Friday, December 10, 2010

2010, A Year in Review with KSA Interiors

“If you have knowledge,
let others light their candles in it.”
Margaret Fuller (1810-1950), American journalist, critic, and advocate for women’s education and the right to employment.

At KSA, we could not agree more! 2010 has been an eventful year for the KSA team. We have had the opportunity to participate in some amazing activities with our clients, our colleagues, and our professional design organizations. Our team continues to learn more about our ever-evolving industry and strives every day to share this knowledge with our clients and teammates.

As the holiday season approaches, our team would like to take this opportunity to share our experiences with you. We hope you enjoy this review of 2010!


Strategic Planning and Professional Development

“By enabling individual growth through self assessment, goal setting, and education, employees will become self-motivated to enhance their personal professional development and KSA’s development as a whole.”

Following the goals determined in our Strategic Planning Retreat, the KSA Interiors team developed four internal task forces to work together to promote standards in Professional Development, Communications, Design Processes and Procedures, and Office Processes and Procedures. Each task force collaborated to build the KSA roadmap to enhance the quality of KSA’s professional service knowledge and business operations.

If you have visited our office this year, you may have noticed one of the first projects completed by the Professional Development and Communications task forces. The simple but brilliant addition of categorized end caps to our product and resource library has not only been an impactful tool to better organize our heavily trafficked working space, but has also served as a space for information sharing internally and for our office visitors!

The informational categories are:

Gifts for the Community with Toys for Tots!!

With a company packed full of creative minds and big hearts, KSA was in search of a way to give back to the community during the holiday season. After putting our heads together, we came up with a solution that has provided gifts for children in need during the holidays while enhancing our team culture.

Each year, the KSA team transforms our company holiday gathering into an opportunity to donate to the community while learning and sharing about each other. In November, each KSA team member draws the name of a fellow co-worker and purchases a toy that depicts that individual. The drawing is kept anonymous to create an energetic buzz of curiosity leading up to the day of our holiday gathering.

After the anticipation has been building throughout our office, we gather for our holiday lunch and get to enjoy guessing which toys personify which team members. From individuals' quirky favorite characters, childhood stories, and hobbies, the toys purchased always come with an entertaining presentation! After all of the gifts, stories, and laughs have been shared, KSA collects all of these toys and donates them to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.

The Gift of Design

Inspiration can be found throughout all walks of life. You may happen upon it walking through a local park, visiting a museum, or on your drive home from work. Every day our team is truly INSPIRED by the clients we have the pleasure of working for, the colleagues we enjoy teaming with, and the projects we love working on.

We would like to share with you a selection of fun facts, articles, and images that our team has collected this year. Hopefully, there will be a few magical pieces of information that spark inspiration in your hearts and minds this holiday season and in the new year to come. Enjoy!

Can You Imagine 20 Rooms in Just One Studio Apartment ?

"Urban dwellers worldwide dream of someday trading a studio flat for a spacious house. Hong Kong designer Gary Chang, however, has fashioned his 32-square-meter (350 square feet) apartment into a space that can transform into 20 separate rooms!" To read the original article, see photos, and videos visit !

The Quest for Defining and Designing for Basic Human Needs

" Each Monday and Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m., a small group of college seniors and graduate students from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design meet to discuss and question how design can be used to improve people's lives. The course is “Social Impact by Design,” taught by Professor Bruce Hanington. Design for social impact, although currently very much in vogue, is a nebulous area. During the course, we’ve had many discussions about definitions, especially the definitions of “design for social impact” and “humanitarian design.” Although these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, I believe they are not the same. Defining the difference, however, is not easy. The words are an attempt to describe movements in design that are organic and in a constant state of change." Dive into this intellectual deliberation on the impact of design and the definition of human needs via  Imprint-The Online Community for Graphic Designers.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Project Spotlight! The Learning Commons at VCU Cabell Library

“Learning doesn’t just happen in classrooms; learning also occurs outside the lecture hall. New strategies for enabling learning and accommodating the multiple demands on student time have led to rethinking the use, design, and location of learning spaces.” -

Embracing the demand for such critical changes in new learning environments, the VCU Cabell Library Team designed the Learning Commons to transform the second floor of the existing library into a destination for students to come together to collaborate, learn, and thrive. 

The entrance to the Learning Commons provides a hub for students to gather in a “home-like” environment that is enhanced with a hearth, flat digital screens, and special lighting features. The intimate, yet open feel was accomplished with lowered ceilings, rich colors, and lounge seating. 

The Learning Commons entrance is surrounded by a variety of group and individual seating options with flexible furniture that supports the transformation of group activities into break-out space. Private group study rooms are lined with white boards and mobile easels to support team learning. Computer access to data and power is implemented throughout the Learning Commons to allow for immediate workspace set-up. 

