A New Design Tool and Some Perspective

Designed by Glenn Gissler

Some Thoughts On … Perspective

In Carl Dellatore’s third column for DSA, he is sharing insights on perspective and explains that it’s one of the guiding principles behind an interior designer’s work.

“Go big in a small space,” Dellatore recommends. “Imaginatively repurpose an existing structure. Expand the definition of what constitutes a view.”

Learn more in his column below.

Software to Support Successful Design

“Success is not about the position you hold, but the positive impact you have on others.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
While many interior designers may be the only employee working within their firm, it doesn’t mean they got there on their own. Typically, it’s taken friends, family, classmates—a village.

And when one designer experiences success, she or he doesn’t usually hesitate to share that with others, explaining what hoops they may have had to jump through to achieve their greatness.

That’s why, as Eleanor Roosevelt said, "Success is not about the position you hold, but the positive impact you have on others.”

And this idea is of sharing that success is what has helped Mydoma Studio Founder and CEO Sarah Daniele’s business continue to thrive nearly 12 years after initially creating the software program.

“As a platform for interior designers, when the designer is succeeding, then we are succeeding; so it feels really good to build resources that enable them to do their jobs better,” Daniele says. “It’s a win-win for everybody.”

Mydoma, officially shared with others in the industry in 2015, was one of the first of its kind and is a premier platform for interior designers, from students to tenured professionals.

We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Sarah Daniele to discover what led her to start Mydoma and why she is excited about collaborating with DSA to support the organization’s student and professional membership. Read our Q&A with her below. 

Some Thoughts on … Perspective

By Carl Dellatore
Small Spaces Reimagined -  Create Extraordinary Designs in Unique Ways
In the 35 years I’ve worked in the design industry, I have seen and visited untold numbers of rooms, show houses, apartments and homes of all sizes and configurations. The decade I spent as a curtain workroom owner alone took me to projects from the Upper West Side of Manhattan and the far East End of Long Island to dwellings in Connecticut, Florida, California and beyond.

I’ve seen the best in supremely spare minimalism, the exuberant heights of more-is-more maximalism and everything in between. As a design journalist, I have seen thousands of images of rooms while compiling magazine stories and photo editing my books.

Considering the breadth of those visuals, the most memorable spaces—spaces I continue to reference—are where the designer or architect rigorously exercised their creativity. They are rooms that break with the received wisdom that provides guidelines for how designers navigate their projects: Floorplans always proceed from the entry to the back door; large rooms should be broken into multiple seating areas; libraries should have fireplaces and be sheathed in dark colors. The list goes on.

Counterintuitive choices, or breaking with these conventions, can be inspiring.
Let me give you a few examples.

At the turn of the millennium, designer Randy Ridless was chosen to participate in the 2000 Kips Bay Decorator Show House, often called the Academy Awards of Design. And as luck would have it, he was assigned a relatively small space, which he celebrated, outfitting it to the nines with plush furnishings that might have made more sense in a larger room. In his diminutive room, he turned convention on its head. He went bold, up to and including the calligraphic markings atop the deep lacquered walls (at the time, Ridless told me the trompe l'oeil embellishments were inspired by Picasso drawings.) It was a witty, irreverent, energetic room—so vibrant that the New York Times gushed about the space. Perhaps it was a coincidence, but Ridless went on to be tapped to redesign the Burberry Flagship store shortly after that. (Sadly, Ridless passed away in 2009.)

In October 2013, I was invited to join a press preview of the Providence Arcade building—coincidentally, the first shopping mall in America, built in 1828. It was abandoned for years when a team of designers, architects and developers re-imaged the remarkable columned Greek Revival structure as 48 residential units, most of which were studio or one-bedroom, micro lofts between 225 and 450 square feet. Each tiny apartment had a built-in bed, wardrobe cabinet, bathroom with shower, kitchen area with a mini-fridge and banquette serving as a sofa. Some of the roomier residences had an additional twin-sized Murphy bed. Considering that Brown, RISD, and Johnson & Wales were within walking distance, the repurposed structure quickly filled with students and young professionals.

