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Monday, November 5, 2012

Interior Design is Just Like I Imagined

I am being interviewed this week by several interior design students from different colleges (part of their homework assignments). I was thinking about how I could tell them what it is like to be an interior designer and thought I would show them my week.

Monday:  I shopped for drapery hardware and installed drapes. I figured out that we needed a few more panels, so I placed that order. Those will be installed next week.
Tuesday:  I delivered four red chairs that I was able to sell because of the Dream Room Competition. Then I visited a client to check on our progress and decide on the accessories we still need to purchase.


Wednesday: The salon project was completed and we passed on the keys. I then met with a new client for a kitchen remodel. I wrote and sent out the contract.

Thursday: Picked up the last of the supplies for the little ADA bathroom and met with our carpenter to get all the little details just right. I also picked up this cute child’s chair from the upholsterer for one of our littlest clients.


Friday: Rushed around to get all the supplies for a color consultation and then meet with the client to pick just the right color.  I picked up some hand drawings for a drafting project.
Then, of course, there was paperwork, bill paying, phone calls, blogging and tasks for ASID for which I am the financial director.

I wonder if this is what they think it will be like. I think it is just like I imagined and dreamed.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Haunted Row House in NYC Scares Interior Designer - Really!!

kitchen: photo by me
(I don't think the rats are real?)

Interior Designers are always doing research - the latest products, latest techniques, latest codes, etc. But sometimes we have to go back in time to research by gone days. You may have seen my earlier post about the Victoiran restoration I have been collaborating on, so when I in New York City I visited the Merchant’s House Museum at the suggestion of my Facebook interior designer friend Jim Fairfax.

Parlor and Sitting Room: Photo courtesy of Merchant House Museum
The Merchant's House Museum, constructed in 1832, is a New York City and a National Historic Landmark.  It is also a member of the Historic House Trust of New York City. This row house is among the finest surviving examples of late-Federal and Greek Revival architecture. It remains virtually unchanged from the time when it was the home of the affluent 19th century merchant family of Seabury (1780-1865) and Eliza (1797-1882) Tredwell and their eight children.
This house is a historical gem in the midst of a developing East Village.  It is perfectly preserved as the Tredwell family left it when Gertrude died in 1933. If you're at all "sensitive" to ghosts this is a great place to visit.  It is also a great place to see how wealthy New York City residents lived in the early 20th century.

On the evening I visited, Dan Sturges, gave a lecture on his investigations into the paranormal activities of the home. Sturges talked and shared many stories about the numerous times he and his team conducted investigations.  Sturges claims Gertrude, the youngest daughter, haunts the upstairs bedroom.  Seabury, the master of the house, still walks the hallways at night.  Interestingly, the servants, Anne and Brigitte, continue to make their rounds.
Prior to the lecture, I had an opportunity to chat with Anthony Bellov, a board member, and I took a few pictures. After the lecture, I needed to use the restroom downstairs but I was too scared!!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Strong Woman

I traveled to New York City last week because my sister, Donna Stevens, a breast cancer survivor was walking in the 10th annual AvonWalk for Breast Cancer. This was her fifth walk and she and her team “The Pink Ribbon Gemz” have raised nearly $50,000. The first year she walked all the family and friends were supportive and eagerly wrote large checks. Heck, after all the treatments and surgeries she had endured, it was the least we could do. Frankly, in the preceding years we grew weary of doling out yet another check. We thought, “Seriously, how many times does she have to do this anyway?”
I was there at the finish line as she and her mates and about 3,700 other men and women all blinged out in pink regalia walked passed (some hobbling) after completing 39.3 miles. As the day went on and I watched all these jubilant women, it occurred to me – this is NOT about raising money for cancer research (albeit a by-product), this is about the camaraderie of woman coping with disfiguration and death in the only way they can positively have any control over what has happened to them. It is beautiful.

