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IIDANC 2017 Honor Awards

IIDANC 2017 Honor Awards

This is a CEU event.

Date: March 23
Time: 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Price: varies


The Fox Theater

1807 Telegraph Avenue

Oakland, CA 94612 United States

Phone: 510-302-2250


Amy Fetcher
Emily Burchill

The IIDA Northern California Chapter Honor Awards aims to encourage new ideas and techniques in the design and furnishing of interior spaces. For our 13th annual awards, the Honor Awards program will focus on recognizing and honoring outstanding interior design completed in the Northern California Chapter.

Last year, a total of 95 projects were submitted with a total of 18 award winners. This year, winning projects will be judged by the esteemed jury for suitability to the project challenge, originality of the design solution, and the successful integration of interior forms, finishes and furnishings. Jurors include Lucy Aiken-Johnson, Principal of ai3 in Atlanta, GA, Alan Barlis, Principal of Varlis Wedlick in New York, NY and Carrie Boyd, Principal/Director of Interior Design of M+A Architects in the Ohio Area. Also, Deb Breslow, Creative Director of Meyer Design in the Greater Philadelphia Area and Liz Munich, Interior Designer of Nelson in the Greater Philadelphia Area.

Click here for more information or to register.

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Fresh Air And Fresh Ideas: Take Your Meeting For A Walk


There’s something about taking your meeting for a walk that sparks fresh ideas, says Nilofer Merchant.

With the serious effects of too much sitting causing a lot of concern, everyone is becoming more aware of just how many hours we tend to sit.  Whether it’s during our commute to and from work, at a desk, or in front of the T.V. after a long day… almost all of us are guilty of sitting too long.

Walking meetings aren’t really a new phenomena.  Historically bards, philosophers like Aristotle, poets and musicians took their messages on the road gathering followers who’d walk with them as they traveled from location to location.  In more modern times, notables such as Barak Obama, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg all espoused walking meetings. Companies like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter all encourage walking meetings.

There’s good reason for this.  Walking meetings help you focus, be more creative and more productive.

Here are some practical tips to make walking meetings successful:

  • Keep the meeting size small – 3 to 5 people works best.  With larger groups it’s more difficult to communicate while walking.
  • Set a specific start and end location as well as a specific time period for the meeting
  • Set a specific ‘rest’ point during the walk to allow everyone to review the meeting details and ask questions / give input
  • Set a specific agenda which is sent to all the meeting participants ahead of time so that they can review and formulate their input
  • Take the meeting somewhere inspiring. Usually a walk in nature is best as it lowers stress levels and promotes creativity.
  • Avoid busy places and busy roads which will require more effort to navigate and more effort to stay on task.
  • Appoint one of the participants or an additional person to take notes. As it’s obviously not practical to type notes while walking, have them voice record the major points with brief explanations.  This can be typed out later and shared with all participants by email.
  • Make sure everyone puts their phones on silent just as they would during any other business meeting
  • Set the walking pace to suit the least fit and slowest walker
  • Never arrange a ‘surprise’ walking meeting, always get all participant’s agreement ahead of time

Here are some of the benefits from walking meetings:

  • exercise and associated health benefits
  • higher levels of engagement and participation from all participants
  • new surroundings help inspire new ideas and greater creativity and innovation
  • participants tend to enjoy and anticipate  outdoor meetings more than indoor meetings

More reading:


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How to Choose An Ergonomic Task Chair.

We spend a lot of time sitting at work, so choosing the best ergonomic office chair for the task should be a priority.

What should you look for?

how to choose an ergonomic task chairSitting is stressful for the spine and lack of proper support can result in both a sore back as well as back, neck, shoulder and arm injuries.  A well designed ergonomic chair should provide good lower back and lumbar support. Lumbar support is crucial as the lumbar part of the spine is curved. Without support, this curve becomes flattened resulting in slouching which puts strain on the spine.  Lumbar support should be adjustable by the user.

Seat height should also be adjustable so that you can sit in the chair with your back fully supported and your feet flat on the ground with thighs horizontal.  The front edge of the chair should not cut off blood circulation under your legs.

