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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

3D Modeling

This 3d model of the living room was made from 3/8" and 1/8" foamcore, balsa wood, Patty Madden wallpaper samples, Knoll textile samples, travertine samples, beads, and lots of paper cement, hot glue and photo mount spray. The greatest elements of this model are the replicas of iconic furniture pieces from legendary designers: Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Chair, Ray Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, Noguchi IN50 coffee table and Breuer’s Wassily sofa and chair. The model was photographed with one strobe light directly in front of it and two light stands to each side all about 6 feet away to artificially simulate daylight. The exterior scene is a photo of the yard and adds realism - and oh, Marshmellow, the white cat.

Monday, November 1, 2010

BleuTrout Restaurant Design

One of my latest projects was a restaurant design for my Hospitality Design Course last quarter. The task I was given was to design a seafood restaurant in South Lake Tahoe. Since Lake Tahoe is about 200 miles from the ocean, a seafood restaurant seemed odd to me.


I researched the indigenous fish to Tahoe and my concept became to create a supper club that is a dining destination where patrons go to spend the whole evening, from cocktail hour to enjoying night club style entertainment after dinner. Bleu Trout is located in South Lake Tahoe within the MontBleu Casino and Resort.


The design concept is inspired by the crystal clear blue waters of Lake Tahoe and the abundant varieties of trout in the creeks and streams. "Bleu Trout" brings fine dining with a casual vibe to a casino of South Lake Tahoe.



"Bleu Trout" will have cool blue backlit transparent columns mirroring the lighting effects in Montbleu. White faux finished walls will draw upon the pristine crisp winter snowfall common in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. All this crisp, cool blue and white will be warmed by a cedar canopy on the ceiling undulating like the waves of the lake, adding texture and volume. Seating textiles in dark brown leather will be utilized to additionally balance the cool blue and white.



I drew these perspectives in SketchupPro and did the photrealistic renderings where in Podium.




Monday, May 31, 2010

No Pink Please

When you think of a little girls’ room you instantly think of all shades of pink. I wanted to design a room with no pink. Starting with a duvet of black daisies with yellow centers, my inspiration began. I have wanted to try a paint technique where a stripe is applied with the same hue of color, but with two different sheens to create a faux moirĂ© effect. We applied it to the walls and ceiling drawing the eyes upward to our petite glass chandelier. I reupholstered a chair that I salvaged from the garbage years ago with black and white houndstooth and yellow welt. Yellow legs are the finishing touch that makes this chair a real charmer. The metal daybed is from IKEA. Trying to find an affordable Bombay chest was easier than I thought. I searched several antique stores, but lucked out when I found this one on Overstock.com. Adding yellow paint and glass knobs makes it fabulous. An inexpensive picture frame is transformed with a mirror. The whole room is summed up with a shaggy yellow carpet. Viola – a little girls’ room with no pink – gotta love it!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Eco-Friendly Design


I have finished my project for my Contemporary Residential Design Course. Our assignment was to select materials, finishes, and furnishings for a cottage using eco-friendly products. There is so much information about "green" and what it means and who is doing it, but I realized that almost all my research brought me to the macro impact to our environment, but I found scant documentation about the micro environment. What about the effect of toxic compounds in our own personal environment - our home? How about a new catch phrase - "eco-digs" - the place where one resides with the purist materials possible. So many people suffer from allergies, headaches and general aches and pains. They don't even realize their micro environment is the cause.

Happily I found MANY products that are friendly to our personal space. Products that are made with natural ingredients. Here is how I specified the products for this eco-dig.

Wallcoverings: Formaldehyde-free paper from managed sustainable forests. Printed with water-based inks and coatings. Installed with wheat, cellulose, or starch based adhesives.

Paint: Zero VOC based containing no ammonia, formaldehyde, ethylene glycol, or crystalline silica. http://www.yolocolorhouse.com/

Flooring: Marmoleum flooring is made up of linseed oil, rosins, and wood flour, calendered into a natural jute backing. It has bactericidal properties; prevention of household mites; and anti-static properties. http://www.forbo-flooring.com/

Wood Flooring: Plantation-grown eucalyptus from sustainable, managed and PEFC-certified forests. It is a smooth and refined grain wood more durable than oak. http://www.duro-design.com/index.cfm/european-eucalyptus-flooring/

Carpet: Flor Carpet Tiles are made with renewable and recycled content and are recyclable. Content is corn, recycled water bottles and natural fibers like wool. The great thing about tiles is that when you have a problem you just remove one square, not the whole room. http://www.flor.com/

Kitchen Cabinets: Crystal Cabinets Green Quest is constructed with plywood and particle board which is made with a patented soy-based resin and no added urea-formaldehyde. www.crystalcabinets.com/greedproducts.htm

Furnishings: Viesso furniture is made with natural elements like jute webbing and cotton seat decks. http://www.viesso.com/the-viesso-way/extreme-green.php

And lastly - why not used furniture? My sofa selection comes from Consignment Plus Home Furnishings in Walnut Creek and re-upholstered with a 100% wool chenille.

