Small Business. Driven by Design.

Interior Design From the Heart

RobinAnderson-Jennatote-1_LR“My friend told me I had to stop with all the Facebooking,” recounted Robin Anderson, author and face of the blog Robin M. Anderson. This was about seven years ago, when Facebook first came on the scene. “She basically came over one night and told me to start a blog instead.”

Robin knew a good idea when she heard one, and set to it right away. She’d just had a baby and left her career as a juvenile prosecution lawyer, the job she’d dreamed of since growing up watching Law & Order. But she happily gave it up when she and her husband had their first son.

“I never expected the blog to turn into anything, or make money off of it,” she recalled. “It was basically something to keep my brain moving while home with an infant, and keep me connected to the outside world.”

Soon, Robin’s husband gave her the go-ahead to start painting their house in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and she went to town, repainting every surface in the house and redecorating—on a budget. “I discovered that I had a knack for taking boring places in my house and turning them into something beautiful, with a little bit of money and a lot of love.”

Even though her blog and design skills have garnered some attention in the press, she still sees it as a passion project. Robin feels very strongly about keeping her blog honest, and tries to only post what’s real, rather than staged or driven by sponsorship. “They don’t mind the photos I take with my iPhone because they know that it’s what my house truly looks like,” Robin explained. “Once you start Photoshopping things, you get no realistic view of what you’re looking at.”

But when it comes to her interior design clients, realism is key—in regards to the vision Robin has for them. “I’ve done everything electronically in the past, which has worked well,” explained Robin. “But now I’m pulling all the products together and printing out storyboards. It really helps them visualize the project and pull the trigger on moving forward.”

As much as Robin understands the environmental impact of printing, she’s looking at her Epson WorkForce from a business standpoint. “When someone sees their new interiors for the first time, they’re not going to be able to refer me by showing them the plans I sent in an email three months ago,” she admitted. “But they will pull out this storyboard folder, and that will paint a better picture of my process and my talent.”

The new addition to the household has Robin realizing all sorts of other uses for the printer, including ones targeting the youngsters in the house. Although they’re not of homework age (yet!), she will continue her community service at her sons’ school in the fall, where she decorates the class bulletin boards. “I’ve always woken up in the middle of the night realizing I hadn’t bought the hearts or shamrocks for the board, but now I can just download a template to print—even from my smartphone or tablet.”

It sounds like that won’t be the only thing she’ll be printing for the boys. “Now they’re always talking about what we can copy or print,” Robin laughed. “It’s a real topic of conversation around here.”

Robin Anderson’s blog on interior design, fashion, motherhood and more can be found or find her on Instagram, her favorite social medium.


Photography courtesy of Sarah Winchester Studios.

Epson provided WorkForce printer to Robin Anderson for business and personal use. 

Behind the Curtains with Emily Henderson

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A pic of me with the Dream Team: Brady Tolbert, Ginny Macdonald and Emily Henderson.

“Perfection is boring. Let’s get weird.” That’s not a phrase you would expect to hear from an interior designer. But Emily Henderson came to interior design in a different way than most, and it definitely contributed to her unusual perspective.

Recently, while on the set of our Epson WorkForce video shoot, I caught up with Emily, and she answered some questions about her life in the design fast lane, her background and the design trends she sees on the horizon.

Q: Let’s start at the beginning. Where were you born and raised?

A: I was born in a coastal town in Oregon named Coos Bay. My parents lived way out in the country with six kids, a goat, dogs, cats, a sheep—not a farm, just a weird combo of very fun animals and trees. We also were highly into domestic 4-H. I can decorate a mean cake or sew an A-line skirt that your aunt would be very jealous of.

Q: Did your home life influence your forays into design and business ownership?

A: It must have, right? We started thrifting WAY before it was cool—two teachers raising six children meant that thrifting wasn’t a hipster thing, it was a total necessity. I loved it and brought home the craziest things/clothes/knick-knacks every single time. I think that encouraged my love of “the weird” and also my tolerance for dirt.

Q: How did you get into interior design, specifically?

