Once again, breathe a sigh of relief. The holidays are behind us for another 11 months. Of course those months are going to fly by as they always do. With each new year comes another possible set of resolutions for making things easier for that work / family balance. Does anyone really want to have a drapery installation December 19th? No, I don’t think so!
Resolution # 1 ~ Looking ahead I think it’s time to start making more lists. It’s not a bad habit to get into. There are worse habits. I think it’s fair to say it’s possible that out memories just aren’t what they used to be. There are more things to remember and each is as critical as the next. Make it easier… write it down.
Resolution #2 ~ Work harder and play harder. Our clients require cultivation like a garden. That takes a lot of energy. They are certainly worth the time you will put into their needs so go ahead and splurge on them like you would some beautiful tulips, hyacinth, lilies and cosmos. The relationships we build with our clients can be and should be rewarding for both sides. Whether looking by yourself for their fabrics or furnishings or hand in hand visiting boutiques and specialty shops with them for those special finishing touches, always remember to enjoy your time. Memories and great relationships are made here. When the job is done go out and reward yourself!
Resolution #3 ~ Let them eat cake! Bring something delicious to your next client meeting and share it with them. Why not? Comfort food makes for a more relaxed meeting. Chocolate always works.
Resolution #4 ~ Organize, organize, organize. I can’t say it enough. If you have an organized system in your office you will have more organization outside of your office. Put things in place starting new this January.
Resolution #5 ~ Remember to save some energy for yourself and your loved ones, especially around the holidays. We bend over backwards to please our clients and don’t always have enough energy for our home based activities. If baking holiday cookies is a tradition you love to share with your children or grandchildren, don’t let anything get in the way. Go ahead – take that time for yourself and make those memories.
I don’t have a crystal ball but can say with some certainty that if you will try any of the ideas above you will likely find some peace of mind. Feel free to remind me of them any time! I, too, will be working hard to achieve more balance in my work / family time and know for sure I need to address Resolution #1 and I’m already planning some very special baking time next December with Shelby, who will be 3-1/2 by then.
Wishing you all a very special post holiday season and a Happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!
This year we were able to hold our annual Holiday Luncheon on its planned date despite the nasty weather we encountered that day. The luncheon was well attended and the food & service were superb at Sage American Grill & Oyster Bar way out on the tip of New Haven’s coastline.
Our guest speaker was ill and had to cancel her presentation. We took this time to have a frank discussion with all members present regarding 2015 meeting programs. Many good suggestions were brought into discussion. 2015 will be a year of education and interesting topics, and evening networking events.
Join us, please!
October brought out many serious designers! Attendance at The Galleria in Middletown was wonderful. Michael, owner of Oak & Velvet furniture company gave us an overview of the business and shared information about the construction and integrity of the furniture he makes. We took a field trip to his business location on Main Street where we were able to observe the processes of reupholstery, fabric cushions being sewn and down feather cushion filling.
Reupholstery involves complete overhaul of the piece. If it needs to be reinforced in any way that is done and new fill and padding is added, all before the new fabric is applied.
New furniture construction follows the best procedures of all good furniture companies but Michael combines them all into his process. He expects the furniture his company builds to last a lifetime.
A brochure with styles and pricing will be available to designers soon. Definitely worth the drive to Middletown from wherever you are located.
As we returned to business after a two month summer break, it was wonderful to find Kathleen Bivona had baked and brought us amazing treats, from scrambled eggs to banana bread, fresh fruit, yogurt, home-made granola and more! Holly Sutton-Darr also contributed baked good and coffee.
Our program consisted of a Panel Discussion led by Donna Moss on Defining Our Industry in Today’s Challenging Market. Three specific topics were discussed-
Donna spoke about the need to define your niche. Find the one thing you can do that will set you apart from other designers – perhaps a specialty. Why not post a You Tube video? Promote yourself everywhere you go. Convince the potential client that they need a designer to put it all together for them. DIY’ers will try to do it but often run into snags when the product arrives and they just can’t pull it all together.
Holly Sutton-Darr gave us something to think about… plant your seeds everywhere you go and eventually it does pay off. Promote yourself to everyone everywhere, ask for referrals, and give back to your community. Value yourself or others won’t see how good you are. Not only should you Think outside the box, you must Do outside the box! Separating your schedule into work days and free days can help you to be more productive and don’t feel guilty when you don’t read work emails on a free day!