Hope you like my eco-digs.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What does an Interior Designer Do?

I am doing my internship at Applegate Tran (check out the website). It is so incredible. Gioi Tran is inspirational and I look forward to learning so much from him. I helped out with a recent workshop Gioi gave to homeowners remodeling their kitchens. Gioi presented a slide show of before and after kitchen designs and there were many “oh” and “ahs” from the audience. Then came the Q&A and it occurred to me – most people just do not understand the role of an interior designer. This surprised me – don’t they watch HGTV? And why would you ever undertake a remodel without an interior designer?


The NCIDQ website says “Interior design is a multi-faceted profession in which creative and technical solutions are applied within a structure to achieve a built interior environment. These solutions are functional, enhance the quality of life and culture of the occupants, and are aesthetically attractive. Designs are created in response to and coordinated with code and regulatory requirements, and encourage the principles of environmental sustainability. The interior design process follows a systematic and coordinated methodology, including research, analysis and integration of knowledge into the creative process, whereby the needs and resources of the client are satisfied to produce an interior space that fulfills the project goals.”

To sum it all up, an Interior Designer (not to be confused with an Interior Decorator) creates a better experience. I have discovered that getting a degree in Interior Design involves technical, analytical, creative skills, and understandings of architectural elements. I definitely did not think it would be so difficult – after all I am a Certified Public Accountant – becoming an Interior Designer couldn’t be more complicated – wrong! It is complicated, but when it all comes together the end result is so satisfying for the Designer and the Client. I guess people are leery of hiring a designer because they think it will cost too much, but in the long wrong it actually saves your pocket book, but more importantly it saves your sanity.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Modern Furniture


My project for this quarters Construction Documents class is a case study on the Barcelona Pavilion designed by architect Mies van de Rohe in 1929 for the International Exhibition. This is an exciting assignment for me. Part of the assignment is to draft three millwork pieces. Mies intended for the pavilion to be bare, hence it is difficult to create three millwork pieces. So I am drawing the Barcelona chair, which he designed specifically for the pavilion. As I learned this, I was astonished - after all this chair is the icon for modern furniture design and is still manufactured today!


Drafting this chair affirms my passion for interior design, amazing me that it is as fresh as if it had been created yesterday. Let me point out that I could not find anywhere – digitally or in print – any drawings with specific dimensions or details, so I am creating it as best I can from the Knoll website (the current patent holder). My meager CAD talents turned out a fairly nice rendition and I embrace all things modern, even when they were created over 80 years ago.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Design Contest


Crying is a good thing – right? I just finished a “good cry” because I completed my first board for the Design Contest. Yes, I am competing in the San Francisco Design Centers Student Career Forum Design Contest. I am doing the Art Gallery Contest. The criterion is to create a contemporary art gallery located in Sonoma County. The floor plan is provided and we do the space planning and finish selections. Last quarter this was our assignment for the Architectural Detailing Class. But I have been refining it for the past six weeks. Today I finished Board#2. This probably doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but for a perfectionist like me, it has been a BIG deal. Also, I am trying new things like using a mitered mat board, new types of glues, and rendering digitally. Hence, the big cry of relief this morning when I finished Board#2. Still after all these months of planning, things went wrong and the finished board is not in the least perfect. I figured out that I could work on it forever and it would never be “perfect”, so I am finished. A few labels are slighting skewed, some glue leaked out, and some of the mitered edges are a little wonky. I just hope it is good enough t win a prize. Oh by the way, I had planned on finishing Board #1 today as well, but the printers cut one of the transparency ¼” shorter than the others ….arghhhh

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Tessellations are regular patterns of shapes fitting snugly together to fill the page, without overlapping to form a symmetrical pattern. M.C.Escher had tessellations of people and animals neatly fitting together making interesting patterns. I drew this tessellation of the cobra pose, and after a few hours today at the Northern California Regional Yoga Asana Championships I have confirmed to myself that the human eye is good at seeing things which aren't really there and yogis are good at contorting the body into shapes that don't seem possible. Both create a feeling of well being and balance for the mind and the body. It is a beautiful thing.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Contemplating 2009


It is the time of year when we think about the past and plan for the future. All my life I have had a plan - for each day, week, month, and year. Oddly, my current reality is nothing like anything I ever imagined. 2009 was the year that I came to grips with my new reality - one that I had not planned - I am a creative person that I did not know existed and learning so many new things. Sometimes it is exhilarating and sometimes it is so frustrating when my brain just won't work the way I want it to.

New Year's day I was watching "Marley and Me" and Owen Wilson lamented to his editor that his plan was to be a reporter not a columnist. The editor told him "sometimes life comes up with a better idea." As I sit here with tears rolling down my face I am so glad "life had a better idea." I have many exciting things "planned" for 2010 - an internship, an design contest, new classes, perfecting my drafting and drawing skills and guess what - I am leaving one door opened for the unknown.............imagine that!!