13 Jan

Design Resolutions You Should Do in 2016

Before Jackie and I are off on more design adventures across the globe, we both did our annual first- of -the- year business organization, declutter cleanse and resolve.  Here are our favorite curated Design Resolutions You Should Do for 2016.

1. Spend More Time with Your Design Family

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Despite all the work required of a lone designer like myself, I resolve to find the time to attend events and meetups. They are my “design family”. They inspire me, ground me, and help mentor my decisions. Branch out, build relationships, and spend time with other designers. If you haven’t found your design family quite yet, you could possibly:

  • Go to meetups – from Dribble to General Assembly to Creative Live and more
  • Join an online design group Facebook, Pinterest and others all have great groups. We like Interior Design Community and Designer ER Therapy on Facebook.
  • Join an organization like WITHIT

2. Skip the juice cleanse and do a digital detox instead.

ddetoxA digital detox -switching off all mobiles, smartphones, tablets, laptops, and computers for a certain length of time enables you to relax, recharge and do whatever you enjoy. And what is that?… Some of us have been so hunkered down in the business bunker, we don’t know what we would enjoy anymore. A detox is generally recommended to ideally be around 24 hours long as a minimum and to build up to 72 hours.

I resolve to turnoff my digital devices every Saturday and get out there.  Jackie resolves to turn off the laptop at least 2 hours before bedtime every night.

3. Declutter your workspace

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Jackie at Cynthia Rowley’s Floral Desk

The honeymoon period for working on your laptop in bed is officially over. We’re reserving the bedroom for more important things. With that said, the desk and a dedicated workspace are making a comeback in 2016. House Beautiful, Style Beat and others are declaring that desks are having a moment. And why not with so many fabulous options on the market. So treat yourself and design an exquisite workspace like you would for a customer. After all where do we spend most of our time?

If you are diving into that office reorganization here are some tips-

Get rid of tax documents before 2008. Check with your accountant to make sure you don’t have to keep something because of specific circumstances.

Get rid of all those old electronics.  Take to the Internet and sell them or donate them. Another thing you should dump? VHS tapes, cassettes, or any other technology that you can almost guarantee won’t be making a comeback — ever.

Stand While You Work. When journalist and co-author of The Art of Doing Camille Sweeney had to interview 15 prominent newsmakers in just a few days, she made her calls standing. “This was the year I got out of my chair and on to my feet at my desk,” she says. “It’s made such a difference.” Before Sweeny’s portable standing desk arrived in the mail, she improvised and put her laptop on top of a nine-inch square cardboard box on her desk. Now she alternates every few hours between sitting and standing.

4. Cross at least one destination off your travel bucket list.

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I did this last year and it was life altering! My tip for you- get it our there. Don’t just dream it;  get it out of your head by talking about it. Verbalizing your intention will help you make it happen.

Blatant plug- Join Jackie and I for the VIP High Point Market Experience at Spring Market

5. Start a side project.

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It isn’t just a way to kill time. It is a powerful way to explore your passion, experiment with different ideas, pick up new skills, and develop your own aesthetic as a designer. Your side project could be anything. Just find something you are interested in doing and commit. You could:

  • Open up an online store on Etsy with your design goodies
  • Write and design a book
  • Contribute to an open-source project
  • Volunteer your design skills to a non-profit
  • Create your own textiles

Ohh and finally… and Drink more Champagne…

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For more of our Resolutions You Should Make in 2016; see our latest Take Ten on Soft Design Lab TV. 

 

02 Dec

Red Carpet Tour

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It’s that time of year again- time to start planning your business travel for 2016.  So mark your calendars for January 23-26, 2016 and come with us to Las Vegas Winter Market. Here’s all the scoop about our exclusive Red Carpet Tour.

Experience Las Vegas Winter Market like a design rock star with the Soft Design Lab team. We are hosting a 4 day, 3 night turnkey Red Carpet Tour, January 23-26, 2016. Get the star treatment while accessing an exclusive mix of seminars, showroom visits and new product presentations as well as celebrity meet and greets, education and specialty events… Not to mention VEGAS!

