Thursday, April 29, 2010

AT&T Performing Arts Center Tour

Interiors Networking Council (I.N.C.) is hosting a tour to the AT&T Performing Arts Center...

Thursday, June 3rd
See poster below for more information:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A+D Career Management Group Event May 6th!

Don't miss this opportunity...

Rising unemployment rates in the architecture and design industries has prompted CareerConnection’s Architecture+Interior Design Group to take action by hosting the 2nd Professional Showcase on Thursday, May 6, 2010, from 6:00pm to 8:30pm, at the International on Turtle Creek, in the heart of the downtown design district.A current estimate of the unemployment rate among DFW architecture and design professionals is a staggering 48%. The Architecture + Interior Design Professional Showcase will provide an opportunity for under-employed and “pre-employed” individuals seeking careers in these fields to acquire some one-on-one time with HIRING FIRMS and other professionals in their chosen field. Hosting showrooms will feature prominent industry leaders and new product lines.Persons interested in attending the event will participate in a “meet and greet” with top DFW architecture and interior design firms and a resume review booth will be open for interested jobseekers! “Our industry continues to see a very slow recovery, but we remain optimistic that the latter part of 2010 will see more building and development thus prompting firms to require additional staff,” said Mechele Rittenberry, member of the Leadership Committee of the A+D Professional Showcase event “The May 6th Professional Showcase marks our second initiative to promote and assist Architects and Design Professionals with their job search.” For more information on CareerConnection and the A+D Career Management Group, please visit or contact Lisa Miller, Executive Director, at (214) 739-7153 and Mechele Rittenberry at (469) 556.4913). CareerConnection is a nonprofit organization hosted by Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church.
Be a volunteer!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Interior Design Expert Panel:

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Architects, Designers Facing 48% Unemployment Rate

Mechele Rittenberry always dreamed of creating the downtown Dallas skyline, but 14 months ago she was laid off from her job as an interior designer. At the time Rittenberry had just completed a project at The House, a new high-rise housing project just north of the Woodall Rogers Freeway.

"It's frightening," says Rittenberry. "You wonder where's my paycheck going? How much savings do I have. I should have saved more."

Rittenberry and Commercial Interior Designer Ernesto Miranda formed a support group for the hundreds of architects, designers, and project developers who have lost their jobs since the recession began. Figures vary, but experts estimate there is about a 48% unemployment rate for these individuals and about 500 people in North Texas who are looking for full-time work in these professions.

The A+D Career Management Group meets every Friday at 10am and locations vary, based on where they can get space donated. The group is planning a "Professional Showcase" where about 400 people will be able to meet with top level executives of design firms. The names of those firms is not being released.

Architect Bill Arnquist has been free lancing for the last year. "I had work that came to me that allowed me to work for myself and to be able to do projects that kept me from having to look for work every week" says Arnquist, who attends the support group meetings.

Tom Lamson is an Executive Recruiter for Babich and Associates. He specializes in finding work for architects, designers, engineers, people in construction and property development. Lamson says the layoffs have been devastating in this industry and some of the most well-respected companies are trying to find new projects. "They started with making cuts that were, in some cases, necessary," says Lamson, "and it's built to a point where they're cutting their most valued employees."

Those who still have jobs work long hours, Lamson says. "One of the biggest ironies now is that the people who are still employed are overworked. They're working 60, 70 hour weeks at percentage cuts."

But Lamson says there are signs that new projects are on the horizon. He says banks are now starting to lend money and executives of architectural firms are beginning to get excited about future projects, but it could be another year or two before the unemployment rate is significantly reduced. And the more time that passes, Lamson believes those with the most experience may enter other fields of work.

Lamson says those involved in the A+D Career Management Group are doing exactly what they should by networking, discussing leads and training one another in the newest technological advances.

"You can't isolate yourself and expect the job board to come to you" says Rittenberry. "We're optimistic."

