Holidays at the Office

Hey, Melanie Solimine here! I am a marketing intern at Avery Design Interiors this fall and a student at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT. I am stepping in today, because Catherine is working on her launch for her new website.

Here are some inspirational photos for your holiday interior decoration at your office!

Catherine is passionate about bringing her client’s brand to bear through the design of their space. Not only do we improve employees’ productivity and the functionality of your space but we ensure that your clients experience your company’s brand through your office environment.

Thinking about redesigning your office in the new year? To set up your complimentary consultation call, please contact us at info@averydesigninteriors.com.

Love to hear from you in the comments – how are you decorating your office for the holidays?

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Simple Gifts – Thanksgiving Table Decor

This Thanksgiving more than ever I have so much to be grateful for. We were fortunate to survive Hurricane Sandy unscathed, but our church did not nor did many of our friends’ homes. As you decorate your home and table, cook up the meal and spend time with family and friends, please take a moment to remember those who are much less fortunate. Perhaps, you could spend the morning serving a meal at a local soup kitchen or donate a turkey to a local organization (we gave ours through our church’s Adopt a Social Worker program, which is a part of Covenant to Care here in Fairfield County, CT) or provide some warm coats and gloves to those who lost everything. Maybe your children can make a Thanksgiving card for a soldier or write a special blessing to say at dinner. Please just take a moment to give thanks.

It is so much fun to help set up my interior design clients homes for holiday parties. Table settings are a great place to start your holiday theme.

stuff-and-nonsense.net

Source: bing.com via Avery on Pinterest

I love how so many of these tablescapes feature fresh fruit and vegetables – after all Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks for the abundance in our lives.

Love to hear from you in the comments below:

How will you decorate for Thanksgiving this year? What are you grateful for?

(For more great holiday decor ideas, head to my Give Thanks board on Pinterest)

How to Design a Great Looking Office in an Industrial Space

Source: garrettgee.me via Avery on Pinterest

Industrial style spaces and lofts can be a great option for creatives who want a lot of light and space in their office with a more modern vibe. Most frequently seen in cities like Manhattan or downtown Sono (South Norwalk), these spaces attract graphic design firms, retailers and tech firms amongst others. Love how in the above photo the wall decal is placed directly on to the concrete walls.

Working in an industrial space can mean contending with open floor plans, oversized architecture, high ceilings, rough finishes and even exposed pipes in ceiling. All of those elements give the space its charm. But if you are into a sleek modernized finish then industrial design is probably not for you.

The spaces below are filled with inspiration.

And check out the office accessories interspersed throughout if you want to bring an industrial feel to your home office.

Source: plastolux.com via Avery on Pinterest

Source: indian-furniture-exporter.com via Benjamin on Pinterest

Source: restorationhardware.com via Jessica on Pinterest

I am passionate about bringing my client’s brand to bear through the design of their space. Not only do we improve employees’ productivity and the functionality of your space but we ensure that your clients experience your company’s brand through your office environment.

To set up your complimentary consultation call for your new industrial office, please contact us at info@averydesigninteriors.com.

Love to hear from you in the comments – what do you like about industrial office design?

(all photos found on Pinterest and attributed and linked as above)

How to Choose the Right Office Space: Location, Location, Location

This is the first in a three part series on choosing the right office space for your business.

Whether you are considering expanding out of your home office or just relocating, there are many factors that go into the selection of your new office location even before you start the interior design.

The first rule in real estate is location, location, location. But before anything else, assess your budget. What can you afford to spend on a per square foot basis? How much square footage will that get you in your first, second or third choice neighborhood?

One of my clients was recently faced with an important office decision stay or relocate? Her rent was about to increase 30% one year into her lease. Her number one priority was her office location. She is an investment manager in a small town with a prestigious address. Her clients would expect nothing less. Her office offered her close proximity to home so that she could be home when her children get off the school bus. She could walk to the post office, the train to New York City where she commutes at least once a week to see clients and to downtown for lunch or a cup of coffee.

Getting your office space location right can make or break your business. If you are a retail store, you want to be located with other stores, near lots of foot traffic, restaurants etc. If you are a technology firm, it may be less important to be located down town depending upon the types of employees and clients you want to attract and retain. And then of course there is the precarious balance between budget and your idea of the perfect place.

Here are some thoughts to keep in mind as you start your search.

