Tag Archives: interior design

Christina Johnson, Private Label International. Photo by Shavon Rose, AZ Big Media

Generation Next 2015: Christina Johnson, Private Label Intl.

Being one of the founders of a top interior design firm in the Valley hasn’t phased 32-year interior designer Christina Johnson.

“It’s not a lot of ‘I’; it’s a lot of ‘we,’” Johnson says of the award-winning team that makes up the San Francisco- and Phoenix-based interior design firm Private Label International. The firm focuses on hospitality and real estate design, however there is a key aspect that sets it apart from the rest, says Johnson.

“Most of our competitors are traditional interior design firms. Whereas we get involved a lot with the brand development and our scope is a little different. We do a lot of exterior work…and consulting when it comes to landscape and branding and logos and marketing and PR, so we end up looking at kind of the full spectrum of the project,” Johnson says.

Johnson’s core role leans toward research, visioning and positioning of the business, creative direction and  anything that has to do with graphics and drawing.

“We work a lot like a creative studio,” Johnson says.

Private Label International may still be a relatively young firm at eight years old, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from looking at its award-winning and buzz-worthy projects, locally and out-of-state. To list a few: Calhoun Beach Club in Minneapolis, Minn., Preserve at Marin in San Francisco; The Herb Box in Scottsdale; and the seven stunning and vibrantly painted Cabana properties, developed by Deco Communities.

With six apartment properties located throughout the Valley and one property in Vegas, the project is a personal favorite of Johnson, and not just because two of them won awards.

“Locally, we did all of the Cabana properties, which have also been recognized here in the Valley as the Top 10 apartment complexes to work in. They’ve also started a trend, locally, of bringing in more exterior colors,” Johnson said.

Regardless of the project, Johnson is not only focused on what is going to appeal to the client, but also what the design symbolizes.

“When we work on a project, obviously we want it to look good and we want it to have a specific look, a specific style but the story is what’s important to us. What we’re giving back to the community is important to us,” Johnson says.
With an expansive portfolio and years of experience, Johnson has learned the one thing  that is the most important when it comes to interior design.
“It’s about the demographic that were targeting. So, while I have a personal style that rarely transcends into my interior design work because the way we approach it is we first research the demographic. What market are we trying to target, and what are their likes and dislikes? Is it traditional? Is it modern? What’s going to appeal to them?” Johnson says.


Design firm brings ‘lifestyle experiences’ to multifamily properties

Developing apartments just isn’t what it used to be. Today’s renter is a hipper, more sophisticated and savvier-than-ever consumer seeking affordable living spaces that are designed with their lifestyle in mind. The boring beige apartment complexes that saturate our Phoenix skyline have given way to design-oriented places to live that are being styled – and repositioned – by boutique interior design firms like Phoenix-based Private Label. Celebrating the opening of Cabana on Seventh, their seventh property of the Cabana Modern Apartment Homes brand, the award-winning design team is rapidly changing the interior design industry by cultivating lifestyle experiences that bring big value to developers through strategic branding and environment design.

“Commercial interior design is not about designing a space that is functional and looks pretty,” said Private Label principal Wendi Stallings. “Savvy developers now know that multi-family housing should be a lifestyle experience for buyers and renters, and they’re buying into the brand and lifestyle it represents when they choose to live at a property,” she said.

With infill development and property revitalization projects at an all time high, the Valley’s top developers are finding they need to rely on this kind of interior design strategy to attract and retain buyers and renters at a visceral level and to remain relevant in the ever changing market.

“For the Cabana brand, which is targeted to the millennial renter, it has been crucial that the design of each property is hip and stylish yet still authentic by pulling in inspiration and materials from the local community,” said Pat Watts, Partner for Deco Communities, the developer of Cabana Modern Apartment Homes. “Affordability is key for the Cabana consumer and Private Label has created incredibly creative, visually appealing and trendsetting spaces using materials and design schemes that would attract our targeted renters and allow us to maintain our price point for the property,” she said.

Private Label takes interior design to the next level by building a strategic and comprehensive brand into the space that buyers and renters experience in a truly tangible way. From the sights, sounds, textiles, furnishings, landscaping and even the scent of a space, Private Label utilizes all six senses to build brand meaning, distinguish from the competition and convey a sense of place, a sense of value and a sense of personality.

For Cabana on Seventh, Private Label’s design approach started with canvassing North Central Phoenix’s eclectic 7th Street neighborhood to find the pulse points of style and design in the area. Private Label stylishly redesigned its 74 fully-renovated units, exteriors, landscape, leasing office, fitness center, pool area and model units offering a urban-influenced living space designed for Gen Y renters.