Though the library and learning commons combined encompass a massive amount of space, each workspace option maintains a sense of privacy. To accomplish this, the KSA design team used workstation screens, carpet patterning, and varied heights of seating and tables. In high traffic areas, carpet pathways and café height tables were used to allow students less distraction from passers by.

As an integral part of the Learning Commons, the multipurpose room was designed to serve as a multi-functional classroom and computer environment with integrated technology. The multipurpose room furniture was selected to allow for flexible reconfigurations to adapt the room for lectures and assemblies or to accommodate open group study. The instructional configuration of the space required tables that would support groups of four students sharing a computer while maintaining a clear line of sight to the instructor. The KSA design team accomplished this by having computers nested on mobile carts that could be rolled away so the space could be easily changed for other activities. Implementing the principle of “form follows function,” the KSA design team used a polygon shaped room to enhance the line of sight between the students and the instructors. 

 To avoid confusion when navigating the Commons, signage and wayfinding were developed using angles, color separation, and specialty light fixtures that served as landmarks. A visual wayfinding beacon was created at the Learning Commons entrance hub. The wayfinding elements vary throughout the remainder of the Commons so students can distinguish the type of group or individual workplace options available to them.

As showcased in this project, KSA Interiors’ design team works with you from concept to completion of your project. Throughout our projects, KSA provides computer generated visual images to ensure the finished project is everything you envisioned and more.  We are proud to say the Learning Commons project has been a huge success based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the library staff and the students who are enjoying their new collaborative learning space! 

We invite you to visit VCU Cabell Learning Commons website to learn more and stay updated on coming events! You can also become a Fan of the VCU James Branch Cabell Library on Facebook.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Joining The Conversation Everyone Keeps Talking About!!

"Social Media" - it is a topic we have all heard TONS about over the past year!  So, what does it mean? Why should we be using it as professionals? How effective is it in our industry? What's the point of this medium?

Over the past year, our team has closely watched and researched the trends related to this controversial topic.  We have learned through trial and error some very effective tools available for use, and some that may not be the best fit for our industry.  But one of the main lessons we have learned is that is it better to be a part of this world-wide conversation that keeps growing than to be sitting on the side-lines waiting to be invited. 

SO, we officially invite you to share your thoughts on this topic, and join us in the medium that works best for you!  You can chat with us on Twitter, join our growing page on Facebook, and connect with us on LinkedIn.  We hope you stay tuned to our blog "What Inspires You?" for more thoughts and articles on this and additional topics effecting our industry.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Project Spotlight! MWV Foundry Park Signage & Wayfinding Graphics

When making the decision to move their headquarters to Richmond, Virginia, of primary concern for MWV, a Fortune 500 company, was creating an environment that reflected their corporate strategy of innovation, collaboration, and sustainability; as well as emphasizing and promoting their corporate brand identity. KSA Interiors' challenge was to help MWV (MeadWestvaco Corporation) shape their own brand and to think of their new headquarters as the “package” in which they are delivered to the world.

Partnering with a talented and diverse project team of architects, engineers, interior designers, and brand consultants, it was the goal of our corporate interiors design team to provide graphics and signage solutions that would enhance and emphasize the project team’s vision. In collaboration with the project’s sustainability mission, all products specified for signage and wayfinding were selected based on their impact on sustainable initiatives and the goals of the project.

Design solutions that best represent the success of our efforts to “package” our client into their new facility included:

Photo by Christopher Good
The development of the logo, brand, and signage for building amenities such as the ‘Riverview Café,’ ‘Ironworks Fitness,’ and ‘Foundry Perk.’ Each brand was developed by our graphics and signage design team to call attention to the historical building site, located adjacent to the Civil War era Tredegar Ironworks & Foundry.

Design elements and finishes were coordinated to emphasize the facility’s more dramatic interior finishes such as the brand-specific blue that was back-painted on glass with aluminum and polished steel features.

Photo by Christopher Good
Parking garage wayfinding graphics were designed to emphasize the “package” concept by indicating each floor level with an over-sized bar code graphic.

Photo by Christopher Good
Internal stairway wayfinding graphics were designed to indicate each floor level in bold, over-sized graphics. Each floor number is translated into the twelve languages prominent in countries where MWV has operations.

Photo by Christopher Good
Also in the internal stairways are super-sized accent graphics that serve as wayfinding markers. These graphics fold along the various wall surfaces mimicking nearby lighting solutions and other “folded” design elements in the building’s design.

Photo by Christopher Good
Successful in terms of their functionality and simplicity were the nearly 100 different sign types and nearly 2,000 individual signs specified across the facilities site, parking structure, and interior. These included: exterior pylons, parking, wayfinding and cautionary signage; interior room identifications, wayfinding graphics, flag mounted iconographic symbols, egress and code related signage; and the client’s logo in various prominent locations throughout the facility and site.