A: It’s kind of a long story (as they tend to be). I moved to New York, started taking rendering classes, wasn’t good at said classes, so I sought out work at a good design store. At the time, Jonathan Adler had just started and I was one of his first shop girls. Then I met prop stylists, and they led me to styling, which became my calling at the time. Then we moved to L.A., I got bored with life and was just freelancing for weird celebrities, doing things like picking out what mug they should hold in their hand for the US Weekly shoot. So I started a style blog and auditioned for DesignStar. I won the show, got my own show, kept up the blog and now I design, style and consult for companies on both design and writing. It’s pretty much a very weird and unique path to success but certainly one that I would totally repeat.

Q: Did you have a business before hosting HGTV?

A: I worked freelance styling for magazines, advertising and catalogs. In your world, I would have been the person that found the perfect desk with the perfect desk accessories and most beautiful stack of white paper to show off your perfectly clean printer while 25 people stared at it and a photographer captured the moment. My job was to sell a product in the most chic, smart and enviable way possible. I guess in a lot of ways it still is! It’s amazing how much the context changes how a piece is perceived, and I love that challenge so much. You don’t look at me and think “She would be a great printer salesman!”. Instead, you trust that with the right context and story, our printer could go from super fast, high quality and functional, to really cool and necessary for your small business. At least that’s the goal.

Q: How do you balance and weight your time between your multiple platforms, i.e. business owner, working mom, omni-media content, etc.?

A: Whatever is highest priority at the time wins. I’m pretty sure there is supposed to be more of a system than that but, in reality, whoever is stressing us for results the fastest wins the deadline game. The blog is not negotiable because it is what drives the business but at the same time the blog is the only thing that often has no client looking at me with those “where are my side table options?” eyes. Now that I have help on all fronts, I focus on conceptualizing, art directing and writing the content and Ginny and Brady execute my ideas on both the design and the blog content. But it changes daily. It’s pretty much the wild, wild west every day and I would die without these two helping me navigate it.

Q: Do you enjoy being equal parts interior designer and in the “content business” with your blog, videos, etc. – or would you be just as comfortable being a designer all day if jobs booked themselves without promotion?

A: I think that once you have mass influence it’s hard to go back. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing that your hard work affects a lot of people. So, while I love designing for individuals and I probably won’t stop designing ever, I also would never stop writing about and shooting the projects. Here’s the thing—there are better designers out there. There just are. Kelly Wearstler, Nate Berkus, Thomas O’Brien, Miles Redd. But there are very few designers that can write, explain and show their process in a way that empowers people to do it themselves. I love when I get a client that says, “I love everything you did in my home and I’m a happier person because of it”, but more importantly I love it when 258 comments say that now they feel like they know what to do in their own homes because of that blog post. It just makes me feel so good, but I suppose that’s how power hungry people talk so I should probably monitor how much I love the response.

Q: I’ve got to ask the tech question—How does color and the printed piece influence your work?

A: When color isn’t represented accurately it’s a massive bummer. When color is represented correctly it makes our designs pop off the page and we look better to everyone around us. Color and quality printing is important not just for our clients’ presentations, but also for our own design morale.

Q: Does design start with you, then spawn out to architect, contractor, etc., or do you often do rehab / work on existing homes that need makeovers?

A: Typically my projects are more makeovers, upgrades, remodels, etc. Since my background is as a stylist I want to build my own home before I manage someone else’s new build. Too many mistakes can be made and, while I can manage those mistakes swiftly and honestly, I’d rather have them be made on me than a client.

Q: What is your job breakdown like between residential and commercial? Any cool houses, hotels or restaurants you are working on?

A: It’s funny because at this point it’s mainly residential or company-sponsored residential makeovers. I know that sounds super weird. But yes, a paint company (for instance) will sponsor a makeover of a room and hire me to do it for press, social media, photography, etc. We are launching a whole new set of services in a couple months that will be for all budgets—everything from a single question to total renovations. Out are the days of minimum budgets and in are the days of trying to figure out how we can consult on all projects while still running the business.

Q: Lastly, what trends are you seeing for the upcoming year in design?