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Here’s a sampling of what your Red Carpet Tour includes *:

  •  Three nights 4 star Hotel accommodations on the strip
  •  Pre market “ Ready to Rock” webinar
  •  Private Welcome Dinner hosted by IMC
  •  Transportation to /from market
  •  An exclusive array of education, events, and design destinations
  •  Private Farewell Dinner and Vegas Night Out
  • VIP Market Survival Kit

*Tour package does not include round trip transportation to Las Vegas

BUT… the best part is we take care of all the planning and behind the scenes coordinating AND you can do all of this with us for less than doing it on your own. Hurry only 20 spots available.

Tour Package $699

Early Bird Offer $600 Ends 12/31/2015

 

Qualified Attendees receive a poker chip compliments of Las Vegas market; redeemable only at market for an American Express gift card valued at $200. This is a heck of an offer at $400!

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 Questions? Email us

Get all the details HERE

18 Nov

The Colors of the Year

As the announcement of Pantone’s Color of the Year draws closer, design insiders recognizing the marketing power of color and the iconization of the color of the year are jumping on the bandwagon to announce their own color choices for 2016.

First up was Ben Moore’s Simply White ( and we all know how that went!) Ben Moore asks us to surrender to the complexity of white . Suggesting that  the interplaay of layered whites and diffused light creates nuances and subtle beauty.

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Today, following suit, Sherwin Williams’ also announced Alabaster (SW 7008), a hue symbolic of new beginnings, as the 2016 Color of the Year.

“Alabaster represents a straightforward and necessary shift to mindfulness, well-being and an atmosphere that is pure,” said Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing, Sherwin-Williams. “It provides an oasis of calmness, spirituality and ‘less is more’ visual relief. Alabaster is neither stark nor overly warm, but rather an understated and alluring hue of white.”

Hotly debated as to whether it is a color at all, white has a strong connection with pureness and light across many cultures. At a time when homeowners are faced with excess and clutter, and may be overwhelmed by the commotion of technology, Alabaster encourages a time to relax and re-examine, according to Sherwin Williams.

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Valspar recently announced their coloring trends complete with a coloring book.

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Now Robert Allen introduces the Interior Designer Color of the Year – Batik Blue. Robert Allen’s process is a bit different. Batik Blue, Beet, and Mussel Shell, were selected by the Color Experts at Robert Allen as three colors that will have strong relevance in interior design throughout 2016. To determine the initial three options, Robert Allen examined colors in style throughout history, as well as current color patterns on runways, in interiors, and even trending online.  From there, over 2,000 interior designers and design lovers voted online, selecting Batik Blue as the winner with over 40% of the vote. Once again validating that blue is universally the favorite color of consumers.

 “Batik Blue is a particularly versatile shade. Think of your favorite pair of jeans and how you pair them with everything in your closet, regardless of color, pattern, or texture. We see Batik Blue the same way, as a backdrop to all colors, whether calm and neutral or bright and funky.”

 

Here’s the scoop on the three colors:

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Batik Blue: Like a tried-and-true pair of jeans, Batik Blue’s inky dark indigo is infinitely versatile whether layered with similar unbuttoned blues for a classic, tone-on-tone look, or offset with arresting colors such as fuchsia and lime.

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Beet: Flaunting one of the most brilliant colors found in the natural world, beet’s saturated red-cast purple connotes high fashion and pairs well with everything from creamy white to bright green—like that found in its leafy tops.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mussel Shell: Inspired by a bivalve’s opalescent, purple-tinged blue, Mussel Shell is an intriguing, grownup version of periwinkle that balances masculine and feminine undertones.

 

 

 

 

Which color of the year is your favorite?