1. What kind of neighborhood is it? Will your employees feel safe leaving there at any hour? If the cost per square foot is low check to see if the neighborhood has a repuation for safety. Likewise how will your clients feel coming to that neighborhood? Is it easy to get to? What image does the town or city project? Is it hot and trendy? Traditional or family oriented? Urban or suburban?

Source: archinect.com via Avery on Pinterest

Clients will make immediate judgements about your business simply from the address. My client needed her New Canaan, CT business address for that prestige. In Fairfield County, if you are a high end residential interior designer it doesn’t matter if you work from home but you must have a trendy town in your address – think Greenwich or Westport. If you are a corporate interior designer, having the Post Road or Stamford or Norwalk in your address is much better. And you are not nearly as likely to be working from home. Small boutiques fare best in small trendy towns while we expect to see our large corporate offices in our local cities.

2. Is your office readily accessible? What is the transportation like? Can your employees take a bus or a train to work? Is there ample parking for your employees and clients? Keep in mind that if you are interested in green initiatives that these questions take on even greater meaning. Can you provide a bus or van from the train station if you are located too far away? Assess your existing employees daily commute as it is now and compare it to your future location. Consider alternative travel routes for visitors and clients.

3. Which amenities are nearby? Are there local restaurants where your employees can have lunch or you can take a client for a meal? Is there a printer nearby for a last minute brochure? Can your assistant run out for office supplies if needed? Is there a local bank, pharmacy or grocery store, where your employees can run their errands at lunch or cash their paycheck? What about access to day care? Convenience buys lots of employee goodwill.

Next time join us for choosing the right building for your new office in part two of this series.

I am passionate about bringing my client’s brand to bear through the design of their space. Not only do we improve employees’ productivity and the functionality of your space but we ensure that your clients experience your company’s brand through your office environment.

To set up your complimentary consultation call for your new office, please contact us at info@averydesigninteriors.com.

Love to hear from you in the comments – what would be your number one factor in choosing your ideal office location?

(all photos found on Pinterest and attributed and linked as above)

Sixty Days in Real Estate

Sixty Days. Seems like a long time doesn’t it? We sold our house and had 60 days to find a new one. 60 days flew.

So wondering where I have been? Let’s catch up.

We sold our house in Norwalk in late July and had exactly 60 days to clean out, organize, pack, find a mover, find a new home, find an apartment in case we couldn’t find a new home…well you get the idea. Something had to give and it could not be my family or clients.

First task, find a real estate agent. We chose Phoebe Leask, of Emmy & Co. from Higgins Group to help us in the search for a new home. She and her team are incredibly knowledgeable about and connected in Fairfield and I didn’t have a minute to waste. I met Phoebe through my BNI Merritt Madness group and really liked her balance of warmth but ‘get it done’ business sense. Selling a home and then buying a new one is a highly emotional decision. I needed someone who understood what I was going through while simultaneously acknowledging that I had a long list of needs and wants for our new home and had to move fast.

Phoebe insisted that we have a needs list and a wants list. Our top three on the needs list were an open floor plan (something similar to the one above), master bath and back yard. Our daughter still has a playground and we love to entertain outdoors. Oh and it had to be close to our daughter’s school – that was non-negotiable. Ok, so we got down to four absolute musts. On the wants list were a 2 car garage, finished (or finishable) basement and a place to “live” during the renovation.

Phoebe and I looked at 40 different houses in two weeks – not the above 40 – but now I think I want this book. My husband saw only the ones we really liked. I knew what he wanted – a man cave – we are a good team that way.

We went round and round on negotiations for three houses over the course of five weeks. I was just amazed at dealing with sellers who didn’t really want to sell their homes. Really? All of those people tromping in and out. I couldn’t wait to be done! I was ready to throw in the towel and just rent a beautiful Avalon apartment for six months. The process was so stressful that I signed up for an exam prep course for the LEED Green Associate with Bill Janhonen. I plan on taking the exam in the next month. It was wonderful to go to class and think about something other than the move. But that’s another post.

With Hurricane Irene’s imminent arrival, we rushed to batten down instead of heading off to our much-needed vacation. Knowing that we were moving out mid-September, we did not have many groceries and the batteries and flashlights were already packed, but our generator was ready. By candlelight, I continued to organize and pack boxes. We were very fortunate to only have one downed large tree branch. You can imagine how concerned we were with a contract for sale.