A: I see lot of mixing traditional or country with mid-century. At least, that’s where I’m headed. And less bold colors, more soft pastels or neutrals. Gold/brass is still big, and copper is taking a close second. Also white electronics, appliances and remotes are coming onto the scene. Epson better get on that movement because a pretty white printer with gold accents is the way of the future. You’ll make a million bucks with what I just told you. You can send my cut to my home address.

Want to find out more about Emily? You can head straight to her website or watch the new “day-in-the-life” video starring Emily, Ginny, Brady and the Epson WorkForce.


Epson provided WorkForce printers to Emily Henderson for business use. 

Visual Design Trends Coming Up in 2015


As a blog that monitors visual trends in the fields of design, I wanted to share this article by iStock by Getty Images that I found on Digiday.

The article talks about what’s next for visual design in 2015, and the trends to watch for, like highlighting dynamic women and celebrating real, true-life people. It mentions nostalgia for the past being conjured by a good black and white image, and also slowing down with arresting stop-action photography.

It reminds me of how people are using technology to create feelings of human character and warmth, and to create memories, with both their imagery and their fonts. As screen sizes diminish, the need for visual impact grows, and the intersection between text and imagery has never been more important.

For us at Epson, it’s not just about creating richer colors and brighter whites with our technology, it’s about leveraging that technology to give the audience a better, more human experience.

To read the full article, please check out What’s Next for Visual Design: 8 trends to watch in 2015.

Far-Flung Freelancers Available By App


In recent need of some quick, backyard remodel drawings to get the discussion going with key family constituents (namely, my Mother), I decided to give the app “Fiverr” a whirl on my iPhone. Like its contemporaries Uber, Airbnb, and Postmates – the Fiverr app is very much a living example of the on demand / sharing economy.

Billing itself as “the Marketplace for Creative and Professional Services,” Fiverr (named for its cost structure of creative jobs starting at a $5 fee), provides instant access to reviewed (highly, and not) freelancers who can perform jobs ranging from cartoon drawings and voice-overs, to video development and architectural design.

While Forbes estimates that one in three Americans (42 million) are now considered freelancers, there is also a substantial international presence on Fiverr as well. Indeed, within minutes I was browsing a variety of visual designers, mostly from overseas, and eventually settled on the work of one Tranchau Pham, a visual designer from Vietnam with an architectural background. Tranchau seemed a talented artist, with the work samples, ratings and reviews to prove it.

I sent him an initial email, and within minutes Tranchau responded, indicating that he was finishing up a school project but would return my email the next day with a more detailed cost estimate. In that time, I sent him a number of photos of the backyard, and a quick sketch of how I could see the project turning out – along with a description of the full color, 11 x 17 drawing that I had in mind as a deliverable.

Sure enough, the next day, Tranchau emailed me back that he fully understood my project – and would deliver the full-color concept drawing, with edits to my satisfaction, over a two- to three-day time period, for under $250…DEAL.

Over the course of the next several days, Tranchau and I collaborated (all via the iPhone Fiverr app) on the drawing and any quick edits I needed done. I was very pleased with the outcome of the drawing, and was able to print it in 11 x 17-wide format on my Epson WorkForce 7620, in a manner that demonstrated perfectly the concept that I was hoping to accomplish with the remodel.

While I would certainly recommend working with your local landscape architect or interior designer on any project for which you desire distinct vision, in-person assessment, and the ability to move forward on accomplishing the work, I would highly recommend Fiverr as a tool for conceptual deliverables that don’t carry as much intimacy or weight.

Like any qualified app that entails services, the photos, work samples, ratings and reviews of the service provider tend to be an excellent guidepost for the quality of deliverables you’re going to receive.

Sadly, a collaborative, overseas design development proved much easier than winning the remodel approval of one’s Mother…A project deliverable that remains outstanding for this freelance general contractor of one.


Photo Credit: Anonymous [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Style Spotting @ High Point Market

Jeanne Chung PR-square-300dpiAs the saying goes – “build it and they will come” – High Point Market may be its very definition.  Nestled just outside Greensboro, the sleepy town of High Point, North Carolina (population 107,741), nearly doubles in size (and electricity) as it twice annually welcomes one of the world’s largest furnishings industry trade shows, aptly named: High Point Market.

