LinkedIn – 17 minutes a day for 30 days

In the last two years, I have become a convert to the power of social media to make connections, educate potential and existing interior design clients and build my brand. I frequent Twitter, post on my blog a few times a week and dabble on Facebook. I am on LinkedIn but have not nearly harnessed its power as a social media tool.

But last week I heard the LinkedIn Lady, Carol McManus, speak at a ConnectMore event. She was phenomenal. She gave us great pointers on how to use LinkedIn and then encouraged each of us to spend 17 minutes a day using it. I have never been one to resist a good challenge, so here it is.

For the next 30 days, I am going to commit to spending 17 minutes a day on LinkedIn.

As of Saturday, my starting point is 261 connections and 2 recommendations.


Goal #1  Educate potential clients on the benefits of hiring me as their interior designer.

Goal #2  Increase awareness of Avery Design Interiors and the person behind the brand, Catherine J. Avery.

Goal #3  Find an intern.

And I will add two long-term LinkedIn goals courtesy of business coach, Kathy Caprino.

Goal #4  Five hundred connections on LinkedIn

Goal #5  Twenty recommendations

Day One

I started yesterday evening by sending invitations to about 50 people. This took much less time than you would think, because I just accessed my g-mail account and then checked off the names of people with whom I want to connect. Results so far… ten  people have accepted.

I wrote a recommendation for my amazing graphic designer, Tracie Valentino.

Then I sent out letters to two clients asking for recommendations.

I also weeded through my groups and eliminated two that I never follow. Then I answered questions on two other groups. The goal here according to Carol is to answer questions in two groups every night and rotate through your list. You can have up to 50 groups. I believe I have about 46. That would mean I could cover every group at least once in a month.

I answered a bunch of emails. Results: I set up a coffee meeting with two real life connections who I connected on LinkedIn but I think should also meet in person. I also offered to write a referral for a local business coach.  She was extremely grateful for the offer.

Lesson learned on day one. There is a lot more to LinkedIn then I ever realized. Thanks Carol! And today, I spent waaaaay more than 17 minutes. Like so much of social media it was easy to get sucked in. Tomorrow, I am setting a timer…

Day Two

Today, I spent only the requisite 17 minutes (timer and all) on LinkedIn and then buzzed over to Facebook to wish a dear friend a happy birthday.

I continued to send out invitations to potential connections – this time by perusing several of my groups. I then answered questions on two different groups and checked out the answers page. I am still in the learning stage about the answers page. More on that soon.

I returned several emails and reviewed my Profile. Carol McManus would have told me my Professional Headline was sorely lacking so I updated it. I found some other gaps in my Profile and plan to tackle those tonight.

I love to hear from you. Which social media tools do you use and why?

Want to learn more about interior design or how I use social media? You can find me on

LinkedIn: Catherine J Avery

Twitter: @averydesign

Three Quick Interior Design Tips for your Coat Closet

With the holidays right around the corner, I delved into organizing my front hall coat closet yesterday to make room for guests. If you aren’t quite ready to start the cooking or put up the decorations, this is a great way to get ready for the holidays.

organization, coat closet, interior design, Martha Stewart

Coat Closet - Martha Stewart Home

1. Clear out the Clutter

As you go through the coats, hats, scarves and mittens that have accumulated over the years, pull out the single mittens and gloves and any coats you haven’t worn in more than a year. Be sure to check that your kids’ winter gear still fits too. The no longer worn or outgrown coats, hats etc. can find a good home in one of the many coat drives being held near you. Person to Person is one such organization in Fairfield County, CT.

containers, storage, organization, interior design

2. Group Like Items

Use clear bins or pretty boxes to contain each person’s mittens, gloves and hats. You can also have a bin for the family dog or cat with leashes, treats, toys or brushes. I particularly like open bins, such as the maize bins from The Container Store on the left, because they are open. Your kids are more likely to put away their mittens and hats when they can easily toss them in.

I also suggest bins for summer travel and winter travel. Summer could include sunscreen, sunglasses etc. Winter could include ski goggles, snowpants and more sunscreen.

If you or your children have a favorite hobby like photography, astronomy or bird-watching, having a separate bin with your gear right there in your hall closet would make it much easier to find one the way out the door.

