments: The author would like to thank everyone who helped make this book possible, including Vault editors Marcy Lerner and Matt Thornton, and the many professionals who gave so freely of their time and advice, including Thomas Beeton, Renee Brown, Danielle Eber, Kathy Feles, Lesley Geiger, Becky Golino, Ilyse Levy, Lori Selcer, Raun Thorp, Michael Turri, Jeffry Weisman and Elizabeth Zdrojewski. Thanks to Team 22, Anna, Jeff and JP and the women of B school. To Ashley, Lainey, Lori, Meg, Tara and Whitney, thank you for encouraging me when I wanted to quit. Thanks also to Laura Mitchell Davis for taking a chance on me and for her enduring friendship. To Meg OBrien, thanks for introducing me to Vault. Finally, to all the friends and family providing endless encouragement and support, including my mother and father, Amy, Larkin and Grace, Amanda and of course, Steve, I extend my gratitude. Vaults acknowledgments: We are extremely grateful to Vaults entire staff for all their help in the editorial, production and marketing processes. Vault also would like to acknowledge the support of our investors, clients, employees, family, and friends. Thank you!

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Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION 1

THE SCOOP

Chapter 1: Interior Design Industry Overview 5


Interior Decorating Greats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Design Today . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

Chapter 2: The Role of the Interior Designer 15


Designer or Decorator? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 The Role of a Designer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 A Design Project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 The Design Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Residential vs. Contract Designers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23

GETTING HIRED

27

Chapter 3: Education Programs

29

Accreditation and Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Licensing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30


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Chapter 4: Targeting Employers

37

Finding the Right Firm for You . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 Internships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 Locating Openings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 Search Advice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40

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Vault Career Guide to Interior Design Table of Contents

Chapter 5: The Hiring Process

43

Getting Your Foot in the Door . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 Sample Resume . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 Sample Cover Letter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 The Interview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Sample Interview Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49

ON THE JOB

53

Chapter 6: Residential Interior Design

55

Residential Interior Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55 The Residential Design Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58 Residential Design Jobs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59 Finding the Job . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62 Pay and Perks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63 The Clients Perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69 Residential Yacht Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .69

Chapter 7: Contract Interior Design

73

Contract Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73 The Contract Design Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .74 Contract Design Jobs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77 Finding a Job . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79

Chapter 8: The Design Showroom


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83

The Design Showroom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .83 Showroom Jobs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .84 Getting Hired into a Showroom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .86 Pay and Perks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88

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Chapter 9: Architectural Firms

93

Architecture Jobs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .95 Salaries and Corporate Culture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .96 Employment Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .97

Chapter 10: Furniture Design

103

Employment Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .103

Chapter 11: Specialty Design

113

Jobs at a Kitchen & Bath Specialty Design Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .114

FINAL ANALYSIS

121

APPENDIX

125

Glossary of Design Terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .127 An Overview of Furniture Styles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .129 Past and Present Design Icons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .131 Professional Design Organizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .135 Recommended Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .139 Web and Television Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .141 About the Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .143

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Introduction
The domain of interior design is a varied one. Designers are known by the type of project they typically work on, whether commercial or residential. Project budgets can range from the low thousands to well over a million dollars. Style also varies: modern, classical, retro, etc. California, Texas, Florida and New York have the highest concentration of interior designers. New York and Los Angeles are the main design hubs in the United States, but interior design is growing in other metropolitan areas, like Atlanta. From more traditional designers such as Mariette Himes Gomez to Anna Nicoles Bobby Trendy, designers are fast becoming celebrities in their own right. But just as todays hottest starlet can easily become tomorrows old news, designers are also susceptible to the publics whims. Staying on top requires determination and hard work. Being consistently published and making the Top 100 list put out by so-called shelter magazines like Architectural Digest and House Beautiful are musts for any high-profile designer. Magazines and television portray interior design as a glamorous career of unlimited creativity and fun. Shows like Trading Spaces and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy depict designers spending their days selecting fabrics and colors, choosing furniture and objects. Within a half hour, a space has been transformed from atrocious to magnificent, and all we see the designer do is select a few objects and explain their scheme. No time is spent explaining the gritty details: picking exactly the right elements and ensuring they fit properly and are available in the right finishes, checking that they are in stock, dealing with delays from the manufacturer and questions from installers. What really goes on behind the scenes? How is that beautiful house featured in Elle Decor or Metropolitan Home actually created? A great deal of unspectacular but essential work goes on to make a project a success. This book will provide valuable insight only an insider can reveal: the truth behind the glossy pages, a look at the clients, what skills and qualifications are necessary to succeed and whether the field is really for you.

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INTERIO DESIG CARE


THE SCOOP
Chapter 1: Interior Design Industry Overview Chapter 2: The Role of the Interior Designer
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Interior Design Industry Overview


CHAPTER 1
As of November 2003, there were over 10,000 interior design firms in the U.S., employing nearly 50,000 people. Small companies, employing only one to four people, are the most prevalent, accounting for nearly 7,000 of these firms. But the interior design industry is highly fragmented. As reported by the U.S. Economic Census, only 0.4 percent of all interior design companies have over 100 employees. This smaller scale makes for an atypical business environment. Compared to other professions like computing, banking or engineering, there are no conglomerates like Microsoft to work for, so most designers end up at a small to medium-size firm with fewer than 50 employees. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2002 approximately 40,670 interior designers were employed in various design related businesses. This number does not include self-employed designers; when those individuals are included, the total number increases to about 62,000. But other studies suggest numbers as high as 65,000 to 75,000, primarily because there is no nationally consistent definition of what qualifies someone to be an interior designer.

Demographics
Interior design is female-dominated, with women accounting for approximately 60-80 percent of employed professionals. These numbers fluctuate depending on whether architectural firms are included in calculations, since they tend to employ more male designers. According to the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), 55 percent of practicing designers in the United States are between the ages of 35 and 54, with about 20 percent of designers over the age of 55 and 25 percent under age 34. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that interior design, along with other design fields, is growing at a faster-than-average rate nationally, when compared with other occupations. From 1999 through 2002, the number of employed interior designers grew by 35 percent. Increased growth is expected to continue through the year 2010 due to demand for design services in the following specialties: office, health care and hospitality. As reported by Interior Design magazine, the Top 100 Interior Design Giants collected a total of almost $1.5 billion in fees in 2003. The highest earners were office and retail design, accounting for almost 30 percent and 13 percent
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Vault Career Guide to Interior Design Interior Design Industry Overview

respectively. Other design specialties were not as fortunate. Residential design declined almost 12 percent as did financial institutions, which decreased 22 percent.

Companies
The majority of interior design firms are small, with 100 or fewer employees. In the top five list, four of the five largest firms have well under 500 staff members. Top Five Interior Design Firms in 2003
Firm Gensler Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum Perkins & Will Leo A Daly Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Headquarters San Francisco Saint Louis Chicago Omaha New York $ Value (millions) $2,150 $2,300 $1,100 $940 $900 Total Design staff 757 193 147 159 204

Source: Interior Design magazine, January 2004

History
As humanity has evolved, so too has our pursuit of beauty and comfort. To our ancestors, shelter was merely a mud hut or primitive dwelling that satisfied the most basic needs for protection from the environment. Prior to the twentieth century, interior design was the function of architects and craftsmen, and interior design the profession did not even exist. Though people have been informally decorating their homes for years, and certainly royalty and aristocracy have been preoccupied with their residences since the beginning of time, it was after World War I that the field of interior design as a profession gained popularity and respect. Through the efforts of a few individuals, people began to perceive house decoration as a field in its own right, and not just a byproduct of other professions. Primarily female, these people helped transform design into the wildly popular industry it is today. They encouraged people to view their living space as extensions of themselves, sanctuaries that reflected their personal tastes and lifestyles. The notion that a home could be beautiful and not merely functional gained prominence, and interior designers began to be hired, mostly by the upperclass.

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Vault Career Guide to Interior Design Interior Design Industry Overview

Interior Decorating Greats


There are many great resources, from books to web sites, for information on decorating greats. Designer Mark Hamptons Legendary Decorators of the Twentieth Century provides a wealth of information on many famous design icons. Interior Design magazines online site www.interiordesign.net has a section called the Hall of Fame, which provides brief biographies of numerous designers. One such influential designer was Elsie de Wolfe (1865-1950). Often cited as the first interior decorator, de Wolfe operated in New York and served primarily wealthy clientele. Her de facto career began in 1897 with the decoration of her own residence, the understated elegance and refined taste of which led to a commission decorating the Colony Club on Madison Avenue. The Colony Club, New York Citys oldest womens club, became known for being the first American public space designed by an interior decorator. Departing from the opulent tastes of her time, Elsie adopted a simpler, lighter design aesthetic. Her restrained style was in sharp contrast to the predominant fashion at the turn of the century, which favored heavy fabrics and furnishings. Elsie also gained notoriety for being the first decorator to receive a fee for design services, as opposed to just a flat commission on the sale of objects. Other decorators, inspired by Elsies success, began to peddle their design skills as well. In the United States, Elsie Cobb Wilson, Eleanor Brown and Ruby Ross Wood were three notables who followed closely behind. Born in 1877, Elsie Cobb Wilson set up her practice in Washington, D.C. By the end of World War I, Wilsons business had prospered to the extent that she opened a second office in New York. Like Elsie de Wolfe, Wilson opted for a more conservative look with a penchant for symmetry and simplicity. As is often the case in business, future greats start out as understudies of masters. Eleanor Brown worked with Elsie Cobb Wilson and later became a highly regarded decorator in her own right. Eleanor was well trained in her chosen trade, studying at the New York School of Fine Arts (which became Parsons School of Design in 1939) and then at their design school in Paris. Prior to the twentieth century, formal education in interior design was largely unheard of, but in 1904, Parsons became one of the first institutions to offer courses in the field. Eleanor established her own firm, McMillen, Inc. (her married name) in New York in 1924. McMillen was the starting place for many renowned designers such as Mark Hampton and Albert Hadley. Mark Hampton became a well-regarded New York designer, creating the firm Mark
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Hampton, Inc. Since his death in 1988, his daughter Alexa has maintained the flourishing business. Albert Hadley co-founded Parish-Hadley Associates with Sister Parish in 1962; some of their notable clients include Al Gore, Diane Sawyer, and the Astor and Getty families. Sister Parish, his design partner, opened her first firm in 1933 and was famous for decorating the Kennedy White House. Shes known for three cs: chintz, color and cushions. Ruby Ross Wood, born in Georgia in 1880, was a journalist for Vogue and House and Garden before establishing herself as a New York decorator. Her work merged her strong inclination for both color and understatement. She was also known for her vivacious personality and frank demeanor. Similar to Elsie Cobb Wilson, Ruby Ross Wood also mentored a future design icon, Billy Baldwin. In Britain, Sibyl Colefax and Syrie Maugham were rising to prominence in the European interior decorating community. Sibyl Colefax established herself as a professional decorator in 1933 after losing money in the stock market crash, exploiting her relationships with well-to-do friends. But it was her partnership with John Fowler, established in 1938, that truly cemented her fame. Fowler had previously worked at a bank and in real estate before finding his true calling in the arts. Colefax and Fowler was later purchased by Virginian Nancy Lancaster. Today the firms name marks numerous fabrics and wallpapers in their famous English country style. Syrie Maugham was born in London in 1879. She began her career as a shop owner, and her shop became so successful that she was able to launch her own design business. Syrie became known for her voluptuous and feminine taste, using graceful and delicate schemes. She developed a signature white style, of rooms devoid of any color, only varying in degrees of white. Like many other decorators, her wealthy clientele helped keep her busy. She worked with British royalty in addition to many American clients.
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The next generation


The founding women and men of design paved the way for many other talented young people. The acceptance of design as a legitimate profession, the availability of formal training, and the economic prosperity following the first World War created an ideal climate for new entrants to the field. Some of the most notable were Sister Parish, Dorothy Draper, Rose Cumming, Jean-Michel Frank, Billy Baldwin, Albert Hadley and David Hicks. They all played important roles in the development of design, each adding their own unique vision and character to a developing industry, and their influence is

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still felt today in many current designers work. Indeed, many designers attribute their own personal style, at least in part, to the influence of one of these talented predecessors. Boston-based interior designer William Hodgins counts such design giants as Sister Parish, Albert Hadley and Billy Baldwin as inspirations, according to Architectural Digest. The following quotes are from a recent article in House Beautiful:

Albert Hadley is a genius. I also admire the rigorous editing and classical detailing of Mariette Himes Gomez. Doree Chambers

I look to the past: Dorothy Draper, Sister Parish, Nancy Lancaster, John Fowler and Billy Baldwin. John Loecke

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Today there are numerous well regarded designers, both residential and commercial, whose work is regularly publicized in consumer magazines like House and Garden and Interior Design. House Beautiful publishes an annual Top 100 list, a great resource for becoming acquainted with current successful designers. Architectural Digest also publishes its own list. In New York the list is endless, but some of the top names are Bunny Williams, Mariette Himes Gomez, Victoria Hagan, Alexa Hampton and John Saladino. Flipping through the pages of Architectural Digest or any other well known design magazine will soon acquaint you with established and up-and-coming designers as well. In Los Angeles some top names are Barbara Barry, Waldo Fernandez, Suzanne Rheinstein, Thomas Beeton, Kathryn Ireland and Michael Smith. There are designers for every style and type of project. Established and new designers are never in short supply.

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Vault Career Guide to Interior Design Interior Design Industry Overview

House Beautifuls most recent list of Americas top young designers (under age 40) in October of 2004:
Amy Lau (New York, NY) David Phoenix (Los Angeles, CA) Jessica Helgerson (Santa Barbara, CA) John De Bastiani (Boston, MA) John Loecke (New York, NY) John Moinzad & David Hintgen (Denver, CO) Kimberly Biehl Schmidt (Los Angeles, CA) Matthew Boland (Scottsdale, AZ) Shaun Jackson (Rowayton, CT) David McCauley (Los Angeles, CA) Denise Lavey (Bay Harbor Islands, FL) Doree Chambers (New York, NY) Jaime Laurella (Los Angeles, CA) James Dolenc & Thomas Riker (Chicago, IL) Joelle Nesen & Alexandra Reck (Portland, OR) Laurel Quint (Denver, CO) Lori Feldman (New York, NY) Matthew Carter (Lexington, KY) Patrick J. Baglino Jr. (Washington, D.C.) Paul Cha & Margaret Innerhofer (New York, NY) Renee Del Gaudio (Denver, CO) Ruthie Sommers (West Hollywood, CA) Shannon Bowers (Dallas, TX) William Brockschmidt & Courtney Coleman (New York, NY) William C. Huff, Jr. & Heather Zarrett Dewberry (Atlanta, GA)

Design Today
Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the design industry has gone from an unrecognized offshoot of the architectural profession to a booming industry in its own right. The twenty-first century finds the industry at what might be its zenith to date. Home improvement stores and do-it-yourself television programs are incredibly popular, addressing the beautification of living spaces in every segment of society. Shows like Extreme Home Makeover emphasize the dramatic psychological change brought about by home improvement. House and Garden Television broadcasts around-theclock programming, from Weekend Warriors to Trading Spaces. Only a few years ago, This Old House was one of the only home improvement shows on the air. Now, Americans can familiarize themselves with the tricks of the

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trade and almost any aspect of design just by tuning in to their local cable channel. There are thousands of interior design companies operating in the United States today. The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) alone has 34,500 members, comprised of students, interior designers and educators. Of the 20,000 practicing members, 6,500 are commercial, 4,000 residential and 9,500 operate in both sectors. ASID also has 450 international members. But there are numerous interior designers not affiliated with any professional association.

Statistics
According to 2002 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the five states with the highest concentration of interior designers are California, Florida, Texas, New York and Ohio. But BLS figures do not include self-employed designers, who may add an additional 30-40 percent of designers depending on geographic location. States with the lowest concentration are Alaska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana & Vermont. The primary hubs for interior design are New York City and Los Angeles, which dominate the industry in terms of resources and volume of designers. Important markets also exist in Chicago, San Francisco, Miami, Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle and Boston. Each location has its own unique style and clientele. As a sales representative in Boston says, Yankee thrift is alive and well. Clients would never dream of buying all the high priced goods Los Angeles residents purchase. A designer in Atlanta comments, Southerners are much more into accessories. They will spend endless amounts on baubles and objects. While you may not be geographically flexible, it is interesting to note the differences between various regions. Talking to designers in a given area provides valuable insight into the caliber and kinds of projects typically available.
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A successful career in high-end residential interior design means working well with people who have expendable income and a concern for aesthetics. After all, designing a home is ultimately a luxury, far from a necessity. Work in contract design does not have the same constraints. This kind of work may flourish more in travel destinations, but there are hotels, restaurants and offices throughout the country that require the skills of an interior designer.

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Vault Career Guide to Interior Design Interior Design Industry Overview

Following is a list of states with the highest and lowest concentration of employed interior designers (not including self-employed) in 2002, according to the U.S. Bureau of labor statistics:
State California Florida Texas New York Ohio Alaska South Dakota Wyoming Montana Vermont Employment 4,500 4,230 3,100 2,460 1,890 40 40 40 50 50

A design craze?
The relatively new makeover craze, revamping everything from peoples personal lives to their cars, has played an important role in interior design also. Through shows like Extreme Makeover Home Edition and the emergence of large public design stores such as Expo Design, Home Depot and The Great Indoors, middle America, not the traditional design audience, has become more aware of the benefits of an aesthetically pleasing environment. Everyone is trying to cash in on the decorating buzz. Even LaZ-Boy, not usually known as a bastion of high design, has teamed up with fashion designer Todd Oldham to present a fresh new face for their products and appeal to a more discerning audience. Stores like Target are marketing to this clientele, enlisting the help of fashionista Isaac Mizrahi and architect Michael Graves to design products more appealing to hip, value-conscious customers. What effect this mass marketing of design will have on the traditional interior design industry remains to be seen, but one top decorator believes that high-end residential design is actually in trouble because of this new trend. People are getting the dangerous notion that you can really create a beautiful home in a week on a limited budget, she says. In April 2003, Interior Design magazine also addressed this concern: Featured budgets on these programs are generally low, and often omit the cost of professional labor. What viewers dont see are the backstage designers and contractors on staff, ensuring that inexpensive supplies are translated into aesthetically pleasing stage furniture, accessories, window

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treatments, and wall coverings. Watching these shows gives viewers the idea that design projects can be done quickly and easily; this does a disservice to viewers by creating unrealistic expectations when projects become real. While it is unlikely that television shows will cause would-be design clients to try and tackle projects on their own, they can create an unrealistic expectation of speed and perfection. President of ASID Kathy Montgomery notes that only a small portion of the population enlists the help of interior designers. Availing oneself of design advice tends to be reserved for those with incomes of $70,000 and higher, and since only 6 percent of the American population falls into this category, designers are actually appealing to a very small market segment. Within this 6 percent, only 4 percent has ever hired an interior designer. The remaining majority of the population is either beautifying their homes by themselves, or with minimal assistance from in-store designers at shops like Home Depot and The Great Indoors. Its important to keep this in mind as you consider a potential career in the design industry. As the market moves toward a more do-it-yourself design attitude, hiring traditional interior designers may become less frequent. This may mean more positions in retail and sales, and fewer in traditional interior design roles. At the start of the millenium, Interior Design predicted the growth of online home furnishing sales and the public availability of once-exclusive showrooms as factors that would play a large role in the future of interior design. Obviously, the role of a designer could change drastically if once offlimits sources suddenly became openly accessible, since the consumer would no longer need a designer to gain access to certain products. Of course, there are many affluent customers who are not going to fire their designer and head to Home Depot for a lesson in paint color selection. The niche market of rich clientele will never disappear, but the mass market will need to be monitored carefully.
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According to a forecast by the National Association of Home Builders, the housing market for new homes and remodeling of existing homes is going strong. They project $192 billion in remodeling spending for 2004. American Institute of Architecture economist Kermit Baker notes that significant growth is expected in many commercial areas, such as health care, criminal justice and academic facilities. As our society becomes even more mobile, hotels and travel destinations will require more help from the commercial interior design community also, since design services are critical to many projects within the travel arena, such as spas, restaurants, bars and hotels.

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Vault Career Guide to Interior Design Interior Design Industry Overview

In the residential sector, demand for high-end homes for single and two person households is expected to increase, as is dramatic growth in the number of people aged 40-60. These baby boomers, born between the years 1946-64, are the largest cohort in American society and they will have the most money of any group in American history. As they age, they will become a key market for interior designers, who will want to discourage them from embracing the do-it-yourself mentality thats currently so popular. In a research study conducted by ASID in 1999, baby boomers were more likely than younger respondents to have completed house-wide renovations, and to rate the appearance of their home as extremely important. Another factor affecting the home and design markets is the huge number of houses built in the post-World War II boom era that will need renovation soon. In fact, two-thirds of the 110 million existing homes in the United States were built in the time period, so the number of home renovations should see a sharp increase in coming years.

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The Role of the Interior Designer


CHAPTER 2

Designer or Decorator?
The terms interior designer and interior decorator are often used interchangeably by both design industry professionals and laypeople, however, the difference between the two is distinct and important. An interior designer is likely to be offended if referred to as a decorator, but a decorator probably wont correct you if mistaken for a designer. The primary distinction between the two is that a designer has more responsibility and is formally trained and educated, whereas a decorator may be self-taught and have no formal schooling. Designers, who have been trained in many areas, including drafting, space planning, furniture design and history, ergonomics and business practices, are involved in all facets of a project. They are expected to have in-depth knowledge of safety and building codes and many construction-related issues. On the other hand, a decorator tends to be limited to working primarily with surface decorations like paint, furnishings and fabrics. Numerous designers and decorators practice interior design, with decorators primarily concentrate on residential design and designers are more evenly dispersed through residential and contract design. In an Architectural Digest interview, interior designer Mariette Himes Gomez explains, I hate to generalize, and I dont want to set up stereotypes, but decorators usually are individuals who prefer to reupholster and do new draperies and pick out furniture. On the other hand, Gomez describes her interior design practice as coordinat[ing] our services with an architect from the time the building is under construction.
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The Role of a Designer


Interior designers are hired to plan the interiors, and to some extent, exteriors, of private homes, hotels, restaurants, cruise ships, hospitals, offices and countless other spaces. They work with clients, contractors, architects, and any number of specialists to create functional and pleasing living and working environments. They make decisions about flooring materials, wall and ceiling paints and treatments, lighting, window treatments, appliances, furnishings and accessories.

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Vault Career Guide to Interior Design The Role of the Interior Designer

Good taste and visuals are only a part of the elements a designer must consider when creating a space. Designers must also address functionality and compliance with safety codes and standards. Educated interior designers should be aware of how all these components relate to codes and guidelines and ensure they are in compliance with regulations. Designers must have a wide range of skills. While creativity is probably the most widely acknowledged asset, designers must also have the ability to multi-task and work effectively on several projects at one time; time management and organizational abilities are key. Designers must also be effective communicators, able to work with clients, contractors, architects and vendors, to name a few. As Betty Sherrill, president of legendary design firm McMillen, Inc., says, Part decorator, part architect, the interior designer today must have a head for business and budgets as well as a command of materials and marketing. The salaries of interior designers vary tremendously according to the type of work they do. Like any career, earnings are affected by geographic location, years of experience, specialty (contract or residential), reputation and economic conditions. Interior design services are a luxury, and demand for services is significantly affected by the economy; when its strong, demand is high, and when its low, demand drops. Entry level positions have a low pay scale, around $30,000 per year. Project managers and mid-level designers with a few years experience can earn between $35,000 and $40,000. Highly skilled and upper level designers can command around $50,000 to $55,000. Primarily, only partners or principals earn higher salaries, from $75,000 to over six figures. In 2000, the U.S. Department of Labor published the following estimates and percentiles:
Percentile Hourly Wage 10% $9.54 $9,840 25% $12.89 $26,800 50% (Median) $17.57 $36,540 75% $24.59 $51,140 90% $31.96 $66,470

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Annual Wage

Very few designers strike it rich. For many people, working in design is a passion, and despite the less-than-lofty pay scale, they love what they do. If you are thinking about design as a way to make millions, think again. It is possible, but only a select few designers ever reach such heights.