Elaine Curley Urban talked to us about contractors and setting boundaries with them. Always be your best. Show up on the jobsite able to walk it – no high heels! Be one of the guys there, within reason. Today’s contractor see themselves in a new role – one of a designer on the job! You must get in early on the job. Be sure all the details of your work are listed in your contract with the client. Remember to use change order requests when you need them. Why not keep a day book on the jobsite for anyone working on the job to record what was done that day or any questions or concerns to be addressed?
Many good ideas came forth from our general membership as well. It was a great meeting! You should have been there…
Time to get back to our IDS monthly meetings. Our goal is to continue to bring more education to our members.
Come join us….
Tuesday, June 17th we met at AKDO in Bridgeport for our meeting and a fabulous presentation on stone varieties. It was an interactive presentation as so many of our members asked many questions. Diane Hayden was a wealth of knowledge for us! Later, a walk through their showroom was well worth the visit.
Social media is a challenge for many of us, but with a little help from a program & app called Buffer, Melanie Langford says it will help make you more efficient in this department. It is now easy to post on many of your social media sites at once. You can even schedule your posts for the future. Quite convenient for busy designers who still want to blog and tweet! Check it out!
We are always looking for good software to design rooms and we can say for sure that Punch (Platinum edition) may be just what you are looking for. Check it out. It will help you draw plans as well as place furnishings in the space. This is not an expensive computer program and although there will be a learning curve, it looks like the benefits will outweigh the time spent learning. Thank you Elaine Curley-Urban for sharing with us.
We met at The Kitchen Company in North Haven where Helen Richardson presented the very best in kitchen cabinets. Giving us a crash course on the basics of good cabinetry, we saw the latest trends, colors and styles that will last.
Click on Designer Spotlight…
on the Left Menu or on the Top “Featured” Section, to view July’s featured designer, Elaine Curley Urban.
Hurry and submit your project for the months to follow.
If you missed our General Meeting, Tuesday March 18th, you missed something special. Adam Gorman & Chris Ursin, from Natural Audio, LLC, demonstrated an amazing way to “hide” that big tv in the living room (or any other room). They have a solution that rivals many others. By using beautifully framed custom or stock artwork that rolls up, exposing the tv when you’re ready to watch it, there is now a wonderful piece of framed art in the space. Much nicer to look at than a big black tv. Check out their website at www.naturalav.com.
The automation is done using Crestron products, as demonstrated in a CEU course given by Richard Kurtzer, called Residential Design Meets Technology. It is apparent that moving forward our homes will become fully automated and Crestron has a product for every aspect of the design. Check out their website at www.crestron.com.
WooHoo! Finally, after months of talking about a brand new website, we HAVE one! It was a labor of love rather than just a business proposition. We have worked hard to build the new website and hope you will all be as proud of it as we are. For certain, there will be tweaks as we test the site but we are sure it is an improvement over the old site.
Please check out your personal info and let me know if anything needs to be corrected.
We had a great holiday luncheon. After a few postponements due to SNOW, we finally gathered for lunch at Leon’s Restaurant in North Haven on January 14th. Absolutely delicious! It was such a pleasant afternoon for all who attended.
Check out the photos in the gallery
As the year quickly winds down, once again it seems time for reflection. It was a good year. Yes, I said it! Our clients are resurfacing and spending money on their homes. Their nesting instinct has been strong for the past few years. Now clients seem to be spending money again on things they absolutely love and must have for their homes. It’s great news for the design community. We get to assert our influence over these decisions and it feels so good to help our clients make those important decisions.
The time between Thanksgiving and Hanukkah was non-existent this year. So glad that’s not going to happen again for… so many years! Christmas is only four weeks from Thanksgiving but somehow feels like two. Where does the time go? Are we so busy delivering our clients needs that we forget our own?
Get your gifts wrapped, cards written & mailed, and tree decorated. Get a delicious cup of hot chocolate and sit under your beautiful tree and breathe a sigh of relief. You did it (please tell me your trees are decorated by now)! Give thanks and look ahead to a bright new year. All is calm; all is bright.
Wishing you all Happy Holidays!