DSA Newsletter - Summer 2015


It's that time of year when just the thought of being outside can make us melt. Lucky for us, our focus is on interior design! How did folks ever survive without air conditioning? This month we're really envious of those DSA members who live in cooler climates. Summer is a great time to regroup and prepare for a busy fall season. Take the opportunity to refocus efforts.

Many of us find great reward in slowing our pace. While some might fear missing out on something if they stop racing against the clock, others actually experience the opposite and enjoy life even more. It's always a balancing act for those with busy careers, families and social circles. But picking a pace that allows you to get the most out of everything can be key to a happily balanced life. If you're struggling this summer to keep it all together, check out the article below on how to consciously slow your speed.

In the meantime, I hope you're taking full advantage of all that DSA membership provides. If there is anything we can do to assist you, just let us know!

Stay cool!

Natasha Lima Younts DSA

Designer Society of America

Ready to Roll!

No doubt most of us remember our early years in the business, feeling overwhelmed and underprepared and wondering if we'd made a big mistake by entering the interior design field. Have you ever considered how a newly-educated residential interior designer holds seasoned design professionals in such high esteem?

Designer Society of American continuously serves to certify students in the field of Residential Interior Design through colleges across the nation and online. Once the students earn their certification, they're typically ready to get out of the classroom, excited, eager and anxious to start gaining true hands-on experience that no amount of studying can replace. As you continue to grow your interior design businesses and take on additional clients, please keep our well-educated students in mind for apprentice opportunities.

Whenever possible, contact us directly to find out if we have a certified student in your area. Our certified students have completed an intense, well-rounded certification program, ensuring competency and ability in all aspects of interior design. You could make a world of difference in a new designer's career?and help boost your business without the expense of a full-time experienced designer.

When you're ready to take on an educated and capable apprentice, contact us  at support@dsasociety.org. Together we can help those individuals advance from student to apprentice to veteran interior designer.

Slow Ride, Take It Easy

"The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience."
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Though we're not always willing to admit it, most of us are guilty of living life in the fast lane, intent on trying to do it all ourselves and at record speed, not slowing down long enough to realize how much of our lives might actually be passing us by unnoticed. We've been conditioned by society that, in order to succeed, we can't often afford to sit back and enjoy the small things in life. The possibility of a balanced life is out there for anyone willing to quiet the pace and actually get even more out of life at a slower speed.

It's hard for some of us to believe, but faster isn't always better and more isn't always rewarding. We can still be productive while also being freer to enjoy expending our energy on something more satisfying to the soul than merely watching our bottom line. Summer is the perfect time to engage in a slower pace of life. Finding the speed that's just right for you can be deeply satisfying.

There are many benefits of slowing down, including:

  • Better focus. When you slow down, you can focus better. It's hard to focus if you're moving too fast.
  • Deeper focus. Rushing produces shallowness, because you never have time to dig beneath the surface. Slow down and dive into deeper waters.
  • Better appreciation. You can really appreciate what you have, what you're doing, who you're with, when you take the time to slow down and really pay attention.
  • Enjoyment. When you appreciate things, you enjoy them more. Slowing down allows you to enjoy life to the fullest.
  • Less stress. Rushing produces anxiety and higher stress levels. Slowing down is calmer, relaxing, peaceful.

Easier said than done, right? Slowing down doesn't happen overnight, no matter how dedicated you become to making the necessary lifestyle changes. Try these tips, one at a time, and soon you'll realize life is moving sweetly slower.

  • Do less. Cut back on your projects, on your task list, on how much you try to do each day. Focus not on quantity but quality.
  • Have fewer meetings. Meetings eat into your day, forcing you to squeeze the things you really need to do into small windows, and making you rush. Try to have blocks of time with no interruptions, so you don't have to rush from one meeting to another.
  • Practice disconnecting. Have times when you turn off your devices and your email notifications and whatnot. Time with no phone calls, when you're just creating, or when you're just spending time with someone, or just reading a book, or just taking a walk, or just eating mindfully.
  • Give yourself time to get ready and get there. If you're constantly rushing to appointments or other places you have to be, it's because you don't allot enough time in your schedule for preparing and for traveling. Pad your schedule to allow time for this stuff. If you think you can get there in 10 minutes, perhaps give yourself 2-3 times that amount so you can go at a leisurely pace and maybe even get there early.
  • Practice being comfortable with sitting, doing nothing. Try just sitting there, looking around, soaking in your surroundings. Try standing in line and just watching and listening to people around you. It takes practice, but after awhile, you'll do it with a smile.
  • Start to eliminate the unnecessary. When you do the important things with focus, without rush, there will be things that get pushed back, that don't get done. And you need to ask yourself: how necessary are these things? What would happen if I stopped doing them? How can I eliminate them, delegate them, automate them?
  • Practice mindfulness. Simply learn to live in the present, rather than thinking so much about the future or the past. When you eat, fully appreciate your food. When you're with someone, be with them fully. When you're walking, appreciate your surroundings, no matter where you are.

Tips from focusmanifesto.com

Make Mine Green!