KSA Interiors recently received an Interior Design Excellence Award in the Custom category for the Signage and Wayfinding Graphics Package for the new MWV Foundry Park Headquarters. The judges from the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) commented on how well the signage package supported the branded color scheme and design package for the facility. The 2010 Interior Design Excellence Award was presented to Christopher Good (CID, ASID, LEED AP), Sara Lasseter (CID, ASID, SEGD, LEED AP), and Erin Riggan (Allied Member ASID, LEED AP) with KSA Interiors in Glen Allen, VA.

The greatest measure of the success for our collaborative team is in the knowledge that each signage and graphics application enhances the surrounding design elements developed by our design team partners. The final design solution remains true to the beauty of the new facility as well as the corporate mission of our client.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Day of Decades!!

For Halloween this year, our team got inspired by a variety of decades!!  From the 1950's through to the millennium - our staff was decked out in full costume and full character!

We also enjoyed our 5th Annual Pumpkin Carving Night!  Check out some of the creative designs our team came up with this year!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Coveted KSA Marketing Award

At KSA, we have introduced a funky little incentive for encouraging everyone to use their marketing minds in all sorts of creative and effective ways!!  Those who punch up their marketing skills especially well WIN the coveted KSA Marketing Award each month! A true honor around these parts! Make sure you ask to see the award in person next time you come by our offices.  It is full of personality from adornments attached by each winner.  Keep the creative juices flowing out there - they make life that much more interesting!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Celebrating the 2010 Interior Design Excellence Awards!

The Virginia Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and the Virginia /
West Virginia Chapter of the International Interior Designer Association (IIDA) hosted the 2010 Interior Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) gala event on Saturday, September 11, 2010 at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, Virginia. 
Photo by Chris Anderson
In the months leading up to this event, the KSA Interiors team was hard at work, with the many other volunteers and sponsors, preparing the Bollywood themed decorations including colorful paper flowers, custom cupcake stands to serve as table centerpieces with delicious cupcakes from from a local shop called Two Sweet, festive "bling" for the sponsored "Bling Booth" complete with bangles, bindis, and temporary henna tattoos, and much more.  The RVA Hoop Lovers also made an appearance at the Awards gala, positioned throughout the space to perform hoop dancing to bollywood themed music playing in the auditorium and corridors.
Congratulations to all of the awardees including the six students awarded for their entries at this year's event.  Lisa Tucker, professor at Virginia Tech and current ASID VA Chapter President, was recognized for supporting her students to enter the competition. There was a record number of student entries this year and ASID / IIDA hopes to see this continue!

Photo by Al Wekelo
KSA Interiors received the First Place award in the Government Contract category for the interior design of the Farmville – Prince Edward Community Library in Farmville, Virginia.  This new community library was designed to provide a creative children’s area, comfortable and sophisticated adult spaces, and community meeting areas within the library environment. The design solution takes advantage of views to the adjacent lake and the connection of nature is brought in with large amounts of natural light and the use of natural materials. The children’s area has design elements reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. The judges commented on the environment and how it encourages imagination and creativity for all ages, “What a library should be!”  A First place in the Government Category for the design of the Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library in Farmville, VA was awarded to Lorri Finn (CID, IIDA, LEED AP), Mary Katherine Crouch(ASID, LEED AP), Sara Lasseter (CID, ASID, SEGD, LEED AP), and Joanna Yates (Associate Member IIDA, LEED AP) with KSA Interiors in Glen Allen, VA. Architecture by The Design Collaborative.

Photo by Philip Beaurline
In the Institutional Contract category, KSA also received a First Place award for the interior design of the Midlothian Campus Phase II Building at John Tyler Community College in Midlothian, VA.  This award was accepted by Lorri Finn (CID, IIDA, LEED AP), Brandy Collins (Allied Member ASID), Sara Lasseter (CID, ASID, SEGD, LEED AP), and Joanna Yates (Associate Member IIDA, LEED AP) with KSA Interiors. Architecture for this project was done by Burt Hill Architects.  This entry in the Institutional Category was for a 60,000 square foot education facility containing a variety of laboratories, a student library, student lounge, and campus bookstore for a local community college. The judges commented on the materials and furnishings that provided a more comfortable setting as well as the inspiring color palette.

Photo by Christopher Good
KSA Interiors received an award in the Custom category for the Signage and Wayfinding Graphics Package for the new MWV Foundry Park Headquarters in Richmond, Virginia.  For this project, the design team was asked to create the signage and wayfinding package for the new headquarters building. Utilizing the design concept of the “fold” in package design, the designers created super graphics for the stairs that folded around the walls as well as a fold element as part of the room signage. The barcode concept was used in the garage to support the floor numbering. Custom signage was also developed for key destination areas in the building and was named to support the site location, Iron Works (for the gym), Riverside Café, and Foundry Perk. The judges commented on how well the signage package supported the color scheme and design package for the facility. An Honorable mention in the Custom Category for the design of the signage package for the MWV Headquarters building in Richmond, VA was awarded to Christopher Good (CID, ASID, LEED AP), Sara Lasseter (CID, ASID, SEGD, LEED AP), and Erin Riggan (Allied Member ASID, LEED AP) with KSA Interiors in Glen Allen, VA.