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Following is a table of information from ASID, detailing the median base salary for Interior Designers in the top twenty metro regions.
Metro Region Chicago New York Los Angeles Atlanta Dallas Houston DC/MD/VA/WV Seattle Orange County, CA San Francisco Philadelphia West Palm Beach Detroit Boston Phoenix Denver
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Junior ID
$33,416 $35,507 $34,339 $30,557 $31,418 $31,972 $32,617 $32,709 $34,124 $35,876 $32,556 $30,281 $33,755 $33,447 $30,189 $31,695 $33,478 $32,218 $35,384 $32,187 $30,742

Senior ID
$39,888 $42,384 $40,989 $36,467 $37,503 $38,164 $38,934 $39,044 $40,732 $42,824 $38,861 $36,145 $40,292 $39,925 $36,035 $37,833 $39,962 $38,457 $42,237 $38,421 $36,696

Nassau/Suffolk, NY San Diego Oakland Minneapolis-St. Paul U.S. Average

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Vault Career Guide to Interior Design The Role of the Interior Designer

A Design Project
Depending on the size of a project, a designer may play a considerable or minimal role in its development. Many people choose to handle small renovations or additions on their own, getting information from personal research or home stores such as Home Depot. Most large projects, however, require the assembly of a team, which would include a contractor, architect, interior designer, landscape designer and any necessary specialists. Such a collaboration enables each player to be involved in the process from the beginning and ensures that decisions are considered from all anglesstructurally and aesthetically. Of course, not all projects move in a perfectly linear fashion, and a designer may be hired halfway through a project or not until the end. Any project, whether a private residence or public space, first must be conceived by the architect. Creating architectural plans with input from the client may take many months. Once the final plan is approved, the contractor and designers roles become paramount. While the building is constructed, the designer works with the contractor, architect and client in selecting materials and finishes. In a kitchen, for instance, a designer must select a flooring material, wall treatment, appliances, cabinets, hardware, counter material, faucets and fixtures, lighting, etc. In addition to these immediate concerns, designers also plan and order the fabrics and furnishings, art and accessories to complete the remainder of the rooms. Depending upon the size of the project, the building and design process can last anywhere from a few months to several years. Architect: Designs the building structure and room layout. Contractor: Oversees the actual construction of the building. Supervises subcontractors such as plumbers, electricians and installers.
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Interior designer: Designs interior and exterior living spaces. Landscape designer: Designs exterior landscape, including trees, plants, flowers, etc.

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The Design Process


The design process for contract and residential projects varies somewhat, but follows a fairly typical sequence of events. Billing and design procedures will also differ by firm. Before a designer enters the picture, most companies or homeowners secure the land for a construction project or purchase a preexisting structure. If a home or building requires no structural changes, no architect or contractor is necessary and the client can immediately hire an interior designer. If the project involves ground-up construction, or if the existing structure requires modification or renovation, a contractor and architect must be selected. Usually several architecture firms are interviewed and the final selection is made based on reputation, cost and compatibility. Next, the company or homeowner spends many months collaborating with the architects on plans for the future building. Once a final set of drawings is approved by the client and by the county, the architectural firm sends the plans out to several contractors for bidding. The bidding process takes a few weeks, as contractors review the plans and figure out what it would cost them, in labor and materials, to construct the building. Bids are estimates of this cost, and are expected to change as the building process continues, but they should give the client at least an idea of what the total project cost will be. Change orders can occur along the way. These are not unusual and can be minimal; for example, a client might decide to switch the finish on bathroom hardware from satin nickel to polished nickel. Change orders may also be more complex, as when a client decides a kitchen is too small and orders a larger plan. These changes can increase or decrease the scope of the project and affect the budget accordingly, but the original estimate gives the client a way to compare contractors from a financial standpoint and decide which one to select. Once the bids are complete and returned to the client, a contractor is selected based on budget and ability to work well with the architecture firm.
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Next, the client considers what firm to hire for their interior design needs. If the project is large and requires a commercial designer, the client will probably seek advice from the architectural firm, or use the architects inhouse design services if available. They might also look into which design firms worked on other projects they admire, or investigate the top firms in the area. If the project is residential, the clients will probably take recommendations from the architectural firm, or from friends who have worked with designers they liked, or they will have in mind a few designers whose work they admired in the pages of House and Garden or Architectural Digest.
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Vault Career Guide to Interior Design The Role of the Interior Designer

The clients then call various firms they are interested in and arrange interviews with the designers. This interview benefits both parties. It gives the designer an idea of what the client is looking for their style, taste level, requirements, priorities and time frame. The client will view the designers portfolio of past projects and possibly even tour one of their completed projects, getting a feel for the designers experience and taste. They will also get a better sense of the designers education and credentials, and affiliations with any professional organizations. Different clients place different emphasis on these areas. A residential client is less likely to be concerned about licensing and affiliation with ASID, whereas a commercial client needs to ensure their designer understands all the safety codes and regulations involved in building a public structure. After narrowing down the choice of designers to a few candidates, the client will ask the final few to visit the site and provide a rough budget and contract. Contracts vary, but they generally outline the designers scope of services, any limit of responsibilities, warranties and guarantees and the fee structure (whether the designer charges purely by the hour or a combination of hourly and commission, and whether there is a retainer). Based on this information, the client makes a final decision and one designer is selected. Depending on the time frame of the client, the interview process and final hiring decision can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

Programming
The next phase is programming. In this stage, the designer has to evaluate the current conditions of the project, including a site analysis, inventory of existing furnishings, defining the needs of the client and identifying safety issues and code requirements. Here again, a commercial project and residential project will differ. For almost all commercial projects, floor plans are provided by the architect. For existing homes, sometimes floor plans are available either from the current homeowners or theyre on file at county offices, and sometimes they must be created from scratch. For newer homes, particularly ones that are part of a planned community with a limited number of housing styles, floor plans are probably easy to come by. Plans are less likely to be available for old homes, since these plans were often hand drawn (thus not backed up on a computer system) and have probably been misplaced over the years. If they must be drawn from scratch, the designer or a qualified draftsperson will measure existing rooms to create a floor plan manually, or hell use computer-aided drafting (CAD). Whether manual or computer drafting is used depends on the scale of the firm (larger ones typically have individuals skilled in CAD) and the size of the project it may be easier to
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hand-draw a simple one room plan, but the complexities of a multi-room, multi-story project are probably simpler to complete with CAD. Next, the designer will inventory the clients existing furnishings. Most clients, unless they are very young, have recently divorced or simply want a change, will have existing items that they wish to re-use. The designer should photographically document these items and measure them for incorporation in the new space. On the other hand, a commercial project may or may not have existing inventory. A hotel, for instance, might purchase all new pieces, re-upholster and/or refinish existing pieces, or send existing items to an older property where they can be re-used. Safety issues and code requirements pertain primarily to commercial projects in which the publics safety is an issue. Residential designers can ignore many of these regulations, as they do not apply to private dwellings.

Development
Once programming is complete, design development of the project can proceed. The designer will analyze the design objectives of the client, along with his budgetary constraints, to determine the most effective use of space. A furniture plan is developed, incorporating any existing furnishings, and a comprehensive budget is created. The budget details all furnishings, fabrics, lighting, wall treatments, window coverings, floor coverings and accessories. A residential plan may be more fluid, as clients change their minds, and the budget may be increased as necessary. Commercial projects tend to be more concrete; once a company sets the budget, it tends to stick to it, and design choices are not changed. Once the furniture plan and budget is approved by the client, the designer selects actual materials and furnishings. The designer comes up with an overall design concept, keeping in mind the taste and requirements of the client. He or she develops design and color schemes per room, creating presentation boards (often heavy-duty foam board) with images of proposed paint colors, finish choices, furnishings and fabrics attached. Residential clients might prefer to shop with the designer, helping to select fabrics and furnishings themselves, while companies usually take a more detached approach, preferring to let the designer do all the legwork. Once these boards are complete, the designer will meet with the client and present his ideas. The client may love everything at first sight, or send the designer back to the drawing board to try again. Once the design scheme is approved, the designer can move onto contract administration and project management, which are multi-step processes. Both contract and residential designers gather pricing information on
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furnishings, fabrics and other design elements. They then identify the vendors they plan to work with, from furniture makers and painters to carpet suppliers and installers. Then its on to paint schedules and interior finish schedules, detailing the various paint colors and types (glossy, satin, eggshell) and wood finishes to be used in a room, as well as hardware specifications (what type of doorknobs or hinges, for example). They review and approve shop drawings, which show a manufacturers plans for making an item, and samples. (A shop drawing of a dining room table, for instance, provides its dimensions, as well as an image of the piece from all angles.) A finish sample (such as a crackled paint, lacquer or stained wood) is provided by the manufacturer as an example of what the material will look like finished. The designer then purchases items on the clients behalf, tracking their finish and shipping status. Continual meetings with the clients allow the designer to provide progress updates from site meetings. Site meetings, which take place on the actual construction site, enable the design team to walk through the house as its being constructed, overseeing the building process and answering any questions for the contractor as they come up. At the beginning of a project, when the building is just a shell, site meetings are typically held bimonthly, but they may increase to twice weekly when the project is reaching its completion. If the project is far from the designers home base, the designer will most likely make weekly or monthly site visits, or even insist on phone conferences. In some cases, when the project is overseas, an employee may actually be required to re-locate to the project location for some time. One commercial designer spent six months in Taiwan overseeing the design development of a hotel. How heavily the interior designer is involved depends on the needs of the architect and the client. Some clients want to have their designers input on everything from the color of a light switch to the height of crown molding. Others are content to let the architects play a more significant role in these areas, and only consult the interior designer on larger issues such as paint colors and wood finishes. After all, a designers time is money every meeting a designer attends will usually be billed on an hourly basis. Some clients are more concerned about the bottom line and only want to pay for a designers hours regarding essential matters. However, the architect may forward documents to the designer for input and review. These sample plans might include floor plans, lighting plans and elevations. Floor plans are two-dimensional and show the basic structure of the building, the shapes and sizes of the rooms and the locations of doors and windows. Floor plans often have flooring materials drawn in, so the reader can easily distinguish which rooms have tile, wood or carpet. Lighting plans detail
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where all the light fixtures will be placed. Standard symbols are used to denote sconces (light fixtures attached to the wall) and hanging light fixtures. Lighting plans are essential in determining that the light fixtures the designer has selected will fit in the appropriate space and that he has ordered the correct number of fixtures. Unlike floor and lighting plans which provide birds eye view of a residence, elevations show walls as they would appear when one is standing in the room. These drawings help the architects, clients, interior designers and contractors see what the walls will look like when complete. The contract administration and project management portion of the design process is probably the most time consuming, taking many months to several years, depending on the size of the project. Toward the end of the project, the designers time is spent making sure all the pieces that were ordered are shipped and the installation schedule can be met. Once construction of the project is complete, the designer and her vendors can enter the site and begin installation of the interior design articlescarpeting, window treatments, wall treatments (other than paint) and lighting fixtures. After these items are in place, all the furnishings and accessories can be brought in. Installation of a large home can take a few weeks; installation of a large commercial property takes longer. After everything is in place, the designer presents the completed project to the client, having developed a final punch list of any items still requiring attention. Depending upon the size of the punch list, the project will continue for a few more days or weeks. Once all items are met satisfactorily, the building can be inhabited and the project is complete. Throughout the construction process, continued interaction between the interior designer, architects, contractor, clients and vendors is essential. This is where communication skills play a large role. Both commercial and residential designers interact with people constantly. A better communicator helps a project move more efficiently and is a huge asset to a team.
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Residential vs. Contract Designers


Interior designers typically fall into two groups. There are residential designers, who focus on private residences, and contract (sometimes called commercial) designers who mainly work on public spaces. One of the most important differences between residential and contract design is the relative number of code requirements involved in each. Codes govern many aspects of a project, primarily safety and accessibility. For example, a safety code that governs contract design is flammability, but this
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is less important in residential design. When working on a restaurant, a contract designer needs to ensure the fabrics used are flame-proofed to a certain standard. Designers working on a private residence do not have to worry about this particular code, even though nowadays many fabrics are designed to meet the code anyway. This is not to say that residential designers do not have to worry about any codes, but they do have far fewer to consider. For example, they must make sure that all lighting fixtures are UL approved, meaning they meet the safety standards of the Underwriters Laboratories (UL). (UL is an independent, not-for-profit product-safety testing and certification organization that has been testing products for public safety for over a century; youve probably seen their signature UL stamp, enclosed in a circle, on any number of home appliances, including hair dryers, toasters and vacuums.) Architects and contractors also have to be concerned with building and safety codes as they relate to their work, and theyll often collaborate with designers to ensure that each member of the team is meeting their specific code requirements. There is some crossover between residential and contract designers. Some firms work on both types of projects, but many concentrate in one area. If a firm does work in contract, it most likely specializes in only one or two areas, such as hospitality and professional offices, since the codes and requirements for each type can be very specific. Decorators, not designers, are concentrated primarily in residential since the work tends to require less formal education. Practicing as an interior designer is not the only way to be involved in the design industry. Those who work in showrooms or specialty stores, or as product and furniture designers, interact with interior designers throughout a design project. Designers visit showrooms and specialty stores to select fabrics, carpeting, furnishings, lighting, accessories and art, and seek the help of sales representatives in gathering information and ordering items.
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The synopsis below identifies some of the key differences between residential and contract design, and highlights some of the main areas for specialization within the industry.

Residential Designer Projects


Private homes: primary residences and vacation homes, condominiums, apartments, model homes. Kitchen and/or bathroom design, closet design, color consultation

Contract Designer
Public spaces: hotels, restaurants, offices, hospitals, etc.

Specialties

Hospitality: hotels, restaurants, health clubs, set design, sports arenas Health care: hospitals, nursing homes, medical and dental offices Professional offices: financial institutions law offices,

Retail facilities: malls, department stores, showrooms, galleries Educational and government offices, universities, schools Institutional: colleges and

Transportation: airports, cruise ships, airplanes

Clients Employment

Families, Individuals Self-employed private design offices, architectural firms, retail furniture stores, department stores.

Companies Self-employed private design offices; corporate interior design (working inhouse for a hotel chain); government (some states have salaried interior designers on staff to work on public government buildings). Requirements vary by state. In some areas, using the term interior designer is not permitted without attaining a certain level of accredited education. Requirements vary by state. Some states require passage of the NCIDQ or other exams.

Education

Requirements vary by state. In some areas, using the term interior designer is not permitted without attaining a certain level of accredited education. Requirements vary by state. Some states require passage of the NCIDQ or other exams.

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Licensure

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INTERIO DESIG CARE


GETTING HIRED
Chapter 3: Education Programs Chapter 4: Targeting Employers Chapter 5: The Hiring Process
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Education Programs
CHAPTER 3

Accreditations and Education


In almost every state, there is more than one accredited interior design education program. The Foundation for Interior Design Education Research (FIDER) posts a list of accredited programs on its website (www.fider.org). In New York, there are nine FIDER approved programs, the most notable being the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Parsons is not FIDER accredited, but it does have a considerable reputation in the field. The number of accredited programs available in a geographic region depends on the size of the state, as well as the profile of design there. Well known design hubs such as California (Los Angeles and San Francisco) and Illinois (Chicago) have twelve and six programs respectively, but smaller states without a real design hub, such as Iowa and Arkansas, each have one. According to ASID, FIDER estimates that there were nearly 17,000 students enrolled in FIDERaccredited professional interior design programs as of December 2003.

Formal schooling
The need for formal schooling in interior design is debatable. According to the American Society of Interior Designers, at least 50 percent of all practicing designers in the United States have completed two or more years of college or vocational training; 40-45 percent have completed a four-year college program. Of the four-year college graduates, 40 percent received a degree in interior design. The remaining 60 percent have degrees in architecture, fine arts, liberal arts, industrial design, education and business administration, among other subjects. Depending on whether you are interested in contract or residential design, the requirements will vary. Residential design is less likely to require formal schooling and a specific background, whereas contract design is more restrictive, often necessitating a design degree. There are many, many successful residential decorators (who might call themselves designers, depending on their location) who have absolutely no formal schooling in design. However, many of these individuals have other outstanding characteristics and qualities that have made them a success. They probably have a very strong work ethic, outstanding taste and an eye for beauty. They most likely have very strong people skills. They probably have excellent presentation skills and are well versed in the art of sales. Design isnt so much about decorating as sales.

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Vault Career Guide to Interior Design Education Programs

You have to sell yourself, your image, your ideas and the products, says one top residential designer. Young would-be designers have plenty of options. With some serious networking and hard work you can probably get in the door in a support position at a residential design firm and work your way up from there, taking night courses in design to increase your pace up the ladder. If you are switching careers and dont have years to spend climbing the corporate ladder, a degree or at least certificate in design is very beneficial. Having a degree will open you up to working at both residential and commercial firms and will get you a better position than someone with zero design education but you will definitely still have to put in many years of hard work to get to head designer. Going out on your own is usually not an option for most brand new design graduates or those with little concrete experience. Most clients will want to see a portfolio of a designers work, which wont add up to much if a designer only has school projects or pictures of her own living room to show. The main thing to keep in mind is that interior design is not the glamorous job it may appear to be. If you envision days spent shopping for fabrics and picking out furnishings, thats really only about ten percent of the job. Be prepared to work very hard when you first start out, says one designer. A lot will be expected of you and you will need to pay your dues. Be very sure that this is what you want to do. Design, particularly if you work for one of the big firms, is not always as creative or glamorous as you might think. It is a business and it is about business. On the other hand, if you are good, there are great opportunities out there.

Licensing
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The field of interior design is still evolving, and what designates an interior designer varies by location. ASID provides a list (www.asid.org/design_basics/proessional_credentials/reg_law_agencies _state.asp) of requirements by state. 22 states, as well as the District of Columbia, have some regulations regarding what qualifications an interior designer must meet. Other states not on that list either dont have any requirements or are in the process of defining them. Its important to make sure you know the requirements for the state where you intend to practice. It is also important to remember that decorators (as opposed to designers) do not have to meet the same requirements. Currently, designation requirements are still being debated in many localities. For example, the October 2004

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issue of Interior Design details the efforts of Ruth Lynford, the legislative chair of Interior Designers for Legislation in New York, encouraging a bill that would reserve the title of interior designer for those who meet certain educational and professional qualifications and pass an examination on fire, safety and building codes. (Anyone practicing for 15 years or more would have been able to apply for an exemption.) After two years, the bill was finally passed, only to be overturned by the Governor. Only time will tell how successful future legislative measures will be. States that do register and license designers typically require some combination of education and work experience and possibly passage of a qualifying exam. The most popular exam is offered by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ). This organization, founded in the early 1970s, was created to establish the necessary qualifications for designating a professional interior designer. The NCIDQ administers a qualifying exam that entitles successful candidates to become certified in interior design and a professional member in interior design-related organizations such as the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). The exam tests knowledge of safety and health issues, space planning, historical styles, fabric selection and math. Requirements for taking the NCIDQ are: four to five years of interior design education plus two years of full time work experience in interior design, or three years of interior design education plus three years of full time work experience in interior design, or two years of interior design education plus four years of full time work experience in interior design. Membership in ASID or other professional groups such as the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), while not necessary to function in the industry, does hold weight and can be beneficial in acquiring clients. These organizations have various types of memberships, such as student, professional, allied and industry. They provide opportunities for networking and further education in addition to being great sources of information. ASID has forty-two chapters throughout North America. To become a professional member, an interior designer must have passed the NCIDQ exam in addition to having a course of accredited education or relevant work experience. Allied members are not required to have passed the NCIDQ exam but must either have acquired a four or five year bachelors degree in interior design or architecture, or two or three year degree or certificate in interior design, or six years of full time work in interior design or architecture. The ASID website (www.asid.org) provides its members valuable information for networking and industry information. It even has an area for posting resumes and searching for candidates.
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It is imperative for designers in contract design to be licensed. In this portion of the industry, designers work primarily on large commercial properties such as hotels, resorts and cruise ships, and its critical that designers in these areas have knowledge of safety regulations and codes. In residential design, it is not as important, since the design space is mostly private and not required to meet such stringent regulations. Just as the American Bar Association (ABA) reviews and accredits educational programs for the legal profession, the interior design industry has The Foundation for Interior Design Education Research. FIDER was established in 1970 to develop standards for interior design education. It is responsible for accrediting interior design programs and ensuring a program meets the qualifications of the industry. Attending a FIDER-approved school is not required to practice interior design or to take the NCIDQ, but the accreditation suggests that the institution and its graduates are concerned with meeting industry standards. FIDER provides a list of its approved programs by state. Whether to pursue a formal degree in interior design or to take a more general approach is an important decision that will affect future employment. If youre interested in pursuing a career in commercial or hospitality design, its highly advisable to complete a formal degree. According to a recent interior design graduate of the Parsons School of Design in New York City, her first job with a hospitality firm would not have been possible without such a degree. In fact, her firm would not have even contemplated her resume without the requisite design degree. (Interestingly, Parsons is not FIDER accredited, yet it has a strong reputation in the interior design community.) On the other hand, if residential design is more appealing, then a less traditional approach is acceptable. Many employees and even principals at well-recognized design firms hold no formal qualifications in interior design. It is not unusual for highly successful residential interior designers (or decorators) to have no formal background in the field; instead, they often hold degrees in art history, architecture or fine arts. If a degree is the chosen path, there are several methods for acquiring it. Many schools offer a bachelors of interior design (BID) or bachelors of fine art with a concentration in interior design (BFA). Others provide associates degrees and continuing education courses which are also a means of gaining some formal training. Some schools also offer interior architecture degrees. These are architecturally based degrees with an emphasis on interior design, but they are not exact substitutes for an interior design education.

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The Top 10 Schools


As ranked by The Almanac of Architecture and Design 2003
1. University of Cincinnati 2. Pratt Institute 3. Kansas State University 4. Syracuse University 5. Cornell University 6. Arizona State University 7. Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York 8. The Harrington College of Design 9. University of Florida 10. California College of Arts and Crafts

One residential interior designer who attended Parsons School of Design says that she finds her formal training and education in the field to be a huge asset. It trained me how to think a certain way and be aware of all the elements that go into making great design, she says. Danielle Eber, principal of Danielle Eber Interior Design and Daniella, a textile company, first received her bachelors in art history from the University of Wisconsin and then decided to pursue an associates degree at Parsons. She describes the typical day in the life of a design student as follows:

Day in the Life: Design Student


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7:00 a.m.: Get up, shower, prepare for the day ahead. Gather portfolio carrier, tube of plans and backpacks with all the necessary supplies. 8:45 a.m.: First Class: Studio I. This class meets for three hours a day, two times per week. During the semester it covers two to three projects. An example of a project is Designing a house for Darwin. My idea is to build a room and design an idea that expresses the notion of humanity continually evolving and each human being holding only an intermediate space. My plan encompasses an open floor plan with

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spaces defined by furnishings as opposed to walls. The walls act as continuous planes with no distinct beginning and ending points. 12:00 p.m.: Lunch! A nice break before the afternoon classes. No time to run home, so grab a quick bite at a local sandwich shop. 1:00 p.m.: Second class: Color Theory. This class examines the science of color. Work on an in-depth color study where ten colors are selected and examined for how they are affected by light and how they complement and contrast one another. 3:00 p.m.: Third class: History of Decorative Arts. Similar to a traditional history class. Examines the founding designers and styles and discusses the history of furnishings, their names and various movements. 5:00 p.m.: Break for dinner. 6:00 p.m.: Depending on the night of the week, an evening class, such as lighting design, might be scheduled. If not, its time for homework: reading for History of Ddecorative Arts or studio time working on the project for Studio I.

A typical curriculum for a degree in interior design varies according to program. Associates and certificate programs are less time-consuming, and therefore more concentrated. Following is an example of required courses for a bachelor of arts degree in interior design at California College of the Arts in Oakland, California.

