IDS Hot Topics
Apr. 22, 2015

Take An Inside Look At The Mega Mansion From 'Empire'
ELLE Decor
This year's neo-Dynasty breakout hit Empire is anchored in its big personalities (to say the least). Hip-hop mogul Lucious Lyon's business might have had small and shady beginnings, but when we meet the Empire Entertainment family, they're larger than life. So, of course, the show needed an equally major set to match. Empire found the Lyons' on-screen home in a castle-like 20,000-square-foot mansion in Barrington, Illinois. It was on the market about a year ago, and was just re-listed for $13 million, so the listing photos offer an inside look at one of TV's most buzzy sets.More

3 Solutions for Dealing with Angry Customers
ForResidentialPros.com
Many homeowners will head to the Web when they feel the need to unleash their rants against your business, mostly because they feel there's no other way to have their voice heard. That's why it's a good idea to proactively reach out to customers to collect their feedback on a regular basis. This gives you the ability to better plan your response, and ultimately improve the quality of your dealings with angry customers. More

Create, Don't Imitate: The Making of an Original
Talk Contract
The issue of plagiarism has been in the news often lately, most notably within the music industry, and there are many "blurred lines" when it comes to referencing or paying homage versus copying or knocking something off. When is it OK for designers to reference another's work, and when might it verge into the territory of knocking it off?More

The Best Stools for Small Spaces
The Washington Post
Decorating a small apartment is usually more about function than fun. Reading and breakfast nooks are an occasional luxury. But a dining room? Dream on. Before you resign yourself to eating on the couch, though, consider the kitchen counter. Not only is it your best bet at a makeshift dining area without having to squeeze in a table, but it’s a social magnet: Even in homes with formal dining rooms, the counter is the hub of activity. More

15 Genius Solutions for the Awkward Space Above Kitchen Cabinets
House Beautiful
If you've got a gap between your kitchen cabinets and the ceiling, you've likely spent time cursing your architect. But some good news: There are some stylish ways to tackle this forgotten spot.More

His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society
Metropolis
We are living in a time of gender revolution. Traditional masculine and feminine roles are being challenged through advances in science and technology, and by cultural shifts stemming from the evolution of sexual politics and media depictions of gender. Identity is no longer clearly defined as female or male, but by increasingly visible manifestations of sexuality or lack thereof. Designers, who should focus a critical eye on society's issues, need to work within this discourse to help promote acceptance and change. More

Lifestyle Changes Propel Remodeling Activity
By Michael J. Berens
Remodeling and renovation activity continues to lead the residential building sector, as the market for new home construction struggles to gain momentum. Some of this activity can be attributed to homeowners making needed repairs and upgrades to increase the value of their home for resale. More