We would like to thank all of the Sponsors and Volunteers once more for their invaluable assistance in making this year's IDEA Awards gala a spectacular event!  We look foward to seeing you there next year!!

For more details and posts about the awards, visit the KSA Interiors Facebook Page.
**(You can link to the ASID Virginia and IIDA Facebook Pages from this link as well!)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Project Spotlight! Branchlands Retirement Community

A true compliment to the beauty and history of Charlottesville, Virginia, Branchlands Retirement Community mirrors the appearance of a historic plantation or a high-end hospitality resort. This beautiful independent-living retirement community is located on 26 landscaped acres that provide walking paths, a lake, flower gardens, and a fishing pond for residents and visitors.

Photo by Heather Croy
 "I felt a sense of history when I first walked through the doors,” said Mary Katherine Crouch, ASID, LEED AP, Project Manager, and Interior Designer for this project. The refurbished “Manor House” was built circa 1860. Over the years, the house has been enlarged, extended, and renovated as it was home to several Virginia families. The Catholic Church of the Incarnation owned the Manor House from the 1930’s to 1980 during which it served as the Holy Comforter School, a residence for nuns, and later as a rectory for housing priests.  In 1980, the Manor House and surrounding acreage was purchased and age-restricted apartments were constructed within the two buildings adjacent to the Manor House. In 2008, the current owner purchased the community and hired KSA Interiors to bring life back to this now stunning community.

Photo by Philip Beaurline
 The Manor House required refurbishing to refresh the existing appearance of the interiors. New finishes and lighting were incorporated throughout. Focus was placed on the dining rooms, movie and exercise room, parlor, and offices located in the Manor House which serves as the community center and provides administrative offices. Two adjacent apartment buildings were also renovated to accommodate resident rooms and additional offices.

The ultimate goal of our client was to maintain the original grandeur and traditional core of the Manor House while providing an environment with accessible options appropriate for the everyday lives of its senior residents.

With finishes and lighting complete, KSA's design team embarked on staging the Manor House for the Grand Re-Opening. To achieve the desired results with a modest budget, KSA Interiors' team reused existing furniture and accessories available from the Manor House. The furniture pieces were refurbished and placed strategically in different settings throughout the Manor House, and the remaining budget was used to repair or replace artwork and purchase complimentary accessories. The intended appearance was as cohesive, classic, and beautiful as the residents and staff had imagined.

Submitted by
KSA Interiors

Friday, August 20, 2010

We Really DO Love Our Jobs!!

Our marketing department did a little experiment this afternoon.....we had our intern sneak around the office taking candid shots of our designers hard at work - AND - do you know what we found???   Maybe we should let these few photos speak for themselves!  This really is what we see every day - our culture fosters inspiration and creativity that can not be found in many design firms!

When it comes to your projects - don't you want to hire someone who lives for what they do!! If so - the KSA Team is DEFINTIELY the right team for you!

The Desk of the Future! A Journey to EurekaFest 2010 with Hopewell High School's InvenTeam

“Sitting through classes at Hopewell High School isn't exactly comfortable, especially if the student is taller than 4 feet 5 inches. The desks currently in use were patented in the late 1950s, and little has changed since.” (Markus Schmidt of

In an effort to improve the condition of student desks at Hopewell High School, an ambitious group of students, led by an innovative and dedicated teacher named Andrei Dacko, represented one of only 15 groups in the country to win an InvenTeam grant from the Lemelson-MIT Foundation to create and present a new product of their own invention at MIT’s EurekaFest in mid-June 2010.

In January 2009, Dacko, Hopewell High’s Engineering Technology instructor, asked his students if they were interested in inventing something. After getting a resounding, “Yes!” he told his then sophomore students about the InvenTeam grant program. From there, each student on the team was tasked with coming up with two to three invention ideas. Dacko explained, "In the end, we had over 30 ideas, from a doggy door alarm to a temperature controlled pillow." Eventually, the students chose the idea that would have the most positive impact on their school and fellow students. "All agreed that our current desk designs need to be redeveloped," Dacko stated.

One student explained, "Our current desk has so many problems it was easy to work on improvements." The sole female student on the team stated, "(The current desk) just looks really old, and (the support) bar makes it impossible to slide in from both sides." Another teammate explained, "Our first step was to take an original desk and then add other features to it.” The endless list inspired the students to come up with numerous ideas for the Desk of the Future.

Upon submitting their entry application, Hopewell High School was one of 312 initial applicants. Of those, only 64 actually completed the application after which only 32 were selected for the second round of applications. The Hopewell team and their idea for the Desk of the Future was ultimately chosen to make the final cut of just 15 schools across the country and to design and build a prototype of their invention to be presented at MIT’s EurekaFest in June 2010.

