DSA Newsletter - December 2009

Notes from Natasha

Yep, it's here again -we're right in the middle of yet another holiday season! While I hope everyone has lots of clients keeping them busy, I also hope you find time to sit back and take in all the festivities of the season with family and friends. This is also a great time of year to look back over the past 12 months and analyze your business. How can you make things even better in 2010?

We're excited to announce that Designer Society of America has been asked to assist HGTV in their Design Star search for season five! Are you a great designer that has what it takes to host your own series on HGTV? Does the idea of competing in a design-based realty show sound like fun to you? Give yourself a gift and throw your hat in the ring. Apply now and you just might be HGTV's next Design Star!

Already looking ahead to a brand new year, DSA is busy scheduling some exciting opportunities and events for our members. We're planning a number of free webinars, featuring some internationally-known speakers on the cutting edge of the design industry. Stay tuned to this newsletter each month for more information.

At the top of our excitement list is a March Feng Shui seminar led by expert Mary Dennis of Graceful Lifestyles. This five-day event will be packed with information and tips on sharing the art of Feng Shui with your clients. A 5,000 year old practice, Feng Shui is the study of the ancient art of placement.
(Did you know the coins above could change your life? The practice of Feng Shui is beneficial for both designers and their clients, becoming certified can give you the competitive edge in your next job interview).

Meaning "wind and water," Feng Shui teaches that everything around us, even inanimate objects, are alive with energy and connected to everything else. Learn how to arrange furniture, add and remove objects, balance a room with color and de-clutter a space to free the flow of positive energy.

Open up a whole new specialty in your practice by offering clients Feng Shui design and arrangement. The art is quickly gaining interest on both the residential and commercial levels, so don't miss this opportunity! Sign up today to secure your spot in this life-changing seminar. This is a great Christmas gift you can suggest someone give to you this holiday season.

Early bird sign up will save you $300. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Oh, and it gets even better. For all you snowbirds, the certification class will be held in sunny Orlando, Florida next March 24-29. Call 229.888.2459 to register today. Limited seats available!

From all of us as Designer Society of America, best wishes for the holiday season and a healthy, prosperous and Happy New Year to all!

Warm regards,
Natasha Lima Younts
Designer Society of America

Share the Love

Are your friends envious of the exciting career you have in interior design? Do they ever say, "I wish I could do what you do?" Now they can!

Designer Society of America is pleased to announce the offering of Introduction to Interior Design, a comprehensive course covering all the basics of interior design. This course is designed to be completed independently, in the comfort of the student's own home and at a pace suitable for them.

This introductory course includes 12 sections of informative lessons, over 200 color images, color illustrations, assignments and quizzes to get them involved in the exciting world of interior design. And just because it's an independent study course doesn't mean they are all alone. Our DSA mentors are here to help with questions and concerns every step of the way.

Upon completion, students will have gained a solid understanding of the basics of interior design, including color theory, furniture, fabrics and textiles, lighting, window treatments, flooring, wall coverings, space planning and more. In addition, they will learn how to create color/mood boards that will win over clients time and again.

Once this course is completed, participants have the option of moving on to more difficult courses to gain even further knowledge of this fast-paced industry. So spread the word among your envious friends today! More information is available by calling 229.888.2459 ask for Cindy.

Early birds can register for the class for just $99 and receive a bonus of a free 6 month trial membership to Designer Society of America. Offer expires on December 25, 2009.

Member Spotlight

Nancy Feldman
The Art of Placement
South Florida

As owner and founder of The Art of Placement, Inc., Nancy Feldman, Allied Member, ASID, DSA professional member and her highly skilled team seek to design specifically for each client and their needs rather than pushing a "signature style." Originally from Boston, Nancy designed and converted for re-sale hundreds of apartments to condominiums before moving to South Florida and has been doing the same with private residences here ever since.

Founded in 1997, The Art of Placement, Inc. continues to change the world of Interior Design by offering unique design solutions that breathes new life into any interior. Nancy and her team of design experts understand that each client is different so they take a unique approach to design to ensure that the final result is everything the client wanted and more.

"We pride ourselves on transforming boring, ordinary, mundane spaces into magical, extraordinary, spectacular paradises that one never wants to leave," she says.

Offering services such as complete interiors, two hour consults for design direction, home staging, relocation services, one day makeovers, hourly shopping and teaching clients to use what they already own to enhance their interiors, The Art of Placement provides an interesting blend of creative interior design and unique techniques that set Nancy's company apart from the rest.