First Year
Basic Drawing

Second Year
Interior Design Studio 2 & 3

Third Year
Interior Design Studio 4 & 5

Fourth Year
Senior Linkage Studio

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Visual Dynamics 2D & 3D

Interior Design Representation 2 & 3

Materiality 3

Senior Project Seminar & senior Project or Interior Design Studio 6 Interior Professional Practice

Comparative Methods

Materiality 1 & 2

Building Technology

Inside/Out

Building Technology

Internship

Interdisciplinary studies

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First Year
Interior Design Representation 1

Second Year
Humanities & Sciences

Third Year
Portfolio Review

Fourth Year
Studio electives

Humanities and Sciences

Cultural Diversity Studio

Humanities and Sciences

Studio Electives

Humanities & Sciences

If you are already enrolled in a school that does not offer a program in interior design, your next best alternative is to take courses in the arts, both studio and history classes. Education in art history is the backbone of many non certified designers and decorators. Drawing and sculpture, or whatever art courses appeal to you, can only benefit your visual growth and understanding. Other recommended areas of study are business and marketing. As Rhonda Layton, an interior designer and business owner, says, Interior design is about 90 percent networking, marketing, selling, knowing the right people and this little thing called chutzpah, 7 percent paperwork and 3 percent design.

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Targeting Employers
CHAPTER 4

Finding the Right Firm for You


To research firms in a given location, two great sources for information on residential and contract firms are ASID and The Franklin Report. ASID offers listings of licensed residential and contract designers and firms for each state, including contact information. The Franklin Report (www.franklinreport.com) also provides names and contact information for primarily residential interior designers/decorators and other design specialists in four main areas: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Westchester/Connecticut. Self-described as the ultimate insiders guide to home services, the Franklin Report is intended as a resource for homeowners and industry insiders to get the true lowdown on each company they might consider using for a project. The guide is especially helpful for job seekers, since it provides the inside scoop on designers and decorators personalities and working styles. It also describes a typical budget and the designers/decorators clientele. The Franklin report rates its providers in four main categories: work quality, cost evaluation, value analysis and client recommendation. The report also gives a brief synopsis of the firm and its services, summarizing comments from actual clients. While nothing compares to first-hand experience interacting with a designer, The Franklin Report provides a good basic understanding of the various providers in a geographic area. As with any industry, insider gossip is rampant, and the undisclosed reputations of different companies and designers may vary greatly from their PR material (or their Franklin Report rating, for that matter). Many designers have reputations for being difficult. The only real way to gain access to this kind of valuable information is to befriend people in the industry. Reading an article on a designer in House Beautiful may help you get a sense of their style, but affords little to no information on what working for them would actually be like. Keeping abreast of industry magazines, such as Interior Design, Architectural Digest, Elle Dcor, Metropolitan Home, House and Garden, House Beautiful and Southern Accents helps provide information on good designers. There are also publications geared primarily toward the contract design market, such as Domus, Abitare and Hospitality. Chances are, if a designer is featured in one of these top publications, i.e. their project or design advice is photographed or written about, they have, if not a flourishing
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Vault Career Guide to Interior Design Targeting Employers

design business, at least one that is financially solvent. For interior designers, a mention or feature in one of these publications is a huge goal, and a huge sign of success. The exposure and free publicity opens a designer up to much larger markets. Another way to become educated about local designers is to attend show houses and design events. Many cities sponsor design houses that display the skills of local talents. Often, a private home is chosen to display a combination of designers work. A different designer is in charge of each room in the house and has freedom to decorate as they see fit. Once the house is complete, the public can pay to tour the home and get a hands-on sampling of what each designer has to offer. One well-known event is the Kips Bay Decorator Show House in New York, which ran for the 32nd time in May of 2004. Magazines like Costal Living and House Beautiful also sponsor show houses. Not only is this a great way for the general population to get access to ideas and examples of various artists work, but it also affords the designer publicity and marketing opportunities. For a would-be designer, its an opportunity to see which designer most accurately aligns with their individual style. Events such as Dining by Design gather designers to create dining areas for show. This charity event, sponsored by Elle Dcor, is similar to a gallery showing, and features the imaginative table designs of well known interior designers and artists. Dining by Design benefits The Design Industries Foundation Fighting Aids (DIFFA). Again, the public can view each entrants offering and see what sets each designer apart. There are numerous events around the country that afford an opportunity to learn about the design industry. The furniture mart in High Point, North Carolina is held biannually, once in October (open to the public) and once in April (to the trade only). It offers a great way to learn about the various companies and trades working in the design community. The National Exposition of Contract Furnishings (NeoCon) Worlds Fair (held in 2004 at the merchandise mart in Chicago) is a large annual event for the contract industry, providing exhibits, education, networking, special events and awards. Each year over 40,000 people attend the fair, which made its debut in 1969. Design centers also host events. Westweek at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles is a weeklong extravaganza, celebrating the profession of interior design. A myriad of events are held, from lectures about antique carpets to panel discussions with local designers to cocktail parties at galleries. And many of these events are open to the public.

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Internships
Internships are usually posted through design schools and are intended for design students. They can be a great way to get a foot in the door of a design firm and try out the industry. It also gives employers a risk-free opportunity to utilize inexpensive labor and see if a person is a good fit for their company without committing to hiring them for a full time position. If you are not a design student, internships will be more difficult to come by unless you have contacts within the industry. Cold-calling firms and inquiring as to whether they even have interns is one possible tactic, although you may place a large number of calls without success. If an internship is your goal, enrolling in at least one course at a local design program will probably gain you the best access to local internship prospects.

Locating Openings
As in most industries, the best jobs are the hardest to come by. Perusing the local newspaper will provide scant offerings. The most likely positions to be offered are those in sales, such as working in a furniture showroom acting as interior designer to customers while also selling furnishings. For example, an in-house designer/salesperson for Ethan Allen is a job that could be found in the local classifieds. Contract design work may be easier to find than residential more of the large design firms are contract, and they usually have websites. Positions within architecture firms are also easier to come across, since they also tend to be large organizations that regularly publish openings. Positions at more exclusive firms are generally not advertised. You can try cold calling and mass resume sending, but the best way to find out about openings is through industry connections. Word of mouth is a key method for filling availabilities in interior design. Design firm employees, salespeople and vendors are all good sources for potential job leads; in fact, anyone with a connection to the industry, whether direct or indirect, could be a great link to a little known job. Even editors or contributors at design magazines and shipping companies often hear about firms looking for people. ASID and other websites, such as www.interiordesignjobs.com, post job listings, although these tend to be for licensed designers or are more sales oriented. Design centers also usually have websites, like the Pacific Design Center in California (www.pacificdesigncenter.com), that provide lists of openings at various showrooms. But networking is key. Attending art events and any
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public events hosted by the design community will provide great access to designers or their employees. Another relatively new resource is the job bank offered as part of Interior Design magazines website, www.jobzone.interiordesign.net. If you are enrolled in an interior design program or taking some classes, you may be able to become a student member of ASID. Membership affords some great benefits such as chapter events, seminars and workshops that give students the opportunity to meet and interact with professional designers. Chapters also host career days that help students learn about all the various opportunities within the industry. Membership cards admit holders to design centers that are to the trade only. ASID even has a private section on their website where members can interact and network, and having a student membership allows access to this portion of the site. Numerous schools have existing ASID student chapters. ASID has a list by state of which schools participate.

Search Advice
The best advice offered by many professionals in the industry is to network, network, network. One top residential designer advises, Design is a people centric business. We have found virtually all our employees through word of mouth, either through other designers, architects or vendors. We found our design assistant through a contractor on a project site. Try and think of any potential links you might have to the design world; you probably have more than you think. The author used this tactic when seeking out her first job. She began talking to friends and family members about a job in the design business, and ultimately a cousin of a friend connected her to her first job at a high-end residential firm. Design is a very tight-knit industry; since designers interact frequently and many know one another, if one firm isnt hiring its still good to have made the connection because often they will forward resumes on to other design companies. Most of the professionals interviewed for this book got their position through non-traditional means. They visited design centers inquiring for jobs, or started at the retail level and made contacts in the industry, befriended designers who shopped in their stores, or had relatives or friends with connections. None found their job in a newspaper. While this may seem discouraging if you feel you have no contacts, it also means those positions are not advertised and therefore not as many people are vying for the same spot. It may require more ingenuity and hard work to locate them, but the jobs are available.

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Designers do not usually strike out on their own immediately, but work underneath at least one or two established professionals to learn the ins and outs of the industry. As Betty Sherill says, new designers do not usually start by landing a blockbuster project. Youll be asked to do the living room or the babys room or bedroom. But its worth it for young people. If their ideas agree with the clients, its a nice testing ground. This also helps meet the work experience requirement for the NCIDQ. As with any profession, theory and practice can be wildly different. Learning about color theory and space planning is important and necessary, but probably wont prepare you for dealing with clients or managing a budget. There is much to be said for hands-on experience. The interior design industry has a reputation for demanding and perfectionist personalities that can make working relationships challenging. It is not unheard of to meet a homeowner who has been through three or four designers in an effort to complete one project. While there is no surefire way to avoid this, asking salespeople or current employees their impressions of a designer can provide valuable insight. They might have such a strong attitude (good or bad) toward the designer that they will freely express their opinions.

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The Hiring Process:


Resumes, Cover Letters and Interviews
CHAPTER 5

Getting Your Foot in the Door


If you are applying for an interior design job or internship, it always helps to get the name of the person directly responsible for hiring. Depending upon the size of the firm, there may be a human resources department, or one pointperson in charge of resumes and employment. Finding out who the best contact person is, and making sure all correspondence is addressed to that individual will at least ensure your information is landing in the right hands. Although the design industry is creative, a standard resume format is advisable. Most people spend very little time, often less than a minute, scanning resumes. The format needs to be clear and concise, conveying as much information as possible in only one page. A well-constructed resume is one of the easiest ways to make yourself stand out from others. Make sure there are no formatting, grammatical or spelling errors. Placing follow-up phone calls to confirm the documents were received is another way to make contact and set yourself apart. A resume may go unnoticed unless a phone call prompts its review. A clear and direct phone manner is most effective. Do not waste the employers time, but do be assertive. Many employers look for proof that individuals have the followthrough and dedication to check on the status of a resume. If you have no formal education or experience in design, highlight the skills that would make you an asset to the firm. Do you have sales or marketing experience? A strong art background? Managerial experience? Employers are looking to hire not only the person with the best educational and knowledge for the job but also the best personality fit. People skills play a huge role in the job search process. A designer may be willing to take a chance on a person without the right credentials who displays a great work ethic and stellar references. Following is an example of a standard resume for a person with a few years experience in residential interior design, along with a typical cover letter.

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Vault Career Guide to Interior Design The Hiring Process

Sample Resume
Lauren Callahan 4755 San Vicente Blvd., Unit 110-C Los Angeles, CA 90049 Home: (310) 403.6436 Email: lcallahan@aol.com

EDUCATION University of California, Los Angeles B.A. in Art History, May 1998 (GPA 3.6) EXPERIENCE Westwood Interiors, Inc. Westwood, CA Los Angeles, CA

High-end residential interior design firm. Voted a top 100 Interior Design firm by House Beautiful, 1999-2004. Designer: April 2001-April 2003 Designed, expedited, scheduled and installed eight residential interior design projects. Size ranging between ten and twenty thousand square feet. Maintained and nurtured client relations; developed client presentations; procured fabrics, case goods, upholstery, accessories and antiques. Worked directly with clients to discuss and review purchases, budgets and timelines on projects. Forecasted and managed budgets including systemized sales invoices and purchase orders. Minimum budget started at one million dollars. Oversaw fabrication of custom furniture and interacted with vendors to review, inspect and monitor product development.

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Sally Redwood Designs

Hollywood, CA

Small residential interior design firm specializing in kitchens and baths. Design Assistant: June 1999-April 2001 Assisted head designer in daily operations of projects. Organized office schedules and appointments for company principals. Liaison between vendors, clients and office for all meetings and agendas. Coordinated vendor logistics and installation timelines. Studio City, CA

Broyhill Gallery Art gallery. Personal Assistant: August 1998-April 1999

Performed general office duties including filing, scheduling and general accounting. SKILLS

Computer skills: Microsoft Windows, Word, Excel, QuickBooks, Impact Design, IT Designer, Powerpoint. Strong analytical and creative writing ability. Detail oriented with excellent organizational skills.

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Sample Cover Letter


Amy L. Woodard 5313 Oakwood Dr. #N, Oakland, CA 97104 __________________________________________________________________ (925) 401.6232 May 5, 2004 Susan Lafferty Human Resources Lafferty Designs, Inc. 9526 Pico Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90035 Dear Ms. Lafferty: I am very familiar with your company and its impressive reputation. Your firms recent projects in House Beautiful and Architectural Digest display your incredible talent and aptitude for intelligent design. I am extremely interested in pursuing a career in residential interior design and believe my organizational and creative skills would be a huge asset to your firm. My art history degree provides me valuable knowledge, particularly useful in the decorative arts environment. I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you further about available positions. I will call your office the week of May 10th to see if I might arrange a time for us to meet. Should you wish to contact me I can be reached at (925) 401-6232.
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amy.woodard@yahoo.com

Sincerely, Amy L. Woodard Enclosure

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The Interview
Interviews in interior design are likely to be less formal than those in industries like accounting or banking. Generally, employers are looking for individuals who would fit into the demanding and hectic environment of a design office. Ability to multi-task and work well with others is imperative. Often, designers and assistants must collaborate on large projects for several months, if not years. Hiring a person who does not understand teamwork is simply not an option. Individuals with organizational talent and attention to detail are highly prized, as many projects require an intense attention to minutiae. Communication and people skills are also valuable, as there is constant interaction with vendors and clients. Writing abilities are an asset, as there is plenty of correspondence and publicity to be taken care of. Promoting your hard work ethic and ability to cooperate will help you succeed. Jeffry Weisman, a principal at Fisher Weisman in San Francisco, says An interior design degree is not essential, though virtually all our staff has one. The most important thing is a VISUAL education (which could be painting, graphic design, etc.). Much of the other requisite skills can be learned on the job. Hints: Whether or not you have an interior design education, take the time to learn how to draw and to draft and to get familiar with some of the key historical designers. Much can be learned from their success. If you have a formal design degree, definitely bring your portfolio to the interview. If you dont have a traditional portfolio, but have taken art classes, bring examples of your work. This may help the designer see that you have the talent, if not the standard education. If you have sales experience, highlight that on your resume, pointing out what your record was, if applicable. Sales skills are a huge part of design, since any designer has to sell the concept and all the materials involved in a project.
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Before the interview


Gathering some background information about the company is the first step. Some key things to research are: 1) When did they first open for business? 2) Who are the principals or head designers? 3) Are they known for a certain look or style? If so, what is it?

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4) Be familiar with some projects they have completed, especially the ones published in large magazines. 5) Who is their clientele? Do they cater to the very wealthy or to middleincome clients?

First impressions
In any profession, an excellent first impression may make the difference between a job offer and an insincere well get back to you. Its important to remember that interior design is a creative, image-conscious industry, and as such, it is important to always look stylish and professional. Being artistic by nature, the field of design also allows for more sartorial freedom. A navy pin stripe suit with matching tie is not required. However, for an interview, it is always wise to use caution and dress somewhat conservatively. For women, a simple skirt, blouse or sweater and nice shoes would make a perfectly acceptable outfit. A fashionable suit, while more formal, cant hurt. For men, khakis, button down shirt and tie would be formal enough, although a suit is also acceptable. Many design firms have web sites with pictures of the principals and designers. Checking their outfits can be a useful yardstick. Generally, class with style is the best look. Bright colors and interesting accessories are often worn. Hands and nails, hair and skin should all be wellgroomed. Remember, a designer is selling an image to their clients, so it is imperative that the designers personal style is convincing and desirable. Dressing in outdated clothing sends the message that the designers taste is outdated too. As Jeffry Weisman says, Appearance is unavoidably important as we are in the business of selling style, and this must be communicated consistently.

Sounding knowledgeable
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In a design interview its important to have a working knowledge of industry terms, such as case goods or lead times. Sounding informed conveys your education and experience to a potential employer. There are a myriad of terms that designers use in their daily practice, from names for styles or periods, such as Art Deco, to terms for specific fabrics, such as mattelass. Visiting the library or a bookstore and leafing through design books and magazines can help you become acquainted with many of these unfamiliar terms. One book that will help is The Pocket Decorator by former journalist Leslie Banker and her decorator mother Pamela Banker, a Parish-Hadley alumna. It explains such esoteric terms as dado and soffit.

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Sample Interview Questions


Interview questions vary tremendously. Potential employers may ask you to name your favorite style is, or interior designer. Reading design magazines and texts will help you become informed. You may have been reading House Beautiful for years and already have a clear notion of whose style you most relate to. Keep in mind, though, the designer interviewing you most likely has a distinct style of their own and will be more inclined to hire those whose design aesthetic aligns with theirs. Designers are not looking for new talent to supercede their own. They want an individual who understands and relates to their taste. Do some homework so youre able to comment on some of their key projects and the aspects of their work you like. Not only will you stroke their ego, but at the same time prove that you keep abreast of industry publications.

Questions from a residential interior design firm


Q. Tell me about your education, experience and background. A. Be brief but interesting. If you dont have formal interior design schooling to your credit, assure them with reasons why you are right for the job in other ways, such as the studio art classes you took that gave you an understanding of color and how it interacts with light. Tell the interviewer aspects of your background or work experience that will set you apart and make them remember you. Q. What are your strengths and weaknesses? A. Good skills to highlight are anything that will add value to the firm. Drafting and artistic talent, good people and communication skills, and working well on a team are all important in the field of design. Be honest about your flaws, everyone has them. Admit what you are most challenged by, within reason. Dont let on you are a terrible procrastinator, but do say you can get nervous in presentations.

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Q. What are your expectations of this position? A. Increasing knowledge and honing skills are always good answers. Dont talk about rising through the ranks and becoming the head designer. Stay focused on the job opening at hand. Also, never talk about compensation. Q. How would you describe your personal interior design style? A. Be honest, but also remember that they are not looking for candidates with wildly different taste than that for which the company is known. If you are interviewing at a firm that specializes in home restorations and the use of antiques, you can mention that you appreciate modern styling, but definitely emphasize that you are attracted to the same sensibility the company espouses. After your inquisition, the interviewer will likely ask if you have any questions of him or her. Have at least one question prepared so it looks like you are engaged in the dialogue. Good questions to ask are: Q. What do you think are the most important skills to be successful in this position? A. This tells your interviewer that you are concerned with not only getting the job but being able to master it successfully. Q. What is the culture of the firm like? A. Hopefully this will provide you with some idea as to how formal or informal the work environment is. Q. When are you looking to fill the position? A. Is it immediate or not for several weeks? This will help you gauge when to expect a response. After your interview, be sure to send a thank you note, preferably handwritten, to the interviewers attention. It is a small gesture that is often overlooked, and it can set you apart from the other candidates. Send it as promptly as possible, within a few days of the meeting. Similar to the entertainment industry, design attracts many people who assume the field is glamorous and exciting. While the opportunity to interact with wealthy, sometimes famous people does exist, the daily work is challenging and can be intense. As Rhonda Layton so aptly explains, Interior design is a wildly misunderstood profession. People get the romantic notion that this business is all about picking out colors, working with lush beautiful fabrics, and being creative all the live-long day. That isnt so. It is about making the sale, organizing the details and making sure everything is perfect for Mrs. Smiths installation on Friday. No one wants
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to hire a person with false ideas of glamour and fame. Dont mention how exciting it will be to work with a certain well-known client or travel to exotic locations. You want the designer to know you are most interested in the actual design process, not in rubbing shoulders with the well-to-do or playing with color palettes. If you have no experience, expect to gain only an entry-level position and be realistic about what that entails. You may have to spend a year or two doing administrative work and making lunch runs to work your way into a position of more responsibility and interest. Be realistic. Even armed with a design degree, no one will be placed in a head design position immediately. Many well-known interior designers started at the bottom and apprenticed beneath others for several years. It takes time to learn the ins and outs of the industry, and nothing can replace the education you will get from hands-on experience.

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Wondering what its like to work at a specific employer?


Read what EMPLOYEES have to say about: Workplace culture Compensation Hours Diversity Hiring process

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INTERIO DESIG CARE


ON THE JOB
Chapter 6: Residential Interior Design Chapter 7: Contract Interior Design Chapter 8: The Design Showroom Chapter 9: Architectural Firms Chapter 10: Furniture Design Chapter 11: Specialty Design
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Residential Interior Design


CHAPTER 6

Residential Interior Design


Residential design focuses on private dwellings anything from a small apartment to a multi-thousand square-foot home, condominiums, vacation retreats, even mobile homes. A designer may work on one room or an entire house. Some specialties within residential design are kitchen or bathroom design, home offices, color consulting, closet design and home theater design. The residential designer, unlike a contract designer, may become more closely involved with their clients, being privy to the most intimate part of their lives. Homeowners can be emotional and extremely particular; residential designers, therefore, have to communicate well with their clients to gain the clients trust. Arbitration skills can also come in handy when husbands and wives or partners disagree on their design taste; when the wifes favorite color is pink and the husbands is black, the designer has to figure out ways to compromise, perhaps designating certain areas as belonging to one spouse or another. For example, a compromise might entail making the womans bathroom and closet pink and feminine, while using black leather and more masculine elements in the husbands study. Either way, its critical to address the needs of both partners. The residential designer should be well-versed in dealing with contractors, architects and any other tradespeople who might play a role in the project. Designers will often act as a liaison between the client and various members of the team. They also may feel a greater artistic freedom working on a private residence, free from all of the restrictive codes and standards inherent in contract design. But a designer must be organized and efficient, since often she will be juggling the demands of several projects at once. In particular, she is responsible for adhering to a budget. Even the wealthiest clients need to consider costs. She is also expected to keep abreast of the latest trends and materials and to understand how they function. Their main role is as an adviser to their client, helping make choices about any number of designrelated issues, from flooring to art. Large, more prominent firms tend to be concentrated in big metropolitan areas, where there is a strong market of people who have plenty of money to spend on their home. Though there are design firms in almost every city and town throughout the country, the scale of projects varies tremendously. Often, architectural firms will have their

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own design department to provide their clients with an all-inclusive service and minimize the communication problems that can occur between designers and architects. Many designers are introduced to potential clients by word of mouth, either through past clients, colleagues or contacts in the industry. Homeowners typically request recommendations from their architect and/or contractor, talk to friends who have used designers, ask salespeople at stores for their recommendations, search the internet and industry publications, read magazines to familiarize themselves with designers styles, and attend show houses to see examples of designers work. Designers advertise in design indexes such as The Los Angeles Design Index, which compiles lists and advertisements for the following resources: architects, residential construction, interior designers, landscaping, kitchen and bath, custom woodworking, hardware, metal and glass, floor coverings, marble, stone and tile, Pacific Design Center, residential furnishings, accessories and decorating; art and antiques, home theater and cabinetry, integrated and security systems, media, creative and computer support. Other publications, such as the book, Design Trade (www.interiordesignweb.com), act as the yellow pages of the design industry, also listing resources for design-related services and products. Designers also get free publicity when articles are written about them and photographs of their projects are printed by major design magazines. They may participate in charity events and design challenges to publicize of their services. There are even agencies, similar to dating services, whose sole purpose is to match clients with designers, collecting a finders fee when a match is made. Some elite residential designers have the great fortune of never needing to directly seek out clients, having become so well-regarded in their area that clients come to them. For other designers, drumming up business may not be so easy, and clients must be more actively pursued. Design is a people-centric business, and as a designer builds their practice, they also build relationships with others in the industry which can be invaluable when it comes to referrals. Many designers start out working for friends and build their business from there. Like most professions, designers rarely start off with a full client list at the beginning of their career, unless they happen to inherit a family business. The first design job usually comes as a referral and the designer builds their reputation from there, gradually acquiring more projects and clients to add to their roster. Design of the project actually commences once a contract is signed between the designer and the client. Contractors and architects are always involved if the project is ground-up new construction. If the homeowner is only
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renovating certain areas, an architect may have a minimal to nonexistent role, while the contractor and designer are more involved. In purely decorative projects (no walls torn down, no structural changes made) the designer may work on their own. The client may bring the designer in at any time ground may have just been broken, or the client may have been living in the house for several years and never bothered to decorate. Clients who can afford large houses are more likely to place value on hiring an interior designer than a person who just purchased their first starter home; hiring an interior designer is a luxury, and many people, although they might love to have a professional opinion on what goods to purchase or what color to paint the living room, simply cant afford it. A residential designer must be able to understand and interpret the lifestyle of the client. A family with four small children probably isnt the best audience for pale, delicate carpeting. An older couple might require specific chairs that support their backs and are easy to maneuver. Some clients entertain frequently and require seating for a large number of people at their dining room table. All these characteristics are important to the designer when fabricating a design scheme for the house. The designer must determine the needs and desires of the client, but also any strong aversions, and then translate this information into a working design. It is a rare client who unanimously agrees with a designer on every selection. A client may have hired the design professional for their opinion and expertise, but clients will often have strong opinions of their own. Because of this, designers often select a few options for the clients review and let the client make the final decision. They might offer two plans for the living room with differing seating arrangements and furnishings, or three options for the window treatment. Inevitably, there will be disagreements over something, whether its an antique desk that the designer loves but the client thinks is too expensive, or a family heirloom the client insists on reusing that the designer despises. Usually the parties can come to a mutually satisfying agreement (purchase the desk but save elsewhere on the budget, use the family heirloom but place it in a guest bedroom that is out of sight). One designer recalled a client who had recently inherited a large assortment of perfectly horrendous antiques from their great Aunt Martha. The designer was appalled by the volume of gaudy, ornate furniture the client was eager to reuse. So began a delicate process in which the designer incorporated certain pieces that were marginally acceptable and suggested that others just didnt fit in the design scheme. The designer wasnt thrilled, but he knew he would have to use some of the pieces to keep the client happy. The old adage the customer is always right holds true in interior design as well. Ultimately, a designer will
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have to acquiesce to the clients desires or sever the relationship. Although changing designers is not unusual, most clients will have done their homework prior to hiring the design professional, so theyll know that their tastes are aligned. A client who loves rare antiques will most likely not hire a designer known for her modern style. As Betty Sherill says, Its a partnership. You get to know the client very well. And if you dont, you didnt do a good job. You have to know how they like to live.