03 Nov

Thanksgiving Table Settings

With only a couple of weeks until the big day we thought you could use some quick & easy Thanksgiving table setting ideas.  Exercise your creativity and use the resources you have on hand to put some of these lovely ideas into action to create a beautiful table for your family. ( In the interest of transparency- this post originally appeared 11/2014. )

Don’t leave money on the table- help your clients with their Tabletop challenges this holiday seasonJumpstart your new revenue stream with our Table Top Cheat Sheet and watch our  TableTop videos HERE and HERE.

First up is the star of the event your table centerpiece.

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We love these bare tree branches because they are dramatic yet you can still see the person on the other side of the table and they don’t interfere with the conversation.

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Your produce drawer is full of beautiful colors and texture that you can arrange into a lovely centerpiece.  Throw in some paper leaves or other decorations and you are ready to go.

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These colors are so rich and they are a nice break from the traditional color motifs of the season.  Who says it has to be orange and brown?

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When all else fails go with gold!

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This simple idea is a new twist on the classic orange studded with cloves.  Just think of the creative designs you can quickly carve into your citrus and there is the added plus of that great smell.

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Raw wood rules supreme this year with these simple log cuts arranged in a tiered display topped with mason jar candles.

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Place Cards set the mood for a more formal affair and give your guests a sense of belonging.  There are many easy ideas that you can throw together to make them all feel at home.

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Small log cuts with a groove sawn into the top make cute place card holders.

 

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Larger log cuts can serve as dramatic chargers.

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The lowly walnut can serve as a quick name holder in a pinch.  Spray them with metallic paint or glitter to dress them up.

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Put those Fall leaves to good use as place setters.

 

Candles light the room and add warmth and a sense of calm to your table as well.  Avoid scented candles that will clash with the wonderful aromas of your dinner.

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Jute string secures these mini pilgrim corn cobs around a simple glass votive.  Add a strip of sticky tape around the jar to be sure everything stays in place,

 

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Burlap ribbon has a million and one uses at  this time of year.

 

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More pilgrim corn around a large candle

 

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Fresh vegetables are a nice addition to any table.

 

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Fruit illuminated in water is both beautiful and aromatic.

 

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Hollow out small pumpkins and gourds for votives at each place setting or as a grouping in the center of the table.

 

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Use those leftover apples that Grandma didn’t put into the pie to hold some tapers.  If you don’t have fancy candle spikes just bore a hole in the center of each apple for the candle.

 

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Small twigs can be hot glues to the side of small votives for a rustic charm.

 

Table Runners are an easy way to dress your table .  Here are a few fun ideas for DIY projects.

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Fall leaves are great if you’ve got them.

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If you are like me and live in an area where the leaves don’t turn then improvise with stencils or stamps.

 

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Burlap by the yard makes a great runner.  I love the way they tied the end here.

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Upholstery strapping can be woven into runners or individual place mats.

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Put that left over trim or ribbon to use to embellish your runners, place mats, or napkins.

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The bottom line is that we are all very busy and sometimes the holidays can sneak up on us but with a little imagination you can put together a lovely table for your family.  Just don’t take it too seriously and have fun with it.  At the end of the day it’s really about giving thanks and enjoying  our family and friends and no one will remember if your table was set perfectly.

Wishing you and yours a fantastic Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

11 Jul

Michelle Obama Touches up to the State Dining Room

White-House-State-Dining-Room-Update (2)According to the press, modest changes (at a cost of $590,000) were done to the room compared to the dramatic makeover earlier this year of the family dining room. Seeing as the State dining room decoration dates back to 1998- was it time for a change or is it  better left alone?  I’m not a fan of the color scheme or the drapery fabrication or dressing and what’s up with the brown horsehair dining chairs?

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State Dining Room Before

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Before Draperies- ivory silk brocade with flowers, baskets and ribbons.

 

 

What was Done

The chairs were switched out; new custom draperies at the windows and two new custom woven rugs which anchored the makeover.

