Wallpaper Pointers from Design Pro Bobby Berk by Bobby Berk

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Wallpaper Pointers from Design Pro Bobby Berk

FEATURED COLLECTIONS  AUGUST 21, 2017

Bobby Berk

Bobby Berk is a modern designer whose approach to home décor is reinventing interiors everywhere. He talked to us about the all-new world of removable wallpaper, which sticks right on without any extra tools to help you reimagine a room in minutes. Find out what he has to say in this article with tips, tricks, and fresh takes on the trend.

 

I’m all about making easy, bold design statements. I built Bobby Berk Home to help others do the same and transform their spaces into art installations they just happen to live in.

However, a few years ago, I realized that old-fashioned wallpaper, the kind that lined your sweet grandma’s living room, would never be something that fit nicely into my clean, minimal aesthetic.

Why? Because, it requires all sorts of construction tools and goopy adhesives. And, if you didn’t take Advanced Geometry in high school, there’s a good chance you’ll be stuck with a crooked statement wall—for life—or until you move or hire a pricey professional wallpaper installer to fix it.

But then I learned about Tempaper. Their self-adhesive, “peel-and-stick” temporary wallpaper eliminates the need for messy paste or water.

So, of course, I partnered with them to create a line of Bobby Berk Home signature designs that you can purchase from Art.com. They draw on things I personally love, like retro lines inspired by vintage thermoses and pops of vibrant color. You don’t need a bunch of instructions for decorating with my wallpaper designs, but I do have some special tips to share, specifically with my art lovers.

 

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  1. Go big and stay home

I love that wallpaper has become something that you can apply on your own. You don’t have to worry about making a drastic design mistake or breaking a rental agreement (and losing your security deposit). This stuff peels right off. And, since it’s so easy to install, I recommend going big. You spend a lot of time at home. Use my wallpaper designs to make a huge statement in any room, without breaking the bank.

 

  1. Think outside of the walls

I know what you’re thinking: wallpaper, that’s just for walls. Not true. You can use my Tempaper designs to give extra depth and texture to the back of bookcases or kitchen cabinet shelves. You can even use it to line shelves in your Mid-Century Modern dresser or night stand. The cool thing about this stuff is there really are no rules. Go crazy, just be sure to share your fantastic handiwork with us on Facebook, Twitter andInstagram.

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  1. Go to the dark side

DIYers sometimes think that dark hues make rooms look and feel smaller, but that’s just not the case. When you choose a deep color, you’re actually adding a lot of depth to the space. However, I do have one caveat. If you’re in love with a dark pattern, it’s a good idea to make sure that you have enough light in the room to avoid creating a dungeon-like effect—unless that’s your thing.

 

  1. Know that size does matter

I get this question a lot “How many walls should I cover in my room and/or house?” Again, there are no hard-and-fast rules. It really depends on the size of the walls and wallpaper print. Sometimes a small room like a powder room or hallway can totally handle a nice, strong print on all the walls, creating a wrapping effect that envelopes you. In other situations, such as in small bedrooms, all four walls might be a little too much. You have to use your judgement. Sometimes, an accent wall is all you need to create visual impact in your space. In larger rooms, if the paper is more textural or doesn’t have a strong print, you can go on all the walls, but doing a strong print on all the walls in a large room can also be way too much. Go with your gut!

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  1. Keep it simple for the win

Before you embark on your wallpapering project, consider the other design elements that you intend to add to your new space. This will inform your pattern selection. Also, keep in mind that some of my wallpaper designs are intended to stand alone as art themselves. In those instances, I’d just add a simple complementary framed art print and sofa or statement chair with one of my accent pillows and call it a day.

  1. Use matted art pieces to give negative visual space to wallpaper

When you have a really busy pattern, sometimes using a series of art pieces with a white matte will allow the eye to have a place to rest amongst what can potentially be a mess of pattern. It also gives you some negative space to separate images inside the frame from the wallpaper design and prevents there being visual competition between your walls and your art.

I’m not sure if you can tell how excited I am about introducing you to this easy and incredibly stylish way of creating a high-impact design statement. Can you? Anyway, the best part is that you can do it yourself—no hired help necessary and absolutely no goop required. Now, go make some design magic!

By Bobby Berk

 

LA Mart & Benjamin Moore “Color Experience” Challenge by Bobby Berk

LAMDC & Benjamin Moore

Color Experience Design Challenge ©2017

Every year, companies release a singular vision on the colors that will influence industry trends. This year, LA Mart Design Center and Benjamin Moore are taking a different approach.

OVERVIEW

Benjamin Moore and the LA Mart Design Center at The Reef are excited to announce the 2017 Color Experience Design Challenge. This event was created as an opportunity for local design students (Cal State Long Beach & UCLA) to explore how this year’s color trends can be creatively expressed in interior spaces. Students teams will design interior vignettes with furnishings supplied by the LAMDC showrooms and Benjamin Moore’s Color of The Year. WEBSITE

 

THE DETAILS

The challenge will include 4 vignette categories: Outdoor/Indoor Living Space, Living Room, Dining Room and Bedroom. Student participants will be grouped into teams of 2, and LAMDC will randomly assign each team with a category. Groups will create a team name to represent their work throughout the challenge (team names may NOT include the name of their school).

Groups will create concepts for their assigned category, incorporating Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year Shadow 2117-30 and furnishings from LA Mart’s Design Center Showrooms.

There will be a Semi-Finals Elimination Round to determine which 4 groups (1 from each category) will advance to the Finals, where their concepts will be assembled at the LA Mart Design Center and showcased during this year’s Designer Week. A panel of professional designers will judge the submissions by students to determine who moves onto the final rounds and who receives the Grand Prize Award.

Vignette Size: 18’x10’ (180 sq ft)

Budget: $20,000 (The budget is meant purely as a parameter for students selecting furnishings and decor to use in their design. No money will be distributed during this challenge. Teams will receive designer prices from showrooms.)

