Wednesday, September 28, 2011

KSA on Inspiration:

For our business cards here at KSA, we are asked to come up with three “likes”, or things that inspire us. Trying to narrow down my interests was not an easy task. I finally decided on sketchbooks, collecting, and DIY projects.

I feel it is very important for anyone, not only artists, to carry around a sketchbook. I use mine not only to draw but to jot down ideas, take notes, and write to-do lists. As you know, solutions to problems do not always come to you while sitting at your desk. Instead, they come while you’re at the grocery store, sitting in a waiting room, or having dinner at a restaurant. Keeping a sketchbook within arm’s reach can help capture these ideas and thoughts when they occur.

Collecting. I can blame my mom for this one. She has collections of tea pots, buttons, shells, and other knick knacks sprinkled throughout her house. Now that I have inherited this fascination with finding items to add to a collection, I have realized I think the challenge of how to display them is even more exciting. I once worked with my dad to design a wooden display to showcase my glass swizzle sticks. (I have no idea how or why I accumulated a swizzle stick collection) but the test tube-like holder is so unique and beautiful it makes a great conversation starter.

Along with sketchbooks and collections, I love DIY projects. I am constantly looking for potential in my surroundings. Whether it is interiors, a forgotten piece of furniture, or a garage sale find, I can’t help but think about how I can use it for an art project. Since moving to Richmond, I have walked by tons of abandoned furniture on the sidewalks. Most of the time there is a reason the person left it but you can occasionally come across a real gem. For example, I recently found an ugly, maroon hutch that I just knew had potential and could not pass it up. With cleaning and a few coats of paint it looks brand new! There is typically a lot of trial and error with these projects but I find this is a good thing. I learn about new materials and techniques and try to improve with each venture.

Whether it’s drawing in my sketchbook, collecting, or do-it-yourself projects, my three “likes” help express what makes me, me. This creativity that I surround myself with in the evenings and weekends carries over into my work here at KSA. Surrounding yourself with things that inspire or make you happy in your everyday life is essential to having a positive and productive workplace.

Gillian Bowman

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

KSA on change:

 I am an Army Brat.  By the time I started high school at 14, I had already attended 6 schools, lived in 9 towns and settled into 13 houses.  I’m also an ISTJ personality type that doesn’t like change according to Myers-Briggs.  You can imagine how that could be a challenge.  Thankfully, my years as an Army kid taught me how to roll with it and come out stronger on the other side. This is my tried and true strategy.

Accept the new reality.  For many, the gut reaction to change is fight or flight – either resisting with everything they have or running away from the situation and pretending it isn’t going to happen.  News Flash – change is inevitable.  Whether a new gray hair pops up on your head or new technology renders your current skills obsolete – change happens every single day.    The sooner you can accept that, the easier it is to move forward.  

Embrace it!  Now it’s time to figure out how you want to live and who you want to be in this new world of yours.  This is an opportunity to shake things up!  A health issue could be the motivation to take better care of yourself; a rough economy might prompt you to streamline your business or learn new skills to make yourself more marketable.  Formalizing key goals will help to propel you forward.

Make a plan.  As Winston Churchill said, "He who fails to plan is planning to fail."   I’m a planner by nature so I do this as a matter of course in everything - projects, shopping, flossing, whatever – I’m a firm believer.  But, if the idea of mapping out goals and actions overwhelms you, take heart – there are plenty of resources online and in your local bookstore to help enhance your planning skills.  A little investment in time figuring out what methods resonate best with you will reap many future successes.

Execute the plan.  You can develop the greatest plan in the world but it’s not doing you any good unless you take action and follow it.  Otherwise you’re not only spinning your wheels but also (if you’re like me) worrying about it.  So do yourself a favor and work your plan!  You should also be prepared to modify your plan down the line because, as we know, change is inevitable.

Following these steps has helped me through countless transitions, big and small, and has made me more resilient and willing to take chances.  It has given me the confidence to know that I can persevere no matter what happens that is outside of my control. 

Change is on its way.  Are you ready for it?  We’d love to hear what works for you!

Heather Sullivan Croy, CID, ASID, LEED AP

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

KSA Recognizes Cameron Stiles for 25 Years of Service.

Cameron C. Stiles, CID, FASID, LEED AP has been recognized by KSA Interiors for 25 years of dedicated service.

Kim Schoenadel, CEO and President of KSA shares some thoughts on Cameron's history of service.

I like to tell people, “Cameron Stiles has been with me at KSA Interiors longer than I have been married.” In December this year, I will have been married 25 years. That is a long time. It is also a testament to the steadfast nature of Cameron’s commitment to the profession and the dedication she has brought to KSA Interiors. Here are the things that Cameron Stiles does better than anyone else I have ever met in our profession.

• Cameron takes care of KSA clients in a way that has kept them coming back to KSA Interiors for years. I will never forget mentioning to one of our clients that she could contact me if she ever had any questions. She said, “Why wouldn’t I just ask Cameron?” Good point!

• She knows every code or code resource to ensure our projects are compliant. As the “go to” person at KSA Interiors for code guidance, Cameron can quickly provide you the code sections that need to be referenced. Trust me, this is really important as reading through code books equates to reading the complete manual for your car, your computer, etc. I think you get the picture.

