Friday, October 30, 2009

Just some words-throwing it out there...

This week has been busy, interesting and enlightening. Oddly enough I will begin this entry by saying I am "re-considering" residential design. ( I know, commercial has been my driving force forever-please note re-considering). There is something about DFR and Residential Design altogether that has so much personality to it. Though the projects maybe somewhat smaller than I had ultimately imagined myself working on there seems to be more life and light behind Residential and remodeling that maybe what I would recieve when designing a hotel. Don't get me wrong, these are all just thoughts and words, however this week meeting with clients on a one on one basis, in their homes, in our showroom, having laughs and getting to know them personally, playing with their animals, drinking their coffee has something so special and real to me. I have always known that it will be a challenge for me to find my "perfect firm" where I am working on fabulous commercial designs and feeling important as a designer rather than a number, and I think for now until something better walks my way I will continue on that search, but who knows, maybe remodeling or residential may be in my future...

This week has been full of life, from meeting a man who is persistant, yet kind, money pinching yet wanting the best, to working with the Genglers, an uber funny welcoming couple to being able to meet a baby great dane.

The Genglers are remodeling both of their full baths, I was able to sit in on both selection meetings and today we did the pre-construction walk-through and went over every little detail so there was no problem come constuction day. The Great Dane was at a project where Courtney had re-designed their kitchen space-it is in pickerington and looks fabulous, its very open, has beautiful white cabinets, great granite and beautiful tile that I was able to see today. Today (Friday) we went to see the tile, did the gengler meeting, and now I am working on 20.20 for courtney, drawing out their bathroom space for a condo remodel (lets hope that I can be quick, efficent and correct with 20.20, I still havent really fiddled with it all that much).

Shown below are some drawings I had down this week-just for visual entertainment.

On a side note-I can't believe I only have 3 weeks left...weird.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

the taste of pure satisfaction

So Courtney and I just got back from a completion walk-thu at a home courtney and keith designed a kitchen for. We met with Mrs. Ryan and her adorable dog Lucy, we just walked through the kitchen, looked at the project in detail and in large with the Project Manager and made sure the client was satisfied and loved everything about her new space. Mrs. Ryan loved her new kitchen and was largely satisfied with the work that was done for her, so satisfied that she has hinted towards the idea of having somethings updated in her attached dining room area, which I think would be a great compliment to the work just completed in her kitchen.
As I was viewing the kitchen the details I really enjoyed was the island Courtney, Mrs. Ryan and Keith worked hard on shaping and designing. It's nice to see different techniques for your standard kitchen,and it made me appreciate residential design more then I already do. Her Island was an elongated peanut shape that spanned through her kitchen, she had cabinets under half of the island and for the other space it was used for a seating bar area. The shape really worked well within the space because her kitchen is longer than it is wide, and it works really well with egress as well as the ergonomics of the space and the people using it. (Hopefully I will be able to post pictures of the Island soon)

Details such as hardware for the cabinets I think some clients can tend to shove to the back burner and try and cut the price on those, but Mrs. Ryan's kitchen was a prime example of how hardware can make or break a kitchen, dont worry-it MADE the kitchen. On the ride home Courtney and I discussed how if they would have placed knobs on the kitchen cabinets the kitchen would not have been as dynamic, and that hardware and paint color are crucial in a space.

As far as the rest of the day goes, I think I will be busy doing random work around the office, such as faxing, filing, ordering, organizing and other things. This week seems to be a little less busy then the rest, but then again it is only Tuesday, I always laugh because i can look at Courtney and Alison's calendars on Monday and think "aw, this week will be nice and peaceful" and then by Thursday Im thinking holy cow, where did all these appointments come from!? I love it though, keeping me busy in the office makes the time fly, and I am glad that people are still investing money into design and innovation.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Glamour shots + Concept Boards.

For the past couple of days work has been packed with helping the designers get ready for clients, going to meetings with clients and assisting at photo shoots of spaces previously remodeled for entries to a design competition. Alison, Bryce and Wendy have been working on a large project that has to do with a second floor addition, remodeling the kitchen, baths, living room...essentially 70-80% of the home. I did some research through images recently taken of her home as well as on the internet to try and understand who this women really is. Alison and I gathered words and images that we thought best described her and would help us sell the job and help the women understand the intent of the designs. Furthering our development Allison asked me to make a mood/concept board, so from the images and conversations her and I had previously I created a concept board.
From what I understand their meeting with the client went well and she perceived everything shown to her with excitment.