Benjamin Moore Shadow 2117-30

Benjamin Moore Shadow 2117-30


AWARDS

Grand Prize Awarded by Design Panel

Judges will evaluate each design vignette based on the Best Use of Color and Space, Creativity and Originality, Presentation, Team Name and Branding, and Budget.

• Each member will be awarded a “Shadow Day” with a well-respected local designer/firm and will be eligible for consideration for any of their open internships.
• $75 Hennessey + Ingalls Gift Card for each team member
• Day on Us — free parking and lunch at LA Mart —for each team member
• 1-year Free Parking Pass at LA Mart for each team member
• Trophy

Judging: Vignettes will be evaluated on a scale of 1-5 for: Best Use of Space, Best Use of Color, Creativity and Originality, Presentation, Team Name and Branding, Use of Budget. Team with the highest total points wins.

Social Media Engagement Award

LAMDC and Benjamin Moore will select the team who best presents their creative process, collaboration with LA Mart, and team brand on social media.

• $50 American Express gift card for each team member
• Day on Us — free parking and lunch at LA Mart —for each team member
• 6-month Free Parking Pass at LA Mart for each team member

Judging: LAMDC and Benjamin Moore will cast ballots on teams who best document the creative process and collaboration with LA Mart, as well as their team brand. Team name must be tagged with each post to be considered toward award. (See page 6 for additional details.)

People’s Choice Award

During LA Mart’s Designer Week April 2-7, attendees will be invited to cast a ballot for their favorite design vignette.

• $25 American Express gift cards for each team member
• Day on Us — free parking and lunch at LA Mart —for each team member

Judging: Voting by the attendees during the 2017 Winter Market Week. Ballots will be available at LA Mart During Designer Week (April 2-7, 2017). Team with highest total number of ballots cast for each
vignette wins.

In the event of a tie in any of these Award Categories, LA Mart Design Center and Benjamin Moore representatives will make the final ruling on winner. Judges will be announced at a later date.


JUDGES



SCHEDULE

Project Commences | Monday, January 23

Students provided with Design Challenge Guidelines and divide into teams of 2. Teams must submit names to ctapia002@gmail.com by Thurs, Jan 26. LAMDC will reveal each team’s design category on Facebook on Friday, Jan 27.

Concept Development | Mon, Jan 23 – Sat, Feb 18

Teams begin developing design concept. Students are welcome to visit showrooms during this time to assess what kinds of furnishings will be available to them. LAMDC is open M-F, 9-5pm. Students must check in at front desk. Parking will be validated.

Student Breakfast at LA Mart Design Center | Sat, Feb 18 | on site at LAMDC during Winter Market

• Meet-greet of students and showrooms
• Begin sourcing furnishings for designs
• Ask any questions about challenge
• View showcase space for finalists

Social Media Engagement | Sat, Feb 18 – Sat, April 8

Social media posts of concepts, sourcing and process to compete for Social Media Award. Team name must be tagged to be considered.

Semi-Finals Elimination Round Judging | Sat, March 11 | on site at LAMDC

Students will present vignette concepts for evaluation and Q+A by a panel of judges. 4 teams will be selected to move on to the Final Showcase.

People’s Choice Voting | March 18 – April 7

Voters are eligible to win a 2-night stay in Las Vegas at the Golden Nugget. Limit 1 entry per person.

Finalist Vignette Set Up | March 13-17 | March 18 – on site at LAMDC

Teams selected during the Semi-Finals will provide LAMDC with finalized concept boards by March 13. LAMDC will deliver product to vignette spaces between March 13-17. Students will set up their vignettes on March 18 (each team is allowed to bring 1-2 assistants to help with set up).


Color Experience Trends CEU Lunch & Learn | Tues, April 4 @ 11AM | on site at LAMDC | 1.0 LU

Guest Speaker: Kali Sipes-Pleasant

 

Kali Sipes-Pleasant is an Architectural & Design Representative for Benjamin Moore focused on Southern California, Arizona and Las Vegas markets. She has been with Benjamin Moore for more than six years and plays an integral role in maintaining and growing the brand’s position as a color & design authority. Her responsibilities include providing product information, assisting with project specifications and submittal review, and offering educational courses and CEU-credited presentations to the design community including architects, designers and universities. Kali also hosts designer-focused events held throughout the year and presents at key design industry trade shows.

  • Color Trends 2017
  • Presented by: Benjamin Moore & Co.
  • Apr 4, 2017 at 11:00 AM
  • 1.0 Learning Unit

Final Showcase and Awards Ceremony | Sat, April 8 | on site at LAMDC

Finalists will present vignettes for evaluation and Q+A by a panel of judges. Judges will evaluate and winners will be announced.


SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT

#colorexperience #lamdc #benjaminmoore #[individual showroom handles] #[team name] // @TheReef @lamartdc @benjaminmoore

Optional: #shadow #color #interiordesign #interiorpaint

Houzz - Best of 2017 Design Award by Bobby Berk

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Best of 2017 Design Award

Awarded Best Of Houzz 2017

 

Over 40 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building, 

Remodeling and Design Professionals in North America and Around the World

 

Los Angeles, January 17, 2017Bobby Berk Interiors + Design of Los Angeles has won “Best Of Design” on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The young firm which was started by Bobby Berk in 2016 was chosen by the more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2016. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award. A “Best Of Houzz 2017” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign oftheir commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

"I couldn't be more happy to receive this award from Houzz after having only started BBID last year. It really feels good to have your hard work acknowledged by such a large audience. I couldn't have done it without my amazing team as well as the builder, Pardee Homes Las Vegas."


“We’re so pleased to award Best of Houzz 2017 to this incredible group of talented and customer-focused professionals, including Bobby Berk,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “Each of these businesses was singled out for recognition by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts for helping to turn their home improvement dreams into reality.”

The National Association of Home Builders 2017 Gold Award by Bobby Berk

Bobby Berk Interiors + Design was awarded the National Association of Home Builder's Gold Award for the "Best Interior Design of a Model 3001 to 3500 sq. ft.  This category received over 1100 entries from countries around the globe, and we couldn't be more honored to be this years recipient.  Click here to see images of this home designed for Pardee Homes Las Vegas.