And then, a few years back, I visited a newly installed apartment in Greenwich Village just a few blocks from the Hudson River, designed by my friend and colleague Glenn Gissler. The home is in a converted commercial building with large rooms and soaring ceilings. The duplex space unfolded over 4,000 square feet, including public rooms on the ground floor, a secret garden and private areas for a family of four above; all connected by a monumental, curved staircase that Gissler designed. But it was the dining room that left a truly lasting impression on me.

In developing the apartment’s floor plan, just beyond the gracious entryway, Gissler created an interior space, closed on three sides with a butler’s door to the kitchen at the back, to be used as the formal dining room. The proportions were fantastic; he added historically referenced moldings and beams in a nod to the building’s classical exterior. But there was a design challenge: no windows; hence, no view.

Gissler’s solution? He engaged artist Kevin Paulsen, known for his fantastical murals, to paint an imagined 18th century view of the Hudson River on one side of the room and the East River on the other.

This dining room, designed by Glenn Gissler, is enveloped by a commissioned mural by artist Kevin Paulsen, depicting a fantastical landscape of an imagined history of New York City. The large-scale oak dining table was custom made, and a pair of vintage Moroccan lanterns bring a feeling of exoticism to the room. Photographed by Gross & Daley and featured in “More Is More Is More: Today’s Maximalist Interiors” from Rizzoli, New York.

Careful measurements of the room were taken so that the canvases could be painted off-site and installed once perfected and approved. And for a remarkably personal touch, Gissler asked Paulsen to paint the family members into the mural. The result is an other-worldly room that offers more of a view than a mere window could ever provide.

This creative thinking reminds me of a quote from the late self-help guru Wayne Dyer, who said, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Go big in a small space. Imaginatively repurpose an existing structure. Expand the definition of what constitutes a view.

On a macro level, Dyer’s words perfectly encapsulate a profound truth about human perception and its transformative power. He underscores the idea that our reality is shaped not only by external circumstances but also by the internal lens through which we view them.

It seems to me that idea is one of the guiding principles behind an interior designer’s work; they question the status quo and look for solutions outside the oft-cliched box by adopting fresh perspectives. That inherent creativity is the reason I am a lifelong student of design.

Stay updated on this series author, Carl Dellatore, by following his Instagram. About Carl Dellatore & Associates - provides designers, architects, and creatives with writing, editing, and copyediting services by an established team to effectively reveal your story. 

Software that Helps Enhance your Educational and Professional Processes

By Lindsay Field Penticuff

Sarah Daniele, Founder and CEO of Mydoma Studio, headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, had only been practicing interior design and running her own business for about two years when she realized there was a great need for software improvements to help her create a repeatable process within the business.

“There was a lot that was happening over and over again, but there was no way to do it cohesively, so I came up with this idea to repeat the design process by starting off with the concept of productizing services,” Daniele shares.

But what started as a personal need for Daniele in 2011 made a little—well, actually a lot—of traction in 2015 when she began introducing the program she called Mydoma Studio to others in the interior design industry.

“I wasn’t sure other designers may actually need this tool to simplify their process, but that happened later and much more organically by simply being open with what I was doing and how I was doing it made Mydoma become a thing,” she says.

Learn more about Mydoma and the evolution of the program from personal use to what it is today in our Q&A with Daniele below:

How did you introduce Mydoma to other interior designers?

“I was working with the interior design community on Google Plus. We used to provide videos and talk about the industry in general, and founder Laurie Laizure brought me on and gave me a platform to share what I had been doing. This kickstarted the whole ‘What is Mydoma? and got people talking about it.

“I wasn’t seeking to build a platform, but participating in these online communities and sharing the program enabled it to get into the hands of more people and generate organic questions about it. I didn’t understand that thousands of other designers across North America were having the same issue—all the tools were super fragmented and didn’t work together, so there wasn’t a cohesive way to design.”

In what ways does Mydoma specifically cater to the needs and challenges faced by interior designers?

