Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sharing the gift of friends and family this holiday season

Our team would like to extend heartfelt holiday wishes to all of our clients, partners, friends, and families. In our 30th year of business we are proud to celebrate all of our accomplishments, and know that they could not have been achieved without the support of our community.

We look forward to a new year and more opportunities to share the gift of design.
Best wishes for a happy holiday and new year from KSA!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

VCU Tompkins McCaw Library - Multimedia Collaboration Center

One of the top medical libraries in the nation, Tompkins McCaw Library at Virginia Commonwealth University, has a rich heritage that dates back to 1932.  While maintaining its traditional roots, the library has not let convention impede its progressive ideas or diverse students and faculty.  KSA was asked to develop a new design solution for the Multimedia Collaboration Room.  The space functions as a self-serve facility for multimedia computing as well as collaboration space for study.  The library sought a contrast to more refined areas and wished for the space to possess a distinct energy, with flexibility and a casual, accommodating appeal.


KSA created a highly energized and hospitality inspired environment to reflect the informal and social appeal of collaboration and media use.  The design team's approach included a polarization of the color palette with a high saturation of electric pink and a contrast of black and bright white, and addressed many of the physical limitations of the basement location.
The room was split into two functions, a self-service multimedia area and a collaborative study area.  The multimedia stations follow a more traditional layout with systems furniture serving as technology anchors to accommodate wiring, power and data.  The collaborative study area utilizes active, mobile tables and seating to foster impromptu reconfiguration by the users to accommodate changing needs.  The use of booth seating proves to be very successful in study areas by creating small, intimate and personal spaces within the larger room.

Embracing a lean budget and ensuring durability were important factors in the project. Inspired value engineering led KSA designers to incorporate budget-friendly, but still aesthetically-significant, feature screens to mask the wire molding and conduits traversing the brick walls.
These dynamic feature screens were used only at pivotal locations and configured per manufactured pre-set sizes. Additionally, by addressing the low ceiling with stepped ceiling tiles accented by decorative downlights, an illusion of increased height is created. The end result is a dynamic, full departure from any other space within the building, creating a unique destination for students.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Giving Thanks and Sharing the Love of Food.

“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.”
– George Bernard Shaw

This Thanksgiving our team would like to share a few of our favorite holiday recipes. We hope your home can be inspired by a few of these dishes which we have shared with our own families.

Sweet Potato Casserole
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (about 8 whole raw sweet potatoes - see note below!)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/3 stick butter
1/2 cup  milk (or half and half for extra special goodness!)
optional:  add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and just a bit of nutmeg

1 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped nuts
1/3 stick butter melted
1 can coconut

1. Mix casserole ingredients and pour into a greased dish.
2. Mix topping and apply to top of casserole.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Note:  Buy the raw sweet potatoes and bake them in the oven at 375 degrees for about an hour and a half.  Cut the potatoes in half and line a baking sheet with Reynold's wrap and then clean-up is easy!  You can just scoop the sweet potatoes out of the skin and then you don't have to peel them.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa
1 ½  tsp. whole cumin seeds
2  15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1  15oz can sweet corn, drained
1  red pepper minced
1  small purple onion, minced
3  cloves garlic, crushed
½  cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
½  cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/3  cup freshly squeezed lime juice
½  tsp. salt
1  tsp. crushed red pepper (or to taste)
½   tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Handful of grape tomatoes, quartered (optional)

1. Toast cumin seeds in a dry skillet until fragrant, stirring frequently.  Be careful not to burn them!  2. Put cumin seeds into a large bowl and add all other ingredients. 
3. Stir until well combined. 
4.  Make this several hours to a day ahead as all the flavors need a little time to blend. 

Butternut Squash Soup:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
3 parsnips, peeled and chopped*
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 (12-oz.) packages frozen butternut squash, thawed**
5 cups low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
Garnishes: sour cream, chopped fresh chives

1. Melt butter with olive oil; add onion and next 4 ingredients.
2. Saute 20 minutes or until onion is caramel colored.
3. Add squash and chicken broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
4. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring often, 10 minutes.
5. Remove from heat; let stand 1 hour.
6. Process squash mixture, in batches, in a blender or food processor until smooth.
7. Pour mixture into a 6-qt. slow cooker.
8. Stir in whipping cream, paprika, and cumin.
9. Cover and cook on LOW 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

* Peeled and chopped carrots can substitute for parsnips.
**1 (3- to 4-lb.) butternut squash may be substituted. Preheat oven to 400°. Cut squash in half; remove seeds. Place squash, cut sides down, on a lightly greased aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 45 minutes or until squash pulp is tender. Remove from oven. Let cool 20 minutes. Scoop out squash pulp, discarding shells.