The Nationals 2017 Silver Award by Bobby Berk

The Nationals 2017 Silver Award

Bobby Berk Interiors + Design was awarded the National Association of Home Builder's Silver Award for the "Best Interior Design of a Model 3001 to 3500 sq. ft.  This category received over 1100 entries from countries around the globe, and we couldn't be more honored to be this years recipient.  Click here to see images of this home designed for Pardee Homes Las Vegas

Million Dollar Decorating Podcast Interview by Bobby Berk

Episode 191: Bobby Berk

09/07/2016 | 0

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Bobby Berk and his rise to bonafide “IT” status in the home design world has more in common with being a rock star than it does a contemporary designer. Originally hailing from Texas, Bobby had big dreams of the big city and moved to New York in 2003 with only a few dollars to his name and no job in sight. After working his way up in retail at Bed Bath & Beyond and Restoration Hardware to Creative Director at Portico Home + Spa, Berk decided that it was time he started his own brand. Since 2006, Bobby Berk Home's retail division has consistently provided customers with a unique approach to modern design. Epitomizing hip, minimalist urban luxury, Berk’s designs reflect a stylish and youthful spirit that perfectly fits any cool, relaxed lifestyle. Bobby has appeared as an expert on numerous television networks including HGTV, Bravo, NBC, and CBS just to name a few.

Bobby brings a unique millennial viewpoint to the design industry, with substantial experience across many facets of the trade.  With his extensive background in retail, manufacturing, interior design and licensing, he is often invited to give lectures on a range of topics from the millennial demographic to streamlining furniture manufacturing and production processes at seminars and events across the globe.

With the success of the Bobby Berk Home retail brand, Bobby has now launched the Interiors + Design division, which specializes in full service interior design for residential, commercial and hospitality. He's also designed a full range of home furnishings and accessories through numerous license partners which include Surya, Joybird, Bob's Your Uncle, Tempaper, Tilebar, Leftbank Art and more. Bobby's designs are featured in retailers across the globe, including his wallpaper that is carried in Target as well as on HSN.

Discover more about Bobby on his Website hereū

Pick-up Bobby's book recommendation by visiting our Design Library

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Brick and Mortar vs. Ecommerce by Bobby Berk

Navigating the complexities of multiple distribution channels

by Bobby Berk

For manufacturers, navigating the multitude of channels consumers use to research, shop, and buy home furnishings can get tricky. Choosing which routes to use – and how to use them – can have a huge effect on your brand image with consumers, and can even cause you to run into quite a storm with your brick and mortar dealers.

My experience as an etailer, brick and mortar store owner, and manufacturer of my own lines has given me a unique perspective on this challenge we all share. As I consider the issue from all three points of view, a few rules and practices emerge that can benefit everyone.

“Too often, brick and mortar stores serve as a showroom for online retailers.”

Bobby Berk Home started out as an online-only store in 2006. Back then, it was really hard to get manufacturers to even talk to me, let alone sell to me. It took a lot of walking the shows and no shortage of pleading before I could convince them that ecommerce was indeed the future. Eventually, I was able to get a decent assortment of products on my site, but every new line I wanted to carry seemed to pose a new hurdle. So, I bit the bullet and opened a brick and mortar store in New York’s Soho district. This went a long way to allowing me to carry more lines, but manufacturers who were happy to take floor space in my store remained apprehensive about my selling their products online, because they didn’t want to exclude their other bricks and mortar dealers. One of my partners, however, did get it, and took a chance on me. Bobby Berk Home grew to be one of their biggest US retailers! Others didn’t adapt to the changing marketplace and, sadly, many of those brands are no longer in anyone’s stores.

“My longest and best partnerships have been with manufacturers who understand that they should not compete against the retailers who have invested in them.”

As I grew my brick and mortar business to 4 stores with locations in New York, Miami, Atlanta and Los Angeles, I started to empathize with the on the ground retailer’s plight. Being in very consumer-savvy markets, fighting all of the new up-and-coming e-commerce sites was a constant battle. Too often, we served as a showroom for online-only retailers, where customers would browse my high-rent square footage, shop my floor sample investments, and consult with my well-trained staff to make sure they liked the items they saw online. Then, they’d order online to save a little money on sales tax and shipping. As you can imagine, this was a really big stumbling block for our business, and we had to find a way to work with our suppliers to keep the playing field level.

The lessons I learned from this experience are now my three top pieces of advice for maintaining a healthy multipoint distribution system: 

  1. DO NOT sell direct to your consumer. The only thing that frustrated me more than losing a sale to an online retailer was losing it to the manufacturer’s website. Suppliers that push you to invest in real-estate and floor samples – and then compete directly against you – are not partners. Consider them carefully. I have seen too many companies use brick and mortar stores to build their brand, start selling direct to the consumer online, and then open up their own stores down the street from their most successful retail partners. My longest and best partnerships have been with manufacturers who understand that they should not compete against the retailers who have invested in them and gotten them to where they are today.
  2. Mandate MAP Pricing and ENFORCE it. I used to spend hours at night scouring the web to make sure online competitors weren’t selling below MAP. This ensured we didn’t have to deal with the frustration of price matching or losing a sale to someone who wasn’t following the rules. We’ve dropped many manufacturers whose failure to enforce their MAP allowed online retailers to obliterate us with lower pricing. And we weren’t alone; many of those manufactures destroyed their businesses by losing the majority of their brick and mortar stores while contributing to the bad rap ecommerce stores have developed in our industry. The brands that have enjoyed a healthy mix of bricks and mortar and e-commerce are those that make sure online stores aren’t undercutting their on-the-ground partners.
  3. Give preferred pricing to bricks and mortar stores. I can’t count the number of times a manufacturer made the claim that I wouldn’t lose any business to their e-tailers, because my customers would appreciate the in-store service they received from me more than the buck or two they’d save on shipping and sales tax However, my experience is that money talks. A savings of a few hundred dollars can bury any guilt they may feel for wasting your sales team’s time. By giving your bricks and mortar stores preferred pricing, you give them the flexibility to discount a sale when needed, and still pay their rent and labor costs. Plus, you gain a good amount of goodwill. 