Located at 5615 N. 7th Street in Phoenix, , across the street from the FOX Restaurant Concepts The Yard housing Culinary Dropout and Little Cleo’s Seafood Legend, Cabana on Seventh is located in one at the heart of one of the hottest up-and-coming neighborhoods in north central Phoenix. “Each Cabana identity is slightly different, which is a core value of the Cabana brand to cultivate and integrate with the indigenous neighborhood and elevate the property to enrich the fabric of the community. Cabana has been an exciting brand to develop as each has been part of an up-and-coming neighborhood breathing life into the fabric of Phoenix and other metropolitan areas,” Stallings said. “It is our goal that through our branded interiors, exteriors and curb appeal that Cabana on Seventh evolves into an iconic destination that someday might define the neighborhood,” she said.

With five properties spread across the Valley’s most buzzed-about neighborhoods plus one in Las Vegas, Private Label has worked closely with the developer to cultivate the Cabana Modern Apartment Homes brand to be an entirely new multi-housing niche for hip, modern and affordable reincarnations of infill properties that feel more like a chic boutique hotel than an apartment complex. Other developers have followed suit, using the Cabana model and Private Label’s branding strategy to revitalize infill properties around the state and across the US.

Planes dining table.

Scottsdale Interior Designer Launches Furniture Company in Milan

Celebrated Scottsdale-based interior designer Anita Lang, founder of IMI Design, is hosting an exclusive, industry-only launch of Design 528, her new luxury furniture company, in Milan this April during the largest international furniture show:  Salone Internazionale del Mobile.

Design 528 will unveil its first collection “The Planes,” which features fifty pieces of top quality crafted furniture with options for beds, credenzas, nightstands, seating and tables available in exotic wood veneers and lavish metal finishes. The entire collection is handmade from sustainable materials by seasoned artisans in the United States.

“I feel extremely privileged to have been invited to introduce Design 528 to the design community at a world class industry event like Material Village,” said Anita Lang, founder and CEO of Design 528.   “This show is truly the global benchmark for the home furnishing sector and attracts thousands of visitors from around the world.  What a great way to introduce our new line to the global design community.”

Salone made its first appearance in 1961 and was originally designed to promote Italian furniture and furnishing accessories on the export market. Over the years it has continued to grow and expand attracting the finest designers, architects and innovators from all over the world to share ideas and showcase their products.

Design 528 was invited to participate among the sponsor of the Materials Village, a brand new concept from Material ConneXion Italia – a renowned center of research on materials and innovative and sustainable production processes.

Material ConneXion created the 2014 Materials Village as a platform of events and initiatives dedicated to promote the culture of materials and related manufacturing companies.

“We are delighted to have Design 528 among the sponsors of our Materials Village in Milan this year,” said Michael LaGreca, Vice President of Library Access & Academic Programs at the Material ConneXion.  “Materials Village 2014 will be an amazing showcase of talent and innovation.”

The Materials Village format is an innovative layout featuring houses of various dimensions and configurations, with exhibition spaces and social events, created in the gardens of the prestigious La Triennale Museum.

Design 528 is not only a furniture company; it is a holistic business with a mission to elevate the human spirit through the design and creation of functional pieces of lifestyle artwork.  These handcrafted pieces will inspire people to live in the present while bringing prestige and excitement to the luxury furniture industry.

The design style personifies the concept of evoking positive emotions and simultaneously incorporates a heart-focused business model into the company’s strategic plan.   As a result, Design 528 aims to create a lasting, positive impact on not just its clientele, but also on the company’s employees, partners and on the global community at large.

After the industry launch in Milan, Design 528 will celebrate an official launch on May 28, 2014.  The furniture collections will be available exclusively through design showrooms in North America and Europe.  Created for an elite clientele that seeks to augment their furniture collection with distinctive pieces, the “Planes Collection” will debut this May with prices ranging from $5,000 to $25,000.

8 Green Home Cleaning Tips

Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Fall

With summer wrapping up, now is the perfect time to prepare your home for the fall. These 10 simple tips will help you make quick fixes around the house to ensure your home is ready for the cooler season. Preparing both inside and outside will make your home feel clean and organized for the fall.

Inspect your roof
Check your roof for any damage that may have been caused by summer storms. Replace shingles to avoid leaking or further damage.

Wash all rugs and carpets
Give your home a clean feel by washing the carpeting and rugs.

Check your smoke detectors
Replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and test to make sure they work properly.

Clean out the refrigerator and freezer
Go through the refrigerator and freezer to get rid of any expired food. Also, clean the shelves and reorganize the food.

Check your home’s insulation
Inspect the insulation and replace any wet or damaged pieces.

