The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 5: Interior Decoration

By Barron and Patricia Schimberg

This is the layer that many people misunderstand as interior design. Interior decoration is the final layer that is applied only after: the space planning and furniture plans are completed; lighting and electrical needs have been coordinated; color schemes, cabinetry designs, flooring, ceiling and wall details have been designed; and equipment, and appliances and plumbing specifications have been selected.

In both commercial and residential settings, an interior space is never quite complete without the important “layer” of decoration.  No matter what the style of the interiors (minimalist modern to ornate classical) the proper selection or design of area rugs, throw pillows, decorative accessories, bedding, art work and window treatments are necessary in order to fully finish the space.

Too often, particularly in commercial projects, the interior décor isn’t planned for within the budget. This means a potentially beautiful office or lobby will appear unfinished, despite the use of exquisite finishes and furniture.

So, after all of the months of work that went into designing and constructing a new building, the client may end up rushing out to Home Goods to pull together a finished look for the “grand opening” event.  Though we have found many lovely pieces at Home Goods, original artwork, custom accessories, and window treatments are key to creating truly special interiors.

Artwork in lobby of Bldg. 1 in Marina Bay Condominiums

The updated lobby in Bldg. 1 of The Marina Bay condominium complex in Longboat Key features paintings by Sarasota artists David Steiner and Kathy Wright.

In reality, planning for the “interior décor” layer of a building can begin while some of the more technical elements of interior design are still being worked out.  It’s never too soon to share pictures from magazines or online design resources such as Houzz.  Collaboration with an interior designer on the décor ensures that the real personality or marketing message is fully expressed within the interior design.

One of the most powerful “decorative” elements is artwork:  paintings, sculpture, textile works, glass and ceramic artwork, prints and fine crafts. Artwork provides an unequaled opportunity to create interiors with a unique feel.

It can take some time to find artwork that serves the decorative needs, delights the owners, and meets the budget. So, selections or commissions should be addressed as early as possible. This ensures that the appropriate lighting and surroundings (i.e. custom display shelving or pedestals) are designed accordingly.

Artwork chosen for a space affects the overall mood and ambience; the impression you are trying to create for your customers, patients, family, friends or colleagues. There’s a plethora of talented artists in almost every community, anxious to find appreciative buyers. So, purchasing original artwork is always an option, even with a limited budget.

Don’t dismiss the decoration of a space as insignificant in the overall design.  It’s in this “layer,” that often the most impactful and remembered design elements are found.

(If there are any specific questions you would like to see addressed in this series, please let us know. Feel free to e-mail comments to us or drop a note on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.)

RELATED POSTS

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 1: Overview

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 2: Architecture

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 3: Space Planning

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 4: Interior Design

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 4: Interior Design

By Barron Schimberg, AIA

In a recent post on this blog, my wife and business partner Patty outlined “Eleven Things I Did Learn in Interior Design School.” She explained why it’s smart to make many interior design decisions well before the drywall is in place or concrete has been poured.  Otherwise, you may need to limit your design choices or make expensive changes to structural elements, such as ceilings and walls.

There are a number of reasons why the interior design layer of a building should be created in sync with the architectural “bones” of the building.

For example, to create the most effective lighting layout, the location of furniture should be incorporated into the overall design. Coordinating the furniture plan with the architecture can also help with the location of windows, electrical requirements, and other interior elements.

Choosing flooring early on with an interior designer allows for proper slab design, thresholds and acoustical treatment.

When defining interior architectural details, an interior designer can address spatial challenges such as unusually high ceilings in a small room. Appropriate detailing can be added to make the room feel more proportionate.

TSG recently completed a renovation project updating the Marina Bay condominium complex on Longboat Key, FL. By including Patty’s interior-design expertise early on in the project, all of the buildings’ lobbies are coordinated and have a cohesive aesthetic.

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 4: Interior Design

To avoid costly construction changes, consider hiring an interior designer well before the decorating stage of design.  Once the project begins, both the architect and the interior designer can coordinate the architecture with the interior spaces in a collaborative effort.

RELATED POSTS

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 1: Overview

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 2: Architecture

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 3: Space Planning

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 5: Interior Decoration

Eleven Things I Did Learn in Interior Design School

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 3: Space Planning

By Barron Schimberg, AIA

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 3: Space PlanningSpace planning refers to how a building’s interior is configured for the intended use of the building.

Here is some of the information we take into account during the space-planning phase of a project:

  • how the building will be used—now and in the future
  • what local, state, and national building and safety codes must be considered
  • how different groups of employees work together during different shifts or family members interact throughout the day
  • what types of communications equipment or building fixtures must be accommodated

For a business, space planning affects such things as profitability, employee productivity and building costs.  In commercial buildings and homes, space planning affects overall comfort and functionality.
Here are a few examples:

Profitability. The more products people see when they enter and move around a store, the more likely they are to make impulse purchases.