The Residential Design Process


1) Initial meetings: The client will probably interview several design firms and go through this process with each. In the meetings, designers learn about the clients needs and wants , budget (determined by the scope of the project and the taste level of the designer and client), expectations and time frame. The presentation of the designers portfolio takes place, as well as an explanation of the contract and fees. 2) Contract negotiation: During this phase, agreement between the two parties is spelled out in a formal written contract that specifies design fees and responsibilities. The design firm creates an estimated project schedule, detailing scope of services and for what exactly the designer is responsible. Is she doing the whole house or certain portions? Is there a lighting designer who will be responsible for that area of the project, or is the designer expected to take control of lighting? 3) Programming: This step includes evaluating the existing conditions, clearly defining the needs of the client and gathering information. The designer conducts analysis of the site, an inventory of clients existing furnishings to be reused. She also seeks professional recommendations and quotes (e.g., bring in a painter to give an estimate and discuss finishes) and begins scheduling of work.
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4) Design development: During development the design firm prepares furniture plans (floor plans with scaled furnishings drawn in), creates design schemes for each room (including presentation boards showing examples of suggested fabrics, finishes and furnishings), finalizes a complete budget, works with client on selecting window treatments, floor coverings, lighting, furnishings, wall treatments, etc. 5) Contract administration and project management: These phases involve actual execution of the project. The firm prepares bids, decides on

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vendors, arranges periodic field inspections, places orders and reviews them upon completion. 6) Installation and final inspection: The design firm brings in all the new furnishings, objects and window treatments during installation. They complete a final walk-through and inspection with the client to ensure all details have been taken care of. The Top 10 Residential Firms
Firm
Creative Design Consultants

Headquarters
Costa Mesa, CA

Website
www.cdcdesigns.com

Marc-Michaels Interior Design Slifer Designs

Winter Park, FL

www.marc-michaels.com

Edwards, CO

www.sliferdesigns.com

Roger Ferris & Partners

Westport, CT

www.ferrisarch.com

Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects Perkins & Will

New York

www.gwathmey-siegel.com

Chicago

www.perkinswill.com

Lawrence Group

Saint Louis

www.thelawrencegroup.com

Swanke Hayden Conell Architects Wilson & Associates

New York

www.shca.com

Dallas

www.wilsonassoc.com

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

New York

www.som.com

Source: Interior Design magazine, 2004

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Residential Design Jobs


Depending on the size of the firm, job descriptions and positions will vary. In a small office with only four employees, people may play more than one role; the head designer may also function as the project manager. A small firm will usually have one or more principals who are the top designers, as opposed to larger firms, which have several top designers and principals. In smaller firms, designers must also act as principals, taking on many of the financial and operating issues in addition to pure design functions. In larger

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companies, the head designers might solely focus on design. A small firm will usually have one or more principals who are the top designers. It will also have lower level designers, perhaps a bookkeeper and an administrative assistant. Large companies have many positions with clearer responsibilities. Since there is not one consistent set of job descriptions and titles used throughout the industry, it is best to read the skill and educational requirements carefully or inquire about the level of position the company is seeking. Following are typical job positions available at a small (1-8) person firm. Design assistant: Helping designers with administrative tasks, a design assistant may also be in charge of keeping the sample library in order, making sure fabrics are organized, catalogs are current and all manner of samples are up to date, readily accessible and organized. The sample library is crucial to designers. It is where all their resources are stored, usually including fabric swatches, paint decks, furniture and lighting catalogs, carpet samples, tile samples and wood finish samples, among others. The design assistant returns samples, researches vendors and runs errands. She may help designers with paperwork, send faxes, file, check on the status of orders, mail out purchase orders and invoices. She generally helps facilitate all aspects of the designers work. This job requires minimal to no design experience. Project manager/junior designer: This position involves overseeing the daily operations of a project. She organizes and attends meetings with the client, various team members and principal/senior designer (the design assistant would normally not be present at such appointments). The junior designer takes directive from principal or senior designer. She creates proposals, purchase orders and invoices, interfaces with vendors and tracks the progress of all orders for furnishings, fabrics and custom pieces. She also shops for items and fabrics; creates and maintains the budget; acts as primary contact for clients, answering questions and advising on many aspects of the project; schedules all shipments and deliveries; and organizes final installation, when all furnishings, window treatments, etc. are installed in the clients home. A junior designer is usually expected to have worked as a design assistant or in some area of design for at least a year or more. Senior designer: A senior designer is in charge of the project as a whole. She manages the design assistant and project manager/junior assistant, interfaces with clients, signs off on all custom pieces, visits manufacturers to ensure pieces have been made as specified, meets with vendors to select finishes and dimensions, attends meetings with the client, junior designer and principal, and shops for furnishings and fabrics. A senior designer typically has several

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years experience and has progressed up the ranks from design assistant to junior designer. Principal: The principal is often the owner and the namesake of the company. She holds initial meeting with clients, signs contracts and oversees general business affairs. In addition to developing a design scheme for a residence, she selects color palettes, fabrics and furnishings with the aid of the design staff. She also attends meetings and shops with clients. As the principal is in charge of the entire creative direction of the project, she delegates tasks to staff. Depending upon the personality and working style of the designer, she may be extremely involved in the project or more hands-off. A principal has typically studied under one or more designers for at least a few years prior to entering a partnership or opening their own business. Often seen as the more glamorous and fun side of interior design, residential design can be inspiring and creative as well as supremely demanding. Clients tend to become heavily involved, and it can be an emotional and intimate process. Residential firms tend to be smaller than contract ones, but there is a wide range of sizes, from one-person operations to firms with over a hundred employees. The process tends to be somewhat looser than contract design processes, since codes and regulations do not play as large a role, although local regulations will determine whether an individual is identified as a designer or only a decorator. Many residential designers have little or no formal training; in fact, some of the top residential designers have no affiliation with ASID or other professional organizations and have no formal education in design. Either way, most have usually studied under another residential designer.

Design salaries
Salaries for entry level positions can be low, even with a design degree. Design assistants are typically paid between $25,000 and $30,000. Junior designers and project managers can expect between $32,000 to $45,000, depending on experience. Senior designers earn between $45,000 and $60,000. The principal, of course, is the highest paid; a principals salary varies tremendously according to the success of the firm. Some famous designers are known to make well over $500,000 a year, where others might not even make it into the six-figure range. Influential factors are geography, prestige and size of projects, minimum budgets accepted, experience and reputation. Perks range from receiving leftover fabrics to travel to exotic destinations, but generally, the work is far from glamorous. It may have its

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occasional jet-set moment, but mostly it involves a lot of hard work and dedication. The top designers seem to have certain traits in common; they work extremely long hours and are passionately devoted to their trade. They truly care about a fabrics drape and hand (what it feels like to the touch), finding the perfect color paint or searching for the perfect object for a space. They love to create and see their plans come to life. They enjoy interacting with people and have good selling and communications skills. They realize image is important and dress accordingly. Top designers make design their life.

Finding the Job


Residential design is a challenging area to find a job. Some firms advertise on the ASID website or place openings at design schools, but countless others find employees by word of mouth, so attending design events and networking is essential for hearing about available openings. Once inside the industry, many professionals are able to move around since they hear of opportunities through design contacts such as sales reps, other designers or vendors. But some designers do find their first position by cold calling and inquiring about openings, or sending out numerous resumes and placing follow-up calls. The key is to not give up. The jobs are out there, but finding them requires perseverance. There is no single perfect background for entry into residential design. Some find their way in to the industry via retail, others through art history degrees. This ambiguity is positive and negative: it means you wont be spurned for not having the perfect work history or degree, but it also means there is no set path to travel, and you have to make your own way. Appearance is important. Designers are selling a look. To make clients believe they have taste and style, they have to ensure their appearance communicates that. Cars and clothing are two of the most important indicators. The importance of appearance is preeminent for the principal or head designer, who must interface with clients constantly, but slightly less so for assistants and junior designers who may spend the majority of their time in the office. Thomas Beeton, a residential interior designer who has worked in the industry for over twenty years, says every day is a unique experience. Never boring, never safe is how he describes his work. He relishes many aspects of the job; in particular, he likes receiving accolades in magazines and the
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socializing that accompanies his work. As a principal at Thomas M. Beeton & Associates in Los Angeles, his typical week includes sight meetings for projects under construction and lots of interaction with contractors, architects and vendors. He often shops with clients, both locally and on the East coast, for rare antiques, fabrics and furnishings. He meets regularly with his design staff to ensure projects are progressing, orders processed and questions answered. As the principal of his own firm, he also oversees income statements and financial matters. He enjoys complete autonomy, but never lacks for things to do. Workdays are always very busy and may extend into the evening if there is a benefit or gallery opening to attend. While design is creative in nature, Tom emphasizes the importance of having excellent business and communication skills. If one of these areas is a weakness, make sure to hire people who can compensate for a lack. Jeffry Weisman of FisherWeisman established his own practice in 1987. Jeffry acquired a BA in Art/Design from Stanford and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Prior to starting his own company, he worked as a junior designer at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, as an Associate at Gensler and consulted on product design with Charles Pfister. He also taught part-time in the undergraduate and graduate design programs at Stanford for ten years. He categorizes his job into three areas: rainmaker (responsible for bringing in work); president (ensuring the business succeeds financially and runs smoothly); senior designer (running design projects with his business partner). Jeffrys typical day includes handling clients, working on projects with senior designers and staff, answering e-mails, lunch with clients or vendors, meeting with clients and touring projects under construction. Jeffry says the key skills to have in the residential interior design industry are great people skills, great visual capacity, creativity balanced with a sense of practicality and a relentless attention to detail.

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Pay and Perks


The prosperity and success of a firm can fluctuate; some periods are more rewarding than others. Generally, careful management ensures a steady sixfigure salary for the principal, while investment in the company is prioritized and employees are well compensated. Travel is one of the great perks, but also one of the downsides of being a principal. Lunches and dinners out are standard, whether with clients or design contacts. A hectic social schedule is part of the territory, because its important to maintain a visible profile within the design industry, and to keep on top of the latest ideas and trends, attendance at benefits, gallery openings and lectures is essential. Its
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flattering when youre contacted for design articles and your projects are being published seeing your name and work in print is highly satisfying. Discounts on furnishings and fabrics are frequently available and vendors will often offer reduced fees on services.

A Day in the Life: Principal at Residential Design Firm


Thomas Beeton
Principal, Thomas M. Beeton & Associates, Los Angeles, CA Tom was raised on the East Coast and attended George Washington University, graduating with a degree in art history. His first job was as a salesman for Neiman Marcus, before moving on to Lord & Taylor in New York, where he worked in private client design services. Next, he moved to Southern California and worked for famous antiques dealer Gep Durenberger, through which he accumulated a wealth of knowledge on the history of furnishings. He also honed his selling and presentation abilities. Five years later, Tom opened his own business in Los Angeles. Since that time he has owned and operated Thomas M. Beeton & Associates, a high-end residential firm with budgets typically in the onemillion plus range. Even at a young age, Tom spent free time rearranging furniture, playing with paint and collecting objects. His mother was a strong influence with a great sense of style. Although he did not pursue formal training in interior design, he does not regret this choice, saying I formed a design instinct by just doing it. For him, the most satisfying part of his work is the spirit of learning and collaboration, building a project as part of a team. The job is most frustrating, he says, when clients change their mind frequently or are not open to new ideas and opinions. His key strengths are his ability to interpret his clients desires, really listen to them, and then turn their thoughts into reality. He admits that he can get impatient waiting for results throughout the design process. For example, selecting a custom area carpet for a living room is extremely time-consuming and involves multiple interactions with the client and manufacturer to ensure the correct pattern, quality and color selection. Even once all these meetings have taken place, the carpet may take months to create. Custom interiors take a long time to come to life, and its important for both the designer and the client to be aware of that.

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With so many years of experience Tom offers many valuable suggestions for anyone considering this field: 1) Get out and experience design. Visit art museums, take architectural tours, read up on famous designers and architects. The more knowledgeable you are about all forms of art, the more you have to offer in design. 2) Travel. Take advantage of any opportunity to visit a new place and see how other cultures live and work. This will also help when interacting with clients, many of whom will have traveled extensively and will appreciate a designer who has a worldly perspective. 3) Become acquainted with the work of interior designers and develop a sense of whose style and taste yours aligns with. Have a mentor, if only through magazines and books. 4) It never hurts to send your resume. Even though openings at Toms office are infrequent, often he will pass along good resumes to colleagues. Jeffry Weisman adds, Dont delude yourself into the idea that decorating houses is simply a matter of assembling pretty materials. To be successful, one must take the business seriously and make peace with the fact that the creative facets are only one aspect of the job. In residential design, some key points to remember are: 1) Quality of life is key. Publicity is great, but always maintain a balance between work and home. Design will take over all your free time if you let it. 2) Expect some chaos. Without it, there could be no creativity. Design is not for those who seek a formulaic, perfect answer.
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3) Never take advantage of people. From the housekeeper to assistants and vendors, its important to maintain good relations will everyone you come into contact with. All these people are going to be hugely important in helping you get your work done. Design is a communication-oriented business and people skills are essential.

A Day in Toms Life


10:00 a.m.: Arrive at the office a little late. Last evening was a late night the publicity event for Dining by Design went until midnight.

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10:30 a.m.: After grabbing a cup of coffee and scanning the pages of the latest issue of House and Garden, commence the weekly staff meeting by reviewing the schedule with the administrative assistant. 11:30 a.m.: After several revisions to the schedule, its finally time to call in the rest of the staff. Project managers, design assistants and administrative assistant are present. Over the next three hours, discuss the current state of all projects and any concerns or issues. Its a working lunch. Deal with a budgetary problem with a client, a costly mistake made by the contractor, and growing animosity between the landscape designer and the lighting specialist. With so many personalities working on one project, it is not unusual for there to be tension among a few. 2:30 p.m.: Take calls from several clients. Agree to a last minute meeting at 6:00 p.m. today, the only time you can get the client and the painter to meet you at the site. 3:00 p.m.: Work on the design scheme for a potential client. Gather fabrics and samples from the office library. Create a scheme for two of the most important rooms, the library and formal living room, keeping in mind the particular requests of the client no yellow and no silk! 5:00 p.m.: Impromptu meeting with a project manager who needs answers on tile selections for a master bath. The contractor needs selections by the end of the day to meet the ordering deadline. 5:45 p.m.: Head out to the site meeting. It will be another late night. Hopefully youll get home by 8 or 9.

A Day in the Life: Design Assistant for Interior Design Firm


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8:00 a.m.: Arrive at the office before the rest of the staff, brew coffee and ensure the office is in order. Wash dishes left over from yesterdays client meeting. 8:30 a.m.: Check voicemail and e-mail for messages. Review calendar for days appointments and call for confirmations. Adjust schedule as necessary and print revised schedule for head designer. 9:00 a.m.: Other employees arrive. Operate switchboard for all incoming calls and take messages for staff who are unavailable. Field

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calls from sales representatives requesting appointments with designers. Interface with clients and vendors. 10:00 a.m.: Speak with the head designer. Receive instructions on several tasks, such as picking up fabric samples from design center, contacting dealers regarding memo items (pieces on loan for display only) for a client meeting, dictation of a letter for a potential client that must be messengered by noon. 11:00 a.m.: Work on projects assigned by head designer while continually operating switchboard. Letter is first priority; complete it and give to head designer to proof. Contact dealers regarding memo items and arrange shipment with local delivery service. 12:00 p.m.: Send revised letter to potential client. Once messenger arrives, escape for lunch. Pick up fabric samples while picking up lunch a reprieve from the switchboard for at least an hour. Visit several fabric houses and leave design center loaded down with bags. Pick up lunch for yourself and other office mates at nearby caf. 1:30 p.m.: Check voicemail and e-mail for messages while you were out. Open and sort mail. Address envelopes for bookkeeper. Prepare office for client meeting at 2:30. Run up the street to purchase a new orchid for entryway. Brew more coffee and tea. Ensure conference room is organized and clean. Gather any last minute information head designer needs for meeting. 2:30 p.m.: Show clients to conference room, offer drinks and snacks. Work on additional projects other staff members have requested: errands, scheduling of appointments, shipments of furniture. Keep track of money in meters and ensure clients do not get parking tickets while in meeting. 4:00 p.m.: Clients leave. Clean conference room, wash dishes. Empty trash throughout office. Return calls on behalf of designer and schedule additional appointments for remainder of week. 5:00 p.m.: Since there is nothing urgent to complete, you get to leave on time!

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A Day in the Life: Project Manager for Interior Design Firm


9:00 a.m.: Arrive at office. Review messages from clients and vendors. Check schedule for meetings and top priorities. Sort through paperwork and yesterdays mail. 10:00 a.m.: Contact vendors regarding status of outstanding orders. Check availability on fabrics head designer has chosen. Create shopping list for out-of-stock materials. File paperwork. Order acknowledgments pour in daily, so if you miss even one day of filing the paperwork will get out of control! 11:00 a.m.: Run out to meet with vendor to approve a finish sample. Once youve signed off, the piece will be completed and you are responsible for ensuring the finish is as specified. 12:00 p.m.: Grab lunch on the way back to the office. It has to be something quick, since you have a site meeting at 1:30 and still need to run by the office to grab your plans and files. 1:00 p.m.: Dash into the office to gather up files, fabric samples and furniture plans. Head to meeting at construction site with head designer and clients. 1:30 p.m.: Arrive at the site meeting right on time. The clients are running late. Walk through the construction site, take note of door widths and heights to ensure furniture will fit through spaces at the final installation, and adjust measurements as necessary. 2:00 p.m.: Walk through site with client and head designer. Take notes, to be typed and distributed later. Field questions from architect and contractor. Answer clients concerns about budgetary issues. 5:00 p.m.: Head back to the office. Unpack bags, write reminder notes regarding architect and contractors questions about lighting counts and floor finishes. Scan messages and paperwork that collected while you were out of the office. Return urgent phone calls and make to-do list for tomorrow. 6:00p.m.: Head home!

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The Clients Perspective


A client of a high-end, prominent residential designer in Los Angeles says the most important criteria she looks for when hiring a designer are a willingness to try new things and break from their traditional style; an ability to listen and deliver what she asked for, not what they wanted; and the courage to speak up if they disagreed with her selection. She also avoids big egos, emphasizing that a designer must show a willingness to compromise. Her project is a 15,000 square foot, Mediterranean-style residence. Construction has taken over 31 months, and is ongoing. This is her third time using a professional designer she normally seeks help from designers because, as an active businesswoman herself, she simply doesnt have time to take on all the organizational details of a large design project. But as a designer, she also has access to trade showrooms and a breadth of resources that she otherwise would not have had time to explore. During this project she has had three separate designers. The first was a family friend, with whom she had aesthetic differences, and whose office, consisting of only two people, was not large enough to accommodate the project. The second designer was not a good match for her either and they split after a few short months. The third designer was the charm. Recommended by friends, this designer immediately understood her design aesthetic. She is a member of ASID and has an excellent reputation. Her greatest asset is a wealth of resources, which enables her to tackle any request with ease. Also, she is very effective at sticking to a budget. She is technically skilled, with a good knowledge of scale and proportion. According to the client, All designers have egos and have a tendency to want to do what is easiest and what they have experience doing before, I wanted someone who would try new things, be creative but practical at the same time.
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Residential Yacht Design


Another niche market serving both contract and residential markets is yacht design. In December 2004, The Wall Street Journal reported that the market for luxury yachts has more than tripled since 1997; some boats cost well over $100 million, and dozens of boats longer than 200 feet are now under construction. The article also highlighted the ever-increasing size of these private luxury vessels; ten years ago the average length went from 80 to 110 feet, and is currently well over 150 feet. And, of course, opulent living and
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interior design often go hand-in-hand. But the design of yachts is a very different process from that of a residential home or commercial building. The designer has to be very conscientious of weight limitations, since too much poundage might cause the boat to sink. A designer also must be aware of how a boat moves, and take care to secure furnishings and objects so that they dont break or fall and injure someone. Yacht designers often install particular locks on cabinet doors to ensure contents are sufficiently secure. Yachts typically measure a minimum of 60 feet and go up to 160 feet, although more and more yachts are exceeding this size. Yacht designers work on the total construction of a yacht, or theyll just refit specific rooms. Just like more traditional residential and commercial interior design projects, size and scale can differ tremendously. Designers who specialize in yachts may work on cruise ships, casinos (gaming vessels), dining vessels or private charter yachts. The typical interior design of a yacht can range in cost from $100,000 to several million. Construction of a yacht involves naval architects, engineers, craftsmen, interior designers and project managers. The naval architect designs the actual plan of the vessel and works with the builders. Engineers consider the mechanics to make sure the yacht operates properly. Craftsmen help with construction details, and interior designers and project managers oversee the process, plan the interiors and work with all the various team members to execute a successful final product. The interior designers role is crucial. She must be well-versed in space planning (most yachts have limited space), cabinetry design and naval codes for fabrics and furnishings. Since weight is such an issue, the suitability of materials is also paramount. For instance, traditional marble slab must be sliced more thinly than for a house because of weight restrictions. Fire codes are also extremely important. A yacht has special considerations that are not as relevant to a land-bound project, such as the effects of salt water and moisture; many items commonly used in a traditional residence are unusable on a yacht. Climate control is essential: yachts need to be refinished more frequently than traditional homes, since their climate creates more wear and tear both internally and externally. The details of the design process, though, is very similar to that of standard interior design, including the contract negotiation, design scheme development, presentations, order processing and project management and final installation. Fort Lauderdale is an international yachting capital, but is by no means the only significant area for yacht design. Palmer Johnson, one of the premier yacht companies, has a location in Fort Lauderdale and another in Sturgeon

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Bay, Wisconsin. In Europe, important yachting design countries are Germany, France and Sweden.