Interior designers, wholesalers, retailers and plenty of associated vendors, gather together for a week of trade, education and commerce.  The stats don’t lie regarding the power of “Market”: 100+ countries, 2,000 exhibitors, 11.5 million square feet of showcase space and over 180 buildings are all transformed into a world of vision, color and vibrancy.

I caught up with one of this year’s High Point Market 2014 “Style Spotters,” Jeanne Chung, to get the low-down on industry trends, and what Market means to small business attendees like her.

Q: How many Markets have you been to?

A: This is my fourth time attending High Point Market.

Q: How did you become a 2014 High Point Market Style Spotter?

A: I have a blog called Cozy Stylish Chic, and am the Color and Trends Moderator for the Google+ interior design community of nearly 30,000 members worldwide, so I’ve been able to heavily network my brand, my influence, my affiliation with the Google+ interior design community, the blog, and my core interior design business as vehicles.  The panel that chose the Style Spotter team looked for influencers with a sharp eye for design, a social media presence and geographically spread out around the United States and Canada.  I happened to fit the bill.

Q: What is the allure of Market for a West Coast designer?

A: Attending market is great for both expanding your network and meeting people in person—people whom you’ve been networking with online and are finally meeting in person! It is also the only place you can see so many great lines in one place, attend a wealth of seminars in both design and business, and socialize at after-market parties with friends.

Q: What are some trends you are seeing this year?

A: Deep, rich colors are in, especially colors with substance such as ruby red, saffron yellow and teal.  A mixing of design periods and styles also seems to be important as well as fusing classic shapes with modern materials.

Q: What trends are on the way out, or need to be?

A: I think we’ve hit our peak on “reclaimed wood” and that whole Restoration Hardware look.  It’s been too prescribed and replicated now.  Also—no more big, chunky, oversized sofas!

Q: You spent twenty years of a former life as a fashion designer.  Does that give you an advantage as an interior design professional, and blogger?

A: Absolutely. And it does so in both. Collaboration, trend recognition and an understanding of color are critical components to both fashion and interior design. The trends in both also parallel one another, with fashion preceding interiors by about a season.   Being able to analyze the trends coming down the runway gives me a better understanding of what to expect from furniture and home décor manufacturers several months in the future.

Q: What is the difference between High Point Market and other shows on the West / East Coasts?

A: High Point has a distinctly “American” vibe.  Meaning, you will see trends on the West / East Coast maybe a year earlier, but High Point is where the meat and potatoes of design happens in North America. The most marketable ideas from shows in Miami, New York and Los Angeles get translated here into business plans that require scale, and mass appeal, across the 50 United States and Canada.  But there are still plenty of innovative designs and trends going on here at Market, too.

Q: We’re seeing a lot of “influencer” collaborations between big retail brands and individual influencers this year.  What does the Jeanne Chung Collection look like in a couple of years, when you’re asked to spruce up a national brand?

A: Bold pops of colors, and a respectful, albeit risky, blend of old and new.  I’m often challenged by international clients to blend historical and modern elements that span borders and geographies.  It’s a fun challenge—and that’s the direction we’re seeing design going anyway…The ability to combine styles and looks in a fresh, cohesive and lasting way.  It’s a challenge, but I love it!!

High Point Market runs twice annually in High Point, NC.  The next High Point Market is April 18-23, 2015.  Jeanne Chung is the mother of two stylish young men, and an interior designer in Pasadena, CA.

Check out more of Jeanne’s work and musings at:

Cozy Stylish Chic


Learn more about High Point Market at:

High Point Market


A Life by Design: Jennifer Farrell


The Home Design and Remodeling Show is held four times a year in Florida—twice in Fort Lauderdale and twice in Miami. It’s one of the only places that homeowners get to interact with actual professional interior design vendors. Earlier this month I caught the show in Miami, and had a chance to chat with Jennifer Farrell, an interior designer well known from her shows on the Oprah Winfrey Network, HGTV and the Fox Network. Based in Los Angeles, Jennifer came back to her native Florida to teach consumers at the Home Show how to design in compact spaces. Here’s what she had to say:

Q: How long have you owned your own design firm?