Comfort. If museum visitors have a relaxed and pleasurable experience moving through spacious hallways and galleries, they are more likely to come again.  If too many tables are crammed into a restaurant, diners may not enjoy the ambiance and servers might be unable to feed customers in a timely manner.

Employee Productivity. If the executive team meets frequently with the accounting staff, the space plan should take into account their need for proximity.  Other space planning requirements may include employees that need space to collaborate with co-workers, focus on individual tasks, or eat lunch without leaving the building.

Building Costs. If a space is not planned efficiently or discussed during the planning stages, costs incurred during construction may increase due to field changes and change orders.

The Functionality of Your Home.  If family members have special hobbies or interests or if you entertain frequently, a good space plan accommodates everyone’s desires.  If you want to increase the usable space in a small apartment, a good space plan can help make this happen.

Space planning can also refer to the external environment of your building.  If the amount of space available for your building is constrained by adjacent buildings, we can come up with ways to provide the functionality you need within the limited space available.

Before meeting with an architect, take some time to think through what you would like to accomplish within the building.  Working together, we can come up with a space plan that will best meet your goals.

RELATED POSTS

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 1: Overview

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 2: Architecture

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 4: Interior Design

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 5: Interior Decoration

 

 

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 2: Architecture

By Barron Schimberg, AIA

Sometimes, the word “architecture” is associated with information design, sculptures, computer technology, and other things. To me, the word “architecture” refers exclusively to the built environment.  In fact, the word “architect” comes from the Greek word for “chief building/mason/carpenter.”

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 2: ArchitectureCertainly, activities such as master planning and space planning do require architectural knowledge. But until a plan becomes a physical structure, it’s not really architecture.

From my experience, I believe that architecture extends well past the conceptual, design, and drawing stages that so many people associate with architecture. Architecture in the fullest sense of the word includes understanding and coordinating the tens of thousands of tasks and details required to convert a concept for a building into a physical reality. This includes a whole host of business skills, technical knowledge, and management activities, such as:

  • interacting with clients
  • programming the scope of work
  • managing project timelines and budgets
  • coordinating the work of contractors and subcontractors
  • choosing the right building systems and materials
  • keeping up with building and safety codes
  • making sure the building is properly oriented on its site, and
  • collaborating with interior designers

A good architect not only knows how to design beautiful and functional buildings, but also how to create buildings that will stand the test of time. For example, I can incorporate certain details that will enable a building to be used for different purposes in the future. Or, I can recommend systems that will enable you to better manage your heating, air conditioning and lighting costs over the life of the building.

Here are three tips to consider:

  •  When you interview architects for your next project, don’t just look at their designs and drawings. Look at the buildings they have actually completed.
  •  Notice whether the architect is really listening when you talk about what you need and want from the building. If an architect seems more interested in projects that will elevate his or her own image, you may be asking for trouble when it’s time to get the job done.
  • Choose an architect who will be with you through every step of the process.

If there are any specific questions you would like to see addressed in this series, please let me know. Feel free to e-mail comments to me or drop me a note on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

RELATED POSTS

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 1: Overview

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 3: Space Planning

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 4: Interior Design

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 5: Interior Decoration

 

 

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 1: Overview

By Barron Schimberg, AIA

If you want to save money and time when working with an architect and interior designer, it helps to see the building-design process from a different perspective. Instead of viewing the process as a sequence of steps on a bid- design – build – occupy timeline, let’s peel back the “layers” of a finished building and examine each layer one by one.

The four layers of building design are:

Architecture

Space Planning

Interior Design

Interior Décor

The first layer — architecture — is actually the broad, overarching discipline that takes into account the myriad of details that go into designing, constructing, and completing a building.  An architecturally solid design provides a well-thought-out framework that optimizes the use of space, integrates multiple engineering systems, and supports creativity in interior design.

Space planning determines how rooms, corridors, storage areas, aisles, fixtures, and other elements should be configured within the building. These elements can all affect the efficiency, productivity, and profitability of operations within the building.

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 1: Overview

When choices about lighting, furniture, and other elements of the interior design layer are made early in the design process, we can make smart choices about where windows should be placed and what types of ceiling materials can be used.

The final layer of building design—interior décor—is the icing on the cake.  Décor includes those oh-so-important finishing touches such as draperies, rugs, and accessories that add so much style, personality, and warmth to your building.  If interior décor isn’t considered part of the process, your finished building may look unexpectedly cold and sterile—like something important is lacking.

In the next four posts in this series, we will examine each of the four layers in more detail.  By the end of this series, I hope you will have a much better understanding of how all four layers of building design fit together to produce a cohesive, unified whole.

You will also see how the decisions you make with regards to one layer of building design can positively or negatively affect the overall look and cost of the other three layers.

If there are any specific questions you would like to see addressed in this series, please let me know.

RELATED POSTS

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 2: Architecture

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 3: Space Planning

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 4: Interior Design

The Four Layers of Building Design, Part 5: Interior Decoration