 Super-simple Mac & Cheese:
 5 cups cooked macaroni (2 cups, raw)
2 cups small curd cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 egg, beaten
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
8 ounce shredded cheddar
1/4 cup Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon paprika

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine cottage cheese, sour cream, egg, salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir in cheddar cheese.
3. Gently add cooked macaroni. Spoon into a greased 3-quart baking dish. Top with Parmesan and paprika.
4. Bake about 40 minutes or until set. Do not over bake. Serves 8-10.


Iced Pumpkin Cookies:
-1 cup butter

-1 cup sugar
-1 cup pumpkin
-1 egg

Mix well.

-2 cups flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Drop by teaspoon onto baking sheet.
2. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

-3 tablespoons butter
-4 teaspoons milk
-1/2 cup brown sugar

Cook until dissolved.

1. Let cool.
2. Add 1 cup powdered sugar and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla.
3. Mix well.

4. Spread onto cookies. Enjoy!!

3 Step - 3 Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Cake:
 1 Box moist spice cake mix
15 oz Small canned pumpkin
12 oz Cream cheese icing

1. Just mix a box of spice cake with a small can of pumpkin and pour into desired pan.
2. Bake according to the spice cake recipe- about 30 minutes and let cool.
3. Once the cake has cooled, spread cream cheese icing over the top and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

One Constitution Square - Mobility, Efficiency, Wellness.

In the summer of 2011 KSA Interiors was selected by the General Services Administration to help lead their organization in adopting a new model for the collaborative workplace. In keeping with President Obama's Executive Order 13514 and the GSA's Agency Sustainability Plan - KSA helped develop mobile work environments that compressed physical real estate, promoted improved use of space, flattened corporate hierarchy, and maintained the organization's Zero Environmental Footprint Goal.

Primary goals for our team were to reconfigure existing furniture and to compress the traditional working environment to better align with the growing needs of telework and cross-organization communication.

Long term cost savings were a major factor in all project decisions as the life-span of all products and furnishings identified in this project were intended to outlive their proposed location in the One Constitution Square facility. This requirement established a key challenge as all furnishings and materials would need to work not only here at One Constitution Square, but also work seamlessly at the GSA headquarters facility – the final home for these solutions and departments. 

Programming sessions with the various departments within the organization identified a variety of specific needs and requirements for each unique group - with several key themes that were consistent throughout the organization, including:

Compressing and maximizing the use of existing physical space.
Supporting the needs and culture of telework.
Providing increased opportunity for collaboration.
Addressing privacy as a function of specific tasks as opposed to a measure of status.
Promoting individual and organizational wellness.

To meet these challenges, open work spaces were reconfigured and compressed using "benching" and collaborative open plan systems to increase cross pollination of ideas and to provide appropriate space for telework. Hard walled spaces formerly used for private offices were converted into areas for multi-media collaboration, team meetings, and private interactions. Open collaborative areas which adjoin the open office workspace created areas to improve team communication and also encouraged team members to move throughout the facility. Movement throughout the day was one of the final initiatives in promoting a more healthy work environment and team.

The success of these solutions will assist the GSA in adopting a more effective and efficient work environment - reducing the need for physical real estate and improving the productivity, corporate culture, and well being of it's staff.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Honoring Freedom and the Independence of a Strong Economy

This Independence Day KSA wishes to thank our many clients, vendors, manufacturers, and industry partners who work together to make America great.

We believe in hard work, and the mission of bringing interior space to life. We are all shaped by the environments in which we live, work, and play - and at KSA those spaces we design help define us.

Our team not only works hand in hand with institutions such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, General Services Administration, and Army Corps of Engineers; but is also an integral partner with the private enterprises which drive our economy, and the public universities that foster innovation.

Let's honor America as we design the built environments that shape us. Let KSA help your organization or institution find the American products & resources that build our great economy and ensure our liberty.

"True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

General Services Administration
Dominion Virginia Power
Rappahannock Community College

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Welcoming Lynne Williams as Director of Business Development

KSA Interiors is proud to announce and welcome Lynne Williams, CID, IIDA, LEED AP as Director of Business Development. Lynne will be responsible for developing relationships and expanding client opportunities across the Hampton Roads region and throughout Virginia.

Prior to joining KSA, Lynne was business development manager at Tactical Office Solutions. She has an MBA from Strayer University and attended Syracuse University as an undergraduate, earning a BFA in Interior Design.

Join us in welcoming Lynne to the KSA team!

Legislative Update: Health, Safety and Welfare Prevail!