A: Jennifer Farrell Designs has been in business now for 14 years, and my clientele is about 90% residential and 10% commercial. My design business is very multifaceted, as I have clients who are celebrities, and others who are your average family in an average home who choose to live an exceptional life.

Q: Do you like being a business owner?

A: It’s a really exciting time to be an entrepreneur, because America is moving away from the mega conglomerate and towards the mom-and-pop stores we used to have. The good side is that I’m my own boss and I get to do what I want, but the bad side is nobody’s there to hand me a paycheck. So I have to maintain business the only way I know how, which is through hard work with integrity and honesty.

Q: How did the TV shows fit into a life as an interior designer?

A: When all the other girls were playing with their Barbies®, I was building Barbie® houses. I would take cardboard boxes and wallpaper them, add carpeting, hang drapes…it’s always been in my blood. I also went to a performing arts high school, then to Northwestern where I studied in the undergraduate theatre program while I was going through the graduate design program. So when the wonderful little world of home makeover shows came along, they fit all my needs. The timing was great. I was in the right place at the right time.

Q: How has technology changed your business?

A: Computers are fantastic! I can’t do my job without them. I generate design boards for my clients, and that’s why I print every single day. There’s nothing more powerful than the color image in person, and it’s wonderful that we can get such high resolution from printers now. My design boards definitely have their own look to them, you’ll know they’re from Jennifer Farrell Designs, but my interior designs don’t, because I’m a big believer in that design should not reflect my style, but my client’s style.

Q: How are the design boards used?

A: I don’t just generate these for fun. They are a fundamental tool that I use in my design work. I share these boards with my clients for them to see specifically what their design will look like—not a general idea, but the exact curtains, the exact couch, et cetera, and they can really see how the design comes together. I also share the design boards with the contractors and vendors, and they use them to communicate the design to the installers.

Q: How do you see an interior designer’s role in creating a home?

A: My job is to make everyone’s job easier: the architect, the client and the contractor. I can help facilitate all the elements to make sure we reach our maximum capabilities. A good designer can be the hub in between who can unite all the ideas and roles—that’s my philosophy.

Jennifer Farrell is currently the designer on Home Made Simple , and co-stars with host Soleil Moon Frye. Find out more about Jennifer Farrell at Jennifer Farrell Design . The next Home Design and Remodeling Show will be at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, FL from October 17th through the 19th, and information on attending can be found at the Home Design + Remodeling Show website.

Sawdust Festival with Amy Rose Hammond

Amy Rose HammondSince 1966, the Sawdust Art +Craft Festival has provided local artists with the opportunity to create “pop up” shops for their art, nestled amidst the rustling trees of Laguna Canyon. The dressed-down cousin of the nearby Pageant of the Masters, Sawdust provides a unique ambiance for art aficionados and first-time browsers alike.  Live jam bands, ethnic foods and a variety of art—from blown glass to oil paintings—allows for a relaxing, high / low experience of your choosing.

On a recent Tuesday evening at Sawdust, I fueled up on the culinary arts of Tacos Durrell (in particular, their Meatball Taco) and a pita bundle from Thasos Greek Island Grill, grabbed a Longboard Pale Ale and headed over to meet the ever-lively Amy Rose Hammond, a local artist on display here at the Festival.

Having grown up in the arts-rich town of Laguna Beach, Amy is a local artist whose work, like many here at the Festival, is strongly influenced by the unique vibe, coastline and topography of the region.  Since attending the renowned Laguna College of Art & Design (LCAD) fifteen years ago, Amy has made a living from her art.  I visited with her more deeply about the process of creating and marketing her art.

“So often, my work starts with a cell phone shot from my car—it could be a special place in the area, or the light hitting an object just so.”  It’s true: her work is often an interesting convergence of real scenery, and her personal interpretation of a moment in time.  “Having the ability to print those photos from my cell phone, right onto my Epson printer is awesome, because it means I can dive right in on the work.”