An Insiders Perspective on Yacht Design


Renee Brown is a yacht designer based out of Beverly Hills, California. She has worked extensively on personal residences, private yachts and commercial offices. A graduate of the Interior Designers Guild College in Beverly Hills, Renee has been practicing since 1984. Before opening her own firm, she honed her skills at other interior design companies, and worked as a representative for furniture manufacturers. As a yacht designer, Renee will develop the overall interior design of a yacht: furniture, fabric, all finishes, cabinetry and details and selection of all art and accessories. Typical of the way many yacht designers start out, Renee first designed a clients land-based residence and was then asked to work on the customers yacht. Just as in traditional interior design, word of mouth is key to developing a yacht-design practice. Many designers become acquainted with clients through mutual friends or acquaintances or through members of the yachting community. There are also tradeshows, like that of Showboats International (a monthly luxury yacht publication), where designers and other vendors can place a booth, make contacts and potentially secure new jobs. According to Renee, the most important skills to have as a yacht designer are patience and creativity: Know how to use your imagination and design in a small space, while keeping within the clients budget. Her favorite aspect of her career is seeing the designs she imagined come to fruition; the satisfaction of viewing all the elements coming together in a finished, beautiful space is a great reward. But one major drawback is watching your beautiful yacht sail away without you on it. Renee says she can become emotionally attached to her project, and although completion is satisfying it can also be hard. The best advice she offers for aspiring yacht designers is to work with clients that see the same vision you do. If you and the client do not click or agree on the design schemes, do not pretend to make it work. It will only end up being an unpleasant experience for both you and the client.

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A Day in the Life: Yacht Interior Designer


Renee Brown, Renee Brown Interiors, Beverly Hills, CA
7:30 a.m.: Call in at the boat yard. Take care of any new problems that have arisen. 10:00 a.m.: Meet with vendors regarding fabrication of materials. Work on purchase orders and investigate the status of all outstanding orders. 11:30 a.m.: Work on interior details of furniture in staterooms (guest rooms) and built-in cabinetry. 1:00 p.m.: Break for lunch. 2:00 p.m.: Review elevations of drawings and floor plans, including fabric selection and wood finishes. 3:30 p.m.: Make final call to boat yard to see if any problems need to be handled before the close of business for the day. Like most construction sites, they typically close at 4:00 p.m., but open early in the morning. 4:30 p.m.: Work on compiling updated budget and status report for client. 6:00 p.m.: Time to head home!

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Contract Interior Design


CHAPTER 7

Contract Design
Contract (also referred to as commercial) interior design focuses on commercial spaces, and comprises many specialties, including hospitality (hotels, restaurants, health clubs, set design, sports arenas); healthcare (hospitals, nursing homes, medical and dental offices); professional offices (law offices, financial institutions); retail facilities (malls, department stores, showrooms, galleries); educational and institutional (government offices, colleges and universities, schools); transportation (airports, cruise ships, airplanes); and justice (courthouses, jails). Most contract designers and companies specialize in one or two areas. Just as it is extremely important for a residential designer to understand the lifestyle and needs of the couple or family they work for, contract designers must have a clear understanding of how public spaces and their inhabitants function. Commercial areas have unique requirements distinct from private residences; a two-hundred-dollar-per-yard delicate silk fabric ideal for an upscale Manhattan loft would be impractical for a hospital waiting room. Contract designers need to consider practicality, durability and even flammability when selecting fabrics. Most public spaces are subjected to harsher treatment than a private home is, and designers have to remember theyre designing a space to be used by crowds. Contract designers must accommodate a much larger number of people in their designs than the residential designer. One of the most important distinctions separating contract and residential designers is the number of codes. For contract designers, there are profound legal consequences to their decisions. One contract designer advises, You must have a good general knowledge of ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and general fire construction and exiting codes. You do not need to memorize everything, you just need to know where to go to look it up. However, you do need to know codes for passage of the NCIDQ exam, which may or may not be required for employment at a contract design firm. The size of projects varies. Commercial projects can have even more ample budgets than residential projects, depending on the client and the projects scope. Designing one restaurant may take a few months, whereas working on
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a cruise ship may take well over a year. The size of the structure is usually proportional to the length of the project. A huge resort will have many more design specifications and choices than one small hotel. Residential and contract design differ in scale and in the quantity of materials used. Most hotels or resorts may have one or two styles of rooms, with differing fabrics and furnishings, but the complex on a whole will be repetitive and thematic. In residential design, repetition is minimal. Each room in a home may relate to a larger theme, but is distinct and unique in its own way. Also, the sheer quantity of goods and products acquired for contract projects may far exceed those of a private residence. When a designer orders several hundred or thousand yards of fabric there can be no room for error. If a residential designer accidentally orders an incorrect fabric or decides against a certain piece, these mistakes are usually correctable. But in contract design, the repercussions may be severe. Many contract designers are employed by architectural firms, working as part of their in-house design team. Indeed, each of the companies holding a spot in Interior Designs top five list provide architectural services in addition to designing interiors. The top companies, Gensler, Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, Perkins & Will, Leo A. Daly, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill are immense, employing anywhere from 800 to over 1500 employees in several offices in the United States and even around the world. Two of these companies also ranked in the top 10 for residential design. Unlike many small, specialized residential or contract firms, these powerhouses offer a vast array of services to a large clientele. Contract designers working for such firms may provide auxiliary services to current architectural projects for which the firm has already been hired, work on ongoing accounts, or even on tenant improvement projects. But not all of their work will be directly linked to the architectural division of the company, as they may be called in to do interiors after the architectural structure of a space has already been completed. And as with any business, when a company is as large and well known as these, the clients come to them. Marketing certainly plays a role, but client procurement for them is a very different game than for their smaller counterparts.

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The Contract Design Process


As with residential design, the contract design process involves many steps from commencement to conclusion. Steps one and two are usually viewed as pre-design.

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1) Initial meetings: The client will probably interview several design firms and go through this process with each: 1) the interview, in which the designers discover the clients wants and needs, budget (determined by the scope of the project and the level of design aesthetic), expectations and time frame; 2) presentation of the designer/firms portfolio; and 3) explanation of the contract and fees. 2) Contract negotiation: During this step, the client and design firm draft an agreement that spells out design fees and responsibilities. They also create an estimated project schedule and detail the scope of services. 3) Programming/Planning: This phase involves the creation of interior layouts and designs to match the clients requests. The designer evaluates criteria to create an interior design scheme, project a schedule and budgets for furnishings, fixtures and equipment. 4) Schematic design: The design firm develops preliminary plans, material and furniture selections, and interior sketches to identify and relay overall design concept. Estimated costs of implementing the design are coordinated with the purchasing agent. 5) Design development: The design firm develops sketches and AutoCAD documents in this phase. They provide information to architects, mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineers, and ensure specifications are incorporated into contractors plans. 6) Create interior design documents: The designer provides the final set of drawings and specifications that form the basis of bid documents, product samples, shop drawings and purchase orders. 7) Bidding and negotiation: Working with the purchasing agent, contractors and manufacturers to review bids, the design firm assists in negotiations and makes decisions to ensure compliance with the specified budget. 8) Construction administration: In this phase, the designer visits the project site, ensuring work is completed according to design specifications. The required skills for a contract designer are similar to those for a residential one, although formal education is generally required (if not a four-year degree in interior design or a related discipline like architecture, at least completion of a certificate program). Contract designers also interact with clients, although the client is probably the head of a company, or several company
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representatives, as opposed to a couple or individual. The same communication and verbal skills are important in contract design and perhaps even more so, since contract designers often work on large teams. A contract designer working for a large design firm says the most important skills are communication skills, both written and verbal. AutoCAD (automated computer aided drafting) is a must. Ability to draw will set you apart, but is not a requirement, as long as you can get the idea across in another way. Her comments reiterate the importance of soft skills: being able to interact well with others, write coherently and speak eloquently. Another interesting point she addresses is that not all designers have top-notch drawing skills. Some designers are truly skilled artists who can put pencil or brush to paper and create works of art, but there are also countless designers who cant draw at all. The key is being able to express creative vision in some way, whether through water color elevations of a room, computer-generated images, or tear sheets from catalogs and pages from magazines. There is no one right way for a designer to express their vision, as long as it clearly communicates their ideas and satisfies the clients needs. Top Contract Design Firms by Specialty
Firm
Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum Pavlik Design Team

Specialty
Corporate/Office Design Retail Design

Headquarters
Saint Louis, MO

Website
www.hok.com

Fort Lauderdale, FL

www.pavlikdesign.com

Gensler

Government/Institution and Financial/Bank Design Hospitality Design

San Francisco, CA

www.gensler.com

Hirsch Bedner Associates HDR Architecture

Santa Monica, CA

www.hbadesign.com

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Health Care/Assisted Living Design Technology Design/Educational Design Educational Design

Omaha, NE

www.hdrinc.com

Flad & Associates

Madison, WI

www.flad.com

Cannon Design

Boston, MA

www.cannondesign.com

Interior Design magazine, January 2004

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Contract Design Jobs


There are several titles available in a contract firm such as Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, from job captain to the senior vice president. Following are the general positions and descriptions, which may differ among companies. Technical: This is an entry-level position, primarily responsible for drafting. Candidates experience ranges from almost none to over five years in the field. A technical degree is the minimum education required, but if the employee advances to the title of designer or job captain, a more advanced degree would be necessary. Job Captain: This person is primarily responsible for construction documents, setting up the preliminary set of drawings, detailing the design, taking the drawings through the plan-check process and construction administration. Job captains also track submittals. The minimum education required for this position varies; degrees in architecture or interior design as well as those from technical schools are beneficial. Strong AutoCAD (computer aided drafting) skills have become highly desirable for new job captains, as has expertise in construction detailing. Designer: The range of experience in this position varies tremendously, and salaries reflect this. There are entry-level designers with minimal experience, and more seasoned designers who have 15 to 20 years under their belt. Responsibilities vary according to skill level but generally entail space planning, finish and furniture specifications, design and detailing of interiors. Ability to use AutoCAD is a necessity, as is a bachelors of art, architectural or interior design degree. Project Manager: Those hired as project managers tend to have a minimum of 10-15 years of experience. They are responsible for setting and maintaining budgets and schedules for their assigned projects. They organize tasks and coordinate team activity according to the needs of the client and the project. In contact with clients daily, they act as a liaison between contractors and clients. They are responsible for review and ultimate approval of all work completed on a project. Some companies also incorporate design responsibilities under the project managers list of responsibilities. A minimum of a bachelor of arts degree or a degree in architecture or interior design is expected. Vice President: Have exceptional expertise and considerable experience. Responsible for marketing, nurturing and maintaining relationships. Someone at this level tends to be more hands-on with projects, particularly if
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she has a strong design background. The VP often assumes the position of principal in charge of project teams. This position necessitates a bachelor of arts or degree in architecture or interior design. Senior Vice President: Similar to the vice president, this positions responsibilities are marketing the firm, creating and maintaining relationships with clients. A firm such as Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum is comprised of several distinct practice areas, such as interiors, aviation corporate, healthcare and sports. Senior vice presidents are experts, and provide the leadership role for the firms areas of practice. They are also very involved at the corporate level with the board of directors and various committees within the firm. Contract design, with a sizable contingent of large firms, can be more business-oriented in culture and discipline than residential design. An HOK employee says, HOK tends to be very corporate. It is a very large company, and is driven by the financial aspect of design. Having said that, the people who work for the firm are all very talented, so the design process can be very exciting and inspiring. I think that [people] need to realize that interior design is only partly about being creative. It is also about the ability to communicate, to organize, to work smart and be efficient. Unlike smaller, residential firms, contract designers are usually required to have formal schooling in design and several years experience to assume any position of authority. Many firms also expect passage of the NCIDQ exam.

Pay and Perks


Salary levels are similar to residential design, if not slightly higher. Design staff median annual salary is $40,400, CAD operators $47,000, Designers $59,000, Project Managers are the next pay level up at $75,000 and Principal/Partners typically achieve $115,000. As in residential design, geographic location and prestige of the firm impact salary levels. According to the ASID website, Designers working in large, commercial firms in major metropolitan areas and those serving in management and consulting positions earn more than those in smaller firms and those who primarily do design work. Perks include opportunities to travel, and to work on large, well known projects.

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Finding a Job
Employment in contract design is probably easier to seek out than in residential design, since finding the names of large firms and their job postings is generally easier than locating openings in smaller companies. All the contract design companies listed above have web sites and almost all have employment information on their sites. Openings are often listed by geographic area and title. Work experience and education requirements are described in detail, although salaries are usually not revealed. Different companies often identify similar positions by different names, so its important to carefully read the description for a job opening to ensure your personal work experience and education properly match up. Everything depends on the level of competition though, so some applicants who do not meet all the specified criteria might actually have a chance at getting hired. It never hurts to submit an application, as long as your credentials are at least in the general ballpark. As a recent graduate, applying for the position of project manager at a large company isnt realistic, but applying for a design assistant position that requires minimal experience is reasonable. A current employee of a large contract firm offers the following words of advice: Send a resume and follow it up with a phone call. [Most companies] keep resumes on file. If the designer has been working for a number of years, its frequently the relationships built during that time that will lead to the next job. As in residential design, relationships and networking are key. Many designers admit that the design community is actually very small. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, as of August 2004 total employment in the country was 139.7 million. With only about 40,000 designers employed in the entire United States, the design industry is relatively small, and it serves a niche market, which makes maintaining interpersonal relationships and reputation paramount. As emphasized by one designer, Never burn bridges! The design community is small and word travels fast. Make the industry size work to your advantage, not against you. If you develop a reputation for a strong work ethic and talent, contacts and peers will help ensure that youll always find employment. Those seeking first-time employment will have to rely on their education, assets, networking savvy and interview skills to set them apart. Since its more corporate in nature, dress is especially important in contract design. An insider suggests, A tidy, well-groomed appearance is necessary. You can look a little funky or creative, but not too far out. You want to be remembered for your work, not your hair color! As always, better to be more formal than less so. Suits arent required, but they are preferable to
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informal dress. Striking a balance between formal and not-too-stiff is the key. This is not the banking industry, but its also not software development. Design firm employees are usually in contact with clients and thus must put their best image forward.

A Day in the Life: Contract Design Project Manager


Anne Jones (name has been changed), a project manager and designer for the firm Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum (HOK), has been working in the design field for over twenty years. HOK is a global architecture firm with offices in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. They employ nearly 1600 people and offer planning, design and construction management services for clients. As such a large company, HOK offers interior designers and architects specializing in a vast array of areas, including aviation, commercial offices, corporate, cultural, education, government, healthcare, hospitality, justice, mixed-use, residential, retail, science and technology, sport, venue and event and transportation. Anne says her job entails a substantial amount of responsibility: basically, the buck stops here and there is a certain amount of stress in that. Depending on the size of her project assignment, she is often accountable for the entire scope of the project, including design and management. For larger projects, she primarily focuses on project management, leaving design to other members of the team. Just as in residential, there is no set pattern for work. Every day is unique. Anne also emphasizes communication skills and the fact that design is not purely creative. Her work requires a lot of managing and organizational skills. Artistic vision and creative talent are just the tip of the iceberg.

Pay and perks


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Within the industry, project managers earn between $35,000 and $40,000 annually. Working for a firm the size of HOK affords certain benefits, such as availability of resources. Corporate standards are already set up with templates available for just about anything you want to do, says Anne. Also, collaboration with other HOK offices is frequent, creating more opportunities for networking and learning. One significant advantage of working for a large company is subsidized education. In smaller firms, corporate encouragement and assistance is not as likely. Dealing with difficult clients is her least favorite part of the job.

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Initially employed as a designer at furniture stores, Anne branched into corporate office design, working at architectural firms. She then moved to a firm that specialized exclusively in healthcare design, where she remained for nine years. She has been in her current position for almost three years, focusing on primarily corporate and healthcare projects. Her education includes a BA in Latin and a certificate in interior and environmental design, both from UCLA. At the outset, she was interested in such diverse areas as graphics, landscape and interiors; her eventual career in interior design was just luck of the draw. But she always knew she did not want to work in residential design. With several years of contract design experience, Anne offers the following words of wisdom: 1) The design community is small and word travels fast. Make sure people have a positive impression of you. 2) Manufacturers representatives are a good source of information on who is hiring. They are also well-versed in the types of work a firm does. 3) It is a good idea to list an interest or activity on your resume that can serve as an icebreaker to initiate conversation in the interview. 4) In addition to presenting your portfolio and demonstrating talent and expertise, communicate something unique that will help people remember you. 5) Be prepared to work very hard when you first start out. A lot will be expected of you, and you will need to pay your dues. Be very sure this is what you want to do.

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A Day in the Life: Corporate Interior Designer


8:30 a.m.: Arrive at the office. Peruse e-mail and phone messages. 9:30 a.m.: Attend construction meeting for a current project, the law offices of a prestigious downtown law firm. Consult with architects and

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other team members of the project; answer design questions. Listen to progress report regarding status of building. 12:00 p.m.: Break for lunch. Grab a quick bite at the local deli, then head back to check e-mails and phone messages left during meeting. Return calls regarding orders and requests for meetings. Send correspondence to carpet supplier, checking on delivery date of order. The installation date is only a month away and the carpet still hasnt been shipped from overseas very nerve-wracking! 2:00 p.m.: Spend time in the sample library, pulling together finish samples and product ideas for a new project a doctors office in Beverly Hills. Have to keep in mind that all the finishes and fabrics must be resilient since doctors offices get a lot of traffic, wear and tear. 4:00 p.m.: Gather internal team members who will be working on the new project to discuss responsibilities and deadlines as well as the overall design scheme. 5:30 p.m.: Technically, time to go home, but there is still a stack of orders to be reviewed and e-mails to return. Since work usually requires 4-6 overtime hours a week, might as well try and catch up some tonight. 7:00 p.m.: E-mails returned, orders processed, time to head home!

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The Design Showroom


CHAPTER 8

The Design Showroom


Design showrooms usually cater only to the trade, meaning designers with a resale certificate and the clients with whom they shop. The Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles is open to the public, allowing access to the general populace, but visitors wont get much further than looking in windows. To obtain fabric samples or gather information on furnishings, most showrooms require you to be a registered interior designer. The New York Design Center is even more stringent, not even allowing laypeople into the building without a note from an authorized designer. Whether these rules are always enforced is another matter, since youll rarely see someone being asked for credentials, but they exist nonetheless. Showrooms, unlike typical furniture and fabric stores, rarely sell pieces from the floor. Items are generally for display only, to allow the designer and clients to see pieces that would otherwise be only visible in a catalog. The prices are not discounted; in fact they can be quite steep depending on the showroom. For instance, certain fabrics in the design center can sell for upwards of $250 per yard, whereas in a mainstream fabric store prices are usually in the $30 per yard range. Showrooms come in all types. They showcase kitchen and bath fixtures, hardware and cabinetry, fabrics and wallpapers, furniture reproductions, exterior furnishings, flooring materials, lighting, antique and wall-to-wall carpeting, and accessories. Some showrooms offer only one type of item, whereas another may have fabrics, furnishings, lighting and accessories all together. Showrooms vary in size depending on the goods the company sells. Fabriconly showrooms tend to be smaller than furniture showrooms, simply because fabric does not take up as much physical space as furniture. Most large cities have design centers, such as the Boston Design Center and Atlanta Decorative Arts Center, but there are also significant centers like the International Home Furnishings Center in High Point, N.C. All of these usually publish guides with maps of the buildings and a description of their showrooms. Go to the information booth at the design center or call their main number to find out where to acquire one. Showrooms also exist independent of design centers, usually concentrated in well-trafficked areas with antique stores and other design resources. The PDC in West Hollywood is a good example, as surrounding streets like La Cienega Boulevard and Melrose Avenue are home to many independent showrooms and antique and
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specialty stores. Some cities publish guides to these resources. Design Trade Los Angeles, for example, can be found on the web at www.designtrade.net. Guides provide the names, addresses, hours and sometimes manager information for such stores. Some showrooms are national chains that have locations throughout the country, whereas others may only be available in certain select locations. Several different lines of fabrics or furnishings may be on display. Showroom employees are responsible for everything from displaying the goods, providing samples and quotes to making office visits to designers. Some showroom employees also travel to visit clients. Showrooms work with both residential and contract designers, possibly one more than the other depending on the type of goods the showroom sells. A fabric showroom with prices in the $200-per-yard range probably sees more residential designers, while fabric showrooms with more affordable offerings probably get more contract designers. Also, specialty and antique stores primarily serve residential designers, since a public space is usually not outfitted with rare, one-of-a-kind objects. Maintaining a presence among the design community, providing excellent customer service and constantly marketing new products are key to these stores success.

Showroom Jobs
Sample department: Employees in a fabric sample department assist the showroom salespeople and designers by maintaining the inventory of fabric samples and assembling sample requests. Showrooms typically provide custom notepads on which clients interested in a specific sample will note its manufacturer, the name of the fabric, its color and code. This paper is then turned in to the sample department to gather the requested samples. The samples are on loan for a specific time period and are billed to the borrower if not returned. The samples department may also have to fill phone requests or requests from sales representatives. A designer may call her sales rep and ask for all the blue chenilles from certain manufacturers. The samples department will gather these items and mail them out. A job at a tile (or other material) showroom involves similar duties, though the samples would be tile or hardware or whatever product the showroom displays. Customer service representative: Customer service representatives are responsible for expediting all orders. These include contacting clients to ensure cuttings for approval (CFAs) have been accepted, payments have been made and shipping bills were paid. A customer service representative also alerts clients when reserves are going to expire.

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Showroom sales representative: This type of salesperson is located on-site and is usually assigned to specific designers. Reps are responsible for helping their clients find fabrics, providing suggestions, inputting orders and checking stock and supplying quotes. Once a designer has decided on a certain fabric, shell call her showroom rep, let him know the quantity of fabric needed and the dye lot if applicable. The sales rep will check his inventory, or call the factory and let the designer know if the fabric is available, and if so, what the lead-time is (time from when payment is received until the fabric is expected to arrive) and what cuts are available. Sometimes only a group of small pieces are available at a given time, but if those arent usable to a designer who needs one large length for, say, a window treatment, the designer must decide whether to wait for the next batch of new goods or select an alternate fabric. The fabric may also need to match a certain dye lot. If a designer has already used the fabric before, say on a sofa, and now needs more of the same fabric for a new chair in the same room, shell want to ensure the fabric comes from the same dye lot or is similar enough in color to ensure continuity. Sales reps ensure that the designer receives written quotes with shipping charges and a cutting for approval (CFA) if requested. Maintaining good rapport with each client is imperative to ensure sales. Outside sales representative: This type of sales representative is much more mobile than her on-site counterpart. She is usually responsible for the clients in a certain region. An outside sales rep visits design and architectural offices, keeping her clients abreast of the newest innovations. Both fabric and furniture reps often update their clients resource libraries, which entails gathering a clients existing fabric swatches or furniture catalogs and making sure all the new options are added and any missing samples replaced. Visiting clients typically means making a formal appointment with someone on the design staff. In addition to providing information on the latest products, sales reps educate designers on the quality of their line. Most importantly, these reps develop strong relationships with each client and nurture these connections for future sales. Showroom manager: The showroom manager is responsible for the management of all sales staff, including teaching employees about the various products. The manager is the one to whom clients turn when there is a problem or question. For example, a sales rep may not have the authority to lend out certain samples and must defer to the manager for authority. Vice president of sales: The VP of sales is in charge of all sales representatives throughout the company. Many sales reps are required to fill out forms about what clients are looking for that the company does not
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currently provide. The VP of sales analyzes this information and relays it to the VP of Design. The VP of Sales also has input on new product development and may attend color forecasting meetings. Vice president of design: The VP of design is in charge of brand imaging and press kits, including magazine advertising. She creates strike-offs, custom colors and new products. The VP of Design may accompany the President on trips to scout fabric or furniture shows. Similar to the fashion industry, many shows are held in Europe, which U.S. companies attend to see what colors and designs are coming down the design pike.

Getting Hired into a Showroom


Some design assistants or project managers at interior design firms move over to working at showrooms. The pay can be better, clientele less demanding and the hours more certain. Working for a showroom requires excellent people and communication skills. Sales reps, particularly, must be able to develop strong relationships with their clients, making sure they are always taken care of and their business needs met. These positions may require less experience or background in design, as they place higher emphasis on interpersonal and selling skills. It may be easier to acquire a position in a showroom, than in a design firm as the competition is less fierce and there are a huge variety of showrooms to apply to. The New York Design Center, for instance, houses nearly 100 showrooms in one building. Some design center web sites provide information about various job openings in their showrooms. In addition to basic knowledge of the design trade, nearly every position, from sales support to management, requires computer proficiency, excellent customer service skills, presentation ability, organizational talent, ability to be a team player and excellent verbal skills. Also, being detail oriented and having paperwork and follow-up skills are essential. Salespeople are responsible for all aspects of the sale, so the paperwork is never-ending. But insiders consistently agree that people skills are at the top of the list when it comes to showrooms. Not only are showroom employees constantly interacting with designers, but also with their fellow employees and manufacturers. Working in a showroom is not for a shy wallflower or anyone with an aloof attitude. The most successful showroom employees develop strong ties with their clients and become known for reliability and dedication. When a designer calls and needs the price and availability of a fabric or piece of furniture, the most successful rep will return the call promptly and provide whatever information necessary.