"After many years in this field, interior design is still my passion. The thrill I get out of creating new spaces for my clients makes it an enjoyable experience for all. I've surrounded myself with individuals who have the talent to help provide residences unique to each client and we look forward to continuing for years to come."

Among her many industry accolades, Nancy was named one of the "Designing Women to Watch" by the Women's Business Journal and one of Traditional Home magazine's recommended Miami Interior Decorators. Over the years, Nancy and her company's interesting blend of interior design and unique interior arrangements have been featured in many Florida publications, including Florida Design Magazine, Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Broward and Miami Design magazines.

Nancy and her company have also been featured in the Miami Herald, Palm Beach Post's "From Fine to Fabulous 2004" and "Where the Pros Live 2007," The Boca Raton News' "House of the Week," The Parkland Forum, Palm Beach Illustrated, The Sun Sentinel's Business Journal's "Who's Who - June 2008," Haute Living and others. Her work has also been featured in Spectacular Homes of South Florida 2006 and Spectacular Homes of Florida 2006.

As a renowned visual coordinator, Nancy has appeared regularly on NBC/WPTV's affiliate television programs "The Design Patrol" and "Designing Made Easy." Nancy and her company have also been featured numerous times on Miami's television show "Deco Drive."

Making Sustainable Decisions

Assessing materials from a sustainability perspective means looking at all the costs and benefits throughout the lifecycle of a product. This requires more information gathering and integrated analysis than is possible for a human brain. And it takes more time than any of us has available to devote to decision making.

Computer tools are evolving to help us sort through the many variables and tradeoffs. But a simpler, more fundamental way of engaging in the decision making process can help as well; it's called the Precautionary Principle.

Simply put, embracing the Precautionary Principle means being cautious in our decision making. The principle places an emphasis on the prevention of hazard and a minimizing of risk. It encourages people to make the best possible choice among available alternatives, including considering taking no action. It also shifts the burden of proof from people questioning a product or process to the people advocating it. Instead of an "innocent until proven guilty" approach, the possible harm is factored in and an expectation of some assurance of safety is preferred.

This guiding principle can be used as a kind of process of elimination based on possible harm, letting the safest materials rise to the top of our list of options. We can choose to keep materials, products and processes in our palette of design options when they are known to have an overall positive impact on the health of people and the environment. And we can eliminate options that are known to be harmful or are suspected of being harmful. Instead, choosing from the safest of all the available options and always avoiding potential harm.

Often times, the discussion about materials is driven by market forces attempting to influence us into choosing their offerings. The information provided focuses on the positives while minimizing the negatives. Debates about negative affects often include attempts to quantify what we should consider as an acceptable risk. But, we don't have to join in that kind of thinking. We don't have to determine an acceptable level of risk when a no risk or low risk option is available.

It's our ethical responsibility to choose materials cautiously and avoid subjecting our clients, the planet and future generations to unnecessary risks.

To learn more about the Precautionary Principle, visit the Science and Environmental Health Network website at www.sehn.org

Go Green. Be Cautious.

Sue Norman
Managing Editor

Saddle Up - It's going to be a bumpy ride...

During the 2009 legislative session, IDPC spearheaded the effort to defeat and/or derail more than 20 bills which would have expanded or enacted new interior design regulations - regulations which would have excluded the majority of interior designers across the country. We also spurred on proposed amendments to loosen the noose on both title or practice restrictions, and we are actively assisting the Institute for Justice wherever possible in their efforts to strike down Florida's practice act.

Unfortunately, these bills will not stay in the barn for long. We are already working on/tracking legislation in 20 - 25 states. And the 2010 session hasn't even started yet!

Natasha Lima Younts, founder and president of DSA will be taking the reins with me as we work to protect the livelihoods of the members of DSA. Together, we encourage you to take off the blinders and participate in the process to protect your rights - we'll let you know the appropriate time.

For more information, please visit the IDPC website at www.IDPCinfo.org.

Have a blessed Christmas and regulation-free New Year!

Executive Director
Interior Design Protection Council

Success Strategies:
ACT Instead of React, Stop the Flames of Failure Before They Start

© www.melissagalt.com

Are you caught in the Reaction Trap? Do you find yourself responding continually to the variety of messages and media that are hitting you daily? Are you working on putting out fires only to find more business blazes flaming? Stop. Whenever your energy and focus is just on containment that is what will keep showing up. You must shift your energy and focus to removing the flammables in your business.

The flammables in your business can include lack of systems so you have poor cash flow. Combustibles also mean inappropriate prospects which have led to ill-fitting clients and likely to poor cash flow. Burnables are also those vendors you work with that aren't working effectively and satisfactorily with you, and yes, again leading to poor cash flow.