Certified Interior Designers prevail in successfully removing decertification legislation from Senate Bill 678 and House Bill 1291. Since late in 2011 interior designers in Virginia have been working tirelessly to raise awareness of the role of Certified Interior Designers in protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public. Proposed legislation introduced as part of Governor McDonnell's Commission on Government Reform jeopardized protections for the public, and threatened the right to practice for nearly 500 individuals and small businesses.

A detailed and powerful knowledge sharing campaign led by CCVID, the Council for Certified Virginia Interior Designers, and the government affairs firm Principle Advantage LLC, helped increase the understanding of this profession and it's impact on the built environment, building code, life safety, and economic growth.

Working together, Virginia's Certified Interior Designers prevailed in successfully removing decertification from legislation resulting from the governor's commission.

We would like to thank the many designers and professional organizations ASID and IIDA who acted on behalf of this effort, meeting with their legislators and writing letters. As well, we must also thank the legislators who heard our appeal and voted to strike decertification legislation. Lastly, we express our gratitude to the team of Angie Bezik, and Ann Flandermeyer Kirwin from Principle Advantage.

Protecting the right to practice for interior designers and protecting the welfare of the public are interrelated and united under a common cause. KSA Interiors will continue to work towards these protections and looks forward to furthering the interior designers role in promoting public welfare and the scope of the interior design profession.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Legislative Update: Closer to success in protecting the welfare of the public!

A major success was handed to those fighting to protect Certification for Interior Designers in Virginia, and those working to ensure the safety and welfare of the public. Saturday (March 10th) the General Assembly agreed to conference amendments which either remove deregulation or maintain its absence from both the resolutions and bills introduced in this session. The issue now goes before the Governor for final approval. We hope that Governor McDonnell will agree with the sensible decisions put forth by the General Assembly and sign this legislation without ammendment.
Angie Bezik and Ann Flandermeyer Kirwin
of Principle Advantage, Ltd.

Many thanks for the leadership of the Council for Certified Virginia Interior Designers (CCVID) and our lobbying team of Principle Advantage. As well, we wish to thank all the hard work and effort of CID's across Virginia and the support of the Virginia chapters of ASID and IIDA.

Most importantly, we also extend our thanks to the legislators in the House and Senate who were willing to stand up to protect small business and the health, saftey, and welfare of the public.

HJ 49


HB 1291

SB 678

Friday, March 2, 2012

Project Spotlight: Rappahannock Community College

"Learning happens everywhere"

Community colleges are the heart of the American higher education system, developing the knowledge, skills, and continuing education that puts Americans to work, invigorates job growth, and inspires entrepreneurs. As the need for community colleges grows, and the needs of today’s students change, the methods of instruction and the types of spaces for facilitating learning too have required change.

In 2011 KSA Interiors teamed with NBJ Architecture in helping Rappahannock Community College address this need for change by envisioning the learning environment for two existing campus locations. Following the leadership and vision of school president Dr. Elizabeth Crowther, our team worked with her department heads to develop environments that are devoted to “students first” and adhere to the idea that learning happens everywhere. Gone are segmented spaces, narrow empty corridors, and rigid definitions of space that defined the original facilities. In their place was created a flowing and undulating learning environment inspired by the beauty of the costal river and middle peninsula. Organic shapes soften the delineation between spaces - ideal locations for casual collaborative interactions and inspired discussion areas. Wall graphics, design features, and color schemes reinforce this abstract concept and assist the deliberate space plan which moves students through the space at various paces, narrowing or widening to move students through some areas quickly, or encouraging them to stop and share interactions in collaborative “pools”.

The design team was challenged to develop a single solution which could be universally applied to two nearly identical 70’s era educational facilities. Terrazzo floors and exposed block walls typical of the period were replaced and or revitalized with a warm and engaging palate of colors and materials. The most important aspect of the design solution, however, was to bring learning out of the classroom and into the many adjacent collaborative spaces. At the center of this idea that learning happens everywhere is the development of the “Egg”, a central collaborative area envisioned to allow students to collaborate, dine, engage, or simply hang out. Surrounded by half walls of varying height, shape and configuration, and defined by flexible furnishings also of varying heights and configurations, the delineation of the egg takes on a permeable or transparent perimeter engaging those both within and beyond the space.

The flexible and engaging solution developed for Rappahannock Community College, led members of the Virginia Community College System to comment after visiting the space, that “this is what our colleges should look like”, and that this was “a space to be proud of”.

KSA truly is proud to have had the opportunity to assist RCC in reimagining the learning environment, and to help promote learning outside of the traditional classroom.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Legislative Update - Cautious Optimism

Tuesday the Virginia House General Laws Committee - Special Sub Committee #5 amended House Bill HB1291. Deregulation of Certified Interior Designers was removed from the bill. The special subcomittee meets again today (February 2nd), and the full General Laws committee will hear HB1291 on Tuesday February 7th, sending the bill to it's final stage.