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Showrooms are almost constantly in need of sales representatives and employees. The better showrooms have solid reputations for great management and employee treatment, and these have understandably higher employee retention. You should be wary of showrooms with a revolving door for staff members. This is usually an indication of poor management. Usually, no specific degree or background in design is required for a job in a showroom, although a good basic understanding of how the industry operates will increase your odds of being hired. An outgoing personality and communication skills will further enhance your desirability. As in the traditional interior design community, looks also play a role. Representatives are expected to dress professionally and act courteously at all times. Many showrooms even have formal policies regarding appearance, such as acceptable clothing styles and colors, to ensure their staff projects the image they desire. Jobs are usually obtained through applications to individual showrooms. If opportunities are not posted on their respective web sites, the yellow pages or the Internet will provide contact names and numbers for various showrooms that accept inquiries about openings. If the local design center does allow access to the general public, notices are sometimes posted within the building. Even if you are more interested in design firms than showrooms, it is still important to become acquainted with the various companies and the many fabrics and furniture lines showrooms represent. No employer will expect you to know every showroom and every line available, but having an overall knowledge of some of the largest will emphasize your interest in design and industry savvy. Ilyse Levy, an outside sales rep from a showroom in the Pacific Design Center says her work-week follows a fairly typical pattern setting up appointments with clients, visiting clients and following up on orders and requests. Ilyse has over 500 clients in both residential and contract design, working with high-end residential, mid-level residential, hospitality, restaurant and office designers, in a territory that includes Santa Barbara, San Diego, Palm Springs and Las Vegas. By her own admission, the size of her territory is quite large in comparison to most outside sales reps. Her region would typically be covered by about four reps, but because her company is relatively small, it requires larger areas per rep. Though the vast area requires a lot of travel, this job has the opportunity for higher pay and more autonomy, compared to her previous position as a senior designer on residential and contract projects. She moved into the sales arena for a change of pace, wanting to try something different and not be confined to an office.

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Although the almost constant travel can get wearisome, she prefers it to sitting at a desk eight hours a day.

Pay and Perks


The pay for showroom sales reps can definitely surpass that of traditional interior designers, even those in senior positions. Many reps have a small base salary with a sales commission component, but others are purely commission based and may be classified as independent contractors with no company health insurance or other benefits. Typical of sales, this creates a sink or swim mentality. The very best reps are the ones that go far and beyond the basic expectations, sometimes earning well over $60,000 annually. Individuals who dont go the extra mile will probably discover their monetary return reflects their lack of effort. Sales managers often receive a portion of their reps commission in addition to their own salary, encouraging them to monitor and support their staff. Therefore, managers with a winning sales team can earn exponentially more than reps. Other managers are paid by salary. Perks are somewhat limited. Staff may receive a discount on whatever product they promote, which obviously varies tremendously depending upon what showroom a person represents. Unlike at shoe or clothing stores, though, its not common to hear of a salesperson blowing all their earnings on company products.

A Week in the Life: Outside Showroom Sales Representative


Ilyse Levy
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Outside Sales Representative, Innovations in Wallcoverings and Edelman Leather, Los Angeles, CA Ilyse Levy first worked in interior design prior to becoming a sales representative. With no formal training in interior design, she landed her first job as a librarian for a hospitality firm through her mother, an ASIDcertified designer. This role required her to maintain the firms resource library. Progressing through the ranks, she moved from librarian to junior assistant, where she supported designers in writing specifications and creating purchase orders. From there, Ilyse became a junior designer, with more responsibility but still under the supervision of senior

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designers. Ultimately she advanced to the rank of senior designer, working directly with clients, architects and contractors. Throughout this period, working on both residential and contract projects, she learned design from the ground up, getting hands-on experience with all the paperwork and details involved in making a project come to life. As a junior assistant she created specifications: written documentation outlining all the details of a quote request, including required dimensions, C.O.M (customers own material), trims, and so on. She learned to assemble a spec book and create purchase orders in addition to color boards. She was taught how to create schemes with furniture images and fabric samples, furniture plans and estimated budgets. Once schemes were signed off on and approved, she learned all the behind the scenes work of tracking orders and shipments and creating status reports. Afterward, Ilyse moved on to a firm specializing in yacht interiors. Although the work was enjoyable, she eventually decided that it was time for a change. She learned of a sales rep job at Innovations from a friend who repped for the same company, and who thought Ilyses hard work ethic, strong people skills and reliability would prove fruitful in a different avenue of design. Ilyse happily accepted the change of pace this new job would offer. Ilyse states her greatest strengths as organization, time management and reliability. Her clients always know they can count on her to stick to her word and do what she promises. She notes, Sales is super competitive. As a rep I need to stand behind my product and do whatever it takes to help my client. Although her company supplied her with a lengthy list of current clients when she first started, Ilyse augmented that list by cold-calling and attracting new business through her own initiative. She might consider a more managerial position in the future, but she enjoys the interaction with her clients and the constant variety of her day at her current position.
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Ilyses week
Monday: Work out of the home office. Make calls to clients, setting up dates for presentations. The company has a rule that there can be no office visits without scheduled appointments, as designers can get annoyed with reps who drop in or disrupt their day. Reps try to respect designers busy schedules, and only visit when invited. Visit the showroom to pick up all the samples and catalogs necessary for the weeks appointments. Pick up list of current orders and

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shipments. Check on the status of unshipped orders. Call clients who have not paid purchase orders. Call and check on cancelled orders to ensure there was no problem with the product or service. Get ready for the next three days of travel, mapping out appointments by geographical proximity. Tuesday, wednesday and thursday: On the road from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Visit a client almost every half hour, on a schedule planned by zip code and city. For existing clients, presentations include updating binders, making new product presentations and taking sample requests. In addition, a new client necessitates more time for education on the product, lengthening the appointment to an hour or longer. Carrying the many samples and binders is physically demanding. Many reps use rolling suitcases to help save their backs. If covering a distant territory, the evenings will be spent at area hotels. Fridays: Follow-up day. Submit sample requests, make calls. Meet with local designers.

A Day in the Life: Sales Representative


Kathy Feles
Sales Representative, Cowtan and Tout Showroom, Los Angeles, CA Kathy Feles first became interested in design while working at a furniture store that offered interior design services in addition to furnishings. She pursued an associates degree in interior design at the University of California, Los Angeles, then took a position at a residential design firm, where she remained for a year. During that time, she became well acquainted with the showrooms at the Pacific Design Center, and periodically checked to see what positions were available. Cowtan and Tout has an excellent reputation for superior customer service and employee retention, and Kathy had to wait several months before an opening appeared. Her strong design background, polished appearance and top-notch communication skills helped win her the job. She started in the customer service department, assisting the reps and working on orders. When a rep position opened up, she seized the opportunity to move into the sales arena. She was assigned a specific group of clients,

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gradually inherited others from departing coworkers, and added more who met her in the showroom and came to request her personally. Kathy receives a salary with an added commission. As a salaried employee she receives health benefits and a 401(k) plan. She also receives an employee discount on all the fabrics her company represents. Company commissions are pooled and each employee receives a certain percentage depending on position. This structure eliminates any fighting for customers, which creates a more harmonious working atmosphere. As in any company, there are certain people who work harder than others, but eventually the less driven employees tend to get weeded out. Kathy has worked at the showroom for eight years, and she really enjoys it, citing an easy schedule, less running around, fewer serious deadlines and better pay as reasons she prefers showroom life to working at a design firm. She says she probably wont pursue a future as a showroom manager as she is very satisfied with her current job.

Kathys Day
8:30 a.m.: Arrive at the showroom. Grab coffee. 9:00 a.m.: Its Friday, so that means attending the staff meeting to see what new items are being offered and to review the budget. All employees are apprised of the target sales quota for the month. 10:00 a.m. 11:30 a.m.: Check to see what orders came in after-hours, review all faxes and paperwork such as client requests and stock information. Check east coast stock (with the three-hour time difference, its necessary to contact them early before they close for the day). 11:30 a.m. 12:30 p.m.: Lunch. Usually grab a sandwich at one of the restaurants in the design center.
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12:30 p.m. 4:30 p.m.: Take care of customers in the showroom and called-in sample requests from designers. Turn in order entries. Mail out any new fabric, trim, wallpaper samples to top clients. Depending on the season, there may be more or less foot traffic in the showroom and more or less order entry. Spring and fall tend to be the busiest times. 4:30 p.m. 5:00 p.m.: Make sure all phone calls have been returned and all orders turned in. Finish paperwork and head home.

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Architectural Firms
CHAPTER 9
Much like interior design companies, architectural firms often have specialties: residential, commercial or institutional. Residential architects plan all manner of private residences, including multi-family residential buildings, such as condominiums or semi-attached dwellings. Commercial architects design public spaces such as office buildings and country clubs. Institutional architects work on buildings such as public libraries and municipal buildings. Some firms include in-house services such as structural, mechanical and electrical engineering, or design-related services like landscape and interior design. Depending on the size and geographic location of the firm, work may focus only on one area or cover all three. Company size varies widely number of employees range anywhere from one person to over 100, but the average is nine or ten people. Since most people have limited knowledge of the construction process, theyll enlist an architect as the first step in developing a new residence or public building. A successful architect, like an interior designer, pays careful attention to the wants and needs of their client, turning ideas into tangible drawings and offering assistance in many aspects of the project, including site studies, securing planning and zoning approvals and helping to select a contractor. Clients select architectural firms in the same manner they choose a designer, gathering names from friends and associates who have developed similar projects, through publications such as Architectural Digest and researching which architects designed buildings or homes they admire. They can also contact the American Institute of Architects (AIA) for lists of local architects. Many design publications list architects as resources, and architects also selfpromote in trade publications. As in any industry, certain icons are so wellknown that they can be very selective about which projects they accept. Some current well-known architects include Frank Gehry, Michael Graves and Richard Meier. One of Meiers recent famous works is the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Two of Gehrys latest notable structures are the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain and The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Graves list of projects is numerous, encompassing everything from private residences to civic buildings. Some examples are Disney corporate headquarters in Burbank, California, the headquarters and training center for the Philadelphia Eagles and a building on the University of Virginia campus. A recent Wall Street Journal article notes the increase in famous architects taking on residential projects; for example, Daniel Libeskind (architect of the master plan for the new World Trade Center site) is working on a residential tower in Denver, and Frank Gehry is developing ideas for a luxury tower in
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Manhattan. The phenomenon of prominent architects working on residential projects is not entirely new; after all, famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright is often most remembered for his private dwellings such as Fallingwater, a residential home in Bear Run, Pennsylvania. One reason architects take on private residences is the increased level of creativity those projects engender. As Richard Meier has said, Individuals arent afraid to take risks. You dont get that level of collaboration with many corporate clients. Architects are usually brought on board shortly after the land or existing property has been acquired, ultimately selected based on some combination of price, qualification and personal fit. Owners usually interview several prospective firms, getting a chance to see examples of the firms work and how they organize projects for completion. The interview also provides an opportunity for potential clients to interact with the person or persons who will be working on the job before committing to anything. Many firms, too, exercise their own judgment, careful not to take every opportunity that crosses their path. As one principal of a mid-size architectural firm says; We have made a concerted effort to filter our client base so that we dont accept projects from potential clients who we sense may not be a good fit. In January 2005, Architectural Digest published its list of the 30 Deans of American Design, encompassing both architects and interior designers. Below are the names of the architects who made it onto the list:
Architect Charles Gwathmey Firm Headquarters New York, NY Website

Richard Meier

Richard Meier & Partners Tigerman, McCurry

New York, NY

www.richardmeier.com

Stanley Tigerman

Chicago, IL

N/A

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Peter Shelton and Lee F. Mindel Robert A.M. Stern

Shelton, Mindel

New York, NY

N/A

New York, NY

www.ramsa.com

Hugh Newell Jacobsen Alexander Gorlin

Washington, D.C.

N/A

New York, NY

N/A

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Architecture Jobs
Depending on the size of the firm, positions vary. At smaller firms, job descriptions and responsibilities tend to overlap, as each person is expected to wear more than one hat. A small to mid-size firm (4-10 people) tends to offer the following positions: Administrative: This position focuses on providing administrative support and office management: filing, answering phones, scheduling, ordering anything that helps the office run smoothly. Adminidtrative positions require no background in architecture and provide a good way for a person with an interest in architecture to safely test the waters and observe the actual operations of an architecture firm. Draftsperson: There are often two categories within this title, junior and senior, differentiated by level of experience and responsibility. A draftsperson drafts the drawing for a project, directed by the project architect or project manager. She should have the requisite degree in architecture, but is not necessarily licensed, and she should have a solid understanding of computer aided design (CAD) in addition to good hand-drawing and handlettering skills. A wide range of experiences is acceptable to achieve this position. Job captain: This person coordinates and works on the drawings for a project. She organizes and updates the drawings and directs staff as necessary. A job captain has a degree in architecture but is not necessarily licensed. She should have a minimum of about five years work experience. Project manager: A project manager is responsible for day-to-day management, coordination of staff on projects, scheduling of tasks and consultant coordination. This job requires educational and work experience similar to what a job captain requires.
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Project architect: A project architect is responsible for overall supervision of the project: design and coordination of details for the drawings, consultation coordination, decision making for field issues, etc. (in small offices some responsibilities overlap with the project managers). Production of specifications (what types of materials are to be used) and overall review of project documents are also responsibilities of a project architect. This position requires licensure in the state of employment. Attaining this position typically requires ten years of work experience. Principal or Partner: The principal runs the firm. Some firms with more than one head person have a design principal or partner and a business
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partner. At others, the principal might do everything: design, marketing, overall administrative and strategic planning, client contact and meetings, project scheduling and administration and business planning.

Salaries and Corporate Culture


Similarly to interior design, architecture is often misunderstood, and as a result, glamorized. Some top architects have the opportunity to work on famous buildings and landmarks, and express great creativity. But there are scores of others working on much more mundane projects, and not being well-compensated either. In fact, architecture has a reputation for being underpaid, particularly relative to the amount of education required. Asked to describe a drawback to her job, one architect says, The pay, in comparison to other professions such as law and medicine, tends to be lower. Salary ranges in a small to medium-size firm are usually anywhere from $30,000 for lower-level positions to $80,000 for positions higher up the food chain. Employees at larger firms can make more money, and certainly, wellknown architects can command more also. Average architectural salaries range from $25,000 to $80,000, depending on a persons experience and the size of the company they work for. Partners can earn well into six figures, particularly at large firms. Salary.com states the national average for architectural salaries as $36,715 on the low end, $54,522 for the middle bracket and $69,276 on the high end. Though architecture is known for long hours and late nights, this is more accurate at some firms than others. Some firms maintain fairly stable nineto-five, forty-hour work weeks, while others are more stressful. Hours worked often depends on the type of projects the firm undertakes and the deadlines it agrees to; some companies take on publicly funded or other institutional projects and face contract provisions that require absolute deadlines on certain phases of the project. This requires the architect to meet deadlines, no matter the overtime involved. Corporate culture varies depending on the size of the firm, larger leaning more conservative and hierarchical, smaller ones usually allowing greater freedom. Architecture certainly allows for more creativity than professions such as banking or accounting, but it is still business-focused and requires one to turn an artistic vision into something useful and functional. Asked if architecture is creative, one architect responded, I would say yes, but not in the same way school is creative. Clients generally dont give us free rein and some firms also separate their staff into design and production groups, the
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former being more freely creative on a conceptual level and the latter being more technical. The production staff figures out how to build what the design staff creates. Like fashion, entertainment and other creative professions, certain industry stars glamorize the profession and create misunderstanding about the reality of working in the business. The Michael Graveses and I. M. Peis (architect of Hancock Place, the tallest building in Boston, not to mention the controversial Louvre Pyramid) of the world are rare; much more common are architects who love their job but work on average projects and receive average paychecks. Pay fluctuates depending on firm size and an architects area of specialization. Small to mid-size firms offer greater freedom in terms of creativity and structure, but generally do not compensate employees as well. Unlike interior design, architecture is more of a necessity than a luxury. Any person or company that needs to create a structure has to enlist the help of an architect, so clients dont tend to have as much expendable income across the board as those enlisting interior decorators. Perks include travel and social invitations; architects attend many of the same events frequented by interior designers and other professionals in the design arena. Although architects may not need to be as image-conscious as their interior design colleagues, they still must maintain knowledge of trends and culture. Appearing knowledgeable and speaking eloquently on historical architecture and famous buildings is essential. Being published in trade magazines is extremely helpful for raising awareness about a particular firm and the talented individuals it employees.

Employment Options
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Architects are not limited to working only at traditional architectural firms. The AIA provides a list of the many options available within four main categories: corporate architecture, public architecture, facility management and other options. Corporate architects are employed within the retail, office, manufacturing, medical and hospitality industries, and there are numerous job choices available at such companies, ranging from entry-level planners to high level executives. Public architects work for government agencies from federal to local levels. The government recruits architects to serve on capital projects planning, design and construction programs; the architect may be a direct government employee or hired as a consultant. Projects might include civic buildings, government offices, military facilities,
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courts and research facilities. Facility management uses architects to integrate architecture, engineering and environmental sciences for public and private corporations, architecture and consulting firms. Facilities management, as explained by the Facility Management Association of Australia, coordinates the strategic and operational management of facilities in public and private sector organizations. They range from those making very high level decisions within an organization and contributing to strategic planning, to those managing the operations of the facilities. Facility Managers are key decision-makers in the areas of communications, utilities, maintenance and other workplace services. They often control the spending in these areas and are responsible for the outcomes. In terms of other career options, architects can serve as writers, critics and educators. For instance, Michael Graves served as an architecture professor at Princeton for nearly forty years, and Robert A. M. Stern is the dean of the Yale School of Architecture. Architecture positions can be sought in a variety of ways. The American Institute of Architecture (AIA) lists job openings on its website (www.aia.org). Many large, corporate firms have web sites with descriptions of available positions at their company. Architectural positions tend to be easier to find than many residential design openings, and many firms still advertise in the newspaper and on other job search sites such as Monster or Yahoo Jobs. And, as always, networking and cold calling are worthwhile tactics. As in design, if you are job-seeking from within academia, your school and program will most likely have relationships with architectural firms. The architectural industry is substantially larger than the interior design field, but individual communities can be small, so networking and getting to know people within the industry are key. When it comes to appearance, dress well and neatly, but dress appropriately for the position you are seeking. Larger, more corporate firms expect a more formal level of dress than smaller, independent firms. Dress requirements also differ based on the design philosophy of individual firms. For example, at one time Richard Meiers New York firm required all employees to wear black or navy. Insiders also suggest making sure you have the correct name (including correct spelling) of whomever you will be addressing a letter to, or meeting with. Make sure you know exactly what type of work the firm does. Check your resume for mistakes; recruiters take under five minutes to scan a resume, and obvious spelling, punctuation, grammatical and formatting errors will send your resume into the garbage can. Another key point of advice: do not make your first approach by e-mail. Written correspondence is becoming an old art form, but is still appreciated by most people. Send your resume on
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quality, watermarked paper, and make sure to send actual, written thank you notes, not quick electronic notes. In architecture, most interviewers expect to see a candidates portfolio. Make sure to edit yours, ensuring its relevancy to the position you are seeking. For instance, if you will be expected to do construction drawings, bring along some examples of these. Drawing skills are highly valued in architecture, so if you are blessed with artistic talent, make sure your portfolio emphasizes that.

A Day in the Architecture Firm


Raun Thorp

Life:

Principal

at

Principal, Tichenor & Thorp Architects, Beverly Hills, CA Raun Thorp is an architect who runs and owns the firm Tichenor & Thorp Architects in Beverly Hills, California, with her husband and business partner, Brian Tichenor. As a principal, Raun loves her work, and has enjoyed the challenge and hard work involved in building their mid-size firm over its fourteen years of operation. She and her husband are involved in virtually all aspects of the firm, which offers both residential and landscape architect services. They have divided up work in certain areas, but Raun describes her job as a jack-of-all-trades position. She is in charge of most of the business aspects, such as overseeing financial and administrative concerns, legal and contractual issues and database management. Both she and Brian are involved in meeting with potential clients, scheduling projects and staff responsibilities and deciding which projects to accept. Each takes charge of individual projects, with Raun specializing in interior architecture and details such as lighting, plumbing and hardware. Brian focuses more on the architectural design and landscape. Raun first became interested in architecture at Bryn Mawr college. She had trouble selecting one discrete discipline, since nearly every subject piqued her interest. She ended up choosing an interdepartmental major called The Growth and Structure of Cities, the educational requirements of which included some architectural and urban history classes. In addition, she enrolled in an extracurricular class on weekends taught by a graduate of the Yale architecture school. Inspired by this course, Raun sought a job in the architectural field after college, and ended up working for architects for two years in New York. Working in the industry further solidified Rauns feeling that architecture was for her, since it incorporated all her diverse interests. After receiving her masters in architecture, Raun held several different positions, including

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freelance work, which led her, along with her husband, to open their own business. The major benefit of her job, she says, is doing something you love and getting paid for it. But pay, as compared to other similarly degreed professions, is low. A major focus for Tichenor and Thorp, working in the residential arena, is keeping work flow manageable so all clients have access to a principal. Raun and Brian have made a concerted effort to keep the firm relatively small and personal as opposed to expanding into a larger, corporate environment. Their goal is to concentrate on sound architectural detailing and superior service for clients and projects. Rauns favorite aspects of her job are the details involved in design work, but she is committed to being involved in all aspects of a project, which sometimes means firmly concentrating on one project as opposed to participating in many. Her least favorite parts of the job are dealing with personnel issues and difficult clients. With a wealth of experience in the architectural field, Raun has the following advice for aspiring architects: 1) Only become an architect if you love it, and be prepared to work very hard. 2) Hone your drawing skills. Nothing communicates better than a good sketch, and unfortunately too many schools arent really teaching this skill anymore. 3) Learn your architectural history. schools seem to neglect. This is another area that

4) Make sure you have good, or at least sufficient, writing skills. Know your grammar, spelling and punctuation. 5) Travel. Photograph and sketch. Develop your interest in things other than just architecture. Everything you do and read will enrich your work.

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A Day in Rauns Life


9:00 a.m.: Arrive at the office. Check with the administrative staff for messages and the days schedule. Return e-mails and phone calls, particularly regarding east coast projects, so they get any information they need before the close of business (considering the three hour time difference). Deal with any pressing administrative issues and make task lists for the day.

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10:00 a.m.: Since its Monday, conduct a project meeting with all the managers to review pending and upcoming issues on all projects. Afterwards, have meeting with administrative staff to review the coming week and all scheduling and administrative issues. On other weekday mornings, attend construction meetings at project sites with the clients, contractor, decorator and any necessary subcontractors. These meetings can last several hours or consume the majority of the day. 12:00 p.m.: Break for lunch with Brian. Usually go off-campus and discuss any urgent issues, calendar issues or projects, potential clients, etc. 1:00 p.m.: Address project issues. Conduct client meetings. 3:00 p.m.: Deal with paperwork of various kinds: memos, project correspondence, billing. Read all mail, review accounts payable. Spend time directing staff on both administrative and design issues. Deal with contracts and proposal packages for new clients. Some days, have to pick up daughter from school and spend the afternoon with her; when this occurs, work from the home office, which is connected electronically with the office server.