The end result is the same in all cases: Your current crunch is caused by being stuck in the Reaction Trap. There is a way out.

#1 Get Systems
You can't run a successful business without systems. Systems for accounting, for marketing, for lead generation and prospecting, for resourcing, for hiring, for daily operations, for follow up and for referrals. Find training, mentoring, or a mastermind that will give you the systems you need to move your business forward.

#2 Get Targeted
When you try to be all things to all people, you are actually nothing to anyone! You must laser focus your business on your ideal client, and by knowing who you want to work with, you will then be able to create their profile as your perfect prospect. Again, too wide a niche and you will not gain any traction, create any buzz or get any attention. Drill deep not wide. This is a lot like gold mining or drilling for oil, going two miles deep beats an inch shallow and six miles wide!

#3 Get Picky
You get to choose not only who you work with in terms of clients and customers, but also who you work with to support your business. You get to choose your vendors. Choose wisely. Get references, Google them, even check the unhappy sites like YELP and Get Satisfaction for who NOT to work with. Having a poor team in place or working with vendors who drive you crazy will zap your time, energy and effectiveness throughout your business.

Stop putting out the fires of crisis and instead create an explosion of success!

Do you want more great tips for growing your creative business? Check out www.todaybydesign.com for timesaving shortcuts, easy tips and simple tools to take your business higher. When you are ready for a FREE strategy session, head over to www.sixfigureprofessionals.com and register for a private call guaranteed to mean more profit in your pocket.

Lighting techniques that are right on track and on budget

(ARA) - If the mortgage crisis has your clients staying put for a few more years, there's an easy way to enhance their home's decor while adding value. Upgrading recessed lighting or installing a track lighting system can brighten up any room and make the space appear larger.

This is not the track lighting from the 1960s and '70s - those clunky and chunky fixtures in black or white that became hallmarks of contemporary interiors. Now there are a lot more choices: Track heads are smaller in size, available in traditional styles and offered in a variety of finishes including brushed nickel and bronze to coordinate with appliances and hardware. These same metallic finishes are also popular in recessed lighting trims for the same reason, according to Shelley Wang, president of WAC Lighting.

Besides coordinating seamlessly with decor, today's track and recessed fixtures provide supreme versatility. These lighting products come to the rescue when space configurations make it tough to illuminate all areas.

"Recessed fixtures are generally preferred for general lighting in almost any room of the house," notes Joe-Rey Barreau, education consultant for the American Lighting Association (ALA) and an associate professor at the University of Kentucky's School of Interior Design.

Wang agrees, adding, "They are perfect for illuminating otherwise dark spaces where portables and direct-mount fixtures have limited capabilities and would visually clutter the design."

Recessed lights offer flexibility in that they can be individually aimed, according to Wang. "Square downlights in singles and multiples are a great linear look that was first made popular in retail and architectural spaces, but are now found regularly in high-end homes," she explains. "Trimless recessed lights ensure that nothing protrudes below the ceiling plane, giving a minimalist look."

Your clients can rely on recessed not only when illuminating hallways and kitchens, but also to supplement other light sources in family rooms and bedrooms.

Glenn Siegel, marketing director for Cooper Lighting, has observed two growing trends: an increase in finish choices and a preference for recessed, square shapes for an architectural look. "In both Halo's recessed and track lines, we now provide updated metallic finishes that range from Aluminum Haze, Satin Nickel, and Tuscan Bronze to Antique Copper," says Siegel.

To save on energy, plus limit awkward bulb changes on the ceiling, consumers can buy compact fluorescent bulbs suitable for recessed fixtures. Placing the lights on a dimmer will further cut electrical costs and allow the user to vary the levels of light to create ambiance. Several lighting manufacturers are now offering LED-powered recessed fixtures and hanging pendants suspended from track for even greater energy savings over time.

"Almost any room in the house is a candidate for a track system," Rey-Barreau says. Once relegated to applications such as hallways, recreation and family rooms, and basements, track lighting is now being employed in dining rooms, kitchens and bedrooms.

Track systems have evolved into highly decorative and functional lighting solutions. "The most common type is the monorail, which contains a single rail of electrified cable that can be installed either in straight runs or can be bent in the field for custom designs," Rey-Barreau notes. The monorail provides the greatest flexibility and has an almost unlimited range of fixture options. With these new systems, the track becomes very much a part of the room's overall aesthetics.

Siegel has noticed that owners who invest in expensive automobiles are installing lighting systems that showcase their investment. "Using both recessed and track lighting, designers are providing both proper light levels and color temperatures in these residential garages to make the spaces both functional and inviting," he explains.