Then to my utter amazement in the closing ceremonies, the foundation began giving out grants totaling 7.8 million to organizations such as The Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Center at New York Presbyterian-Columbia University Medical Center, one of eight Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Centers of Excellence located in leading medical centers across the country, who received $750,000 to continue funding care for thousands of underserved women in its state-of-the art mammography center. They are helping many women receive early detection and treatment that they would not otherwise receive. This, to me, is what is extraordinary.

So my hero is my sister, whose never ending fund raising channels her anger and fear into happiness and hope for not only herself, but for many, many women.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

DIY Red Light Pendant

In September I participated in the Dream Room competition at the Modesto Home Improvement Show produced by Metro Expositions in Modesto California. The competition involves select interior designers from the Modesto and Stockton region. Each designer is given a 20 foot x 8 foot space enclosed in 2x6 wood framed wall covered by unfinished gypsum board. The design criteria is to design a room for a young couple with a small child who will be entertaining their family for the holidays. We have six hours on the first day and three hours on the second day to finish the walls, flooring and furnishing and decorations in the space.

I decided to do a dining room. I have participated in the competition before and I like to make curated light fixtures. I knew I wanted to make something out of wire in a domed shape for a pendant. I thought some kind of bowl could be transformed. One day shopping at Ikea for an unrelated project I came across this Tradig Bowl. Perfect shape and it already had a hole in the middle. Turn it up-side down and viola a pendant. The color was exciting and my design concept began to unfold.
To make the pendant I decided to use cotton fabric wrapped wire, an old fashioned type socket and a replica of Thomas Edison era, Victorian style carbon filament light bulb.  I purchased 2-conductor 18-gauge red cotton twisted wire - by the foot from Sundial Wire. It was the only sight I could find that sold the wire by the foot instead of by the spool.

I was shocked at the price of Edison style bulbs, but found a reasonably priced one at Antique Lamp Supply. I also purchased the black socket with a pull chain from Antique Lamp Supply.
As I began to assemble the lamp, I discovered that the socket was too short. We made a trip to the local big box store and purchased an extender.

Supplies Needed:
Tradig Bowl from Ikea
2-conductor 18-gauge red cotton twisted wire - by the foot from SundialWire
Leviton Brand Bakelite Turn Knob Socket w/Ring from Antique Lamp Supply
Edison Base "Squirrel Cage" Light Bulb from Antique Lamp Supply

If you need to know how to wire the socket, check out TheFamily Handyman for a nice tutorial.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Building Information Modeling - Victorian Style

Last week I completed a course in Advance Revit taught by John Bohan. AutoDesk Revit is Building Information Modeling software for architects and engineers. It allows users to design a building and its components in 3D.

I was first exposed to Revit in Art College in 2009 by a classmate, Karen Watt. She taught me so much about the use of the software and I quickly embraced all the great features it offers in contrast to other CAD 2D software. Our drafting in college was typically taught with AutoCAD, but Karen and I preferred Revit. When I started my interior design company, I continued to use Revit to prepare my interior design concepts, floor plans, and specifications for my clients. Believe me; I have watched just about every available YouTube video on Revit. Even with all the videos and books available, I still, at times, was pulling my hair out because although it is a program I adore, it is challenging.

Several months ago, my old instructor, Marosi White at The Art Institute asked me to be a guest instructor for her Revit class. I was happy to accept and for three hours tried to help her students with many of the tips and tricks I had learned through trial and error. Luckily for me, Marosi told me about the online Revit course.