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Furniture Design
CHAPTER 10
The art of furniture design and manufacturing has been around even longer than other forms of design. Today, countless dealers and individuals scour the United States and abroad searching for beautiful furnishings with which to adorn homes. Present-day furniture designers work for multitudes of companies, from mass-market outfits like Pottery Barn and Ethan Allen, to trade-only manufacturers such as Michael Taylor. Designers work on both reproductions (copies of previously created pieces) and new, innovative designs. They mastermind objects we surround ourselves with daily, like ergonomic desk chairs that alleviate and prevent back pain. Designers ensure the pitch (slope of the back) of a chair is just right appealing to visual senses as well as comfort. They figure out scale and height to make sure pieces are both practical and aesthetically pleasing. Furniture designers have changed the way we live by introducing beauty and functionality to our homes and work environments. If you see furniture design as a potential calling, a firm grounding in furnitures historical evolution is critical. Furniture styles are typically categorized by historical period and country of origin. See the appendix for a chart of primary furniture styles, their time periods and countries of origin.

Employment Options
Furniture designers have different employment options; they can work for a large furniture company, work in-house for an interior designer that creates its own furnishings and/or has its own furniture line, or branch out on their own. Furniture companies are numerous. The design indexes mentioned in previous chapters are good sources for company names and contact information. The pages of design magazines such as Architectural Digest, InStyle Home and House Beautiful all carry advertisements that provide an accessible resource for the names and styles of some major furniture companies. Designers who have product and furniture lines may also have their own web sites, giving the internet surfer information about their potential need for furniture designers. Throughout the design field, whether a designers specialty is textiles, furniture or products, designers of all sorts are crossing the boundaries of their traditional roles and branching into other categories, due to the increased general interest in aesthetics. Clothing designer Todd Oldham is now
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creating new and inventive creations for furniture manufacturer La-Z-Boy. Architect Michael Graves designs home products for Target. Giorgio Armani opened up a new store, Armani Casa, hoping to capitalize on his fame with a new presence in the home market. Ralph Lauren has been in the textile and furnishings market for years. Many interior designers have branched into the design of product lines also. According to The Franklin Report, Los Angeles based interior designer Barbara Barry has partnered with several manufacturers, including Ann Saks tile, Baccarat crystal, Bagni Volpi Noemi linens, Baker furniture, Boyd lighting, Haviland Limoges china, Hickory Business Furniture, Kallista bath, McGuire Furniture and Tufenkian rugs. She could practically outfit an entire project using only her designs.

Starting out
According to an industry veteran, there are many paths into furniture design. It is good to get hands-on experience in furniture manufacturing, whether through a fabricator or upholsterer, or in a showroom learning the sales portion of furnishings. Even working at a store such as Crate and Barrel will help you gain insight into the furniture trade. Be willing to work for a small income when starting out, and treat your first years as an educational experience.

The interview
If youre seeking a position as a traditional furniture designer, drafting skills are essential. With the advent of computer aided design (CAD), furniture designers are not as reliant on hand-drawing and sketching skills, but proficiency in either of these is still a huge asset. Most companies are not overly concerned with where you attended school, citing experience as the main criterion for hiring. When presenting a portfolio, showcase a variety of drawing types, so the employer can see you are multi-faceted and not limited to one drawing style. Familiarity with interior and furniture designers is also helpful in interviews. Depending on the atmosphere (interior design companies can be more formal, manufacturers less so), dress can be important. Look for examples of what staff members or principals wear on a companys website, or you can even try subtly seeking guidance from the company receptionist. Trade Associations can also be a valuable resource for information. The American Furniture Makers Association (www.afma.com) features a plethora of information regarding recent news and issues concerning the furniture

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industry and has lists for job openings. Furniture Today (www.furnituretoday.com) is also a good site for gathering information about the furniture trade. Academically speaking, furniture history and design programs are not widely available. In the United States, the following schools currently offer programs:
State California Georgia Indiana Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota New York Rhode Island Virginia Specialty California College of Arts & Crafts, San Diego State University (now the California College of Arts) Savannah College of Art & Design Indiana University Heron School of Art University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth Kendall College of Art & Design at Ferris State University, Northern Michigan University Minneapolis College of Art & Design State University of New York, Buffalo, Rochester Institute of Technology Rhode Island School of Design Virginia Commonwealth University

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According to the publication Furniture Today, North Carolina, which has historically been the hub of furniture manufacturing, is considering a new partnership between six local colleges to offer furniture design instruction. The schools are UNC Greensboro, North Carolina A & T State University, Winston-Salem State University, The North Carolina School of the Arts, and Guilford and Forsyth technical community colleges. The American Furniture Makers Association states that 60 percent of the furniture manufactured in the US is produced in the mid-Atlantic region, 35 percent in North Carolina and 25 percent in Virginia. Furniture Today also states, Given the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs to Chinaindustry experts say marketing and design will be key areas of opportunity for Americans looking to enter the home furnishings business.

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Workplace culture
Working for a high profile West coast interior designer as an in-house furniture designer can be stressful, says one employee. Deadlines can be difficult, and working as a liaison between the designer and manufacturer can be challenging. The company institutes a strict dress code, which is explicitly laid out in the employee handbook. Only clothing that is neutral or black is allowed. Skirts must be knee-length or longer. No open-toed shoes or denim are acceptable. If hair is longer than shoulder length, it must be put up. No perfume is allowed. A memo was even circulated regarding the inappropriateness of dangling earrings. But rules regarding personal appearance and attire vary by firm. Hours tend to be fairly steady, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., unless a deadline is near. But many employees typically wont leave until the principal departs, which is usually not until at least 6:30 p.m.

Pay and Perks


A significant perk of working on the design staff of a furniture or product team is the discounts. Employees can usually get a percentage off the manufactured items. Health benefits are standard, and lunch breaks are given. Pay is on par with the interior design industry, with beginners earning in the $30,000 to $40,000 range, and more experienced employees earning $50,000 to $60,000. A highly qualified furniture designer can earn $80,000 to $100,000, especially if s/he branches out on their own. If the designer is capable of doing architectural drawings, his or her fees can increase.

A Day in the Life: Principal, Furniture Company


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Becky Galino
President, Deluxe Furnishings Becky Galino took an indirect path to her current position as the principal of her own furniture company, Deluxe Furnishings. Initially a communications major in college (she had always wanted to be a television journalist), Becky switched to an interior design program when she realized that instead of doing her journalism homework, she was spending hours perusing furniture catalogs. She liked to examine the pieces and imagine how she could improve them with better design. At

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UC Davis, her alma mater, she wanted to pursue a bachelors in furniture design, but interior design was the closest offering. She enrolled in the program, which featured classes in graphic design, drafting, art history and design history. While attending school, Becky interned at a furniture store and learned about furniture from the sellers perspective. She built business and communication skills while receiving a hands-on education in furniture periods and the important names in furnitures history. She developed her furniture terminology (such as learning Bergere is an upholstered French armchair, popular in Louis XIV and Louis XV time periods) which proved invaluable in future interviews. Through the internship, she attended the San Francisco furnishing show (an event open to the trade only) and gained access to industry people. Since Becky had no mentors or anyone who could guide her into the furniture design community, the show provided an opportunity for her to chat with insiders and learn about their background and personal history. One man she spoke with encouraged her to just do it and follow her calling into furniture design. With no contacts to help her find a job and trying to navigate her way around a new city, Becky sought to get her foot in the door of the design community by any means possible. She canvassed the Pacific Design Center with her portfolio and resume, and ultimately landed a position at an interior design company whose offices were housed in the building. She worked for a few months as a design assistant, earning a small ($380 a week) paycheck, and in the four months she stayed at this company, she became well-acquainted with the design center and many vendors. From this company, she moved on to another interior design firm, having heard about the job opening from a new contact. Working again in a small firm, she was responsible for many duties, from bookkeeping to drafting. Gaining a better idea for the styles and furnishings that personally appealed to her, Becky went out on a limb and called the office of famous interior and furnishings designer, Barbara Barry, whose work she admired, to inquire about open positions. As fate would have it, they were hiring, and after an interview and review of her drafting portfolio, she was hired. Becky remained at Barbara Barry for over four years. Initially, she handdrew all the custom furniture for Barbaras clients, before taking a threeday course with two architects on Barbaras staff on using computer aided design (CAD). Never having used the computer program before, Becky attended a three-day course with two architects also on Barbaras staff to learn the basics of CAD operation, which enabled her to begin

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working on a signature furniture line for Baker (a well-known furniture company in existence since the 1920s). Other projects involved products for Maguire (another well regarded furniture company) and Kallista (which specializes in bathroom products such as faucets, sinks, toilets and shower). Becky would receive sketches and an overall design concept and then turn those rough ideas into actual, buildable designs. After many reviews and revisions, Becky flew to the manufacturer (such as Bakers plant in North Carolina) to view and inspect the final product before it went to market. Currently operating her own furniture design company and doing freelance work on the side, Becky says the best part of her job is its variety. The flexible hours are great. Each job is different and unique so you dont get tired of working on the same project repeatedly. However, she is quick to admit that without the added monetary and emotional support of her husband, she would not be able to pursue this career path. Freelancing and starting a company afford great freedom, but at the price of a steady paycheck. Her typical design fees range from$35 to $50 per hour depending on the project.

Beckys Day
9:00 a.m.: Complete and send out drawings to a designers office (for whom she is freelancing). After their last meeting, revisions to her drawings were necessary; this is the revised set. 10:30 a.m.: Drawing on CAD, work on prototypes for her own furniture line. 1:00 p.m.: Grab a bite to eat while driving over to a design office for a meeting with the principal, who needs a table designed. 3:00 p.m.: Back home. Create invoices for recent work. Receive orders for furnishings, place orders with the manufacturer. Check on the status of current orders. Make calls to clients providing updates on expected completion dates of pieces. 6:30 p.m.: Wrap up for the day. Some helpful advice from Becky: 1) You do not need super-strong math skills to pursue furniture design. Hand-drawing is a great skill, but can be augmented with CAD. 2) Dont be afraid to ask questions. Many people in the design industry started out with no connections or great volume of knowledge. It takes time to develop skills.

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3) There are no set rules in furniture design. Dont be afraid to carve your own path.

A Day in the Life: President, Furniture Design


Michael Turri
President, Biomimetic Design, LLC, Rochester, NY Michael Turri has a nontraditional background for the design industry, offering further proof that there is often not one right path to a career in design. He has a Bachelors of Science in Evolution and Ecology with a concentration in Marine Science from Cornell University. Prior to starting his own design company, Michael worked as a banking analyst, operations associate and marketing officer at Deutsche Banc Health Care and Biotechnology Investment Banking. Then he was CFO for a real estate and development corporation in Portugal. After returning from abroad, over a year ago, he began his own company, Biomimetic Design, LLC, where he designs not only furniture, but all manner of decorative products, from lamps to graphics. With relatives in the architectural, banking and horticultural fields, Michael had always been exposed to a variety of interesting disciplines. He was interested in design at a young age, but took a greater shine to biology, hence his college major. After graduating from Cornell, his mentor at Deutsche Banc was a Ph.D. in biotech who also happened to be a mid-century furniture buff. Working long 20-hour days led to many late-night conversations about their shared interest in design. Eventually, Michael began purchasing mid-century goods from web sites and re-selling them for a profit on eBay. Through this process of acquisition and selling, he learned about design history, the key players and movements. The more knowledge he accumulated, the more interested he became in furniture and design, particularly the application of natural form to designed objects. After completing a design manifesto (a designers mission statement, in essence), Michael realized that banking was not his true calling and decided to leave that industry. Not entirely ready to jump into design, he took the opportunity to help a family friend with a real estate development and tourism project in Portugal. Living abroad, he attended design expositions such as the Lisbon Design Biennial, where he took

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classes from Ross Lovegrove and Ron Arad, two of the main torchbearers of contemporary organic design. These two had a tremendous influence on his further development, and by the time the Portugal project was complete in 2003, Michael felt the time was right to begin his own company. Currently, when not executing one-off contract designs for fabrics, wallhangings, and chairs, Michael is attempting to develop products to sell under his own brand, to both industry professionals and consumers. He never had the intention or desire to seek out a standard nine-to-five job in design, preferring the autonomy and challenge of seeking out his own work. Recently, he has been developing patterns and product formulations for surface coverings such as wallpaper, shelving paper, printed fabrics and laminates, as well as the associated graphics and a comprehensive marketing plan to produce, market, sell and distribute the goods on his own. But before that, Michael contacted his would-be main competitor and pitched his designs to them. The CEO liked the ideas and presentation so much that he offered to license the design and also offered Michael a design director position within the firm. As with all areas of design, the actual artistic process is only one component, and other business factors also play an important role. As the principal of his own company with two freelance employees, Michael is responsible for all aspects of the business, from legal issues and accounting to client prospecting and scouting for both one-off projects and potential collaborators for mass-produced goods. As producing goods for mass consumption is considerably more involved than one-off projects for specific clients, identifying needs in the marketplace is essential; Michael is currently focusing on surface coverings because they are only beginning to come back into fashion. He cites benefits as doing what [he] loves and meeting incredible people who work on all sorts of projects around the world. He also likes the challenge of budgets that others might find restrictive, as budgeting forces him to get creative with materials and processing. Drawbacks include the amount of time it has taken him to get his business going. After a few years of theorizing and defining his style and a year of hands-on hard work, he is starting to make progress. Michael finds that one of the most difficult aspects of his job is finding ways to successfully market and sell without resorting to shameless self-promotion: We live in a consumerist, media age where it is often the louder noise that wins over real music. Michael says he is always working on either designing or building the business. He scours the internet and real world for trends, clues, new

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materials and inspiration. He reads magazines constantly (Metropolis, Interior Design, Dwell, Surface, Seed, Wired and MIT Tech Review) in addition to books by authors such as Owen Jones, Christopher Dresser, Buckminster Fuller and various design history and materials-oriented books. He says the most important thing for a furniture designer to possess is drafting and/or computer modeling skills, or the ability to articulate your ideas to someone who does. He has also found people and organizational skills essential. As for helpful characteristics for furniture designers, he quotes Calvin Coolidge: Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

Michaels Day
After his unconventional hours as a banker, Michael has been unable to readjust to a typical nine-to-five schedule. Instead he usually works from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 a.m. the next day. 11:00 a.m.: Check and respond to e-mails and voice mails. 12:30 p.m.: Scan e-mail newsletters and the New York Times for anything of interest. Copy information, file it and send out to a network of people. 1:30 p.m.: Organize the previous days paperwork. 2:00 p.m.: Break for lunch. 3:00 p.m.: Contact fabricators to check the progress of items, determine action items (i.e. coordinate with fabricators/contract manufacturers, check in with clients) and order additional samples. Spend the remainder of the day on long-term goals such as prospecting clients and partners, coordinating projects (for both mass-produced goods and one-off contract pieces), investigating materials and fabricators, etc. 6:00 p.m.: Break for dinner.
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8:00 p.m. 3:00 a.m.: Read, sketch, design on the computer, theorize and take notes. Scour ebay for undervalued mid-century goods. Michael offers the following advice for would-be designers: 1) If you are interested in working for a particular furniture or product company, learn as much as you possibly can about its history, the projects they work on, their partners, etc. Visit the office to see what the culture is like (e.g. what people are wearing). Company culture is important to many businesses; they often look for people who are going to be a good fit.

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2) Visit trade shows, local furniture and design shops, galleries and lectures. These are great places to meet people and build your network. 3) Be well-read (particularly in regard to design) and have something interesting to talk about. 4) There is a TON of room for new designers. Learn design history. Take cues from the masters. The whole world is game for inspiration. Everything designed needs a designer. Look for under-addressed products; the world does not need another chair. 5) Dont be afraid of designing goods for the mass market. We need to democratize good design if were really going to impact the world just look at Michael Graves designs for Target.

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Specialty Design
CHAPTER 11
In July 2004, The Wall Street Journal published an article about a relatively new phenomenon in the interior design industry: specialists. The Journal cites some of the following subspecialists that have emerged: silk flower specialists, glass experts, spa designers, appliance gurus, electronics experts and security advisors, just to name a few. This trend is catching on, turning up in design magazines as well. In a recent issue of InStyle Home, a project interior initially completed by designer Thomas Beeton in 1999 was recently revamped by color expert Scott Flax, who updated the home by altering the paint on the interior walls. An Architectural Digest interview with interior designer Mariette Himes Gomez emphasizes how much the profession has changed from the era of someone showing up with swatch books and sketches. Nowadays, its all about specialization, from specialist subcontractors who handle acoustics, lighting and kitchen, to a company that does nothing but line drawers. Some specialists have been around for many years, three of the most common of which are kitchen and bath designers and closet designers. Specialists may work completely on their own or collaborate with a larger group, including an interior designer in charge of the larger project. Often, homeowners who are only redoing their kitchen and/or bathroom will enlist the help of a specialist who concentrates only on their area of concern, eliminating the need for an overall interior designer. A recent New York Times article acknowledged that closets, kitchens and bathrooms form a holy trinity of domestic obsession. In 2003, Americans spent more than $2 billion on closet renovations. Kitchens and bathrooms in particular often require specialists due to their complex nature. Kitchen designers have to consider not only the exterior elements (cabinet finish, style) but also what goes inside the cabinets, to address the organizational and functional needs of the client. Kitchen designers have to learn about how a person/family uses their kitchen, identifying traffic patterns. These specialists examine lighting, determine cabinet type and finishes, floor and counter selections, appliances, etc., considering details like outlet placement that might be otherwise overlooked. A designer might consult with a client and help them decide that a non-porous manmade countertop material such as Corian would work better for their lifestyle than a natural stone such as granite, which requires more upkeep and can be damaged more easily. Kitchens also typically have one of the highest investment returns of any area in a home. The real estate industry considers the kitchen one of the most important features of a house, sometimes making or breaking a residential sale. Kitchens are one of the most frequently used areas of a house; a
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gathering place for families and for casual entertaining. In a renovation situation, the kitchen design and installation process can prove very disruptive. The same goes for bathrooms and even closets to some extent; they are the most trafficked areas of the home and sometimes the most personal. After consulting with their client regarding their needs, tastes and budget, a kitchen/bath or closet designer draws up initial plans for the new space. In conjunction with this step, the client and designer select the various materials necessary such as cabinets, flooring options, hardware and plumbing fixtures and appliances. Depending on whether the designer is independent or part of a larger specialty company, the next phase is either finding or scheduling the necessary subcontractors: plumbers, electricians, cabinet installers, countertop installers and demo people to tear out the existing materials. Depending on the complexity and size of the project, materials and the availability of installers, new rooms can be done in a matter of weeks or months.

Jobs at a Kitchen & Bath Specialty Design Company


Outside salespeople: These individuals focus primarily on business development with builders, contractors and remodelers. Traveling is necessary, since this position requires on-site consultation and measuring, meeting with contractors and also working with clients at the design showroom. Salespeople are responsible for design work, quote pricing and development meetings. This is a very customer-oriented role, as salespeople are responsible for ensuring the happiness and satisfaction of the companys clientele. This job typically requires some previous sales experience. It has excellent flexibility and usually has a base salary with commission added. Some companies also provide a car allowance. Designers: These employees are primarily based on-site at the showroom, using showroom foot traffic to build their client base. Some designers who come to the company with prior experience may have an existing set of customers and referrals to help them get started. But designers may also have to garner new business by seeking out contractors. Responsibilities include showroom duty (covering the showroom floor, attending to customers and answering any questions they may have), design work, giving price estimates for jobs, selling jobs, scheduling installations and follow-through issues such

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as delivery schedules and tracking payments. This position is also extremely customer-focused and requires great people skills. Project coordinators: Most new hires come into this position. They act as support for outside salespeople, assisting them with creating orders, meeting with customers, measuring job sites, creating designs, setting up deliveries, collecting payments, creating credits and other customer service. Candidates must possess basic computer skills, knowledge of company products and keen business skills. Some companies require company-based training. No college degree is necessary, although some candidates do have one. Many project coordinators become outside salespeople, and with many years of service can become branch managers. Salaries are commensurate with experience, and compensation is a combination of base pay with commission (both their own sales and a portion of the salespersons they support). Project coordinators usually work 8-5, and theyre often on a weekend rotation, meaning they will have to work at least one weekend a month. All three of the aforementioned positions are characteristic of a small business. An employees work ethic and skills in large part determines his/her monetary success. These positions offer a fair degree of autonomy, coupled with a high degree of responsibility. Kitchen, bath and closet designers very often work at independent companies devoted to that particular specialty. As in the overall interior design trade, many career switchers can be found in this part of the industry. Some have design or home improvement backgrounds, while others have absolutely no experience at all. Many companies that specialize in one of these areas offer extensive training programs, such that each new hire can gain the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful. One insider suggests seeking out a position as an intern as a segue into the trade; an internship allows an inexperienced person to test out the job without the sales and performance pressure associated with full-time employment.
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Specialty design companies, particularly those offering kitchen, bath and closet assistance, are fairly prevalent, especially in most cities. Searching the web for closet design and other specialties will yield an abundance of names and contact information. Individual websites also often feature a job opportunities area where job seekers can peruse available positions and their necessary degree and experience requirements. Compared to traditional design, specialties such as closet and kitchen/bath design may be easier to gain entry to, since there are many regional companies providing such services, and their skill and educational requirements are typically not too

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demanding. These positions tend to focus more on sales ability, with successful candidates displaying proficient people and sales skills.

A Day in the Life: Branch/sales Manager for Specialty Design Company


Elizabeth Zdrojewski
Branch/Sales Manager for Reico Kitchen and Bath, Maryland Elizabeth Zdrojewski is a branch/sales manager for a specialty kitchen and bath company that has 18 stores located throughout the East Coast. Beth manages nine employees: two outside salespeople, four project coordinators and three designers. Her responsibilities include recruiting, training, compiling sales goals for the team, meeting with salespeople, conducting business development meetings, organizing training classes for her branch and generally guiding and encouraging the team. She describes the culture at her company as awesome. She enjoys the creative and relaxed atmosphere, saying her branch tries to make work fun and ensure everyone enjoys their work. Designers frequently interact with one another, acting as sounding boards for design ideas and sharing past experiences. The showroom has fairly typical retail hours: Monday through Friday, 9-6, Saturday 9-5 and closed Sundays. Beth has an associates degree in interior design and architecture from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Previous experience includes working as an interior designer, a closet designer and as a sales representative for furnishings, artwork, fabric and wall coverings. Before moving to Reico, Beth was working at California Closets, but wanted to move into a new avenue within the design industry, and actually came across the Reico position through a different job interview. Originally hired as a designer, she was promoted to the position of branch manager within six months.
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Beth cites her greatest assets as organizational skills, time management capabilities, patience, people skills and presentation abilities. She believes that additional skills important to her career, specifically space planning, computer literacy, education about wood characteristics and cabinetry requirements and product information, can be learned on the job. She cites the people-oriented aspects as the best parts of her job: teaching others, organizing, mentoring and encouraging people. She

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also enjoys the freedom and flexibility of her schedule, and loves helping clients create a beautiful and functional area of their home. Its very rewarding to see a project through to fruition, she says.

Pay and Perks


Many designers based with a specialty kitchen and bath or closet company have a moderate base salary supplemented with commissions. As with most sales positions, this motivates employees to work hard and drum up business. The most noticeable perks are flexibility and autonomy; in particular, working as an outside sales rep allows a person great freedom in determining their schedule. Designers are in charge of arranging client appointments, and therefore can make their own hours to some extent. Some companies also offer medical and dental insurance and 401(k) plans. There is constant interaction with new contacts. Creativity is a part of daily work, although organizational and business issues are just as, if not more, important. Also, working in a specialty area increases the volume of projects. If you tend to get bored in a project that goes on for several months or years, the shorter time frame involved in specialty design may be appealing.

Beths Day
7:30 a.m.: Arrive at the showroom. Since its Monday, prepare for morning conference calls with other branch managers and the division leader. 8:30 a.m.: Conduct conference calls. 10:00 a.m.: Take care of administrative issues, such as payroll and ordering office supplies. 11:30 a.m.: Break for lunch.
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12:30 p.m.: Meet with customers and generate designs. 3:00 p.m.: For the remainder of the afternoon, put design plans together for various kitchen and bath projects. Interact with all employees, including training, double checking designs, giving advice and offering customer service. Some helpful advice from Beth: If you have the energy and drive to make people happy and be positive and artistic, this is the job for you.

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Kitchen and bath design requires following schedules, excellent time management skills and the ability to offer outstanding customer service. Most new work comes from referral business, so if you do a good job on one project, the client may give your name to another person. Youve always got to be advertising yourself. You never know who you will meet or who is listening!