Monday dawned bright and sunny. We packed the car and hit the road for Fenwick Island, DE.  While on the road, we received word from a lovely family at our church that we could rent their apartment close to school while we continued to look for our home. I breathed a momentary sigh of relief and then my husband said “I just want to move straight to our new home.” I realized that at that point it no longer mattered what the home was like, my husband was not willing to move twice.

There wasn’t a whole lot I could do – after all we were headed on vacation, so I simply put it out there to the universe “find me a new home that I actually want to live in.” The one we were negotiating on had so many problems – causing us too many sleepless nights before we even moved in.

It was the most relaxing vacation ever. Maybe it was just sheer exhaustion from the move, but I was in full vacation mode by Tuesday morning. We had important decisions to make each morning – beach? pool? boat? mini-golf? Every single day was absolutely glorious – it was hard to imagine that mother nature had just slammed us with a hurricane. I didn’t spend one minute thinking about where we would live when we got back home. I was much too busy having fun!

By Friday morning I had my answer. Phoebe sent me an email about a home that had just come on the market. It was the perfect size, the right price, a lovely little backyard and only a mile and a half from DD’s school. The catch? We wouldn’t see it until the following Wednesday because we were on vacation! We drove home that Tuesday in the after-effects of Hurricane Lee. With all of the rain here in CT, a tree fell across the Merritt Parkway so instead of seeing our new home we were left waiting some of us more patiently than others on the highway…

When we saw it Wednesday, we knew it was a perfect fit for us. From there, the entire process was so easy, we just knew it was right. We had a 10 night stint at a hotel in between closing dates, but it was fun and we had a kitchenette so we did not have to eat every meal out.

This was my view from our front door on the day we moved in. I didn’t ask for a sign, but I believe I received one anyway.

Now, we are negotiating piles of boxes, creating a rudimentary kitchen setup in the second kitchen downstairs (how great is that!) and interviewing contractors for the renovation. We are so happy in our new home. Sometimes, I can’t even believe it is true.

Stay tuned for posts on the renovation process…

Why I did not Finish Writing my Post Today

Sometimes, it’s just not about interior design…

I could have finished my post about closets this afternoon, but instead I chose to do this.

Can you blame me?

Until tomorrow.

Refreshingly yours,

Catherine

Design Tribute – Memorial Day

St. Paul's on the Green

Have you ever been driving and gone back because you saw something so breath-taking you just had to stop, take a photo and share it?  Today, I was driving home when I passed this sight.  I had to drive around the block and back to the church’s parking lot, because I could not let that moment pass by.

Flags at St Paul's on the Green

The front lawn of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on the Green in Norwalk, CT has 5,481 flags on it.  Each one represents a US soldier who has given his or her life for this country in Afghanistan or Iraq.  It’s easy to ignore a death toll until you are given a visual reminder.  That number is not so staggering as wars past, but why should even one person have to lose a life?  Why should one mother or father or spouse or child have their child or spouse or parent taken away?

Sea of Flags

Look, I’m not going to get all political on you.  Whether I am for or against the war in the Middle East is not the point.  I lost twenty people in 911.  I have friends who lost over 100.  I have heard countless hair-raising stories of survival from that day and close calls from my own family members.

Mine is a comment on the preciousness and precariousness of human life.  How do we take this in?  How do we put our heads around it?  When do we stop fighting and learn how to love one another – no matter our skin color, or politics or faith?

Normandy Cemetery with Flags

It took me back to this moment in time – Summer of 1991 – last stop on the continent.  I had backpacked solo across Europe and spent my last weekend in Normandy.  I will never forget staring out at a sea of crosses with an occasional star of David.

Prayer for the Soldiers

Imagine what it must have been like for the people who came together to install these flags.  Can you envision them talking about how they would ever fit over 5,000 flags on the lawn?  Thinking – should we put in a path or just make it a sea of flags?  Walking through the path is so moving.  Did someone carefully plan it out and draw it up?  Or did it evolve in that organic way projects do when a group comes together?

Were they thinking what price do we pay for needing to be right?  What price freedom?  What price peace?

Imagine…

Imagine Central Park

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

–John Lennon

(Photos of Normandy and Imagine from latribune.fr and konradprojects.net respectively)

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