At the same time I was drafting a Victorian Remodel for an architect and Mr. Bohan was able to help me immensely with all the intricate gingerbread so typical of Victorian Houses. This house was built in 1909 and the owner wants to restore it to near museum quality. Next week I am going to New York and will tour Merchant House Museum. It is a home built in 1832 and is preserved intact inside and out. It should provide lots of inspiration.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hitting A Wall

I have been hitting a wall when it comes to blogging, so I am taking a blogging ecourse "Blogging Your Way Boot Camp" by Holly Becker. It is an online course and it started today. I have read all the materials and watched all the videos - I am ready to start my blogging!! The first week’s homework assignment is to write three (yes THREE) new blogs from a list of 10 choices. One of the choices was to blog about the course, well that was easy. The next few may be a little harder. I have chosen to write about the course I took last month – Advanced Revit (yes, I have concluded that I am a habitual student).  My last blog (for this week) will be about a custom pendant that I made for the Dream Room Competition I just participated in September (I came in third – more to follow). I have a feeling that each week will consist of writing many blogs (it is Boot Camp after all). I am spending this weekend in San Francisco and the following week I am flying to New York. These are two fabulous cities that will provide lots of design and blogging inspiration.  


Oh, the image above you ask? Yes, it is called “Bury Circle.”  I found an old Polaroid image from when I was four years old and created this artwork that now hangs in my living room. I did hit a wall that day many, many years ago (not injured) and I have it to remind me that some days are harder than others, but I can carry on.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

" are a very avant-garde designer - beautiful."

Parker's Alley Place, Stockton, California

My current restaurant client and I did a preliminary walk-through of his almost completed space. He said with a big smile, "you are a very avant-garde designer - beautiful," I have heard the term before, but had to look it up. “Avant-garde (French pronunciation: [avɑ̃ɡaʁd]); from French, "advance guard" or "vanguard"[1]) is a French term used in English as a noun or adjective to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics. Avant-garde represents a pushing of the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo.”  [Wikipedia]

I will take that compliment any day of the week. I ALWAYS design every space with a little bit of fun and excitement. I want you to walk in and smile. Look forward to albums and videos of the work in progress and the finished coffee house.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Found Objects Makes Dream Room a Winner

Design Competitions are a great opportunity for designers to illustrate their creativity and showcase their talents to a large audience. I recently participated in The San Joaquin County Home and Garden Show. Each entrant was provided with an 8’ x 20’ space enclosed with hard wall construction consisting of 2 x 4’s and bare gypsum board. We were allowed to apply any materials to the walls and floors, but we had to complete the Dream Room in a day and half.

I am known for my bold and bright designs, so I wanted to inspire visitors with a room that was a “break from beige”. My concept was to use repurposed items, hand-made items, unexpected colors, a mix of furniture styles and sourcing from local artisans.  My project name is “Objet Trouve” or “found objects.”

Distinctive and recurring elements, shapes and figures create a design that is playful and frisky in this eclectic space.  Discarded items found or collected by chance are repurposed to have aesthetic value in a living room which draws on a variety of styles and patterns ranging from Classical to my very, very favorite Mid-Century Modern.

Further bending of traditional design continues with an unexpected color palette of mustard and gray and a mix of textile patterns ranging from another favorite, Baroque to the ever reliable geometric. Harmony and balance are created by juxtaposing natural wood tables against metal elements.  Another surprise is the use of a cardboard animal trophy and a handmade paper cupcake holder luminaire. I further introduced the latest design trends by including an Ekat patterned rug, typographical elements and a touch of this year’s color Tangerine Tango.
I am very honored to have won First Place from the Judges and voted “Best of Show” by visitors.

Kathleen Jennison, Interior Design, creating designs for your space that will thrill and delight you.

About Kathleen Jennison

Kathleen Jennison, Interior Design offers interior design services for residential, commercial, and hospitality spaces where she helps people create an environment with resources and materials appropriate for their needs and budget. As a full service interior designer, she utilizes a project management approach providing plans with complete interior design specifications for both new and existing properties. Kathleen is not only an interior designer, but also a general building contractor.  This multifaceted expertise enables her to provide creative and technical solutions that not only build designs in response to and coordinate with the building shell, but also enhance the quality of life and culture for her clients, whether it is for their home or business. 
Jennison enjoyed a long career as a Certified Public Accountant working as an auditor of many Fortune 500 Corporations. This highly analytical and technical career coupled with her second Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design ensures she is well equipped to handle any set of challenges which she pledges to meet with her best professional efforts and attention.