Put the bins you need the most frequently near the bottom of the closet – for easy kid accessibility. And the bins you don’t access that often can reside on the top shelf.

wallpaper, closet, organization, interior design
3. Add Pattern or Color

If you are really feeling motivated, you could wallpaper the back of the closet or paint it an unusual color. Imagine your guests’ surprise when they open the closet and see something other than the typical white. And because it is a small space you can let your imagination run free. Who can forget Jamie Drake’s dreamy pink and purple confection of a closet at the Kips Bay Showhouse?
If that’s too much color for you, you can always choose colored bins – color code each family member or category – or even colored hangers.
It’s a small space – let’s put the fun in the functional!
I love to hear from you. What’s your one must-do home project that you want to accomplish before the holidays?

Interior Design Furnishings: The New Traditionalists

Another Wordless Wednesday here at Avery Design Interiors. From the people who brought you ducduc, there is now a sophisticated furniture line for grown-ups: The New Traditionalists. Fortunately, it is nearly impossible to find words to describe their furnishings, which makes my Wordless Wednesday task a bit easier. Who am I kidding?

I visited the showroom in a fantastic loft in Soho (NYC) a few weeks ago and had the great pleasure of meeting Philip Erdoes (@CEO_TheNewTrad) and  David Harris in person. Philip and I had already been in touch through the suggestion of Leslie Carothers (@tkpleslie) of The Kaleidoscope Partnership. Philip and the others were setting up for an event, yet provided incredible customized personal service. What a pleasure! No doubt I will be taking my clients to their showroom.

Their message is fantastic – a real throwback to the manufacturing of traditional furniture. The furniture is made here to ensure the finest quality. It is completely custom-made with minimal environmental impact. In the words of their website:

We believe that being responsible for your environment means taking care of yourself, those around you, and your world. By manufacturing here, we can assure you that we use sustainably harvested hardwoods and non-toxic finishes, and, of course, no MDF.

We also support the communities where we live and work through charitable donations and volunteered time.

Take a look.

Cabinet, New Traditionalists, dining, furniture, interior design

Cabinet Seventy Two

Every finish on this cabinet, every piece of hardware, the interior can all be custom finished.

drawer, interior design, lacquer, custom, finish, furniture

Cabinet Seventy Two Drawers

Interior design, cabinet, detail, furniture, new traditionalists

Cabinet Seventy Two Interior Detail

The back is mirrored and there is the traditional notch shelf support instead of those cheap plastic or metal pieces you stick in holes. Check your grandmother’s antique china cabinet – this is how furniture was made in the old days. What bliss…

chair, custom, new traditionalists, detail, interior design, furniture

Chair Sixty Six


bed, furniture, custom, horsehair, new traditionalists, interior design

Bed Ten Forty

console, traditional, finish, interior design, furniture, drawer pulls

Console Thirty One

desk, color, finish, furniture, new traditionalists, interior design

Desk Two


New Traditionalists, finishes, furniture, wood grain, lacquer

Finish Samples

Thanks to the inspiration of Amy Dragoo (@abcddesigns) and Jonathan Legate (@jonathanlegate), co-creators of #DesignTV, I will be going to a fun party tomorrow night at The New Traditionalists. I am so looking forward to spending time with dear friends met on Twitter but now IRL. And of course the setting at their Soho Showroom amongst all of the beautiful furnishings can not be beat.

It does not get any better than this…

I love to hear from you. Which of the furnishings from the New Traditionalists would you like for your home?

(Photos are mine or from The New Traditionalists website)

Veterans Day: A Visual Tribute

A photo tribute to all who have served our country to ensure our freedom…

Arlington National Cemetery, veterans day

Arlington National Cemetery


WWI, memorial, architecture, veterans day

WW I Memorial

WW II, memorial, veterans day, architecture

WW II Memorial

Iwo Jima, memorial, architecture, statue

Iwo Jima Memorial

american cemetery, normandy, france, d day, WW II

American Cemetery at Normandy

Korean War, memorial, veterans day, sculpture

Korean War Memorial

Veterans day, Vietnam, memorial, architecture

Vietnam War Memorial

Tomb of Unknown Soldier, Veterans Day, memorial, architecture

Wordless Wednesday in Interior Design: All you Need is a Sharpie and a Dream

In the category of I wish I had thought of this…

Charlie Kratzer decorated the cream-colored walls of his basement with $10 worth of Sharpie pen.

I’m thinking don’t show this to the kids…

To read the original article, go to The Lexington Herald.

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