Working Wednesday is Moving to New Digs

Working Wednesday posts will now reside at their new home on Hulan Design’s blog.

This will help make room for other post ideas I have for this blog (not that I actually have time to make any of them happen, but that’s another story).

~ Rachel


Working Wednesday – When Blueprints Really Were Blue

I’m just back from a short trip to North Carolina that involves a long story I won’t get into, but I thought you might enjoy seeing this…

These are the original 1950 plans for the house I was working on.  Aren’t they beautiful!?!  Being a draftsman back then involved a LOT of hand writing and line work, along with attention to detail.  The blueprints truly were blue, and an amazing shade of it too.  The color was the result of the chemical reaction of ammonium ferric citrate impregnated paper to light.  Areas of the paper exposed to light turned a deep blue, while areas blocked from light exposure (most often from laying india ink drawings on thin tracing paper between the paper and the light source), stayed white.  Of course, there was a nasty smelling chemical bath that the blueprints had to go through to get the blue areas to develop, but after 62+ years there wasn’t a whiff of it.

I’m trying to convince the homeowners to have the drawings scanned for future use, and then have the floor plans framed as art for their walls.  What a conversation piece, no?

Thanks for visiting (and more about the new business next week when I can catch my breath)!


Working Wednesday – The HGTV Effect

I disappointed a client yesterday…

It wasn’t intentional.  It was due to what I like to call “the HGTV effect”.

You see, this client had watched several shows on HGTV.  The type where the designer swoops in, cases the joint, says “I can make it beautiful”, then come back a few minutes later (in TV time) with lovely project boards covered in colors, fabric, and even renderings of the final result.  Then, after a couple of days of painting, moving around furniture, a moment of angst, and some sort of crafty project, viola!  A spectacular transformation, HGTV style.

Problem is, it doesn’t really happen that way in the real world.  Projects take time, a lot of back and forth on the details with clients, and actual skilled labor to make them work right. Read the rest of this entry »

Working Wednesday – Travel Thoughts

Two of the things I most love to do in the world are travel, and see new and exciting design.  That’s why I’m thinking seriously about packing a bag this spring and heading for Milan.

The Salone Internazionale del Mobile is calling to me.  Loudly.

Anyone else thinking of going?


Working Wednesday – Kitchen Before & After

Although I no longer provide full service residential design, I do consult on projects for several general contractors and architects.   One such contractor I LOVE to work with is Wes Harding of Harding Construction and Sustainable Solutions.  His clients love him too, hence him and his team (including moi) being invited to a client’s house for dinner to celebrate a recently completed kitchen remodel.  And celebrate they should, because look where this project started…

This is before.  Isn’t that a weird location for the sink?  Not to mention the majorly blah nature of that white and beige scheme!

So look what we did….

Read the rest of this entry »

Working Wednesday – Gray & Yellow Scheme

Image via Pinterest

Gray is the perfect neutral, but it can feel cold and lifeless on it’s own.  Yellow is cheerful and bright, but it can also seem like you decorated with your kids crayons when paired with other bight colors.  However, combine the two and you have a perfectly simple, yet strikingly sophisticated, color scheme.

Image via Sow Kindness, Gather Love

See what I mean?  That room is nothing but gray, except for two yellow pillows, a vase, and a few bright yellow chrysanthemums.  Imagine how blah that room would be without them! Read the rest of this entry »

Working Wednesday – Meeting Inspiring Product Designers

A few weeks ago I was in San Francisco for the Discover Zephyr event, and had the opportunity to meet and listen to two terrific product designers.  Despite the amazing dinner, and the fun wine country tour the next day, the chance to hear really good designers talk about the process of design was by far the highlight of the trip for me.

The first person we heard speak was Robert Brunner, who was the founder of Apples Industrial Design group, and has since gone one to achieve many awards and accolades for his product designs.  He is now lead designer and partner in Ammunition, LLC, as well as author of the wonderful, “Do You Matter?: How Great Design Will Make People Love Your Company.”  He has designed an entire line of unique range hoods for Zephyr, which you can see here.

Design really is a passion for him, and he is very direct about his belief that you need to create a good customer experience, not just a pretty, shiny product.  The emotional bond the customer experiences with their purchase is absolutely key, a lesson he no doubt learned at Apple.

Although he was speaking to us about product design, everything he said could be translated to interior design too, and how we as designers need to create that emotional experience with our clients.

I was furiously scribbling down as much as I could of what he said, until I realized that each and every one of us was getting a signed copy of his book!   If you get a chance to read a copy – do!  It will change the way you look at the design process, and may inspire you as it has me.

Our next speaker was Fu-Tung Cheng.  I didn’t recognize him at first, but as soon as he started showing slides of his projects, I recognized his work!

Read the rest of this entry »

Working Wednesday – LEED Home Tour

Thought I would give you a peak at the LEED Home Tour I participated in last Saturday.

This is the first tour for the Newport Beach Green Home.

As you can see, this project is still in the early stages of construction.

Man, have you ever seen more beautiful framing?  Seriously, this stuff is a work of art.  Almost a shame to cover it up with drywall.  Of course, if we didn’t, I sorta wouldn’t have a job, would I?

Lots of people showed up. Read the rest of this entry »

Working Wednesday – In San Francisco

I’ve been in San Francisco the last two days for work – yes, my job doesn’t suck!

If you follow my Twitter feed, you probably know that I’ve been attending a product launch for Zephyr’s new Next Generation Europa line of range hoods.  I’ll be writing more about the cool things they showed us later, but meanwhile I wanted to show you where they are putting us up while we are here.

The Orchard Garden Hotel is a LEED certified hotel!  Sweet!  It was only the third hotel in the country to achieve that designation, so kudos to them. In all my travels, it is my first opportunity to stay at a LEED hotel, so I’m enjoying it.

I don’t have the lovely terrace, but otherwise this is my room.  Clean, not chemically smelling (I hate that!), and lots of “green” features such as LED lighting, recycling bins, and the ability to turn the lights on and off just by sticking your key card in a slot by the front door.

I’m heading back tomorrow, so I will get back to my regular posting schedule then.  Promise.

Thanks for visiting!


Working Wednesday – Blue Floor

A client and I are considering a blue floor for her laundry/sewing room.  She is a little wary of the idea (it IS a commitment), but I’m really falling in love with the cheerful combination of white, wood tones, and ocean blue floor.  Take a look…

via Metropolitan Home

via Desire to Inspire

Read the rest of this entry »