Eye on Design (ASID)
Jul. 27, 2012

Home improvement spending forecast to boom
Custom Home
A pickup in home sales, low financing costs and improved consumer confidence is expected to push annual growth in spending on remodeling projects into the double digits by early 2013, according to a quarterly report from Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies. The report states that most markets nationwide have stabilized to the point that homeowners, whose home improvement spending is already on the upswing, will continue to feel comfortable investing in their properties.More

NSF unveils new product category rule for the flooring industry
Interiors & Sources
NSF International, an independent global organization that writes standards, tests and certifies products for the commercial flooring, construction, food, water and consumer goods industries, collaborated with multiple flooring trade associations to develop a product category rule for the flooring industry. This flooring PCR provides both a science-based and internationally recognized method for reporting the environmental impact of resilient, carpet, laminate, tile and wood flooring products.More

Collaborative work environment to serve as creative incubator
The Editor at Large
WeWork, a provider of shared work environments, is opening a collaborative design platform and cross-discipline work space for creative talent. Called WeCross, the concept calls for an informal team of talents from a wide range of creative practices to collaborate on a project-by-project basis to solve business challenges with innovative design thinking and bring design solutions to improve our global lifestyle and environments.More

How Frank Lloyd Wright resolved his inner struggles
Chicago Tribune
A new exhibit examines inner struggles Frank Lloyd Wright had to resolve between tradition and modernity, the classical past and the machine aged-present, before he could arrive at his precedent-shattering Prairie homes, with their freely organized floor plans, ground-hugging horizontal lines and smooth surfaces free of Victorian bric-a-brac.More

An office for people who would rather be outside
Fast Company
What's your dream office? If you fantasize about bouldering on your lunch break — and appreciate being in a zero-waste, net zero-energy environment — you might want to take a look at the soon-to-be-completed space for the new Alameda, Calif., headquarters of VF Corp.'s outdoor and action sports coalition brands.More

Fans come back around
A new class of stylish, energy-efficient, sustainably-minded residential fans may mean it's time to give this category a second look. Designers can efficiently decrease a building's reliance on air conditioning by utilizing ceiling fans to make occupants feel up to 10° F cooler, saving up to 40 percent on energy costs.More

Coalition calls for consensus-based green building standards
Calling for green building ratings, code and standards development processes to be consensus-based and developed in conformance with American National Standards Institute or ISO-type processes, 27 organizations have come together to form the American High-Performance Buildings Coalition.More

Engineering resource lists top green design firms
Green Building News
Engineering News-Record's 2012 survey of the Top 100 Green Design Firms reflects the growth in green building, and the numbers serve as evidence of the increased interest in sustainable design. The Top 100 Green Design Firms generated $4.5 billion in design revenue in 2011 from projects registered with and actively seeking certification from third-party ratings groups, such as LEED, according to ENR. More

Good things come to those who wait
Healthcare Design
In health care institutions, waiting can be a positive experience, if it's planned properly. Thoughtful interior design of waiting spaces can help achieve this goal.More

If these walls could talk
Home Textiles Today
It seems, increasingly, the walls might as well talk. As far as new interiors are concerned, they definitely are conversation starters. What started with textures — from modest so as not to compete with more than a decade's worth of paint to more sophisticated (think Philip Jeffries or the growing selection of grass cloths on full display at Kravet) to high-profile effects rivaling tile or stucco — walls are the new canvas for interior designers.More

Putting Mom and Dad in the backyard
There's a new trend in mature market housing that's based on the old idea of the in-law quarters: the "transitional home." Known in the building industry as "accessory dwelling units," or ADUs, these homes provide something of an affordable compromise that allows children to be close to aging parents while also allowing the older generation to maintain their independence.More

Visibility not necessarily a good thing
Research Design Connections
Is total transparency in the workplace the best way to build a team and increase productivity? Not necessarily, according to a new study in Administrative Science Quarterly. Harvard researcher Ethan Bernstein found that creating zones of privacy in offices may, under certain conditions, boost performance individually and collectively.More

Tactile illusion
Kitchen Design Think Tank
Texture intrigues us to get tactile, up close and personal with surfaces that may have taken just seconds to create or hundreds of years to form. A slideshow of kitchens devoted to the sensory experience shows how the choice of materials should take into account more than merely cost, color and convenience.More

Optimize sky lighting
DesignBuild Source
Venting skylights not only increase natural lighting, they also allow indoor air to be purified with zero running costs. Humidity, fumes and VOCs can all escape through these vented channels, drastically improving indoor air quality. In the same vein, they can naturally cool a space, allowing rising hot air a way out.More

Planning multicook kitchens
Kitchen & Bath Design News
We have been crowding into kitchens of all sizes to enjoy the camaraderie of friends and family since house parties were invented. How do we incorporate socializing into kitchen designs? Regardless of a kitchen's size, there are ways we can modify smaller spaces to encourage socializing and helping.More

Frames, frames and more frames
Dwell with Dignity
Can anyone ever have too many frames? Dwell with Dignity thinks not. Whether as a gallery wall, an attention grabber or a simple photo prop, frames have a place in almost every corner of the house.More

The founding of Decorator Tag Sale
Interior designer Sandra Oster recalls the day in late 2008 when she came up with the idea to create Decorator Tag Sale. Luxury businesses such as interior design felt the blow of the economic crash severely that year, as people began cutting all but necessary expenses. Brainstorming in her home office in Greenwich, Conn., it occurred to Oster that luxury was out and economical was in. It was then Oster knew she had to rethink her business model — and Decorator Tag Sale began taking shape.More

Written employee policies offer valuable benefits
For Residential Pros
In order to maintain a consistent, legal approach to how you handle employee issues, the safe way to proceed is to have a formal written employee policy. A written policy has the additional benefit of avoiding having to negotiate each situation that arises.More

Team works
If anyone has found a silver lining in the recession, which has decimated the design profession, it may be the newest class of interior designers. The downturn in new construction seen in major urban centers has fueled an upsurge in renovation and consolidation. Three emerging interior design firms have discovered the key to thriving in a challenging economy: collaboration.More

Twitter debuts targeted tweets
Small Business Trends
Twitter already offers a promoted tweets feature to help advertisers try to reach more people, but now it's rolling out a new enhancement that will help companies target a more specific group of Twitter users with their promoted content. Targeted tweets allow advertisers to send a tweet to a specific audience based on their geographical location, device or platform.More

Marketing ideas for design firms
Houston Chronicle
Small companies just starting out usually have small budgets to match and must come up with creative ideas to promote their goods and services. Design firms often consist of three or fewer principal employees at first. By employing a few unique angles and tactics, owners of these firms can build brand awareness and drum up new business in no time.More

You're bigger than you think
You're face to face with a Powerful Prospect. "So, how big's your firm?" he asks. "Four other designers and myself," you say. Wrong answer. It makes your design firm sound small — and small firms don't usually land large projects. Or get large fees. Why not talk about your team? Prospects need to know there's more to your team than just designers.More

Putting a price on customer loyalty
Harvard Business Review
Marco Bertini, assistant professor at London Business School, outlines how to price goods so customers will buy them — and stay an advocate for your brand.More

Mobile marketing is on the rise in a surprising way
Word of mouth is still a powerful marketing tool in the field of construction. Yet most members of the industry — whether architects, contractors, subcontractors, interior designers, landscapers or building materials suppliers — are aware that developing a company website is a good way to reach clients, too. It's possible to get so lost in daily work and website development that you forget to raise your eyes and scan the business horizon. Those who do take the time to look up see that mobile marketing is a rising sun.More