Weds was a busy day spent with Courtney doing photo shoots and meeting with clients. Gary, Courtney and I went to a clients house to shoot photos of a remodeled basement Courtney and Louise had worked on-HOLY COW was it a remodel. It was an unfinished basement that is now full with a gym, a pool table, a bar, lots and lots of storage, full bath, and everything anyone could want. It was interesting to see the process of shooting photos in a space-we had to set the mood of the space-try to find the best angles to showcase the work and the space and make it look as if it were being currently used-without people in the shots. It really was-LIGHTS CAMERA ACTION! and we had to move FAST! after finishing that shoot (which took about 2-2 1/2 hours, we headed to a house in dublin to shoot photos of a wine cellar. It was a smaller space, but because it is filled with wine and the exterior is made of glass getting the proper angles and treating the reflections was a bit challenging. Below are some photos from each of the shoots-ENJOY! (This images are scanned, so I appologize because they're lacking quality)
As for today, it was busy this morning with client meetings but things are on the slow side now-thus the reason I am blogging, its rainy out and is making everyone tired-It was a busy week this week, so it has been nice having a slower Friday.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


It never fails that I scan my images in crooked-everytime. I blame it on not having a drafting board here at DFR, however I dont know if that is a legit enough excuse. Below are some images of a bathroom I have been able to aid to with courtney. This client is super fun and is updating her and her husbands bathroom as well as her 2 teenage daughters. We were able to get funky and fun with the teenagers bathroom with some really cool flooring from Tarkett and the mirrors (Courtney and I are hoping that its enough fun for them, because their mom apparently gets a lot of heat that their bathroom isnt going to be super fun-we will show them). It was a learning process to draft these images because of details I had never learned- ie: 4 1/2" toe kick, 4-6" backsplash, 1 1/2" marble counter width and so on. Drafting in the real world isnt as easy as drafting in school where thing and objects can be as big or as thick as we want them to be-ha, welcome to the real world!

Monday, October 19, 2009

20/20 nope, not my vision.

YEY! my first attempt at the program 20/20. I am trying to get my ground with this program, I keep trying to do autocad shortcuts, however between those not working and trying to learn all the cabinet abbreviations, I have my hands full! More to come with 20/20! I forgot how exciting it is to learn a new program!

Friday, October 16, 2009


Recently I have been working side by side with alison on a kitchen remodeling, after figuring out cabinet issues, the next project to figure out was the tiling behind the range. The challenge was we wanted to use two different tiles, from two different manufactures, that didnt offer the same sizing. Here are two options below that I came up with, that I quickly rendered for the client, that we are presenting to her next week. The tiles are subway tiles frosted white 4 x8's and the gray are subway tiles from DalTile - 4x12.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


This week has been so much better here at DFR, not that it was ever THAT bad! Courtney is back, which helps give me a heavier work load-its a lot easier to be occupied with 2 designers, then just one. I have been busy running from meetings, helping design new projects, picking out selections, researching materials and options for clients, and today I worked on tutorials for a program they use often-20/20. I am so much happier helping design, and learning a new program and really feeling more like a designer!

20/20 is a program which is fabulous for remodelers to use. It allows them to insert the cabinets and countertops they chose and it is easy for specs and helping give visual aids for the clients. I have found it is a lot like CAD/3D CAD it has just been a bit difficult to learn the cabinet sizes, depths and all of the add-ons they require. I will be working on more of it tomorrow and rendering some tile options for a large kitchen Alison has been designing. As for today we are ending it at the office and headed over to America's Floor Source to learn about client interaction and communication! Should really help everyone here and it will certainly benefit me in the long run as well as here and at West Elm.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Friday was a fun-day here at DFR, we had a pie contest and lunch brought in, and it was nice to hang out with all of the employees and have some down time, while eating 8 different pies and voting on the best one! It was a slow day however, Courtney was out of the office at a BKBG (Bath and Kitchen Buying Group) conference, and Alison only had one meeting for the day, which was after lunch, so we spent some time watching a webinar and learning about different designs from the past that have helped create the designs we see today. Friday I also had a chance to discuss with Alison a little bit of how I felt about interning at DFR, which has thus far been a wonderful learning experience, but how I was a little discouraged that I hadnt been able to help design yet or really understand the way the designers here at DFR approach their design process. She understood and in return, I have recieved/granted a bit of partnership on a bathroom uplift/renovation project. I sketched out some of my ideas on Friday and today her, keith and I really focused on it and were able to nail some ideas and plans down. Below are some of the sketches, of the floor plan and perspective.
The perspective below we have chosen not to go foward with because we feel the client will have felt there was little change from their previous bathroom. The crucial points in this design, is the couple wants to keep their commode room as well as their same vanity, same wood color. So in a nutshell we are creating a new "wetzone" updating the tile, paint and countertops.

