Sunday, March 27, 2011

Awesome Wallpapers

March always makes me think of flowers and everything turning green. While in Dallas for spring break the April 2011 Phoenix Home & Garden magazine arrived. It happened to be there garden issue. I came across some wall coverings I wanted to share with you.

The wallpaper shown is by designer Amy Butler who has teamed up with Graham & Brown to introduce a line of eco-friendly wallpapers. There are six floral patterns in six colors. The wallpaper is manufactures using the Forest Stewardship Council-Certified paper with water based inks. The one shown here is Midnight. You may find the complete collection at

The other picture is an Artistic tile's new Bloom pattern, which is Jardin collection. Moonlight Metallic Blend colorway is shown and it is one of three inspired by Botanical gardens. It comes in four hues of iridescent metallic glaze. It is available through Craftsman Court Ceramics, (480)-970-6611

By using these beautiful products in interior applications, you do not have to wait for March for your flower fix. It will feel like spring all year long.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mixing Function with Imagination

“Watching someone move up or down a staircase presents important moments that you can choreograph. It's all about the person moving through space and providing them with drama.”

I recieved an email with some of these images and I wanted to see more! There isn't really anything written on this type of stair design, but the pictures talk for themselves!

Recipe for successful stairs
1.Form follows function
2. Comfort
3.A designer
4. Follow local codes
5. Skilled craftsman

 Crazy Stairs from around the World

A stair case disguised as a tree

The new jungle gym!

  Designers have started taking a basic, usually uneventful stair and now make it the center of attention. This building staple has been around since the first multi-story building.

This one makes me dizzy
Would you want one of these in your house?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Specing just got that much more complicated!

I met with a contract furniture vendor this week in regards to picking out furniture for a residence hall I am designing. I never realized how intense it is to work with such a large company such as the university. Did you know that in order to just purchase furniture for say a standard double student room, if it costs more that $5000, the order must go out for bid. What this means is vendors must register through the state and in the University of Arkansas' case the university. At this point, if the vendor is a member of the EIS, then the university can go directly to the vendor and buy from them. To become a member is a long process. I don't understand it so I'm not going to try and explain it.

If they are not a member, which many vendors are not, then the university puts out a bid, which is registered through the state (through the Arkansas Department of Finace and Administration) 

According to the DFA webpage the offical goals are:
"the office of state procurement (OSP) has primary responsibility and oversight for the state wide procurement of commodities, technical and professional services for all state agencies, boards and commissions and colleges and universities. OSP provides training in the procurement law, regulations and policies. Marketing and redistribution, part of the OSP, is responsible for the disposal of state surplus property and equipment. "

The purpose of the bid is to insure that the state and tax payers money is not freverlously wasted on overly priced items. While this in theroy is great, there is a problem with the system. The problem is when a company bids and say wins, and doesn't exactly provide as great a service as they earlier claimed. This means the university buyer must consitinely waste time calling and dealing with them to ensure they deliver what they promised when promised. After the final delevory, if extra parts or service is required, some vendors jump to and make sure everything is satisfactory, while others will hemm and haaa for a while. 

When I first started specing furniture for the university, I talked with vendors, picked out who I wanted to work with based on the service I received and the designs, quality of product... the usual things. I figured I could just contact my buyer and they could buy it and boom! We're done. I was quite taken back when learning about the process earlier mentioned. I still am trying to get my arms around it. If I pick out a couch and a fabric from a company, and put it out to bid, the winning bid may not look at all like what I speced. Grrr!

I am still learning all about this process, so if I mis-explained anything- I apologize.