I hope these three tips can help all of us maneuver the often tricky process of profitably reaching consumers via multiple channels. Of course, there are many other methods we can use to make sure all parties find a respectful balance in our rapidly changing marketplace, including mandating different shipping costs for online retailers, and showing bricks and mortar retailers how an online presence can drive traffic to their stores. Many other ideas can surely emerge as suppliers and dealers seek mutually beneficial solutions when we meet at Market.

 

About Bobby Berk After working his way up in retail through Bed Bath & Beyond and Restoration Hardware to the position of Creative Director at Portico Home + Spa, Berk decided it was time to start his own brand. Founded in 2006, Bobby Berk Home offers a unique approach to modern design aesthetics, reflecting a stylish, youthful spirit that perfectly fits any cool, relaxed lifestyle. Gaining increased national attention, the brand is on track to quickly become a household name.

About Bobby Berk

After working his way up in retail through Bed Bath & Beyond and Restoration Hardware to the position of Creative Director at Portico Home + Spa, Berk decided it was time to start his own brand. Founded in 2006, Bobby Berk Home offers a unique approach to modern design aesthetics, reflecting a stylish, youthful spirit that perfectly fits any cool, relaxed lifestyle. Gaining increased national attention, the brand is on track to quickly become a household name.

Four Fabulous Neutrals for Fall 2016 by Bobby Berk

Bobby Berk takes a first look at some exciting Fall Market debuts

This season is shaping up to be all about neutral tones and hues of pink at High Point Market. Since I love layering multiple neutral shades in my designs, I’m excited to see this trend hit the showrooms. Perusing the Fall 2016 High Point Market New Product Premiere Exhibitor Picks, I found a few pieces that should fit right into some of my current projects.

 

Dora Pendant

This collection from Seed Design is absolutely gorgeous. You can choose from a single pendant or a collection of 12, in a copper or brass finish, with or without a ring. The Dora 12, shown below, adds the drama you need for tall spaces without overpowering the space. Each separate glass sphere is adjustable, and can be tilted up to 35 degrees or even completely removed to create a pendant with fewer lights, allowing for endless configuration and design possibilities.

Harmon Side Table

Offered in four great neutral colors (off-white, orange, taupe and black) and two table top finishes (walnut and carrera marble), this versatile piece can be brought into any color palette. Plus, its versatility extends beyond color to a variety of uses, such as a side table, bedside table, or a laptop table over your sofa cushions.

Amor Sofa and Noble Lounge Chair

These two pieces, also from Camerich, are perfect for the transitional client who wants a modern look, but might be afraid of things that are too contemporary. The sofa comes in dozens of configurations and the chair brings in a Scandinavian flair that is super hot right now.

 

Planet Lamp Collection

Another winner from Seed Design, this collection features a floor, table and wall light that are perfect for neutral modern spaces. I love the copper accents that give the pieces a sleek industrial look, and the sense of balance created by the shape is reminiscent of a kinetic sculpture or mobile.

Fashion Forward Thinking for Design Pros by Bobby Berk

Bobby Berk seeks innovative, creative answers to essential questions

It’s that time of year again, and I can already hear the sounds of designers, retailers and shoppers abuzz with excitement, shuffling their way through the Suites at Market Square and Interhall. We all come here in droves year after year, not only because of our love of new and exciting design sources, but also to keep our fingers on the pulse of the industry we are so passionate about. In High Point’s showrooms, we see how human creativity and imagination can transform utilitarian objects into elements of self-expression, elevating furniture from “I need” to “I want."

“Staying on the cusp of emerging trends is essential as a designer, retailer, or manufacturer. It allows us to take stock of current consumer mindsets, new products, new technologies, and new possibilities."

Though ours is an ever-changing marketplace, we all know the worlds of interior design and furniture don’t move at the same speed as the fashion business. Like our fashion designer counterparts, we as interior designers are able to spot the trends from our perches at the top tier of our industry as we see them emerging. And yet, we have all seen how long it takes for our market’s equivalent of the proverbial “cerulean blue sweater” to trickle down from the runway of Oscar de la Renta, through the department stores, down into some “casual corner” where the masses fish it out of the clearance bin, a la Devil Wears Prada. How many of us are beyond sick of the graphic chevron prints that were on trend 8 years ago – and still being touted at our local superstore’s home furnishings section? How many haven’t experienced the frustration of catching on to new ideas and new styles, and then having to drag a client with a soon-expiring design aesthetic kicking and screaming to the realization that the beige granite countertop they fell in love with is so over.

“It makes sense that home décor doesn’t have the turnover that fashion does. After all, swapping a sofa isn’t like changing your trousers."

Although things can move more slowly, we’re starting to see our industry pick up the pace as we accelerate forward, faster and faster into the future. The proliferation of the internet and sites like Pinterest and Houzz have slowly given rise to a savvy new generation of consumers who are very knowledgeable about what is available. With the world at their fingertips, people are able to envision the impact of giving their spaces a fresh style update, and are starting to take on their own design projects. This expansion of possibilities is causing interior design’s collective consciousness to catch up to the pace of industries like fashion.

“If you’re like me, you probably already pull inspiration from what’s going down the runway when you’re conceptualizing your own design work."

There are many cues we can take from fashion in general. Fashion sells a product that says a lot about us, the consumer. It carries with it the power to shape the way we present ourselves to the world. Do we want to project sex appeal? Do we want to highlight femininity or masculinity? What other things can we say with our clothing? Are we rigid and structured? Are we relaxed or casual? The fact that clothing can give us the ability to control how we frame the many dynamic facets of our identity, and echo our own values and sensibilities, imbues us with great potential if we choose to take control of that power.

“Fashion connects us to the emotional part of ourselves that wants to be both an individual and a part of the greater whole."