It was nice to collaborate with Alison today and to get more of a feel of how she designs and the way she approaches a design.

We meet with the clients on Thursday at 10 am to discuss options, and to further discuss their desires with their new bathroom, it will be nice to meet the clients to understand more about them and the design they desire. We will see how it goes!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Is it Friday Yet?

Is it Friday Yet? Since I have been interning at DFR and working at West Elm, I can never seem to keep my days straight, last week I thought it was weds all the way till 3 oclock, when I was finally told it was actually Thursday. Working 40+ hours at DFR and 20 hours at West Elm seems to be taking a toll on my brain!

Anyway, I yesterday was a very eye opening experience. I was able to sit in on a all staff/employee meeting to discuss roles and to discuss opportunities to discuss possible tweaks that could help and to in a round about manner discuss their passions and why they are at DFR. I always found the grey area here at DFR to be the line in the sand between the sales people and the ID department. It is a Relay effect where it begins in sales, gets handed to ID, then to PM and to the men in the field, cohesively they stay in touch with what is happening on the project as it continues, but none the less a relay effect. Last week I asked Alison (ID department) how they distinguish who gets to "really design" and basically it depends on what sales person you have working with you. It was interesting listening in on the meeting because you realize that not only are the women who work in ID are designers, but so are the people who work in sales (minus keith). So there is a struggle and some what of a tug-a-war about the design issues. As a designer myself, I would want to strictly be the designer on the project, to be able to utilize my creativity at its maximum capacity and not have to end what someone in the sales department may have already began-and maybe, this is the pure reason as to why I wouldnt be as successful and happy as I could be at DFR.

Together as a unit, DFR seems to be a well oiled machine, one that supports each other within the grey area, and are willing to try to find a new solution and maybe a better solution to keep the machine oiled and moving. The managers of the deparments and head hauncho's of the company are hoping to make some decisions and moves soon to make sure everyone on staff is happy and satisfied.

After the meeting I asked Michelle who is trained and studied Design for school, but is working at the ID assistant and support person, about how she felt in a company like this. Ironically, it works for her, she eventually wants to work in residential and believes that learning how the machine of DFR works and paper work happens will help her-true story. However, I always feel in the back of my head taking on a role such as hers would, for a lack of better words, loose her design touch/drive. Who knows, I suppose it works differently for everyone, I think I just expect and dream to graduate and walk into an architecture firm at an entry level position and began to further my knowledge that way working on commercial designs, but as far as future goes-the path is undefined and I am fully aware it is likely to have many surprises.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Week 3

I have been feeling much more useful around DFR, and feeling more comfortable with their design process, the way they handle things and with the people. I find that it is always difficult to adjust to a new environment, but this time for me it seemed a bit more difficult. Yes, it is a world of design, however, it is completely different to the world in which I had been living in for the past 4 years of my life. Now I am learning to work within someones budgets, someones taste, someones pre-existing space, and someone elses emotions. It is practically a whole new ball game, especially since I have yet to design :-( . Sometimes I feel as if I may be loosing my design touch and talent (which I know isn't true) but I feel like I haven't had the creative mindset for awhile, because I have been occupying myself with PO forms, estimates, researching products, meeting with clients and running random errands for the designers here. It has certainly been a change of pace for me and a reality check. Neither one particularly bad, just different.

This week I felt really busy, except for today. Today is quiet in the office, Courtney is out of town, Alison is at an appointment and Michelle is in her office plugging away, so here I am, after changing light bulbs, and sweeping the showroom floor, I am hoping something grand will be passed on to me, so I can stop writing my blog and start working with design. I am really hoping next week I can start getting knee deep in learning 20/20 their design program which allows the designers to insert the particular cabinetry they are using so they can get a real sense of what the space will look like, plus it will be easier for the designers to spec the space and estimate the cost.

I guess today can be a quiet day, we have been busy all week, it's friday and its nasty here in Ohio. I am hoping soon to be posting pictures of some of the work they have done as well as some projects I have been aiding on!