The new student desk, billed as an active-dynamic learning system designed to change the direction of education in the 21st century, proposes the possibility of several new features. All of these new features were decided upon based on surveys the InvenTeam sent to students, teachers, buyers, and custodians asking them what improvements they believed should be made to current desks. In order to build their prototype, the students actually built several different iterations; one with sheet metal, one with wood and tubing, one with aluminum, and another with PVC pipe. The students also brainstormed ideas to make the desk more ergonomic, user friendly, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective.

During the design phase, Kim Schoenadel, President & CEO of KSA Interiors contacted Andrei Dacko after reading an article in the Richmond Times Dispatch about the Hopewell High School InvenTeam. Using Kim's professional resources, the team received input from Gary Chin, President of Dauphin Human Design, the world’s leading office seating manufacturer, and the Industrial Design students at Virginia Tech.  Delta Graphics in Chester, Dauphin, and KSA Interiors contributed seating and desk samples to the students so they could evaluate different product components. Will Frederikson, a retired mechanical engineer, also read about the InvenTeam and provided crucial support to the development of the prototype. Dacko says, “ Will’s timing couldn’t have been better. It was exactly the time in our process when we were in huge need of engineering support. Will truly helped us to realize our vision for the desk."

As the InvenTeam made final preparations for MIT’s EurekaFest, it was determined that a trade show booth would be an excellent way to tell the story of their invention. KSA Interiors worked with the InventTeam to create the text and graphics for the booth.  Kim also recruited Larry Ragland, President of Mark Bric, and Wayne Nystrom, President & CEO of GraphicsGallery through their shared connection with the Virginia Council of CEOs.  Mark Bric donated the portable display booth to the InvenTeam and GraphicsGallery provided the production of the booth graphics.

"(The team was) really excited about the trip to Cambridge in June," Dacko explained. "Who knows, the next generation of Hopewell High School students may be sitting at desks designed right here at our school." The team returned from EurekaFest even more energized and confident about their invention, which was well received and sparked a great deal of interest among their fellow inventors. Long-term, they hope the desk will go into mass production and return to classrooms, including those at Hopewell High, where all students will be able to benefit from it!

*Due to the confidential nature of the InvenTeam's desk prototype and design, no images of the desk will be shared.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Project Spotlight! Meadowdale Library

Like libraries across the country, Meadowdale Library was striving to evolve with the changing needs of its patrons. In order to ensure Meadowdale’s relevance in the digital age, Chesterfield County moved forward on the design and construction of a new 20,000 square foot building that would meet twenty-first century demands. An immediate success, and an Interior Design Excellence Award winner in 2009, the new library has become a gathering place for county residents by promoting its multi-faceted services and resources.

Photo courtesy of Richard Fitts
The design objectives for this project were to create an inspiring and warm entrance to the library, provide large and open meeting spaces, craft peaceful areas for reading and studying, provide a defined children’s reading and story-time space, and to shape a digital environment by providing ample access to computers and other technological media.

Described as a “bright new space” by the Richmond Times Dispatch, Meadowdale Library is being celebrated by county officials, patrons, librarians, and library staff throughout the region. The essence of the library, as well as the color palette used, embraces the natural outdoors and makes the best use of natural light throughout the entire space. A positive effect of two-story windows and skylights, the library’s environment feels spacious, yet peaceful, especially in reading and study areas.

Photo courtesy of Richard Fitts
The children’s section of the library was designed to be a focal point with its large, plush mushroom cushions, child-sized activity tables, and brightly colored flooring. There is plenty of open space for story time for parents and children alike to enjoy.

Newly released books are showcased throughout the library on cylindrical shelving which is affixed to the library’s support columns. By utilizing innovative applications in shelving and casework, the library is able to offer additional volumes of reading material to its patrons. The library shelf space that formerly held 78,000 volumes now allows 90,000 volumes to be perused by all patrons.

Photo courtesy of Richard Fitts
  Computer workstations and laptop plug-ins are found in abundance throughout all areas of the library. The library meeting room also has a number of plug-ins to create a lab environment, as the library is often used as a satellite educational space.

The collaborative effort between Chesterfield County, Meadowdale Library's decision makers, the architect (The Design Collaborative), the interior designer (KSA Interiors), and most importantly, the end-users, produced a building that will meet Meadowdale Library’s needs today and for many years to come.

Meadowdale Library is very proud of their new home and welcomes everyone to visit and experience its interactive environment for learning, research, discovery, and of course, fun!

Submitted by
KSA Interiors

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What Inspires You?

Photo - All Rights Reserved KSA
 Have you ever entered an environment and suddenly found yourself more engaged, awake, motivated … even inspired? It is an exhilarating feeling to experience. Sometimes you do not realize the effect the environment has had on you until much later. It is the feeling you get when you are reminded of an outstanding place you have visited and you get the sensation that makes you say, “Yes! I really liked that place! I can't wait to return!”