Seat width and depth should be such that when seated with the back against the backrest, there should be 2 – 4″ between the back of the knees and the seat of the chair. Seat width is generally best between 17 – 20″.

Backrest should be fully adjustable in height and angle so that it properly supports the user’s spine. This height and angle should be able to be locked by the user so that it doesn’t change by itself. The width should be between 12 – 19″.

Armrests should be adjustable and allow the arms to be comfortably supported with forearms horizontal to the floor with shoulders relaxed and wrists in line with the forearm, However, arms should not rest on the armrests when using the computer.

Seat materials should ‘breathe’ and have enough padding to provide comfort to the user.  Seats that are too hard can cause discomfort and strain, while non-breathable coverings will result in the user perspiring.

There are many options available. Here are just a few of our top picks:

Mimeo by Allsteel:

allsteel-mimeoMimeo’s enveloping shape and dynamic back maintain constant contact with the user for unparalleled comfort and support.  Open design enables unrestricted, multi-directional postures and accommodates a wide range of users.  Mimeo is appropriately scaled for highly visible office landscapes, while its diverse material options enable a strong visual impact.






Quip by Allsteel:

how to choose an ergonomic office task chair Create a color combination that fits your space. Quip can mix and match mesh and upholstery colors to get the exact look you want.   Simple adjustments make Quip the perfect fit. Standard controls include seat height, tilt tension, tilt lock, and seat depth. Optional lumbar support allows users to easily adjust the chair back to their needs. Quip wraps it all up in one smart investment.






Solve by HON

How to choose an ergonomic office task chair - Solve by HONSolve mid-back task chair features responsive ilira-stretch mesh back for all-day comfort and support. Synchronized seat & back to provide proper balance, alignment and lumbar support, and can be adjusted with a single lever.
Seat glides forward when the back flexes to provide a more natural posture
Synchro-tilt mechanism reclines the back at a higher ratio than the seat for proper back alignment. Waterfall seat edge promotes better leg circulation.
Pneumatic seat height adjustment moves the seat up and down to adapt to various body heights while tilt tension controls the rate and ease of recline.
Upright tilt lock secures the chair in the full upright position.
360-degree swivel provides freedom of movement in any direction.
Frame and five-star base provide maximum durability and easy maintenance. Adaptable scale and controls supports multiple users and environments.



Endorse Mesh Mid-Back Big and Tall Task Chair by HON

How to choose an ergonomic task chairEndorse is The HON Company’s most adaptable seating collection. This mesh, mid-back task chair features adaptable comfort geometry, plus the added benefit of an easy-to-use built-in lumbar adjustment for exceptional lower back support. The ilira-stretch back material provides natural ventilation. Seat core is molded from recycled material. The HON Company’s research-driven comfort geometry provides best-in-class support to the entire body.
Sculpted organic form is a reflection of the advanced ergonomic function
Built-in lumbar adjustment allows users to tailor the back to their individual support needs
Sturdy big and tall design is proportioned to blend in with all other Endorse high-, mid-, and low-back models. Four different arm options to accommodate different requirements. Polished Aluminum or Black molded polymer base.



These are just a few of the available options.  Choosing an ergonomic office task chair is a very personal choice.  To ensure you make the perfect selection why not contact us and we’d be happy to help.

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6 Free Virtual Room Planners

Did you just move into a new place and don’t know where to begin in the décor department? Or want to revamp your pad with the latest looks you’ve been eyeing on Pinterest? If you haven’t tried out a virtual room planner yet, now is the time! Technology is making visualization, and purchasing, a breeze. With the push of a button, virtual products you place in your online room will be at your front door. Treating yourself to a Swedish meatball dinner at Ikea for successfully battling your way through 99 staged rooms may soon become a thing of the past. Let’s take a look at 6 virtual room planners that are free and fun to use.


1 – Planner 5D

Like many on this list, you don’t need any professional skills to use Planner 5D. You can browse home designs for inspiration, fill your space with over 3,000 items, and make photorealistic HD 3D renderings and visuals. Integrating windows, doors, partitions, landscapes and pools make this an all-inclusive option for your entire lot. Stay social and show off your progress by posting your creations to Planner 5D’s interior design gallery.