In design, we need to connect to this same emotional place. In doing so, we are forced to really examine who we are. One of our challenges is to interpret and draw out the personalities of our clients. We have to act as empathetic interpreters, explicating the inner nature of others, which often lies below the surface. We’re not just putting together a pretty room. Design seeks to take a holistic approach to address the issues of how we live. Isn’t how we live essentially how we act – and don’t our actions make us who we are? We need to dig deep and really seek to address these essential questions.

“If we can get our clients and customers to see design as a tool that lets us live in a way that expresses who we are, we are on our way to helping them develop and articulate their personal style."

This idea carries into the way we brand and merchandise our own showrooms, stores, websites, and marketing materials. Who are we as professionals? What is our brand? Our demographic? What are our values, and what do we want to say that connects us to our customers? Ask yourself, have I really done my due diligence to discover what and who I am and where I fit into this complex whole?

One of the things I think fashion does, perhaps less introspectively, but incredibly well, is to connect us with product through the most spectacular form of visual merchandising. Runway shows are flamboyant and theatrical product showcases. They catch our attention by combining movement, music, sexuality, color, texture, shape, and beauty in a visually amazing advertisement that is orchestrated to unify the designer’s brand and vision.

“The way we showcase our products matters. We are a visual industry. Just because the products we design should stand alone and speak for themselves doesn’t mean they do."

How can we possibly optimize the consumer experience to best showcase our products and our talents by letting things fall one-note? In the same way that a look on the runway is brought to life by the accessories a designer pairs with their clothing, or even the hair and makeup chosen for a particular model, we have to look at our products and merchandising as a well thought through concept. Think fashion-forward. Bring theatricality or drama into the equation. Deliver an integrated and comprehensive concept.

I think we often get to a place in life and work, where we think we have “arrived.” You became good at doing something, and you did it well. It’s easy and even perhaps logical to keep trying to do the thing that gave you good results so many times over, and keep expecting those same results. 

“The mark of a truly innovative creative force is someone that keeps reinventing, keeps pushing onward and keeps striving to best themselves."

Fashion is always reinventing and finding new ways to mix things up. The freshness of it all, the quick turnaround and recycling and remixing of ideas is all a part of the machine that drives it forward. That is the spirit we need to bring to the table in home furnishings. If we don’t, we will stagnate, mired down by the bog of the status-quo. Don't be afraid to keep moving the arrow forward. The clearance bin will eventually catch everything else, anyways. For designers, retailers, and consumers alike, the real excitement is in the hunt for something new.

 

The Chaise Lounge - Bobby Berk: Millennial Interior Design and product King by Bobby Berk

Today on the Chaise Lounge, your host Nick May has the pleasure of continuing his conversation with Bobby Berk, who you may have first heard during our episodes from the 2016 High Point Spring Market.

Bobby Berk: Bobby Berk Home

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

Nick interviews Bobby from his new office space located in Los Angeles, California. Nick and Bobby look back at the Spring 2016 High Point Market and Bobby discusses what he gained from the market and the kind of marketing and events he participated in, including his involvement with the High Point Authority.

Bobby was raised in the country, surrounded by Amish communities. “When I was 15, I ran away from home, to get out of the little farm town I was in, to move to the ‘big city’ of Springfield, MO.”  It wasn’t long before Bobby found that the small town lifestyle wasn’t for him, which eventually led him to move to New York City in 2003. As a nearly native New Yorker, Bobby shares some advice with Nick as to what to see and do in the City.

“I was that kid where when my parents came home from work and I had rearranged their bedroom, the living room, everything. I’ve always had an interest in it, I remember being 4 or 5 years old and I wanted my room to have a theme!” Bobby talks about how interior design wasn’t even a concept where he grew up, so it wasn’t until he moved out of the small town he grew up in and landed a job in retail at Restoration Hardware that he really understood the possibilities that lay before him in the design world. Bobby talks about his first position with a furniture retailer that actually went bankrupt, but thankfully pushed Bobby to start his own business, by launching www.bobbyberkhome.com, which did really well. That said; he was able to open a showroom in his first store in SOHO New York, and several other big cities over time. “Due to the success of the stores, that also allowed us to start licensing the brand out, and getting it well known and that turned into some gigs on HGTV and NBC and stuff like that. I look back and am shocked that it’s been 10 years and 4 months now that I’ve started the company.”

Bobby and Nick go back and discuss further his first home retail position with Restoration Hardware and how that experience helped him grow his business. “I personally think that we’re in an age where people don’t necessarily like a store that has everything for everybody.” He talks about the change in popularity from large retailers to small curated showrooms. Tune in to hear Bobby’s long history in retail, from clothing, to body products, to furniture. Bobby says of his career growth “I knew I wanted more, I knew I wanted to learn more, I was a career climber, I wanted to make sure that I learned everything I could, because I knew at some point I wanted to work for myself.”

“I gave myself a ten year goal to build the brand, and those last ten years, I worked 7 days a week, 10-12 hours a day, I was gone from my spouse 80-90% of the time, and so I gave myself expiration on that.” Bobby talks about how the past year has included a restructuring in his business, including giving himself a break from the non-stop work to have a better life/work balance. Bobby discusses with Nick about his recent work in research and design for the millennial generation and the press he received for that, “This responsive home project allowed us to really catapult our design business, and because of that we started working with a lot of home builders, we’ve continued doing models out in Las Vegas.” Bobby talks about his work in teaching builders about what millennials want in their homes and communities.

To end the show, Bobby reflects back on the choices he’s made and how his career has truly transformed over the years, including the closing of all 4 of his retail stores to move in a different direction in his career. “I’m honest, I try to be as good of a person as I possibly can and that really is the key to business, at the end of the day I’m fine with getting screwed over a little bit, as long as I’m not the one screwing people over. It’s worked for me, and I’ve really tried to live by that philosophy.”

To learn more about Bobby’s design business, check out www.bobbyberk.design or www.bobbyberkhome.com to shop!

