Meet Victoria Larsen | Scottsdale Customer Service Representative

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Education/certification

Brief History of your work experience. My first job, at age 9, was setting up the breakfast room and making waffles for guests at my mom’s hotel. Since then, the majority of my work history has been in hospitality. Most recently as a concierges in the city of Chicago. I felt like an ambassador for the Windy City, it was very rewarding when my recommendations made memorable experiences for my guests. I still strive to add a flair of hospitality into my working life today.

Where are you from?

I was raised in the US’s largest piece of land with the smallest population. The back woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

What was your most rewarding project and why?

Taking notice of our hard working designers eating habits, I hosted Working Lunch Wednesdays at CAI Designs Arlington Heights. Typically a designers lunch consists of a granola bar or dining in the car on something picked up in the drive thru. Designers appreciated the opportunity to enjoy a homemade lunch and it was nice to see our designers interact with each other and focus on something that brought them joy, like my chicken salad recipe.

What does a usual workday look like for you?

Multi-tasking is the only usual part of my day. At some point I am on the phone, emailing a vendor, and printing out a tear sheets simultaneously.

How would you characterize your design style?

Worldly Eclectic with a Rock n Roll Edge

Where or whom do you draw inspiration from?

Fashion and travel

Where do you see the interior design market going in the future?

More Mechanisms! Custom fitting sofas with a “sleep number” technology, functional accessories like the hand wall hook in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

What is the most important thing to consider when choosing interiors for your home?

It should be a reflection of you and what makes you feel comfortable.

Why CAI Designs?

I hold a deep admiration for the way the owner of our company has grown his business. Starting out in the fabric industry, adding a small furniture showroom with only a few lines, growing into who we are today.

What is your favorite color?

Lavender puts me ease, think of orchids, lilacs, and the color the clouds turn at sunset in Arizona.

What is your favorite food?

Stroganoff, the more tangy, beefy, and creamy the better.  It is the one thing I cook and also enjoy second helpings. I have mastered my recipe.

What is your dream interior design job?

A home for Mr and Mrs. Alice Cooper

What is your favorite part of your job?

It is satisfying to become a trusted resource for the designers.  I enjoy seeing the different ways a designer approaches a project and what inspires them.

Would you say it is helpful to have a designer as the middle man and why?

Are their any insights or helpful hints you can share with designers when they are working with their clients on projects?  A very wise designer, whom I adore, has her clients sign an agreement of expectations. It spells out how special ordering in the industry works, includes a “Murphys Law of Design”,  lays out common bumps in the road with freight companies, and states “Your party/holiday is not a deadline” I think this is genius.

Meet Dana Bryant… C.A.I. Designs Scottsdale, Showroom Manager

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How did you get into interior design?

Being a self taught weaver and lover off all things art and textile, I had the blessed luck of meeting a most talented artist who had just returned from being educated in Paris. We created, wove, sold and shipped beautiful upholstery fabrics to interior designers across the United States, Canada and Mexico for over 15 years. I have continued to love the world of design ever since.

 

What was your most rewarding project and why?

That is really a very easy question to answer. All of them! Seriously, I get the same satisfaction in helping designers and their clients find the pieces that ultimately combine to create their perfect spaces no matter how big or small the project. Their happiness is my happiness!

 

Where do you see the interior design market going in the future?

Humans naturally want to be surrounded by beauty and furnishings that make them happy. Decorated cave dwellings and the stories of Josephine decorating Napoleon’s tents during long battles tells us this human desire has been around before man was even civilized, so it’s not going anywhere. Like most professions there is an art and an education to being an interior designer. The educated general public knows that an interior designer will ultimately save them money and create those beautiful environments we all desire but most cannot accomplish themselves. The direction the industry will go would require the purchase of a crystal ball.

 

Are their any insights or helpful hints you can share with designers when they are working with their clients on projects?

 Yes, two actually. The first rule of sales is to listen to your clients.