You can probably visualize the last place that gave you such a feeling. Perhaps it was the university center where you spent fall afternoons studying, the relaxing cafe with the great Sunday brunch specials, the boutique where you wish you could stop yourself from spending this week’s paycheck, or your neighbor’s office downtown with the enviable views of the city.

It is remarkable what a well-designed environment can do for people and how seamlessly and covertly smart design positively impacts all users of your space. You rarely ever realize how great a space is. You just intuitively know it feels right. While you are there you are happier, more productive, and more empowered to focus on important tasks or to just enjoy your time.

In contrast, it is just as remarkable what a poorly designed environment can do. Inefficient, unattractive, and uninspiring, environments zap the energy right out of you. They make it harder to achieve the goals you had in mind or to enjoy yourself while you feel imprisoned inside. Even more unsettling is that environments that lack smart design may not only risk your mental well being, they may also harm your physical well being and safety.

Luckily, poorly designed spaces stand out like sore thumbs and we learn quickly to avoid them whenever possible. With this is mind, why is it that we are not more astute at quantifying what it means to have a well designed environment? We intuitively understand the value of great spaces. Our subconscious tells us when a place feels right, yet we are often blind to all of the thought, hard work, and effort that goes into making an environment … well, … “inspired”.

At KSA Interiors we have made it our mission to help our clients answer the question of 'what inspires them' and to help them achieve an environment that does just that. Achieving inspiration requires great attention to our clients' needs and an understanding of how people will interact with and experience the built environment.

Inspiring space is all about understanding people. You know you have created an inspired environment not when someone can point to one particular feature, but rather when the users of that space get the sensation and subconscious desire that whispers, “I can’t wait to come back to this space!”

KSA at a Glance

KSA Interiors is a SWaM certified business in Glen Allen, Virginia that offers interior design, space planning, environmental graphics, and facility services to the Corporate, Federal, Higher Education, and Healthcare commercial markets. Our multi-disciplined team includes Certified Interior Designers (the majority of which are LEED Accredited Professionals), project managers, space planners, graphic designers, and facility management specialists. Since June 2009, we have held a GSA Multiple Award Schedule (71 IIK) for Comprehensive Furniture Management Services (CFMS).

A Culture of Inspiration

Our team recognizes every day that a company’s culture drives its success. We are able to demonstrate by example the impact that our clients’ interior environments and ergonomics can have on their staff and visitors. Our experienced and focused teams are encouraged to find inspiration through one another and through the eyes of our clients. The ultimate goal of every project we embark upon is to achieve the results envisioned by our clients and their end users.

We hire people who love what they do and have the passion to drive innovation. Our designers are some of the brightest and most hard-working people in the industry; who take pride in their work, and are not afraid of challenges. In the end, it is our clients who reap the rewards of our exceptionally talented team of professionals and their synergistic relationships with one another.

Our Services in Detail

Programming Studies
Workflow Management | Optimization Techniques
Furniture, Finishes & Equipment Consulting
Lighting & Ceiling System Design
Information Systems Evaluation & Coordination
Construction Administration | Documents
Installation Coordination
Interior Design Master Planning
LEED Accredited Professionals

Feasibility Studies | Work Space Evaluations
Benchmarking | Space Standards Evaluation (BOMA & IFMA)
Space Utilization Evaluation
Reorganization Studies | Restack Planning

On-Site Services
Space Efficiency Analysis
Space Management
Reorganization Planning
Move Management
Order Verification and Installation
Post Occupancy Evaluation

Environmental | Wayfinding Graphics & Signage
Graphic Design
Visualization | 3D Graphics

To learn more about KSA Interiors, visit

Submitted by
Sara Lowery
KSA Interiors, Marketing Coordinator

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Project Spotlight! Farmville Public Library

To make the vision for this project a reality, the Farmville town council, board of supervisors, architect, and design firm successfully collaborated to create this spectacular new public library for the community. KSA Interiors worked closely with the architect and client to achieve all of the following objectives to their fullest potential and beyond.

The project design objectives were to achieve a creatively designed children’s reading and interaction area, create a sophisticated space for adults to read and relax, have access to a combination of large and small meeting spaces, enhance public access to technology with the addition of computer workstations, and to increase shelving and displays to hold the vast volumes of books, periodicals, and references.

Photo by Al Wekelo
 The Farmville Herald wrote that the unique children’s section would, “feel at home in Disneyland (and) has an Alice In Wonderland-esque "rabbit hole" entrance for kids to crawl through from the main library space, in addition to a more traditional, though highly decorative, doorway.” As children lounge and play in the comfortable space, they are encouraged to gaze up at the ceiling upon which clouds have been dreamily painted. Upon the walls surrounding the area are colorful graphics and abstractly shaped mirrors that entice the eye and inspire the mind.