Test your garage door
Ensure that your garage door opener reverses when it hits an obstruction or when its sensor beam is interrupted.

Clean out the dryer vent
Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct and space under the dryer. Remove all lint, dust and other debris.

Check electrical outlets
Check your electrical outlets for potential fire hazards such as frayed wires or loose-fitting plugs.

Inspect the walls
Touch up the paint on the walls in your home for a fresh, clean look. By touching up the paint occasionally you can avoid having to repaint entire walls at once.

Test your sump pump
To avoid flooding in your home, test your sump pump to make sure it is draining properly.

By following these simple tips, you will be well on your way to having your house ready for the fall!

IIDA: Making Life Better Through Design

Screen Shot 2013-07-19 at 2.21.56 PMCommunity. Collaboration. Compassion. Creativity.
Four words that describe what the International Interior Designs Association (IIDA) Southwest chapter — comprised of City Centers Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas and Albuquerque — represents.
The commercial interior industry is all about creativity. With more than 350 members of all levels, the Southwest chapter — those in Arizona specifically — are the creative minds behind many of the dynamic and spectacular interiors that can be found in financial institution offices, all levels of education facilities and law offices, to name just a few.
Its annual event is the Design Excellence Awards, also known as the PRIDE Awards. It highlights the best work by Southwest chapter designers — both professionals and students.
But the “C” most cherished stands for Community.
This year IIDA Southwest unveiled a new philanthropic undertaking — Connect4 — that promises to make a big difference in the community.
“The meaning behind the Connect4 event is two-fold,” says Cheyne Brown, City Center vice president and an interior designer at Krause Interiors in Phoenix. “It was conceived as a way to bring together all four City Centers and to focus on four C’s. It was important to us that each City Center was able to select a charity to support what was important to their specific community and that it not be a ‘task,’ but something we could all really get behind and make meaningful.”
The 2013 Connect4 Phoenix winner is U.S.VETS Grand Veterans Village in Phoenix. U.S.VETS is the nation’s largest nonprofit provider of comprehensive services to homeless and at-risk veterans. The need for permanent and transitional housing led to the acquisition of an old motel on Grand Avenue. Renamed Grand Veterans Village, the motel is undergoing renovation and will ultimately provide affordable apartments to 130 veterans.
The Phoenix Connect4 committee is renovating eight of the bigger family rooms, and also a meeting room to be used for classes and therapy sessions. Each room/apartment needs new flooring, paint, furniture, fixtures and artwork.
“I have the pleasure of working on a committee with very talented people from the architecture and design community,” says Jennifer Kittoe, Phoenix City Center director and an independent representative at Loop Architectural Materials in Phoenix. “We strive to bring awareness of the benefits of IIDA, and put on programs that are educational, entertaining and philanthropic.
“IIDA members are all creative and, as we learned with Connect4, very generous. We want to give back, and Connect4 provided that outlet. Nearly 100 volunteers showed up on build day. We had two pages worth of sponsors. The event far exceeded by expectations.”
IIDA Southwest is perhaps best known for its Couture Fashion Show The 5th annual Couture event was held March 1, 2012 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel. Twenty-six teams of designers (including  design students) were randomly paired with a color forecast theme and an industry manufacturer’s material. The challenge: to create and model a fashion garment using only those colors/themes and materials.
“The Couture Fashion Show and Connect4 charity event will alternate each year,” Kittoe says. “Planning is already underway for the next Couture fashion show, scheduled for spring of 2014. A portion of the proceeds from Couture will be used to fund Connect4 remodeling projects in 2015.”
The other City Center Connect4 projects: Tucson, Boys & Girls Clubs Teen Room; Albuquerque, Boys & Girls Clubs Crafts Room; and Las Vegas, Hopelink main office.


CBRE Negotiates Sale of Single-Tenant Building in Glendale


CBRE negotiated the sale of a 16,632 SF building at Glendale Corporate Center, a Class A office park north of the NEC of 99th Ave. and Camelback Rd. in Glendale.

The building is 100% occupied by the United States Marshals Service.

Barry Gabel, Mindy Korth and Ashley Brooks of CBRE’s Phoenix office represented the seller, HR GCC LLC, an entity controlled and managed by Los Angeles-based Regent Properties. The buyer was Glendale GSA LLC, an entity controlled by Titanium Real Estate Advisors in Chicago. The purchase price was not disclosed.

“This was the perfect match between buyer and seller,” Gabel said. “The seller originally purchased the building as part of a vacant three-building campus acquisition and successfully leased the building for 10 years to a tenant that the buyer is very familiar with. In fact, the buyer specializes in GSA properties, and this purchase marks their fourth GSA-leased asset acquisition in Arizona.”