Updates from The Chaise Lounge:

The lounge Advisory Team is fully underway, so if you are interested in providing feedback to Nick about The Chaise Lounge as part of this voluntary group, head over to The Chaise Lounge website to find out more.

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at TheChaiseLoungePodcast.com.  Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on InstagramFacebook and Twitter or post a review on iTunes, you may even hear your review read live on our next podcast. With that said keep dreaming big, and keep designing a great design business.  See ya!

Designing Model Homes with HGTV's Bobby Berk - Design Campus by Bobby Berk

Designing Model Homes with HGTV's Bobby Berk - Design Campus: We at Bobby Berk Interiors Design have been doing some design work for home builders lately, and we thought it would be a good idea to share some of the things we’ve learned about designing model homes. There is surprisingly little information on the subject. In some ways, the process is a lot like designing a space for a private residential client, and there’s a large degree of crossover where the basics are concerned. In other ways, model homes create some unique design challenges and your approach should be a little different. In merchandising a model home, you have to consider the fact that you are presenting a product that is intended to appeal to a particular buyer profile and demographic. If you do your job right, the space should have an appeal that will not alienate buyers, but invite a large base of tastes to see the potential of a particular floor plan, which will in turn translate into sales for the building company.

Modern Farmhouse for Pardee Homes Las Vegas

Modern Farmhouse for Pardee Homes Las Vegas

The first thing that we recommend when you begin your programming and fact gathering is to research the builder. What kind of homes do they already sell? What is the price point in the development where they’re building and how does this compare to other home product in the area? Is this a luxury product or mid-level? What is the buyer profile in that neighborhood? Are there a lot of younger families? Is it an age-qualified development? What other homes are available nearby, and if there are models for these developments, it might behoove you to go and tour those developments to see what the other designers have done in that market. Take stock of what they are doing well and make notes about what you think needs improvement. These are all good things to keep in mind when you begin the design process.

Modern Farmhouse for Pardee Homes Las Vegas

Modern Farmhouse for Pardee Homes Las Vegas

Another important thing to consider, is that home builders will try to upsell options to their buyers, which come at a higher cost than the standard finishes and fixtures. You will want to showcase the types of upgrades that are available to buyers and really wow them with some of the more luxe finish options. Because a model home is really an opportunity to inject some features that are intended to wow buyers and sell them a lifestyle, you may even consider putting some special features in the home that are not necessarily options. We did some ceiling treatments in our last model, for example, that were prohibitive on a production scale, but that our builder client wanted to show in the model anyways. You will have to have a discussion with your builder to decide how best to strike the balance between showcasing options that buyers will be able to purchase for their own homes, and design features that are not necessarily appropriate for production. When it comes to flooring, cabinets, fixtures and other materials, obtain a list of the vendors that the builder offers their buyers. A lot of times, the builder will have good working relationships with these vendors and use these relationships to try to get as much product donated for the model homes as possible. This saves the builder on costs, as the vendors are usually happy to offer product under the umbrella of marketing costs, since showing these products in the model will generate sales of their products. You will likely be using many of these products, so be sure to get in touch with these vendors through the builder to obtain sample product. You will want to put together a small but thorough material library for the project, and this can help get your creative wheels spinning when you see what type of choices are available to you. Sometimes a vendor may be limited in selection, which we have run into. If they don’t have decorative tile that packs an impactful enough punch, for instance, you may want to explore some other designer choices. Don’t let your designs suffer, because of a lack of choices.

Nowadays, people expect to be able to customize their homes. Builders are starting to take note of the value in making their home product as customizable as possible. This especially appeals to millennials, which are a large and emerging demographic that designers and builders need to consider. Customization has really become important to most buyers in general, though. Although the days of cookie-cutter homes with a sea of beige carpet and granite are thankfully coming to an end, a model home is not exactly the place for wild design experimentation either. Remember that when you’re selling the idea of a lifestyle through your designs, you want to get buyers emotionally connected to the space. The best way to do this, without alienating too many personal aesthetics with an overly-niche design, is to stick with neutral fabrics and colors on beds and sofas. Bring in print with pillows, throws, rugs and curtains. This also makes it easier to change a look up with greater ease in the future. A controlled color palette is often a good idea, as it makes the transitions from room to room more seamless. Typically, greys, blues, earth tones, creams, whites and blacks are a good jumping off place to build around, and then you can bring in accent colors to give character to different rooms. Buyers will expect to see a pulled together and “decorated” space, but that doesn’t mean kitsch or corny design schemes.

Modern Farmhouse Master Bath for Pardee Homes Las Vegas

Modern Farmhouse Master Bath for Pardee Homes Las Vegas

One of the things that we love about working with builders is that unlike a typical client/designer relationship, there is usually much less back and forth over specific selections. There is a larger degree of trust on behalf of a corporate builder client, and this makes the process of the selection of furnishings and finishes more expedient and an all around easier task. There is also a shared interest in getting the project finished in a timely manner, and you will have a team of professionals that are very knowledgeable at your disposable. It’s definitely a welcome change of pace to be working so directly with the construction team and have that type of open communication, especially when you’re working through any special challenges or need assistance in executing a design idea. Typically you will have an assigned superintendent that will be your point of contact during the construction process. There are also a number of other people that get involved, from marketing staff, to purchasing people, landscapers, etc. Builders don’t always put together a “cheat sheet” with everyone’s role on the project, so if they don’t have something like that for you when you start on with them, ask someone to list the people you’ll be working with. This way, you’ll know who to go to with questions or issues that are sure to arise. It will make your life much easier if you establish all your contacts from the beginning, as you will no doubt be copied on hundreds if not thousands of emails over the course of the project.