Unless you are really new to the industry, you have likely run into the term "LEED" or "LEED Certified." LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, provides third-party verification of green buildings. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, the program enables buildings to earn LEED points based on impact, both human and environmental. The overall goal is to create spaces that are both healthier for the people living in them and more sustainable for the environment. Being familiar with the basics of green design enables you to help clients navigate the tricky regulations.

One common misconception about green design is that style must be sacrificed in the name of being truly "green." Sacrificing style is not a consideration for interior designers who wish to keep their residential clients happy. As interior designers first and foremost, you can assure your client that you have opted to expand your knowledge to cover the regulations of green design without having to compromise aesthetics. Like any design client, those desiring green elements must first decide what aspects are practical for their lifestyle. If upcycling and repurposing workable items is important to the client, you can advise them on the practicality. Likewise with the purchase of new items?unless your client commits to buying items that are classically timeless and/or of high quality, they'll more quickly end up discarded when they fail to meet the client's needs?the opposite result of LEED goals.

Clients need the assistance of their designers in seeking out those materials and products that are truly sustainable. Just as labeling an item "organic" carries widespread vagueness, so too does the labeling of products as "green." Products are often marketed to be eco-friendly when they have no basis as such. Designers familiar with green building and design can steer clients to materials and finishes for residential interiors that will have true impact on the carbon footprint. For example, choosing flooring materials produced in the states would certainly be more eco-friendly than having them shipped from overseas.

Green design extends beyond what clients typically consider. Clients intent on providing their families a healthier home with top air quality can call on trained designers to help them select paint, furniture, carpeting and cabinets that don't off-gas harmful chemicals that compromise air quality. For example, designers can point out eco-friendly upholstery with no flame retardant chemicals and zero-VOC paints that do not emit harmful chemicals, all of which can impact air quality and are linked to serious health problems.

For more information on choosing green materials and products for your clients, visit http://www.epa.gov/greenhomes/SmarterMaterialChoices.htm.

Summer Newsletter 2015

As with many professional fields, interior design is blessed with an abundance of early precursors to today's headline makers and standout designers. In this brief discussion on interior designer Dorothy Draper, R.I.D.E student and DSA member Michele Cosentini , reminds us of the value of our forbearers in the industry and how, even today, our work is impacted by the benchmarks they set for the rest of us.

Dorothy Draper: A Brief Discussion on an Interior Design Icon

"I believe in doing the thing you feel is right. If it looks right, it is right." Though Dorothy Draper had many memorable quotes, the idea that interior design should be unique to each individual space rather than follow strict design rules was an overarching theme in her design philosophy. This approach, during a time when there was little self expression in interior design, was quite fearless. It is her fearlessness during an age when women had very clear subservient roles in society that compelled me to want to find out more about the woman who created the first interior design company.

Dorothy Draper was born to an aristocratic American family on November 22, 1889. She grew up in the very exclusive community of Tuxedo Park, New York and lived a life surrounded by beauty and privilege. Her great-great grandfather, Oliver Wolcott, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and her husband, Dr. George Draper, was the personal physician to President Delano Roosevelt. Given her lineage, she could have simply chosen to live as most of her peers did, vacationing and attending parties. Instead, she created a name for herself as one of the most sought after interior designers of her time. Her trademark bright colors, black and white floors, and large floral prints, can still be seen today in some of the spaces she designed some 70 years ago.

Her thoughts and ideas regarding what made a space beautiful have become the foundation of modern design theory. For example, she believed rooms should be uplifting and make people happy, function for the occupant and reflect their personality, that the bedroom should be intimate and comfortable, as well as the most personal space in the home, that it's more impactful to group collectibles together rather than placing them sporadically around a room, and plants are as important as drapery in design. You can hear her voice and see her influence on television and in design books and magazines everywhere; quite an accomplishment for a woman born before women even had the right to vote.

Dorothy Draper was an innovator. She broke away from historical period rooms and the drab color schemes of the Edwardian era popular at the time, and created what are known as the Modern Baroque and Neo Rococo, adding modern twists to these two classical styles. She was known for using striking colors and large floral prints with black and white flooring for dramatic, impactful rooms. She understood color and design could affect people's emotions in a positive way long before color and art therapy existed. She wanted to lift people's spirits with her designs and she did so with great effect. Unlike other designers of her time, Dorothy Draper:

"...dismissed the use of antiques as an insecurity, ignoring historical accuracy, her advice was to "jumble periods cheerfully."

Her philosophy has heavily influenced the modern eclectic look you see in many homes today. Aside from the residential spaces she designed, she was a sought after designer for many upscale hotels in the U.S. and abroad. Her redesign of the Greenbriar in West Virginia is considered to be her pinnacle masterpiece and its grand re- opening in 1948 was the social event of the year.

There is so much more to be said about design icon Dorothy Draper. However, I will end with one of her quotes which, to me, demonstrates the authenticity of her design aesthetic in that it clearly was an expression of her philosophy on life. Her desire to uplift and celebrate the individual resonates with me and inspires me as a designer.

She wrote: "Have you ever stopped to think what fun this business of living can be? If you haven't, and if you are one of those who insist upon believing that life is humdrum, grim and boring, then I'm afraid this department is not for you, for I don't believe any such thing. I know that we can all free ourselves and live our lives fully, zestfully and joyfully!"

Michele Cosentini