A Day in the Life: Designer, Closet Company


Elizabeth Zdrojewski
Designer, California Closets, Maryland Prior to working at Reico, Beth served as a designer for well-known closet company California Closets. Working in this capacity was really like running her own business. It was a commission-only position that required excellent interpersonal, selling, organizational and time management skills. Potential clients call California Closets to schedule a consultation, then a designer visits the clients home or office, scopes out the space and interviews the client on what she needs organized. The word closet can be deceiving, as designers focus on all manner of closets, pantries, home offices, garages and entertainment centers. At the initial site visit, the designer takes measurements and inventory and often generates a design. This usually takes about 1-2 hours, depending on the number of spaces that need attention. Other responsibilities of the designer include: hand-drawing designs, creating and presenting contracts, collecting money, scheduling installations (stopping by the installation, time permitting), following through on customer needs after the sale and installation, and providing customer service. Not much hands-on experience is required, since there is a one-on-one training period offered (depending upon the designers level of expertise), but a basic high school education is required. Some of the best designers work their way up to a six-figure salary within a few years. The environment at California Closets is similar to that of Reico, with a small office staff developing a creative, laid-back, supportive atmosphere. Hours varied, depending on the demands of clients and the quantity of time a designer chose to work. Most designers averaged a

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typical 30-40 hour week, attending about ten client meetings. Others chose to work part-time, meeting with only about five customers a week. Schedules were very flexible, and the company offered additional perks such as health insurance, a 401(k) plan and gas allowances. Depending on their project load, some designers also ended up working a few weekends and nights per month. Positions in closet design usually dont require a specific education. The web sites of closet design companies such as California Closets (www.calclosets.com) provide basic information about required experience and skills. Beth found her job by visiting the companys booth at a trade show. She met with the owners, had an interview, and was hired. She then worked at the company for five years, and says it was one of the best jobs she ever had. To be successful as a closet designer, Beth says, the most important skill to have is customer service. It is a service product, and you are in peoples homes every day. You also must be polite and gracious. Other necessary skills are attention to detail; each project is designed and specified by you, and if you mismeasure or miscalculate serious errors can occur. Functional computer skills are also key. The best part of this job? Interaction with customers and seeing their faces when the product is installed in their homes. They are your customers, and you become close. You are in their homes, in their closets, looking through their most private things to get them organized. You become friends with people. The worst part, according to Beth, is the paperwork. There is a lot of follow-through and double-checking, essential parts of ensuring the project is a success.

Beths Week
Mondays were reserved for paperwork, attending bi-weekly sales meetings, returning phone calls, calling prospective customers and visiting installations. Tuesday through Friday, the day began around 9:00 a.m., since this is the earliest appointment time. Appointments were not accepted after 6:30 p.m. Each day was consumed with site visits and client consultations, drawing designs, creating contracts and placing orders. Advice from Beth, if you are interested in pursuing a position in closet design: Travel with a designer for a day to see how it feels. That is the best way to see if youll like this kind of job.

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It can be hard in the beginning, because you are constantly meeting with customers (up to 15 people per week). Once you start selling, your schedule could back down to 10 client meetings per week or so, depending on how much time you want to put into it, how much money you want to make and most importantly (since its a franchise) what the owner requires of you!

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INTERIO DESIG CARE


FINAL ANALYSIS
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Final Analysis
You should now have a sense of whether your strengths and interests would be a good fit for an interior design career. Keep in mind that the most common misconception about this field is that its primarily creative. As many working designers have pointed out in the pages of this book, quite the opposite is true only a small portion of a designers daily work falls in the creative category. Much more common is time spent interacting with clients and the project team, handling paperwork and tracking and overseeing all the elements of a particular project. If you are creative, organized, have excellent interpersonal skills and the drive to work hard, a career in interior design may be for you. Interior design and related fields are challenging and competitive and require dedication and determination. The first step is to start figuring out what particular type of design most interests you and whether or not to pursue a formal education. Its never too soon to start getting involved, attending design events, networking and gaining knowledge by reading shelter and industry publications. Best of luck!

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INTERIO DESIG CARE


APPENDIX
Glossary of Design Terms An Overview of Furniture Styles Some Past and Present Design Icons Professional Design Organizations Recommended Reading Web and Television Resources About the Author
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Glossary of Design Terms


Apron: Skirt or rail usually seen under a dining table. Bolt: Rolled length of fabric or wall covering, typically 60 yards. Bombe: An outward swelling. Refers to commodes, bureaus, armoires. Brocade: A woven fabric with a raised pattern that resembles embroidery. Buffet: A functional cupboard, usually the bottom part of a china cabinet. CAD: Computer-aided design. Case good: Term used to describe furniture pieces generally made of wood, not furniture with upholstery and/or fabric. Chinoiserie: Style of art depicting Asian or Chinese motifs. Chintz: Printed cotton fabric with a glazed, high sheen. Colorways: Colors schemes available for fabrics and designs (e.g. a certain fabric pattern may be available in four colorways: blue, yellow, pink and green). C.O.M/C.O.L.: Short hand for customers own material/customers own leather. Usually found on a purchase order or invoice. Means that the materials are additional; the customer will be supplying their own material or leather. Drafting: Hand-drawn mechanical drawings. A drafting may include floor plans, elevations, reflected ceiling plans, cabinetry and architectural details.
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Elevation: A scaled drawing, done by either CAD or drafting, that depicts the details of an interior or exterior wall. Feng-Shui: Literally, wind and water. Ancient Chinese practice of harmonizing environments with spiritual forces. Finial: A turned or carved piece which tops the upper end of a post (e.g. lamps are topped with finials, a decorative piece used to hold the lampshade to the base). F.O.B: Freight on board. Describes where the item is coming from (i.e., F.O.B. Atlanta).
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Gilding: Coating with a thin layer of gold or silver. (e.g. a piece of furniture may have silver gilt decorative trim). Hand: The feel of the surface of fabric. A fabric can be described as having a luxurious hand. Lead-time: How long it will take to receive an item. A custom piece of furniture may have a sixteen-week lead-time or longer. The lead-time starts at the point of purchase and ends with delivery. Memo: An item that is borrowed from a store or vendor to show a client. Some form of collateral, such as a check or credit card, is usually given in exchange for the privilege of borrowing. This way the store owners guards against items not being returned. Patina: A lustrous, aged finish. (i.e., that table has a beautiful patina.) Purchase order: Document given to a vendor to outline the terms of a specific order. Reproduction: Copying or duplicating an original object or style. Many furniture makers create reproductions of antique pieces. Skirt: Fabric applied along the bottom edge of upholstered pieces of furniture which serves to hide the legs. Stretcher: The supports under chairs and tables that are attached to the legs for added strength. Strike-off: A sample from a production. A designer might request the strikeoff from a certain dye lot of fabric to verify that the color meets with his approval prior to ordering. Wainscoting: An application of wood molding covering the lower half of a wall.
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Welt: A fabric-covered cord sewn into the seam of upholstery or pillows as a decorative trim (e.g. self-welting means the trim on a piece is to be made of the same fabric as the base). Tear-sheet: Piece of paper with visual image, dimensions and information on a piece. When patronizing furniture showrooms, designers might request a tear sheet on a specific item so they can have a record of the information for their files.

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Furniture Styles
Circa
1550 1610 1620 1625 1650 1660 1690 1715 1725 1730 1740 1750 Customized for: Jun (junjiang@stanford.edu) 1760 1790 1795

World Style English


Gothic Gothic Gothic Baroque Baroque Baroque Baroque Baroque Rococo Rococo Rococo Rococo Neoclassic Neoclassic Empire Elizabethan Jacobean Jacobean Cromwellian Commonwealth Restoration William & Mary Queen Anne Queen Anne Queen Anne Chippendale Chippendale Chippendale Hepplewhite Sheraton

French
Renaissance Renaissance Louis XIII Louis XIII Louis XIV Louis XIV Louis XIV Rgence Louis XV Louis XV Louis XV Louis XV Louis XV Louis XVI Directoire

German
Renaissance Renaissance Renaissance Renaissance Baroque Baroque Baroque Baroque Baroque Rococo Rococo Rococo Neoclassicism Neoclassicism Neoclassicism

American
Pilgrim Pilgrim Pilgrim Pilgrim Pilgrim Early Colonial Early Colonial William & Mary William & Mary Queen Anne Queen Anne Chippendale Chippendale Federal Federal/ Hepplewhite

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Circa
1800 1815 1830 1840 1860 1880 1900 1930

World Style English


Regency Eclectic Style Eclectic Style Eclectic Style Eclectic Style Arts & Crafts Art Nouveau Art Moderne Sheraton Regency Regency William IV Victorian Arts & Crafts Edwardian Edwardian

French
Empire Restauration Louis Philipps Louis Philipps 2nd Empire 3rd Republic Art Nouveau Art Moderne

German
Empire Biedermeier Biedermeier Biedermeier Revivale Jugendstil Jugendstil Art Moderne

American
Federal/ Sheraton Federal/ Neo-Classic Late Federal Empire Victorian Victorian/ Arts & Crafts Art Nouveau/ Mission Art Deco

Source: www.antiquetalk.com

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Past and Present Design Icons


Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) Finnish architect and designer of furniture, lighting, textiles and glass. Studied architecture at the Technical University of Helsinki from 1916-1921 and opened his own private architectural offices soon thereafter. In 1935, he co-founded a furniture design company, Artek. Well known for his Scandinavian designs. Marcel Breuer (1902-1981) Hungarian architect and industrial designer. Studied at the German Bauhaus, a school of design promoting modern principles and technologies; his furniture designs were described as affordable for the masses. Best known for the Wassily chair no. B3, the frame made from polished, bent steel and the seat made of either canvas, leather or fabric. Breuer was also an accomplished and successful architect. Wendell Castle (1932- ) American furniture designer and maker. Known for creating unique, innovative pieces that bend traditional rules. He exhibits as a sculptor in addition to designing furniture, often utilizing wood and fiberglass in his creations. Though hard to pigeonhole, his work has been linked to art nouveau and arts and crafts. Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779) British designer and cabinetmaker. In 1754, published his famous collection Gentleman and Cabinet-Makers Director, a compilation of English furniture design. The book was so influential that the name Chippendale is often used to describe mid-18th century furniture as a whole. His designs incorporate many styles including gothic and rococo, and were extensively copied throughout England and the United States.
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Charles Eames (1907-1978) American architect-designer. Worked in Eliel Saarinens private architectural practice and later gained recognition for furniture design in 1940 when he and Eliels son, Eero, won a competition sponsored by the Museum of Modern Art. Married Ray Kaiser and together they pioneered innovative uses of materials and technology. Ray Eames (1912-1988) American designer. Married to Charles Eames. Created designs for chairs, screens and tables; designed a low-cost furniture line for the Herman Miller company. Jean-Michel Frank (1895-1941) French furniture designer and interior decorator. With his vast inheritance, Frank was able to open a design studio
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in Paris, offering luxurious furnishings which became exclusive and soughtafter by elite Parisians. Used nontraditional materials such as raffia and sharkskin. Forced to leave Paris for America due to the Nazi invasion. Committed suicide in 1941, throwing himself off a skyscraper. George Nakashima (1905-1990) American furniture designer and craftsman. Trained as an architect, George developed an excellent reputation and received commissions for furnishing churches, corporate headquarters and private homes. His distinctive style emphasized the natural attributes of trees. Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) American sculptor and designer. Known for his Akari lamps and free-form coffee table. Biomorphic Noguchi coffee table became one of his best-known works. It was produced by Herman Miller from 1947-73 and again from 1984 on. Also recognized for his Akari lamps, contemporary designs using traditional Japanese bark paper and bamboo construction. Later focused on garden design. Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann (1879-1933) French designer and decorator. Known as one of the all-time great Art Deco design masters. A hallmark of his pieces is the use of rare woods: amaranth, macassar ebony, burl amboina, rosewood and Cuban mahogany. By age 40, he was the principal of his own interior design company and produced all manner of home furnishings, from armoires to wallpaper, light fixtures and rugs. Eero Saarinen (1910-1961) Son of the famous Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen. Studied sculpture and architecture. In 1937, he collaborated with Charles Eames on progressive and award-winning furniture designs. Later worked for Knoll International, producing several highly successful furniture designs. His designs are considered simple and timeless. Architecturally, he is best known for the TWA terminal at JFK airport in New York. Gustav Stickley (1858-1942) American craftsman, furniture designer and manufacturer. Made pieces primarily out of American oak in a sturdy, undecorated style. Joints were exposed and upholstery was primarily canvas and leather; this became known as mission style. In 1901 Stickley founded The Craftsman, a periodical devoted to the English arts & crafts movement. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) German architect and designer. In the 1920s and 30s, the director of the Bauhaus, an architectural school in Germany. Known for the architectural philosophy of less is more, Mies promoted simple, neutral architecture. One of his most famous pieces is the Barcelona chair, which was used as thrones for the Spanish Royal couple when they visited van der Rohes Barcelona Pavilion (German pavilion for

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the Barcelona Worlds Fair) in 1929. An established design classic, the chair is still manufactured and for sale today.
Source: The Design Encyclopedia

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M | A.T. Kearney | ABN Amro | AOL Time Warner | AT&T | AXA | Abbott Laboratorie Accenture | Adobe Systems | Advanced Micro Devices | Agilent Technologies | Alco c. | Allen & Overy | Allstate | Altria Group | American Airlines | American Electr ower | American Express | American International Group | American Manageme ystems | Apple Computer | Applied Materials | Apria Healthcare Group | AstraZenec utomatic Data Processing | BDO Seidman | BP | Bain & Company | Bank One | Bank merica | Bank of New York | Baxter | Bayer | BMW | Bear Stearns | BearingPoin ellSouth | Berkshire Hathaway | Bertelsmann | Best Buy | Bloomberg | Boeing | Bo llen | Borders | Boston Consulting Group | Bristol-Myers Squibb | Broadvie ternational| Brown Brothers Harriman | Buck Consultants| CDI Corp.| CIBC Wor Markets | CIGNA | CSX Corp| CVS Corporation | Campbell Soup Company| Cap Gem rnst & Young| Capital One | Cargill| | Charles Schwab | ChevronTexaco Corp. | Chiqui rands International | Chubb Group | Cisco Systems | Citigroup | Clear Channel | Cliffo hance LLP | Clorox Company | Coca-Cola Company | Colgate-Palmolive | Comcas omerica | Commerce BanCorp | Computer Associates | Computer Science orporation | ConAgra | Conde Nast | Conseco | Continental Airlines | Corning orporate Executive Board | Covington & Burling | Cox Communications | Credit Suis rst Boston | D.E. Shaw | Davis Polk & Wardwell | Dean & Company | Dell Compute eloitte & Touche | Deloitte Consulting | Delphi Corporation | Deutsche Bank | Dewe allantine | DiamondCluster International | Digitas | Dimension Data | Dow Chemica ow Jones | Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein | Duracell | Dynegy Inc. | EarthLink astman Kodak | Eddie Bauer | Edgar, Dunn & Company | El Paso Corporation ectronic Data Systems | Eli Lilly | Entergy Corporation | Enterprise Rent-A-Car | Ern Young | Exxon Mobil | FCB Worldwide | Fannie Mae | FedEx Corporation | Feder eserve Bank of New York | Fidelity Investments | First Data Corporation | FleetBosto nancial | Ford Foundation | Ford Motor Company | GE Capital | Gabelli Ass Management | Gallup Organization | Gannett Company | Gap Inc | Gartner | Gateway enentech | General Electric Company | General Mills | General Motors | Genzyme eorgia-Pacific | GlaxoSmithKline | Goldman Sachs | Goodyear Tire & Rubber | Gra hornton LLP | Guardian Life Insurance | HCA | HSBC | Hale and Dorr | Halliburton allmark | Hart InterCivic | Hartford Financial Services Group | Haverstick Consulting earst Corporation | Hertz Corporation | Hewitt Associates | Hewlett-Packard | Hom epot | Honeywell | Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin | Household International | IBM KON Office Solutions | ITT Industries | Ingram Industries | Integral | Intel | Internation aper Company | Interpublic Group of Companies | Intuit | Irwin Financial | J. Walt hompson | J.C. Penney | J.P. Morgan Chase | Janney Montgomery Scott | Janu apital | John Hancock Financial | Johnson & Johnson | Johnson Controls | KLA-Tenc orporation | Kaiser Foundation Health Plan | Keane | Kellogg Company | Ketchum imberly-Clark Corporation | King & Spalding | Kinkos | Kraft Foods | Kroger | Ku almon Associates | L.E.K. Consulting | Latham & Watkins | Lazard | Lehman Brother ockheed Martin | Logica | Lowes Companies | Lucent Technologies | MBI | MBNA Manpower | Marakon Associates | Marathon Oil | Marriott | Mars & Company | McCan rickson | McDermott, Will & Emery | McGraw-Hill | McKesson | McKinsey & Compan Merck & Co. | Merrill Lynch | Metropolitan Life | Micron Technology | Microsoft | Mill rewing | Monitor Group | Monsanto | Morgan Stanley | Motorola | NBC | Nestle | New ubbermaid | Nortel Networks | Northrop Grumman | Northwestern Mutual Financ etwork | Novell | OMelveny & Myers | Ogilvy & Mather | Oracle | Orrick, Herrington utcliffe | PA Consulting | PNC Financial Services | PPG Industries | PRTM | PacifiCa ealth Systems | PeopleSoft | PepsiCo | Pfizer | Pharmacia | Pillsbury Winthrop | Pitne Go to www.vault.com owes | Preston Gates & Ellis | PricewaterhouseCoopers | Principal Financial Group rocter & Gamble Company | Proskauer Rose | Prudential Financial | Prudent
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Professional Design Organizations


American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) 608 Massachusetts Ave., NE Washington, DC 20002-6006 (202) 546-3480 Fax (202) 546-3240 www.asid.org 35,000 professional designers, emerging professionals, educators and students, and design industry manufacturers and suppliers in 48 chapters. International Interior Design Association (IIDA) 13-122 Merchandise Mart Chicago, IL 60654-1104 (312) 467-1950 or (888) 799-IIDA (4432) Fax (312)467-0779 www.iida.org 10,000 members in 30 chapters in the United States and overseas Organization of Black Designers 300 M Street, S.W. Suite N110 Washington, DC 20024-4019 (202) 659-3918 www.core77.com/OBD/info.html More than 3,500 professionals practicing graphic design, interior design, fashion design and industrial design. American Furniture Manufacturers Association (AFMA) P.O. Box HP-7 High Point, NC 27261 (336) 884-5000 Fax (336) 884-5303 www.afma4u.org 200 United States furniture manufacturers and 250 suppliers to the home furnishings industry.

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National Home Furnishings Association (NHFA) 300 West High Avenue Space 400, Market Square High Point, NC 27260-4950 (336) 886-6100 or (800) 888-9590 Fax (336) 801-6102 www.nhfa.org 2,000 home furnishings entities in 6 chapters representing 10,000 stores in the United States and overseas. Interior Design Society P.O. Box 2396 High Point, NC 27261 (800) 888-9590, Ext. 6122 Fax (336) 801-6110 www.interiordesignsociety.org Residential furniture sales representatives and retailers National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) 687 Willow Grove Street Hackettstown, NJ 07840 (800) 843-6522 Fax (908) 852-1695 www.nkba.org 25,000 kitchen and bath professionals in 61 chapters representing 10,000 firms. American Institute of Architects (AIA) 1735 New York Avenue Washington, DC 20006 (800) AIA 3837 Fax (202) 626 7547 www.aia.org 70,000 members in 300 chapters in the United States and overseas.

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Education
Foundation for Interior Design Education Research (FIDER) 146 Monroe Center, N.W., Suite 1318 Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2822 (616) 458-0400

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Fax (616) 458 0460 www.fider.org Educational accreditation National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) 1200 18th Street, N.W., Suite 1001 Washington, DC 20036 (202) 721-0220 (202) 721-0221 Fax www.ncidq.org Professional qualification

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Recommended Reading
Books
Hampton, Mark. Legendary Decorators of the Twentieth Century. ISBN: 0385263619. Details the lives and professional careers of numerous decorating greats. Banker, Pamela & Leslie. The Pocket Decorator. ISBN: 0789310570. Dictionary of decorating terms with illustrations and helpful explanations. Tromce, Suzanne. Influential Interiors: Shaping 20th Century Style through Key Interior Designers. ISBN: 0609603582. Explains the history and evolution of twentieth-century interior design through important designers and decorators. Chronicles the most influential people and styles of the past century. Brown, Erica. Sixty Years of Interior Design: The World of McMillen. ISBN: 0670647756. Study of the famous interior design firm, McMillen, Inc. and its projects and designers. Cooper Garey, Carol. House Beautiful, Decorating Style. ISBN: 1588163806. By the editors of House Beautiful. Offers numerous design photographs and information on color, scale, window treatments, furniture arrangement, etc. De Wolfe, Elsie. The House in Good Taste. ISBN: 0847826317. First published in 1914. Authored by one of the founding women of interior design, this book offers timeless design advice.
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Gomez, Mariette Himes. Rooms: Creating Luxurious Livable Spaces. ISBN: 0060083700. By current interior design great Mariette Himes Gomez. Numerous pictures of her projects and explanation of her taste and style.

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Design Trade Publications


Architecture Contract Hospitality Design Interior Design Interiors & Sources Live Wire (web based publication via www.interiordesign.net) Metropolis

Shelter Publications
Architectural Digest Better Homes & Gardens Coastal Living Country Home Country Living Home Elle Dcor House & Garden House Beautiful
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InStyle Home Metropolitan Home Southern Accents Southern Living Sunset Traditional Home

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Web and Television Resources


Design Television Shows
A & E: Bob Vilas Guide to Historic Homes of America. Discovery Channel: Surprise by Design & Christopher Lowell. DIY Network: Bare Walls, DIY Decorating & Design, Weekend Decorating & Weekend Remodeling. HGTV Design & Decorating Tips: Awesome Interiors, Bed & Bath Design, Country Style, Decorating Cents, Decorating with Style, Design Basics, Design on a Dime, From Marthas Home, Interiors by Design, Kitchen Design, Kitty Bartholomew: Youre Home, Public Spaces, Private Spaces, Room by Room, Room to Improve, Smart Design and This Small Space. HGTV Design & Decorating Makeovers: Date with Design, Debbie Travis Facelift, Decorating Derby, Designed to Sell, Designers Challenge, Designing for the Sexes, Divine Design, Love by Design, New Spaces, Room for Change, Sensible Chic and What Have I Done? Lifetime: Merge. Oxygen: Mix it Up. TLC: Clean Sweep, Trading Spaces, Trading Spaces Family, While You Were Out, Bob Vila Home Again. WGBH: This Old House.
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ABC: Extreme Makeover Home Edition

Internet Resources
www.franklinreport.com Online version of the books that provide insider information and contact information for interior designers, architects, contractors, etc. for four regions: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Connecticut/Westchester.

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www.dezignare.com Web site with information on many topics, including FAQ about design education and qualification, Design centers and an events calendar listing nationwide events and design-related programs. www.interiordesignjobs.com Provides resume posting and lists available jobs in interior design. www.interiordesign.net The online site for Interior Design Magazine. Offers Live Wire (email newsletter), Job Zone (interior design job listings), Hall of Fame (information on famous interior designers) and other interesting information. www.interior-design-school.net Provides information on schools that offer courses and programs in interior design. www.designaddict.com Similar to eBay but for design pieces. Has a good design index to look up famous designers and producers. www.interiordec.about.com Many articles and resources about a myriad of design issues from education to decorating advice.

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About the Author


Sara Forest
Sara Forest worked in various capacities for nearly five years at the residential interior design firm of Thomas M. Beeton and Associates in West Hollywood, California. As a project manager, she was responsible for the implementation of several large-scale residential projects in Los Angeles and Orange County. She has also worked for other southern California decorators on an independent contractor basis. Sara holds a BA in Sociology from Pitzer College, Claremont, CA and is currently completing the MBA program at Wake Forest Universitys Babcock Graduate School of Management in North Carolina. Upon graduation in May 2005, she intends to return to the field of interior design.

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