Also consider how many models they are producing for a community. Are you doing all of the models? Are there other designers doing different models on the project? Establish a story for each floor plan. Consider the context of the architectural style and location of the home. Is it a Spanish or Mediterranean home? (Please God, not another Faux-Tuscan house!) Are you designing for the desert? The mountains? The beach? Or a simple suburban backdrop? Maybe the builders want to showcase a particular architectural style? Are the models different architecturally? Maybe the builder would like to do one floor plan that is more contemporary, maybe one that is more transitional and one that is more traditional. Find out what they’re looking for and make sure that each model has its own distinct character and that there is variety between the collective floor plans. One things that a lot of designers have done in the past is to pick one color and that becomes the strict accent for the entire home. This one’s the blue home. That one’s the orange one. This family has a daughter with a pink room that likes ballet, and a son with a blue room that likes cars. As much as you want to sell an aspirational lifestyle to buyers, I would try to steer clear of doing something too expected like this. When kids get emotionally involved after falling in love with what would potentially be “their room,” it can indeed drive parents to fall in love with a home as well, but kids these days have a wide range of interests and the trite and expected “pink and blue trap” might not be the best approach. Try a design that is a little more gender neutral, and that is more age-neutral. A more sophisticated child’s room is one that a teen could also see themselves in and something that kids could potentially grow into.

Nowadays, people expect to be able to customize their homes. Builders are starting to take note of the value in making their home product as customizable as possible. This especially appeals to millennials, which are a large and emerging demographic that designers and builders need to consider. Customization has really become important to most buyers in general, though. Although the days of cookie-cutter homes with a sea of beige carpet and granite are thankfully coming to an end, a model home is not exactly the place for wild design experimentation either. Remember that when you’re selling the idea of a lifestyle through your designs, you want to get buyers emotionally connected to the space. The best way to do this, without alienating too many personal aesthetics with an overly-niche design, is to stick with neutral fabrics and colors on beds and sofas. Bring in print with pillows, throws, rugs and curtains. This also makes it easier to change a look up with greater ease in the future. A controlled color palette is often a good idea, as it makes the transitions from room to room more seamless. Typically, greys, blues, earth tones, creams, whites and blacks are a good jumping off place to build around, and then you can bring in accent colors to give character to different rooms. Buyers will expect to see a pulled together and “decorated” space, but that doesn’t mean kitsch or corny design schemes.

Contemporary for Pardee Homes Las Vegas

Contemporary for Pardee Homes Las Vegas

One of the things that we love about working with builders is that unlike a typical client/designer relationship, there is usually much less back and forth over specific selections. There is a larger degree of trust on behalf of a corporate builder client, and this makes the process of the selection of furnishings and finishes more expedient and an all around easier task. There is also a shared interest in getting the project finished in a timely manner, and you will have a team of professionals that are very knowledgeable at your disposable. It’s definitely a welcome change of pace to be working so directly with the construction team and have that type of open communication, especially when you’re working through any special challenges or need assistance in executing a design idea. Typically you will have an assigned superintendent that will be your point of contact during the construction process. There are also a number of other people that get involved, from marketing staff, to purchasing people, landscapers, etc. Builders don’t always put together a “cheat sheet” with everyone’s role on the project, so if they don’t have something like that for you when you start on with them, ask someone to list the people you’ll be working with. This way, you’ll know who to go to with questions or issues that are sure to arise. It will make your life much easier if you establish all your contacts from the beginning, as you will no doubt be copied on hundreds if not thousands of emails over the course of the project.

Contemporary Master Bath for Pardee Homes Las Vegas

Contemporary Master Bath for Pardee Homes Las Vegas

Also consider how many models they are producing for a community. Are you doing all of the models? Are there other designers doing different models on the project? Establish a story for each floor plan. Consider the context of the architectural style and location of the home. Is it a Spanish or Mediterranean home? (Please God, not another Faux-Tuscan house!) Are you designing for the desert? The mountains? The beach? Or a simple suburban backdrop? Maybe the builders want to showcase a particular architectural style? Are the models different architecturally? Maybe the builder would like to do one floor plan that is more contemporary, maybe one that is more transitional and one that is more traditional. Find out what they’re looking for and make sure that each model has its own distinct character and that there is variety between the collective floor plans. One things that a lot of designers have done in the past is to pick one color and that becomes the strict accent for the entire home. This one’s the blue home. That one’s the orange one. This family has a daughter with a pink room that likes ballet, and a son with a blue room that likes cars. As much as you want to sell an aspirational lifestyle to buyers, I would try to steer clear of doing something too expected like this. When kids get emotionally involved after falling in love with what would potentially be “their room,” it can indeed drive parents to fall in love with a home as well, but kids these days have a wide range of interests and the trite and expected “pink and blue trap” might not be the best approach. Try a design that is a little more gender neutral, and that is more age-neutral. A more sophisticated child’s room is one that a teen could also see themselves in and something that kids could potentially grow into.

The Best Kitchen Countertops by Bobby Berk - Design Campus by Bobby Berk

Bobby Berk: When it comes to selecting kitchen countertops for your home, there is a daunting amount of choices. We’d like to go through a few of the most popular materials to make the task of picking a countertop material a little easier based on your design preferences, application and of course budget. Here are the best kitchen countertops and why:

Natural Stone Countertops ($$-$$$)
Granite ($$-$$$):
The most popular countertop material, is available in a wide array of colors. It’s cut into long thick slabs that require few (if any) seams. Most manufacturers make single-piece countertops that can be made up to 10 ft. long. The slabs are sealed with an impregnating sealer, which makes the stone resistant to stains from everyday wear. An annual seal is required, as well as require regular care. This includes selecting and using a stone cleaner as opposed to a more abrasive chemical cleaner when caring for your countertops. Stains should be wiped up quickly. You can expect to pay anywhere from $60 to $250 a sq. ft., depending on color, brand, and fabrication.

 

Marble ($$$):
Marble is considered one of the most elegant and sophisticated countertop materials, and the veining intrinsic to the material is praised for its natural beauty. It is very durable, but porous, so it’s susceptible to stains. It can be polished or honed, but should be regularly sealed in order to prevent staining. Many homeowners will acquiesce to the required maintenance despite because of its beauty. $125-$250 a sq. ft.