Click here for more information about the A+A Career events.

Stephanie Lucero DALLAS (CBS 11 / TXA 21)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Don't miss our Workshops -

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Small Houses: Design for Uncluttered Living -

McMansions may become the dinosaurs of the housing industry as small houses begin to trend big. As Americans try to live simpler, small spaces are big winners, with some even choosing to live in houses the size of some walk-in closets.

Industry professionals say the trend is tied to the downturn in the economy as well as a desire for a less cluttered lifestyle that can benefit the environment.
“We are seeing a trend toward more economical homes, energy-efficient homes,” says Michele Boggs, Interior Design Instructor at The Art Institute of Indianapolis. “Since foreclosures have been high, you are seeing people get back to what they really can afford and abandoning the concept of keeping up with the Joneses.”

Among the FDIC’s facts on foreclosure: every three months, 250,000 families enter foreclosure; and 43% of American households spend more than they earn annually.
“People are finding that living simply is actually a luxury,” says Jay Shafer, founder and designer of Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. “Paying a debt for 30 years is not the great thing it’s been touted as. The easiest way I’ve found to be free is to live simply.”

Shafer is one of the people opting to live in a smaller home. His company offers ready-made homes — or plans to build them — in two categories: tiny houses and small houses. The tiny houses range from 65 to 140 square feet and small houses are a little larger. The tiny houses are on wheels and can be used pretty much anywhere, or placed on an RV. All tiny houses and small houses have kitchens and bathrooms.

“The trend was going bigger for quite a few decades until a couple of years ago when things peaked and for the first time in many decades things did get smaller,” Shafer says. “I think the days of bigger for bigger’s sake are probably over. It seems like the emperor has been spotted.”

According to the National Association of Home Builders, median square footage for a new construction home in the United States declined for two consecutive years after peaking in 2006 at 2,237 square feet. Contemporary homes still are a lot bigger than they used to be -- the 2008 median of 2,224 dwarfs 1978’s median of 1,650. But there are reasons to think new homes will continue to get smaller.

The National Association of Realtors found that in 2009, the number of first-time home buyers reached the highest market share on record. For total home sales, the number of first-time buyers was 47%, up from 41% the previous year.

“There are a lot of first-time home buyers in the market right now,” Boggs agrees. “They have less to spend, but still want a great home, with better options. Builders are offering smaller plans with more upgrade options.”

Some might assume that the lack of options are one of the downsides of living in small houses, but Shafer and others say that’s not true. Small houses can have more personality than the recently popular McMansions.

John Raabe is owner and designer of CountryPlans homes, with a website that supports home owners, designers, and buyers with smaller home plans and building ideas. He says the classic, smaller homes are ideal for updating and redesigning because they provide a simple structure and the basics for a living space.

“Large mega houses are often not so much an expression of personality as ego,” he adds. “The ego expressed may be that of the builder or owner — in a McMansion — or the architect. It is actually harder to build a large house with warmth and personality.”

Small houses and spaces can still present some design challenges, especially with interior design and decorating. Boggs says that small home buyers must maximize their space – a challenge that qualified interior designers can handle. There are also designers who specialize in creating furniture pieces that decrease clutter, making them perfect for small houses.

Verena Lang, founder of Ivydesign, designed a table that doubles as a wall mirror or picture frame. She says she wanted to create a piece that could provide more than one function.

“The main intention was to create something useful with a young and fresh spirit, something that people can individualize,” she adds. “It is important to [think] about things you might find in almost every apartment and things everybody needs like a bed, a table, chairs, a closet, a door for example.”

But even with the recent changes, will buyer tastes flip again and return to the bigger-is-better sentiment? Boggs thinks small spaces are here to stay.

“I think buyers are going to be smarter and more experienced on their design decisions, which will result in smaller, more organized homes,” she predicts. “Spaces will be used more efficiently and the trend will continue to evolve for less formal spaces within a home.”