• Cameron has gone above and beyond in her involvement in organizations impacting the profession of interior design. She currently serves on the APELSCIDLA Board that examines, licenses and regulates 35,000+ Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects in Virginia. Cameron has been recognized as a Fellow in ASID, the American Society of Interior Designers and she is also deeply involved with CIDA, the Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

Cameron Stiles is a proven leader. Having that kind of leadership is invaluable. I am glad she has been with us for 25 years. Here’s to 25 more!

Monday, September 12, 2011

KSA awarded two Interior Design Excellence Awards

Interior Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) 2011

KSA is proud to have competed against a record 96 entries in this year's Interior Design Excellence Awards, hosted by the Virginia chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and Virginia/West Virginia chapter of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA).

KSA received recognition for two projects from the Residential Multi-Family Housing, and Contract Corporate over 35,000 SF categories.

1st Place - Residential Multi-Family
Branchlands Retirement Community in Charlottesville, VA.

KSA renovated the Manor House and public areas of the apartment buildings for this age restricted community. The manor House, the gem of the community, was built in the mid 1800's and provides gathering, activities and dining spaces for the residents. The judges commented on the open plan allowing for ease of movement through the rooms.


Honorable Mention - Contract Corporate over 35,000 SF
Dominion VA Power - Lincoln Park II in Herndon, VA

KSA collaborated with Dominion VA Power and Wiley|Wilson on the build-out of new corporate offices. The office spaces provided a 24/7 flexible work environment to meet the needs of the client. The project goal was to increase efficiencies and create a more collaborative work environment. The judges commented on successfully meeting the client's objectives and the use of space planning to achieve functional goals.

You can learn more about Branchlands by checking out our Project Spotlight and stay tuned for more on Lincoln Park II coming soon.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

KSA on Health, Safety and Welfare:

Quakes, Snakes and Irene

After the stress of last few weeks for all of us on the East Coast, I was struck by an important thought. Even though I am an interior designer, and a George Nelson Coconut Chair excites me almost more than anything else, what I want most of the spaces where I live and work are for them to keep me safe. 

As I was huddled under my work surface during the 5.9 earthquake; the floor bouncing, light fixtures shaking, the building rumbling and “cube bling” (slang for all the quirky mementos we designers collect) falling off the shelves, I was fearful that I would be left under a mass of rubble, waiting for rescue dogs to sniff me out.  Fortunately that wasn’t necessary and I was able to text many of my friends and family that all was well.  Our building proved strong enough to withstand the earth’s torrential movement. 

Fast forward four days as we meet Hurricane Irene.  A witch by all accounts, Irene stormed through our beaches, towns and countryside showing us her wrath by tossing down trees, power lines and blowing debris.  Most of us found refuge in our homes; the places that protect us from cold, heat, snow, intruders (namely the many snakes in my neighborhood) and all sorts of environmental monsters.  For some Irene showed that her ability to toss trees was stronger than our roofs could withstand.  Fortunately most inhabitants weren’t injured, but the storm demonstrated that our homes aren’t as strong as they should be.

The people who design and build our structures, including interior designers, are required to be knowledgeable about construction materials and techniques that make built environments reasonably safe from whatever the earth and Mother Nature throw at us.  Not only does the structure have to withstand the stresses of the environment, but the interior design must also provide safety for those living inside; no obstacles blocking our exit routes, no furniture falling on us, no materials that can easily become ablaze. 

Natural disasters offer us the opportunity to review and to assess, and our wrecked homes and buildings become the research labs of structural engineers, designers and code officials.  The experiences of this past week will be used to learn how to make the built environment more safe, so that maybe our new roofs can withstand the weight of falling trees and our spaces can endure quakes, snakes and Irene. 

Beth Dickerson, CID, ASID, LEED AP

Friday, September 2, 2011

KSA on New Ideas:

Each Monday at KSA we are inspired by a quote to kick start the work week. We are encouraged to share our thoughts with the office and I was particularly inspired by a quote from a few weeks back, “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” by William Shedd. 

My initial reaction was what is the point of remaining “safe in harbor”? Do we ever accomplish anything by never going anywhere? I don’t mean this in the literal sense of taking sail, but getting out there and seeking new information. As designers we are asked by our clients to be their resource for new ideas. Find the solutions that they could not find.  If we continually seek the same resources or options, we are one day going to realize that we have repeatedly conjured the same conclusions. To best serve our clients we have to explore what else is out there. 
It is amazing how a quote from an American Theologian who lived in the 1800’s can still inspire us today. We view the world in a global sense as no other generation has before. The world’s news and information is at our fingertips. With a click of a mouse we can find an answer to almost any question. But sometimes that is overwhelming. We know there are other solutions to our client’s needs, but how do we even begin to find them?
Part of finding the right solution is the journey that gets you there. The path to the solution is just as important as the solution itself.  If we don’t go out there and explore, we haven’t truly exhausted our efforts to find the best solution.  Not just the obvious solution, sitting on a shelf in a book, but the one you have to really look for. The one that you have to set sail on a mission to find!
To remain in the “harbor” will only lead us back to the same solutions time and time again. Maybe we need to get out there and explore; we need to set sail to our ideas.

Erin C. Riggan, CID, ASID, LEED AP