But it’s not just painting that Amy has to do well to market her art.  “Clients often want high-quality print outs of my work for their home, so they can test it in a room, or visualize a painting in a specific space they have in mind for my art.  In addition, I’ll also print, epoxy, and sell smaller prints of my work, in case someone is space-crunched, or not ready to make a larger investment in the original work.”

securedownload (2)Indeed: her multi-media art skills prove critical, even down to her branded presence at the Festival itself.  “When we arrive at the Festival, it’s tabula rasa every year (before photo included below).  We have to literally build this booth from the ground up, and make sure it looks great, so we can impress customers and make them feel comfortable investing in a work of art.  I’m calling on carpenter friends to do this, grabbing my nail gun to do that—but at the end of the day, it’s an incredibly satisfying result.”

And it looks great, too.  To wit, Amy will have had a successful show this year, selling five or six major works of art at this summer’s festival, which typically runs from June 27 – August 31.  If you can’t make it this time of year, there is also a small winter session November 22 – December 14, 2014.  If anything, it’s worth taking family or a date and supporting the local arts while soaking up the scene.

To view Amy’s work more intimately, you can also connect with her on Facebook.

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Growing Your Small Business Through Process Improvement

Tristan BoutrousAs someone who is focused on my clients in small business, and how to help make their offices run more smoothly, I was eager to have the chance to talk to Tristan Boutros in New York recently. He’s the Chief Process Officer of one of the world’s largest media and entertainment firms, and has the credentials to back up his position—his 10 professional designations include Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Certified Scrum Professional and Master Project Manager certification.

He’s also the author of The Process Improvement Handbook: A Blueprint for Managing Change and Increasing Organization Performance, which interested me because it talks about a new way of creating process improvement using technology. Tristan says it’s a combination of agile and process-oriented thinking. “You don’t just build something that’s solved through a spreadsheet,” Tristan explained. “You look at the big picture and you build enterprise cloud-based platform solutions that solve the end-to-end problem—a solution that’s centralized rather than a bunch of separate systems, or spreadsheets.” As an employee of a large corporation like Epson America, I could see how Tristan’s book has helped to revolutionize the processes and operations of big companies. But, from our discussion, I began to see how his blueprints could also apply to small business improvement. For example: small businesses start out agile, and by using Tristan’s blueprint, they can stay that way. “A big corporation is playing catch up all the time, and it can take weeks, months and sometimes eons to go through the organization and change its processes,” said Tristan. “Whereas, a small business, especially if they apply these concepts and level of discipline out of the gate, can build themselves in a way that they’re nimble, or agile, and they can make changes at any time without any exhaustive effort.” The Process Improvement Handbook brings benefits to small business owners in three ways:

  1. Venture Capital: “If a startup is looking for investment funds, the best thing they can do is showcase their ability to control their business, and exhibit a high level of discipline right out of the gate,” said Tristan.
  2. The Buyout: Make sure your business is in order and in place to ensure it’s lucrative in the eyes of the buyer. “Many owners will have to change things just to get a buy to the next level,” Tristan explained. “If it were disciplined and clean out of the gate, you’re ready to roll.”
  3. Case Studies: Learn what not to do from the big guys, even companies you thought had their processes nailed. “There’s a chapter on case studies that literally take examples of situations where, if companies had been more disciplined or installed a framework, they’d be in much better shape,” Tristan said.

And I saw the connection—it made sense. Most small businesses don’t want to stay small, and Tristan’s book provides a blueprint for companies—of all sizes—to find a path to agility…To find out more about Tristan Boutros, check out his LinkedIn profile, or follow him on Twitter.

Tristan has given me two copies of the book to share. The first two people to send me their name address will receive one in the mail!  Interested? Please send your email here:


Building a New Business Model, In Color

DTD PortraitCrate & Barrel. Restoration Hardware. Pottery Barn. All easy to find, whether it’s a brick-and-mortar store or an online shopping cart. Twenty, even ten years ago, these types of stores weren’t as accessible to the general public as they are now. And it has forced Danielle Tarango to change the business model for her interior design business, Danielle Tarango Design, in Laguna Beach, California.