Monday February 6th, the State Senate will hear Senate Bill 678 for the first time (deregulation of CID's was removed from thsi bill in the resolution phase of the process).

With cautious optimism, we expect that the final conformed version of this bill which reaches the Governor’s desk will not include deregulation.

Our success to date could not have been achieved without the hard work and grass roots efforts of Certified Interior Designers. Individual letters, calls to legislators, and visits to the general assembly made our case and raised awareness of our industry.

We will continue to monitor progress of these bills to ensure that protections for the health, safety and welfare of the public remain in place.

*DPOR is self funded by Certified Interior Designer Fees.

**Three state universities ranked in the top ten in the nation by Design Intelligence.
Virginia Tech (8th)
Virginia Commonwealth University (10th)
Radford University (10th 2011)

***2002 Economic Census Data:
54141 NACIS Code / Interior Design Services - 325 Establishments, $155,573,000 Revenue.

**** How Interior Designers Protect the Public.

***** Eliminates reciprocity with states and other jurisdictions. 

***** Eliminates the ability to stamp and seal drawings
******* Eliminates voting rights in professional corporations.

*******Reduces the interior designer's scope of work.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Legislative Update - Interior Design Decertification in Virginia

The effort to protect the interior designer's right to practice is reaching a critical stage. With successes in the Virginia State Senate, and some setbacks in the Virginia House of Delegates, now is the time for all supporters of Interior Design Certification to reach out to their legislators.

This week the two houses will meet to establish subcommittees in efforts to reconcile the differences between the two resolutions passed on Friday. A Senate resolution which does not include decertification, and a House resolution which does.

The following outline (below) provides some background on Friday's caucus session and insight on the House of Delegates, specifically how members voted and which members are likely to compose the final subcommittee.

Now is the time to take action. Contact your legislator now!


Friday, January 20, 2012 both SJ 66 and HJ 49, Executive Reorganization Plan submitted by the Governor, were heard during floor session.  SJ66 ultimately passed as amended, (with the provision for decertification removed from the resolution), passed the Senate 22 – 17.  

YEAS--Black, Blevins, Carrico, Colgan, Garrett, Hanger, Martin, McDougle, McWaters, Newman, Norment, Obenshain, Petersen, Reeves, Ruff, Smith, Stanley, Stosch, Stuart, Vogel, Wagner, Watkins--22.

NAYS--Barker, Deeds, Ebbin, Favola, Herring, Howell, Locke, Lucas, Marsden, Marsh, McEachin, Miller, J.C., Miller, Y.B., Northam, Puckett, Puller, Saslaw--17.

RULE 36--0.

HJ49 ultimately passed 69 – 27 (with 4 not voting) with one technical amendment by Delegate Gilbert that allowed for the provisions passed in the resolution to be placed in the enactment legislation, which will be forthcoming.  As of this morning (Saturday), it has not been placed on the system.  (We did have a floor amendment lined up to remove the paragraph affecting us, but the political situation did not allow for that to move forward.)


1. Line 31, introduced, after approved insert

, subject to the enactment of a bill by the 2012 Session of the General Assembly

YEAS--Albo, Anderson, Bell, Richard P., Bell, Robert B., Byron, Cline, Cole, Comstock, Cosgrove, Cox, J.A., Cox, M.K., Crockett-Stark, Dudenhefer, Edmunds, Fariss, Farrell, Garrett, Gilbert, Greason, Habeeb, Head, Helsel, Hodges, Hugo, Iaquinto, Ingram, Joannou, Johnson, Jones, Kilgore, Knight, Landes, LeMunyon, Lingamfelter, Loupassi, Marshall, D.W., Marshall, R.G., Massie, May, Merricks, Miller, Minchew, Morefield, Morris, O'Bannon, O'Quinn, Orrock, Peace, Pogge, Poindexter, Purkey, Putney, Ramadan, Ransone, Robinson, Rush, Rust, Scott, E.T., Sherwood, Stolle, Tata, Ware, R.L., Watson, Webert, Wilt, Wright, Yancey, Yost, Mr. Speaker--69.

NAYS--Alexander, BaCote, Brink, Bulova, Carr, Dance, Englin, Filler-Corn, Herring, Hope, Howell, A.T., James, Keam, Kory, Lewis, Lopez, McClellan, McQuinn, Morrissey, Plum, Scott, J.M., Sickles, Surovell, Toscano, Tyler, Ward, Watts--27.


NOT VOTING--Spruill, Torian, Villanueva, Ware, O.--4.

The House will place their bill in a special subcommittee that will include Delegates Jones, Albo, Carr, Gilbert and one other, who I will confirm for you later.  We will work the subcommittee to have it removed from the bill.