Planner 5D_features_floorplans

Planner 5D_floorplan

2 – Homestyler

Homestyler by Autodesk is a web based program that creates gorgeous, live 3D visuals that you can “walk through” by scrolling your mouse. Click and you shall receive professional 2D DWG drawings. Make precise floor plans and place real furniture in your designs.



3 – Decolabs

Designers will love Decolabs for its augmented reality virtualization tool and feedback from the design community. Have your space rated to improve the look and feel. Save configurations to review them later with a fresh set of eyes.



4 – View in My Room

View in My Room by Houzz showcases its extensive catalog of home décor products. After downloading the app, open the app, walk into a room, shop the Houzz collection, and add an item to your space to see it in 3D. You can re-size products and make notes on your photos. Place the zebra striped couch you’ve been eyeing since your safari to your Houzz shopping cart. Easy breezy.

Houzz_View in My Room

5 – Roomtodo

Skip the setup step and get right into it with Roomtodo. This browser based program has powerful tools and an intuitive interface. Construct sophisticated walls, upload floorplan images, walk through your designs, and easily place décor on shelves with the smart object placement system’s “snap to” feature.



6 – Space Designer 3D

Dragging and dropping features into your home or office is super simple with the Smart Walls system by Space Designer 3D. And their blog features interesting spaces such as Dexter Morgan’s Apartment, from the dark comedy about a friendly serial killer named Dexter. In case you were wondering about the décor choices of a psychopath.

Space Designer 3D_Dexter Morgan's Apratment

Space Designer 3D_photorealistic

Try out these virtual room planners so you can finally start making all the design ideas you’ve been pining over on Pinterest one step closer to reality!

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Working In a Millennial World

How to attract and retain top Millennial talent is set to become business’ top priority by 2020.

corporate culture

By 2020, 50% or more of the workforce will be Millennials.  That generation which has their elders scratching their heads and sighing in frustration.  Where in the world will be in a world run by this ‘uninvolved’, ‘unmotivated’, ‘narcissistic’ and ‘lazy’ demographic.

Not so fast, says Keevin O’Rourke, a Millennial entrepreneur.  O’Rourke says that he can understand why employers have labelled this generation, but, in his opinion, the labels aren’t necessarily warranted.  The problem boils down to a misunderstanding of motivations.

O’Rourke cites statistics backing his claims.  67% of Millennials want to start their own businesses as opposed to 13% who want to get a job.  The naysayers believe it’s because the 67% are too lazy to ‘get a real job’.  O’Rourke counters that this cannot be the case – as every entrepreneur knows, starting and growing a business is hard work… much harder than the proverbial 9 to 5 job.

The real motivation behind the high percentage of young people aspiring to be entrepreneurs is four fold, according to Drive author Daniel Pink:

It’s the difference between micromanaging and autonomy.  Although Millennials love to work in teams and are very interconnected, they crave autonomy in the workplace in the following areas:

  • What they do
  • When they do it
  • How they do it
  • Who they do it with

O’Rourke points out that there are not many employers who will provide all – or any – of these options.

He cites his business partner, who left a high paying corporate position to join O’Rourke in a start-up venture, as a classic example of what motivates Millennials.  It’s not money, although they do want to get paid what they feel they are worth, and it’s not status or prestige associated with climbing the corporate ladder. It’s the freedom to make choices and exercise creativity.  O’Rourke says the key motivator is doing something that fulfills the person.  Millennials, he says, do not want to spend a third of their lives doing something they hate.  They want to do work they’re passionate about for someone they’re passionate about.

This young entrepreneurs advice to employers is to adapt to the new generation of employees by offering the type of environment and autonomy they crave. 

If they don’t, O’Rourke warns, those potential employees may instead become potential competition as they launch out into business for themselves, attracting the best and brightest minds from within their own generation.


Simon Sinek, international best selling author and leadership guru explains how the Millennial psyche has developed.  He explains the disconnect between employers and their Millennial employees, and goes on to provide guidelines as to how to develop practical strategies to successfully integrate this generation in the workforce and lead them to fulfill their potential, both as employees and people.

Here’s a short excerpt from a talk by Sinek.


If you’d like to listen to the full talk, which is just over an hour long, we’ve embedded it below for your convenience:


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