Photo by Al Wekelo
 The design team also created a refined area for adult patrons to enjoy. On one side of the library there is an electric fireplace around which the entire wall is finished in Buckingham slate from floor to ceiling. Surrounding the warm hearth of the fireplace are lounging sofas and chairs.

On the opposite side of the library lives a panoramic glass-walled lakeside view, with a patio by the lake. In addition to giving patrons a window to the outside world, this glass wall invites natural light into the space, adding warmth and environmentally sound value to the new venue.

For patrons who wish to read, study, or research in peace and quiet, there are small study rooms to accommodate their needs. A large community room, able to seat up to 50 people, is also a main feature of the library. This room has a separate entrance so it may be used after hours, and has a service kitchen that may be used for catered events.

Photo by Al Wekelo
 The library was in need of additional space to hold their eclectic and growing book collection. The renovations have allowed the space to hold 20,000 plus items in the 19,000 square feet of the new library. Also in pursuit of achieving the objective to enhance public access to technology, a computer center with 20 new computers was added to the facility. The goal of this space was to provide an ideal networking environment for high-school and college students from nearby educational institutions.

As the Farmville Herald put it, “The new ‘new public library’ may not end up on Broadway, but it’s expected to top the charts among Virginia libraries.”

Submitted by
KSA Interiors

Project Spotlight! John Tyler Community College

KSA Interiors had the pleasure of working with John Tyler Community College on a achieving their mission to “provide quality educational opportunities that inspire student success and community vitality.” In 2009, the Midlothian, Virginia Campus was in need of an additional facility to assist in supporting this mission

Completed in August 2009, the new 61,000 square foot educational facility provides academic classrooms, teaching laboratories, faculty and staff offices, a learning resource center, student lounge centers for studying and socializing, a campus bookstore (that also sells merchandise and apparel), and the campus library.

KSA's design team communicated consistently with the client to understand their need for a range of spaces that would foster student learning as well as allow the faculty and staff to have a functional working space on their campus. Working closely with JTCC and the architectural firm, sustainable principles were used in order to achieve LEED Silver certification.

Photo by Philip Beaurline
 Upon entering the facility, students can easily access the large Student Lounge that remains open for studying, group meetings, dining, and socializing. The lounge space is equipped with movable tables to seat small or large groups, movable lounge chairs, three flat screen monitors, upon which university news may be streamed and news channels may be viewed, and a central counter area with trash and recycling receptacles. Adjacent to the lounge is the Campus Bookstore which is conveniently located for students to make their textbook and college apparel purchases.

Photo by Philip Beaurline
 As some courses offered in the facility require one-on-one student/teacher interaction, the college requested smaller classroom options to allow for an intimate learning environment. The building also contains a larger multi-purpose room that can be used for symposiums and conference meetings.

Photo by Philip Beaurline
 The teaching laboratories and preparation rooms are equipped for biology, anatomy, chemistry, and natural sciences instruction. These laboratories contain custom storage for each subject, including skeletal model stands, chemistry tube drying boards, and lockable cabinetry on the back wall of each lab classroom for the security of high value microscopes and other scientific models.

Photo by Philip Beaurline
 The new contemporary library was designed to be utilized by students, faculty, and staff throughout the campus. The library includes an abundance of computer stations, surrounding computer labs (for classroom and additional workstation use), a technology help desk, information and circulation desks, collaborative tables and conference rooms for private and group study, and a vast selection of books and periodicals.

The community college has been able to increase the number of students attending their campus due to the addition of classroom, lab, and library space, as well as market to a larger selection of prospective students interested in the courses offered in the facility.

Submitted by
KSA Interiors

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Building the Right Team

Is your project team built to achieve long term project success?
Few members of the project team have the potential to impact the overall success of a project as substantially as interior designers. The earlier and the greater degree to which interior designers are involved, the more likely a project is to succeed, not just initially, but for the long term life of the project, building, or facility. This success is inherently embedded in the root of what interior designers are – experts on human behavior and the relationship of people to the built environment. Projects that focus on people first, and concrete and steel second, are far more likely to meet the needs of the client and their objectives.

Build the right team now, or provide opportunities for others later.
As a midsized to large interior design firm, KSA Interiors is an anomaly - our firm is not housed within a larger architectural or engineering firm. This provides us with the ability to position ourselves with targeted partners in the industry, those with proprietary knowledge and relationships, when pursuing projects. Finding talented architectural and engineering partners to coordinate with our own unique expertise and attention to detail has helped us solve our client’s problems and facilitate excellent project outcomes leading to a consistent portfolio of repeat clients and partners.

Our organization has benefited greatly by our targeted partnerships in the architecture and engineering industries, and has led to the types of success indicative of why it is important to build a project team around a strong and influential interior design group.

