2022 was quite the rollercoaster year! Earlier this year I was still scrambling to keep up with the enormous rush of business from 2021. I was admittedly overcommitted earlier this year, but loved every minute of working with clients, teaching and industry outreach. Then everything seemed to come to a halt this summer. As a self-employed professional slowdowns in our industry always make me nervous, but this year I embraced the time to slow down, take care of myself, recover from a bit of burnout and reconnect with myself and others.
This was a big year of stretching in my business, preparing for what’s next. I will celebrate 25 years in 2023 and am gearing up for a few shifts, or rather expansions, in my business. I’ll be opening to support more cabinet orders within the industry and begin offering consulting services to interior designers.
At the end of the year I often journal about all the amazing experiences and accomplishments from the year that I am grateful for and proud of myself for. Starting in 2023 I’m going to start a new practice of filling an empty jar weekly of those things and then on New Year's Eve pull them out to read all the wonderful things that 2023 brought.
Thank you to all my clients this year and many many industry friends.
Cheers! Welcome 2023
The Seattle Design Center is a touch stone for our industry in the Pacific Northwest. For the Trade it’s a place of community and connection. For our clients it’s a place for quality furnishings, fabrics, finishes, most of which you can’t purchase retail or get anywhere else, and above all concierge service.
For years the SDC has hosted Student Career Days. I’ve participated with these events from very early on in my career. From the day I graduated I had a heart for mentoring and encouraging the next generation of designer. I’m an Adjunct Professor these days as well at a couple local colleges so it is a natural connection for me as a volunteer opportunity.
As a student at the Seattle Art Institute 25 years ago, my first time at this impressive facility was so daunting and intimidating. I didn’t feel like I belonged. My hope today is to help other students get past this feeling and to help them feel welcome. This is their resource just as much as it is to a designer with many years of experience.
This year our theme was “Hitting the Ground Running”. It was our goal to help empower them with skills as they graduate and enter the design industry. It was an honor to moderate an incredible panel of professionals. What a beautiful experience when so many with a heart for the next generation come together with a common purpose to give to others in such a selfless way.
So excited to hear the news! My webinar in 2022 for “Transitional Design Style” was listed as a TOP 5 NKBA Webinar of 2022.
You’ve likely gathered by now that my primary trade association is the National Kitchen & Bath Association which is a nationwide organization dedicated to residential kitchen and bath professionals. I first started speaking with NKBA roughly 10 years ago with a topic near and dear to my heart . . . creativity. Nervous and imperfectly I’ve been growing and practicing and today I have accomplished 15 seminars. I’ve also contracted with 4 manufacturers to create curriculum to engage specifiers in the industry. From radio, writing, webinars, and podcasts, it’s all just a story of what I’ve learned that I want to share with others.
This is my second year with a webinar in the top 5 with the NKBA organization. Grateful for the organization, the opportunity and to all my peers who keep showing up to get a peak into what I’m passionate about and what I’m learning about.
#speaking #curriculumdevelopment #specifierengagement
I just finished a live recording of one of my newest seminars about identifying and defining design styles. Most of my clients can’t articulate their style, or even that their style has evolved and no longer suits them, but they don’t know how to execute that in their homes. Like most of you, my own style has evolved. From French Country to Transitional. Did you know that there are 3 main macro styles . . . Contemporary, Transitional and Traditional?
What is Transitional Design Style?
It is the most misunderstood, illusive, middle child!
Transitional design has one foot planted in traditional design and the other in contemporary. I like to put it simply; You take Traditional design elements, and you simplify them, a little less fussy, then we take Contemporary design, and we warm it up and soften it, with, color, lines and textures.
It’s really a blending of traditional and modern elements, combing classic and contemporary architecture . . . the best of both worlds! This image perfectly portrays what I’m talking about.
There are many micro-styles that fall under this middle category, and it’s a very broad category, and the lines between each are a little blurry. If you ask 10 designers, you might get 10 different answers. My goal in researching this and teaching it to designers and students (and homeowners) is to help lesson that disparity and get more of us on the same page and to give you the language to help identify your own style. I love the faces that light up when a client realizes their style has a name!
How do we execute this in kitchen and bath design? Here is a grouping of cabinet door styles. From left to right, contemporary, transitional and traditional.
These faucets below are a fantastic example of a process I take my clients through. We’ve determined that they are transitional style but when we get to the plumbing showroom they keep being drawn to the contemporary faucet. Here we start to see just how wide the middle bucket is. Within transitional design you can lean towards contemporary or towards traditional. These two middle faucets are both transitional, but you can see the distinct differences in detail.
I hope this helps you in your quest to define your style. Transitional has surpassed Contemporary design this year. Everyone is drawn towards “A little of this and a little of that.”, we CAN have the best of both worlds. And best part is that when expertly executed, your new space will be a long-lasting aesthetic, truly TIMELESS.
I spent the first part of my life not being an outdoorsy girl, it wasn’t until I started focusing on my health and wellbeing that I started to become aware of my desire and joy of the outdoors. There was a specific moment when I was trail running that I broke down crying in the middle of the forest, overwhelmed with a grief that it took me till I was 50 to find the immense joy of being physically active in the middle of nature! I felt truly alive for the first time.