Jennison is affiliated with the American Society of Interior Designers. As an allied member of this organization, she is qualified by education and experience, and pledges to adhere to a strict code of ethics and professional conduct.  ASID members are required to take continuing education courses to receive the most current information on developments in design, and new information on materials, technology, building codes, government regulations, flammability standards, sustainable and green design, product performance, design psychology, occupant populations, and more. Jennison is a Board Member of the Central California/Nevada Chapter serving as the Finance Director.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Crystal Chandelier in Every Space

If you know me, you know I always design every interior space, no matter the size, location, or purpose, with a crystal chandelier, albeit large or small.

Swarovski, the brand name for precisely cut glass is almost colloquial with cut-glass crystals, whether you think of sculptures, jewelry, home décor, or chandeliers. I recently had the opportunity to attend a training workshop presented by Swarovski for KalcoLighting when I was in Las Vegas at the Winter World Market. This was particularly important to me because I had just purchased from
P Terry Johnson &Associates a beautiful Kalco Ophelia Chandelier adorned with sparkling Swarovski Crystals.

Unbeknownst to me, Swarovski Elements has developed and patterned a new crystal standard wherein their crystals are nearly lead-free and their technology, well, a shining star. Richard Crandall of Swarovski carefully explained the technology, and bestowed upon each participant a lovely piece of cut crystal. Now I have a “crystal chandelier” hanging in my car.

Like I said, every "space" needs a little bit of crystal.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mobile Interior Design Studio

The last few weeks I have been traveling from interior design client to interior design client and I thought yesterday – I need a mobile design studio. I have always had a crazy desire to remodel and design the interior of an Airstream Trailer. Wouldn’t that be a great mobile interior design office?  I could have all my samples and catalogs right there to show my clients. I think it would be a novel idea.

Early last year I saw this post on Apartment Therapy and that is what got me to thinkin’

Then I saw this post on Autoblog. The automakers of the Mini Cooper have joined with Airstream to create this concept. Together with Danish furniture designer, Republic of Fritz Hansen, the companies have created a concept Mini Cooper S Clubman coupled to a matching 22-foot Airstream trailer with a "down-by-the beach" feel. Looks very stylish to me.

I found this cutie on CycloContractor, already for me to stuff the shelves with textiles, tile, carpet, and paint chips. Oh, my creative mind is reeling.......

Monday, February 6, 2012

Cardboard Trophies - YES

This is just about the cutest thing!! Cardboard animal trophies. One of the exhibitors at Las Vegas World Market was Cardboard Safari and I just fell in love with their designs. Scott Jessee and I talked for a long while about his product. You will be seeing Bucky, Eyan or Fred in one of my design projects!!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Shapes and Silhouettes

What a great way to begin my 2012 design career by attending the Las Vegas World Market Trade Show. And it was a fascinating experience. The first few days I networked with many people and attended interesting events and seminars. Having made my rounds to the showrooms that I had open accounts with and completed all appointments, I decided on my last day at the show to just explore and discover what was new. I quickly began to recognize recurring themes - horses, topography, and a riot of colorful fun.  Here are a few of my favorites from Liora Manne, Surya, Guildmaster, Safavieh, and Global Views.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Historic Patterns

As I leaf through my design magazines I have noticed an increase in the presence and popularity of Ikat (pronounced ee-kat) and Chevron patterns.  Both patterns have long histories, yet when I mention them to my clients, they often look a little befuddled.

The Chevron pattern is generally known for its use in military insignia and is a V-shape.  The number of chevrons on your badge indicates the length of service or rank. Ikat is an extraordinary fabric originally woven throughout Central Asia. It is very intricate and labor intensive as each strand of thread is individually dyed, then woven into stunning and vibrant patterns. The name Ikat symbolizes strength, beauty and resilience.  

I adore both patterns as they feel energetic to me.  Add vigorous colors, and it becomes a recipe for success.