 

Slate ($$$):
Comes in red, gray, green, black and purple. Some types of variegated purple slate has veining and shades of contrasting colors. It is very heavy due to its high density, although it is soft, so scratches can occur. These can be buffed out with steel wool. Slat can be fabricated into sinks to match the countertop, if desired. Slate is a great option for a low maintenance lifestyle or application, as it is a non-porous material and very easy to care for. It has a naturally matte appearance, but it can be made shiny with an application of lemon oil. Slate countertops cost from $100-$200 a sq. ft., depending on color, brand and fabrication.

 

Soapstone ($$):Typically dark, greenish-black or lighter green-grey. Can be fabricated into sinks to match the countertop. Soapstone is very porous, so it has to be sealed with mineral oil in order to reduce staining. Cracks can be expensive to fix, so the maintenance is important. It typically costs from $70-$100 a sq. ft.

 

Concrete ($$): 
Pre-cast concrete is preferable to poured-in-place countertops, because they are honed, cured and sealed off site. They are typically 1.5” thick and available in slabs up to 10’ in length. The concrete mixture can be stained to a variety of colors by adding dye in the manufacturing process. This can make for some interesting finish options. Cracking is typically an issue with any concrete product, so the structure of the countertop is often fortified with mesh, rebar, or fiberglass product. Custom concrete countertops range in price from $85-100 a sq. ft.

Plastic Laminate ($):
Plastic Laminate, also known as Formica, is an enduring and strong material that is made from layers of paper that are suffused with resin to form the hard surface layer. It’s available in endless colors and designs, but the matte finishes are the only ones you should specify for a countertop. Note that there are two thicknesses. The 1/16” thickness is for general purpose applications including countertops. The 1/32” is for vertical grade applications and backsplashes. It comes in sheets that range from smaller pieces at 2’x4’ up to 4’x8’. Larger wider sheets can be custom ordered from certain manufacturers. This is by far the most affordable material. You can buy pre-fabricated counters that are ready for installation and these can cost about $100 for an 8 ft. counter. Custom applications will range from $15-$25 a sq. ft.

 

Wood ($$-$$$):
Wood is a traditional countertop material that can really add warmth to a space. Many people have been concerned in the past with the viability of wood as a countertop material, because of its porous nature, however wood has been found to have more anti-bacterial effectiveness than plastic as a cutting surface. It does require maintenance to keep a good seal. Polyurethane can offer good protection for a few years, but it’s aesthetically preferable for many people who prefer to accentuate the natural beauty of the wood by using less chemically synthetic mineral oil. This treatment requires more maintenance and reapplication every 4-6 weeks is a deterrent to more low-maintenance lifestyles.

Despite woods higher degree of care, it is a great option for certain surfaces such as food prep areas, dining counters, and food chopping blocks. It is the only countertop material suggested for cutting and chopping. The most popular species of wood for countertop applications are rock maple, walnut, oak, cherry and teak. It should be protected from extra hot cookware, as it is prone to burn stains at very hot temperatures, but scratches can be sanded out.

The three forms of wood counter production include edge grain, end grain and wide plank. Edge grain are made from pieces of wood that are thin and long and glued together with the edge grain facing upwards. End grain countertops, or butcher blocks, are assembled from short, square pieces of wood with the end grain facing upwards. These are typically from 4-12” thick. Wide plank counters, the most traditional style, are made by gluing planks of wood together at the edges of the planks. These can be susceptible to warping or cracking if not properly and regularly maintained. Pre-fabricated countertops can be ordered at most lumber yards and wood dealers. 1.5” x 25” wide counters come in 8’ to 12’ lengths typically. Wood countertops vary in price depending on the species of wood, but can be comparable to natural stone and man made solid surface. Expect to pay anywhere form $35-$250 a sq. ft.

Stainless Steel ($$):
Stainless steel is beautiful, and extremely durable. It is resistant to rust and corrosion, and can withstand extreme heat (up to 800 degrees). Stainless steel countertops can be prone to scratches, so some people prefer to only use it on vertical surfaces as a backsplash. Either way, it can create a very clean, modern, industrial look, or go with something more traditional like a farm house kitchen. It can be prone to fingerprints and water stains, so it needs to be cleaned to maintain a nice appearance. You can’t use any caustic chemicals on it, including bleach cleaners, but it can be disinfected with a mixture of water and vinegar. Pre-fabricated stainless steel countertops are typically fabricated with a wood core, and can even be installed DIY, as you would with laminate. Prices range form $70-$150 a sq. ft.

 

Ceramic Tile ($-$$):
Because of the grout lines in a ceramic tile application, many designers and builders have shifted away from tile for countertops. Tile is probably best used on backsplashes or auxiliary work surfaces such as an island, eat-at countertop, peninsulas, wet bars and butler pantries. Don’t use tile intended for wall applications, as it can easily leave cracks in your finished surface. Tile that is intended for counters or floors is best. Ceramic tile can be applied right to plywood or over laminate countertops. The best installation method is using a ¾” plywood with a ½” cement backer board. The cost will of course depend on the type of tile you select, but basic tile can be very affordable. The cost for installation will run between $30 and $50 a sq. ft. plus the cost of your tile.

 

Man-Made Solid Surface Countertops ($$-$$$):
These materials, such as DuPont’s Corian, Wilsonart’s Gibraltar, and Aristech’s Avonite, are made of 100% acrylic, 100% polyester, or a combination of acrylic and polyester. These engineered countertops have properties that make them very durable and ideal for a lot of different applications. They come in almost any color imaginable, and can be customized to almost any design, including intricate inlay patterns. They are also made to look many types of other stone, and can be fabricated into sinks to match the countertop material.

Part of this category is quartz-composite materials such as DuPont’s Zodiaq, Silestone, Cambria and CaesarStone, which are just a few of the composite products on the market. Engineered stones like these are much harder and have a depth, clarity and luminance not found in other solid surfaces. Quartz composites cost slightly more than conventional man-made solid surface counters. The whole category is priced at $150-$200 a sq. ft. for solid-surface materials.