Biophilia makes us happier and healthier by increasing our connection with the natural world. We’re all talking more about Wellness Design in the built environment and Biophilia is an important part of that. There are MANY health benefits!
Air Water Earth Metal Wood Fire, and I added Rhythm and Organic Shapes
NASA’s Clean Air Study states the Snake Plant is so effective in producing oxygen that if you were locked in a sealed room with no airflow, you could survive with only 6-8 plants in it!
I’ll post more in the coming weeks with specific examples of spaces and products that will allow you to bring that health and well-being inside your own homes.
Happy Fall! Paula
Why is this chair special? Why am I naming my blog “Posts from the Chair”?
As a practicing Interior Designer our own homes can often be the last thing we invest in as we’re usually investing back in our businesses. Recently I moved into my own place, which makes me so happy. I’d had my eye on this beautiful chair for literally years. My friends Wayne and Will who own this showroom in the Seattle Design Center always joked with me when I would come in and sit in it, every time, we all said this chair had my name written all over it. I am a believer in putting out to the Universe what we would like to receive, but never in a million years did I entertain the idea that it could become a reality.
When I made the decision to purchase it from their showroom, I arranged a vehicle to pick it up. I thought I could just unscrew the legs so it would easily fit. The joke was on me! The legs are literally part of the frame! And I thought . . . we’re not in Wayfair world anymore folks! When you ask me what the difference is between online furniture and luxury items from the Design Center, now I know first-hand! Quality!
I was telling a design friend of mine that I won’t let my boyfriend sit in it, it’s silk! Then she intuitively asked me how often I sit in it. You know that story about using our China for our own family diners instead of saving it for something or someone special? She reminded me that I am that someone special, I worked hard to have something nice like this, I deserved to enjoy it. She was the one who had the brilliant idea of the blog name “Posts from the chair”. All of us sitting at the table got goosebumps with an instinctive knowing that truth had just been spoken!
We all know that we get what we pay for. We all deserve quality items in our homes that bring a smile to our lips, feels good to sit in or to the touch, looks good, and works well.
Thank you to Charlene Mathew, Maria Stapperfenne and William & Wayne showroom at the Seattle Design Center. As I gear up to celebrate 25 years as an Interior Designer next year, here begins a new chapter to my career, and here’s to many more thoughtful Posts from the Chair!
P.S. I'm also known for wholeheartedly loving the color pink! It's my happy color! And don't worry, I protect the silk from the sun.
See the link below for the article.
It was an honor to participate in this article with Doug Walter talking about Universal Design, Aging in Place and Living in Place. There are so many "titles" for this segment. Most of us don't want to talk about aging but we really can't ignore it. If we ignore it, then we're not prepared when the unthinkable happens. And you don't need to be in your golden years to need a grab bar! I tell my students and clients all the time, I fell and sprained an ankle skiing, and I needed a grab bar. That's why we call it Universal Design, good design for all abilities and stages of life!
Wellness and Universal Design features in this bathroom:
Enjoy this article and inspiration.
Since it feels like I’m starting this Blog journey from scratch, it only seems natural to start at the beginning even though I’ll be celebrating 25 years as an Interior Designer in 2023. Who am I?
This is a second career for me. I worked at Microsoft for years before reaching the end of my creative rope. It was a phenomenal experience as a young woman to be part of something like that, but I was so burnt out. Gratefully, I was allowed the freedom to leave and attend the Art Institute of Seattle. I’d always been good at decorating and knew I was creative, now it was time to see if I had the ability to be a professional Interior Designer!
I fell in love with kitchen and bath during school on a field trip to a local appliance distributor. I was hired right out of school at a little kitchen and bath design/build showroom. I jumped in feet first, kept my head above water and learned so much, from sales to drafting software, estimating, and managing projects. There’s a tremendous amount that they can’t teach you in school! I went to my first National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) meeting, which is a Trade Organization, and haven’t looked back!
The kitchen and bath segment within residential design beautifully combined my creative talent, education, experience, and my affinity for technical detail. I have a secret inner Industrial Designer sitting on my shoulder, which comes in handy when designing these intricate and often challenging spaces. These spaces in our home calls for skills beyond color selection. A professional in this field needs to understand all the mechanics of the spaces, from the foundation up, appliance installation, plumbing, lighting, cabinetry and how all those elements interact with each other.
I teach kitchen and bath now as well and I always tell my students, my goal for them is to either fall in love with this segment and make it their specialty, or to understand just how challenging it is so they can build their collaboration team with the experts they need to execute a safe, efficient, and functional space.
Looks can be deceiving! This little chef's kitchen packs a punch in terms of Wellness Design.
In my world I believe we can no longer separate environmental design, sustainability, universal design, aging in place, and health and wellness in the built environment.
Conversations, thoughts, wisdom, creativity, tips and tricks, industry trends . . .
After many years in this industry with many non-traditional "blog" platforms, it's time to have one platform for all my thoughts to share with you whether you are a homeowner, industry partner, student or peer. You'll hear everything from my journey as a creative, topics I geek out over, the color of the year, how dishwashers work and larger trend and design methodology topics.