Projects that do not incorporate an influential or deeply involved interior design team, have in our experience, led to less than desirable results for the tenant or end user of a building or facility. The most telling circumstance that highlights the truth of this statement has to do with one of our organization’s largest business opportunities. Beyond the successful projects we have delivered as part of collaborative relationships with our architectural partners, we often find ourselves contracted to revise (or correct) recently constructed or renovated facilities that have been developed by other design teams. Often these projects miss the opportunity of including an influential interiors team and unfortunately do not achieve the goals and needs of the client, tenant, or end user. Decisions relative to space planning, building finishes, materials, furnishing components, and layouts end up being shortchanged in favor of other priorities; and clients and their end users are not engaged in how they use and interact with the interior environment. These missed opportunities leave our firm as the one frequently contracted to follow up and rectify the situation (or save the day!). Repeatedly and increasingly we have found the missteps of other design teams to be one of our largest opportunities. Most interestingly, these opportunities come seeking us – as our team is known for their ability to quickly and efficiently rally and remedy the issues at hand for a client who has already expended their time and money.

Our relationships with facilities managers through networking and other prior projects have helped us connect with clients and end users who find themselves frustrated by the solutions provided by previous design teams whose focus was not trained on how people use space. When facilities managers find themselves battling with poor design decisions, angry end users, and facilities that are difficult to maintain, they have sought our services to help them help their buildings achieve their true goals. They have come to understand the value an experienced interior design team brings to the table in securing a solution that is right for them and their end users.

The value of “people oriented priorities”.
Much of the value interior designers provide can be spotlighted in differences of focus and priority. While architectural teams may fail to meet the client’s needs because of unfamiliarity with the specific details of interior design, finishes, materials, furnishings, space planning etc… mostly the cause of missed opportunities is a matter of focus. Architectural teams that do not include a strong interiors component tend to bring a broad focus to a project that promotes a Macroscopic to Microscopic view. The application of a master vision can drive big thinking and broad goals that can lead to imaginative artistic statements, prestige, or imbue status. More often than not however these large visions can also be to the detriment of the end user’s individual needs or issues. Interior designers, while aware of macroscopic goals and visions, are more interested and intently focused on these specific needs. Their priorities are how a building helps people function, and how it impacts each individual. Interior designers have a different focus and they have people oriented priorities.

An intimate relationship with buildings and people.
Interior designers understand that buildings are, more than anything else, about people. They are intimately concerned with how people are impacted by the built environment around them, and their ultimate measure of success is not what something looks like, but how it impacts the people who interact with it. This impact could be emotional, physical, or motivational. It may be delivered through aesthetics or it may be delivered through function. Ultimately it will be delivered through uniquely considering the end users’ needs, and by intimately understanding and building a relationship with the client.

Projects delivered without a strong presence from the interior design team or pursued with a broad brush view of space or functionality will ultimately run the risk of failing to meet the needs of the end user. While our firm may appreciate the opportunity to solve those problems after-the-fact, the more responsible approach, and the one guaranteed to save clients time and money, is to build the right team in the beginning and to understand the true value interior designers bring to the table.

Submitted by
Christopher M. Good, CID, ASID, LEED AP
KSA Interiors Associate, Interior Designer, and Project Manager

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Project Spotlight! Young Family & Cosmetic Dentistry

Photo by Al Wekelo
In an effort to break the mold of a typical dental office, Young Family & Cosmetic Dentistry wanted to create a space that would provide comfort and relaxation for a varied group of patients. Dr. Young has said, “I have been able to restore my patients’ oral health and in the process their happiness and self-confidence. I see myself as a healer, treating both physical and spiritual well being.” Through teaming with Dr. Young and her staff, the KSA Interiors was able to translate her vision into the built environment.

Photo by Al Wekelo
The greatest challenge faced by the design team was to relocate Dr. Young’s practice and double its size while keeping her doors open for business. The final design solution included eleven operatories, office space and common areas, and state-of-the art procedure spaces totaling 4,500 square feet. KSA Interiors was responsible for programming, space planning, construction drawings and administration, and finish and furniture selections for the entire project.

Photo by Al Wekelo
To achieve a warm atmosphere, the combination of a soft color palette of creamy tones and plush furniture was selected. Included in the design were high end selections in dental equipment and technology. Patients can utilize the electronic self check-in system as well as electronic insurance and medical history documentation. The new offices include advanced digital x-ray technology. To sooth all patients, each operatory room is equipped with an above-the-chair television entertainment system.

Dr. Young’s new dental office has received many complimentary reviews and referrals from fellow local dentists due to the inspired design of Young Family and Cosmetic Dentistry’s new space.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

In A World Filled with Social Media...

In 2010, our firm - along with several others - has broken into the world of social media. Every day, we find new ways to utilize Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and now are diving cautiously into the world of blogging. We intend to post a great deal of helpful and interesting insight into the design industry as well as connect with many of our fellow social media advocates.

Thanks for having us!

Submitted by
Sara Lowery
KSA Interiors, Marketing Coordinator