“In the past, interior designers would charge a flat rate for design services, and then charge a percentage of the goods that were purchased for the client’s project,” explains Danielle. “Today, everyone is so internet savvy. They know that the Targets and Walmarts of the world are competing for business and charge just pennies over cost. It’s impossible for designers to work in that capacity anymore.”

Danielle turned the interior designers’ fee structure on its head, and uses her Epson printers to make it profitable. She’s started to bill hourly for her time, and provides her clients with materials, like mood boards and lists of goods, with the information on where to buy everything.

But because she’s billing by the hour at a higher rate than her flat fee, Danielle knows she needs to provide value to her customer. “These printed materials are invaluable to me in terms of actually giving them a physical piece of property that they can own,” she says. “If I can buy it, then most likely my client can buy it too, and they do so using the materials I provide.”

Danielle’s mood boards are full of inspiration images and printed on her 11” x 17” large format printer, an Epson WorkForce 7620 with PrecisionCore™ technology, adding materials like stones, sample fabrics and paint swatches to finish the board. Her resource lists are formatted for regular letter size paper, which she prints on her WorkForce 4640.

“I download images of accessories, furniture and other home items from the Internet for the design,” Danielle explains. “I use the Epson ink because it prints as close to the original as you can get—and color accuracy is very important in my business.”

Although she’s not surprised by the time and money she’s saved from bringing print in-house, Danielle is taken aback at how low the cost is to maintain the printers. “After 18 months of owning these two printers, I feel like I’ve only replaced the cartridges once on each.”

She’s generously shared her ideas with several of her interior designer friends, even creating customized templates for them. One designer, who commutes to Laguna Beach from out of state every six weeks, calls Danielle every time. “She says ‘Hey, can I come to your office and do some printing?’”, Danielle laughs. “I’m like ‘Yeah, yeah, come on over.’ It seems I’ve become the new printing house in Laguna Beach!”

DTD Sample Mood Boards 2_lo



Miami’s Grand Design


On a recent visit to see my friends at the Office Depot headquarters down in Florida, I decided to take an afternoon to stop by the Miami Design District to see what all the buzz was about.  Billed as a “creative neighborhood and shopping destination, dedicated to innovative fashion, design, art, architecture and dining,” the district is…well, exactly that. And it’s awesome.

Upon arrival, it was clear that a base of Miami’s regional foods would be critical to fuel my afternoon of browsing the avenue. I stopped into the Oak Tavern, which is aptly named for its rustic, indoor/outdoor vibe, alongside an intelligent mix of bar seating, community tables and booths. After fueling up on some small plates and Bacon Marmalade Toast with Cave Man blue cheese butter (do you even need to ask if was going to order that?) I was sated and ready for the pursuit of more delicate affairs.

I headed south along 40th Street, which comprises the heart of the retail stores available in the district. First stop: Louis Vuitton. In many ways, this retail store environment is the perfect confluence of all the elements the district hopes to deliver: One part museum; one part art gallery; one part fashion; one part consumer goods…All rolled into one clean, well-branded customer experience.

Back out on the avenue, shoppers are presented with a variety of retail environments ranging from fine art galleries (Markowicz Fine Art), fashion boutiques (Delpozo) and watchmakers (Rolex). This selection provides a great way to leisurely spend a day, without necessarily spending dollars—although there seemed to be plenty of native Floridians, and internationals, willing to do that, too.

Perhaps the coolest way to end the day, was stumbling upon “DASH” or Design Architecture Senior High—Miami Dade’s design-magnet school, ranked as one of the Top 20 Public High Schools in the United States by US News & World Report. This innovative school provides education in architecture, industrial design, fashion design and visual communications – no doubt stocking the pipeline for future design district tenants and cultural contributors.

In all, the Miami Design District is walkable, vibrant and immersive. And coupled with a trip to the nearby Wynwood Walls, which skillfully harness the aesthetic beauty of Miami’s street art, this is the ideal cultural immersion for those wanting “something more” than a stroll down South Beach during their time in Miami.

Photo Courtesy of Marc Averette, under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.