“Mydoma gives designers an end-to-end solution. From that initial client inquiry to when the project closes and all the things in between, including the initial consultations, it helps with product sourcing through the product clipper, building a catalog, time tracking with billable and nonbillable hours, invoicing, purchase orders, purchase order tracking, reporting, mood boards, renderings—literally everything outside of your full accounting.”

What sets Mydoma apart from other interior design software solutions in the market?

There are a few things:

“Our development team is all in-house, so we have a devoted team that works on the project full-time, enabling us to work faster on adding new features. They are dedicated to the solution, different from a company that may be outsourcing their software development needs.

“From the technology standpoint, we have a few features that are above what our competitors have, such as our rendering is built in and we have a full mobile app, so you take everything on the go.”

What exciting features or updates have Mydoma planned or recently implemented?

“We just released better order tracking and management following up, and coming down the pipeline, we will introduce public product catalogs. This is going to be huge for designers! Our product clipper allows designers to go in and clip products from your favorite vendors. Still, we will have a public catalog of thousands of products that will be continuously updated so designers can go in, choose the products they want and mark them up, discount them, add them to mood boards, and create invoices.”

Mydoma is known for its commitment to helping interior designers succeed. What resources or support do you offer to achieve this goal?

“We offer regular webinars on core functions in the design business—workflow, best practices, and onboarding your clients. We run these regularly to help ensure that our newer designers, or even people who want to change their process, have a helping hand.

“We also offer templates, free resources (usually downloadables), and chat support from real people. We hire interior designers to share their experience, which could be technical or explaining how much they should mark up a product.”

What can you tell us about the exciting partnership between Mydoma and DSA? 

“Shortly after Laurie Laizure started working with DSA, she told me there might be a great opportunity to collaborate with the organization. It fits with Mydoma’s core values.”

For students:
“The relationship is to help first facilitate interior design students, so they have a base to start getting their systems and processes in place and to start using the software in school. We have an opportunity to—at scale—help design students shape the decisions they will make in the future and build good habits. We can teach you time tracking and how to price stuff better, and you can use these tools in school to help build good habits and make you much better when you come out.”

For professionals:
“DSA professional members are set to benefit immensely from exclusive offerings that enhance their business processes. Members will receive a personalized onboarding call to integrate Mydoma’s comprehensive toolkit seamlessly into their workflow. Additionally, a discount of $100 on their Professional Annual Plan subscription will be available, facilitating affordability and accessibility to the platform.”

How do you believe this partnership will enhance the educational and professional development opportunities for students and professional members of DSA?

“Students are learning how to design a space in school, but with the actual delivering of a design from the initial consultation to project close-out, this is going to give them the tools and confidence to do that. And, they are going to keep building upon that. This partnership for us as a company is to enable students to make that transition successfully into the workplace.”

What does it mean for you to see Mydoma thrive?

“It’s rewarding, and it’s so empowering to watch mostly women-led businesses flourish. And to impact designers' careers. Those coming right out of school will benefit through this partnership, as well as established designers who can streamline their process through our program tools, allowing them to spend more time with clients and do what they enjoy most. And to give them that confidence is amazing.”

DSA note: What designers are saying:
Mydoma encapsulates all the necessities for running a successful design studio, whether you are a solo designer or have a large team.  It handles client onboarding and continued communications, mood boards, 2D-floor plans/perspectives, presentations, fee payment collection, sourcing, proposals, purchase orders, and invoicing. It is a place where a designer can not only house all project-related items in one place but also give the client reliable and consistent access to their project—creating a streamlined process for the studio and client. 

October High Point Market Recap

Photo by Elvin Abril
The Fall 2023 High Point Market, which was held Oct. 14-18 and described as a “whirlwind week” by Business of Home editor Carolina Biggs, welcomed tens of thousands of interior design industry professionals from around the world to North Carolina.

Learn more about her firsthand experience at High Point Market’s fall event in her article, “The best debuts at High Point Fall Market,” and be sure to check out Biggs’ favorite finds.

Registration for the Spring 2024 High Point Market, scheduled to be held April 13-17, 2024, will open in late January 2024. Learn more: highpointmarket.org/Register4.