Secondly, manage client expectations. Giving clients realistic expectations of the products and process will eliminate a lot of misunderstandings and unrealistic demands.

 

What is your favorite color?

 I love White! White goes with everything; it is the presence of all colors.

Then secondly I love most all colors.

 

 

 

Meet Susan Howard… C.A.I. Designs Denver, Showroom Manager

Susan showroom 2

Education: BA Ohio University School of Journalism, Public Relations..Graduated Summa Cum Laude

Work history:

  • Display coordinator, Interior Designer for Ethan Allen, Designer for Persnickety
  • Two years interior design study with noted New York designer Suzanne Weiner.
  • Store owner, sales manager, franchise advisor for Expressions Custom Furniture in Indianapolis and Cincinnati.
  • Interior Designer – Home on the Range, Steamboat Springs

Where are you from?  Rocky River, Ohio; Chicago; Redding, CT, Steamboat Springs, CO

What is your most rewarding project?

A 16,000 sq. ft. project home where I worked with the clients, architects, and builder from initial plans to completion. Client had lived in Europe and wanted an elegant, Old World hunting lodge atmosphere adapted for the Rockies. I designed  9 fireplaces and baths, specified all floor, wall and ceiling finishes, selected lighting options, and incorporated furnishings from 3 other homes with new purchases.

What is your design style?

Classic, sophisticated but understated, layered yet balanced, casual elegance.

Where do you get your Inspiration?

Nature- blue & white of winter, yellow green of Spring, purple, reds and green of Summer, Crimson, red and golds of Autumn (at least in CT). Travel-batiks of Malaysia, organic furniture from Bali, English and European gardens and stately homes, Italian architecture, art and textiles.

What do you think is the most important thing to consider when designing?

realistically assessing the way you live- or want to live.

Why CAI?

CAI has shown a commitment to showcasing  luxury furniture, lighting, unique imports and through the Kravet showroom, textiles, to provide designers top notch service and product.

What do you think of Designers as middleman/woman?

In our increasingly more connected and fast paced world, a designer provides the trained eye to help clients filter through all the information to achieve a curated vision. Successful projects emerge when a patient, respectful collaboration between architects, clients, builders, designers and tradesmen allows creativity to flourish.

2016 C.A.I. Designs High Point Buyers Market Trends by Philip Chavez

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As with all things, there is a large evolution of trend within design. During spring market in High Point, North Carolina, warmer palettes seen in Feizy’s Neela Indigo rug hearkened Bottega Venetta’s s/s 2016 women’s collection, representation of color theorists from the past shown in minimalist patterns were seen in the art piled in the Trowbridge showroom and artisana products with heavy texture from Roberta Schilling were my immediate obsessions.

Adding to this mix, architectural details played with voids and solids in the latest release from Michael Berman’s collection for Theodore Alexander. His simplification of form to promote function with stunning surface finishes were stellar…thank you, MB. What really showed well at market was the explosive Southwestern palette portrayed by Hickory Chair. Their rendition of this aesthetic was astounding, and coming from a native New Mexican, that is a strong statement of approval. The Museum of New Mexico facilitated colors and patterns within the product showing and not only collaborated with Hickory Chair, but also with Kravet, Inc.

The idea of increasing the worth of primitive textiles seemed to be the most sought after ideology. Think Taracea, the company utilizing reclaimed wood from central America. Their ability to hone natural resources and induce the consumer’s feeling of luxury comes close to being unmatched. But we cannot finish this article without addressing the belle of the ball. Announcing the takeover of Kate Spade. This luxury brand OWNED market this spring. From silver bow sconces for Visual Comfort to the playful owls within luxurious fabric prints used in lines such as Leathercraft and Burton James designed and developed with Kravet, Inc., one must include a piece or two within their space.

All in all, I would have to say design trends continue to be a time to play. Play with space, play with color and play with form.