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Mahogany side chairs and arm chairs, custom-made in North Carolina, replaced a set that was upholstered in a golden yellow fabric. The new chairs are done in a brown, grid-patterned ‘horsehair’ fabric and trimmed with brass nail heads. They were modeled after arm chairs that President James Monroe acquired for the East Room in 1818 from a cabinetmaker in Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood.

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The new custom-made, wool rugs arrived in 2012 spurring the rest of the refurbishing. The rug design used elements of the room’s ceiling to create a border of continuous wreaths and a blue-green mottled field designed with oak leaves. Two rugs were made so they can be switched out for cleaning.

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draperies

Peacock and ecru striped silk with taped leading edges

The silk draperies and valances in stripes of peacock blue and ecru echoes the “Kailua” blue that trims the modern-inspired china service the first lady unveiled in April . A blue woven tape is down each leading edge and what looks like unlined cream silk make up the under draperies. The Kingston valances hang from gilded poles and replace scalloped valances and curtains made of ivory silk brocade and designed with flowers, baskets and ribbons.

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Obama Kailua Blue White House China

The $590,000 tab was paid by the White House Endowment Trust.

03 May

FABRICDESIGN_PROMO

 

Finding the perfect fabric to fit your needs can be difficult these days with back orders, shortages, and dropped patterns. You’ve probably seen that many designers are beginning to create their own fabrics and soft furnishing products. If you have ever thought about designing your own fabric we have the perfect course for you!

Learn the basic skills needed, resources required and processes you must master to bring your designs from fantasy to reality. Jackie Von Tobel is an award winning product designer who produces her own signature fabric line, The Jackie Von Tobel Collection She will walk you through the design and manufacturing process step by step and help you to formulate a plan for creating your own unique signature fabrics that will enhance your business and help you to grow your brand.

A downloadable pdf handbook will spell out the details covered in class and give you a source list for private label fabric printers,  software providers and online education sources, as well as many other essential contacts and information so you can move forward on your own towards achieving your goal of producing your own fabrics.

Sign up today!

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15 Apr

High Point Market Soft Furnishings Hit Lists

High Point Market Soft Goods

If you are looking for High Point Soft Furnishings manufacturers  this week we have a complete list of vendors for you broken down into several categories to make finding exactly what you want a bit easier.  From Top of Bed, Window Coverings, Upholstered Furnishings, Throw Pillows and more we have you covered. Just download our guides and breeze through market. 

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Ready Made market must see list HighPointHitList2

23 Mar

Flourish at High Point Market

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Looking to rise above the noise of your daily operations, discover how you can dramatically increase your profits, and run your business with even greater passion?  Then you can’t miss the  Flourish Summit.  Presented by High Point Market Authority, Gail Doby and Lisa Ferguson are hosting  the Flourish Summit on Friday, April 17, 1pm – 6pm at the High Point Theatre at the Transportation Terminal. They will share fresh and proven strategies to help you:

•Manage your time for maximum results with minimum effort

•Align your income with your core values

•Identify YOUR top strengths

•Find and get hired by your ideal clients

•Stay in your sweet spot 80-90% of the time, and

•FLOURISH in your business and personal life!

Think: Less Hustle. More Profit. WAY more joy.

Lisa Ferguson headshotLisa Ferguson is going to be a busy woman during Market. She is offering a RISE, a StrengthsFinder workshop on Monday, April 20th.  Lisa discovered StrengthsFinder® nearly five years ago and it quite literally EVERYthing changed. She successfully shifted services, people and processes around her top strengths at the same time as meeting the new way interior design clients want to do business.  After significant changes in her business resulted in less hustle, more profit, Lisa invested in becoming a fully trained facilitator for StrengthsFinder® to empower and equip others to also reach their full potential.

 

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The result is a tactical, practical and inspirational  full day workshop, Rise.  Interactive and customized to meet the six participants’ specific goals using Gallup’s science based StrengthsFinder® assessment and post it notes,  Lisa will help you recreate your business around You.  Click HERE For more details or to Register.

 

#flourish  #rise  #softdesignlab  #HPMKT