Located at 5365 N. 99th Ave., the single-tenant office building sits in an amenity-rich area, minutes from Jobing.com Arena and the University of Phoenix Stadium, as well as numerous shops, restaurants and hotels. Its close proximity to the Loop 101 freeway offers easy access to many parts of the Valley via its connected highway system.

Office Productivity, Interior Design

Dispelling Myths Of Workplace Productivity From An Interior Design Prospective

It’s no secret that our immediate surroundings tremendously impact on how we feel.  Colors, materials, fabrics and lighting play a big part in creating an atmosphere or “mood” — something that we all are accustomed to in resorts, restaurants and stores.

But what about setting the right atmosphere the office? Most people spend more than 50 percent of their lives in an indoor setting, and most employers realize the link between interior design and worker productivity.

For small and mid-size businesses that have limited resources to dedicate to interior design, it’s sometimes hard to differentiate the hype over real needs. Out of the numerous studies conducted on this topic, experts agree that the productivity of the work is affected by four main components: temperature, air quality, light and noise levels in the office.

And that’s why we decided to dedicate this article to highlighting the top three biggest myths about the impact of interior design on productivity.

Open Floorplan

While open floorplans are a great way to foster collaboration between employees, they do not work for every business. Many employees become distracted by the noise and the constant movement around them and are unable to focus. So before you tear out the cubicle walls, think about your employees and their needs.

There are innovative, beautiful privacy screen options that may be a better fit for your office over open desks. These movable screens allow for the flexibility of various activities allowing for options of collaborative or private spaces.

Natural Light

While there is no substitute for natural sunshine, some interior office environments are not possible to structurally change. The good news is that by creating a well-lit workplace with lighting that mimics the natural sunshine, worker productivity remains the same.

If it’s impossible to create skylights, try the innovative lighting options, such as light box walls.  The impact of color palette and texture should not be underestimated to improve an interior space and capture a pleasant atmosphere.

Place to Play

A look at Google’s offices made every business owner envious of Google’s tremendous resources. The most admired rooms were the common lounge areas designed for resting and playing.

But before you convert your conference room to a “creative think-tank” with ping pong tables and foosball or a climbing wall, consider again your employees, their needs and your business style. Often these costly features have gone less used than the financial investment justified.

What’s truly important is providing your team with a place that is conducive to their work.  Inspiring? Yes. Stimulating? Yes! Creative? Yes! But most of all, a place that efficiently supports functional requirements for the work task is required.

When designing your office, a survey of your work force will provide great insight to the perceptions and needs of your staff.  An interior designer or architect can provide a comprehensive questionnaire and interview process to skillfully uncover the true needs within your company so intelligent programming can be established leading to goal-based solutions. Control over their workspace for privacy, temperature and lighting typically lead the list of employee requests. Often these requests can be more easily accommodated than management expects.

There is no doubt that where we spend a majority of our time greatly impacts our overall well being and thus productivity. In fact, the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID, 1999) carried out an independent study and revealed that the physical workplace design is one of the top three factors, which affects performance and job satisfaction. The study results showed that 31 percent of people were satisfied with their jobs and had pleasing workplace environments. Fifty percent of people were seeking jobs and said that they would prefer a job in a company where the physical environment is good.

While an indoor sports court and climbing wall can be wonderful luxuries, simpler solutions also exist to make a work environment pleasant and efficient and keep a team happy.

For more information about creating a productive workplace environment, visit the interior design studio, IMI Design, online.

BIG Green Expo & Conference 2011

Speaker: Sonja Bochart ~ BIG Green Expo & Conference 2011

Sonja Bochart, SmithGroup

Sonja Bochart, SmithGroupSonja Bochart, a green design advocate, has more than 15 years of experience as an interior designer and is an active member of the U.S. Green Building Council and the International Living Building Institute.As an associate at SmithGroup, she actively promotes holistic design approaches and healthy work environments for commercial design projects and is NCIDQ Certified and a LEED Accredited Professional.

Ms. Bochart is knowledgeable on how green design affects clients’ biggest bottom line—their employees—as well as the benefits of green design, the biggest obstacles faced for “greening” interior spaces and identifying resources to streamline change.Striving to expand the boundaries of conventional design practices, she strives to send a message that well designed projects respect and support their surrounding environment, and in turn these projects promote the health, wellness, productivity of their occupants and nourishes their spirits.

To continuously expand her insight into the latest developments in the field of design and share her knowledge, Ms. Bochart actively participants in several industry organizations, publishes and speaks frequently on related topics, and teaches at Arizona State University. Her portfolio includes educational, community and international medical facilities as well as corporate spaces and mixed use structures.

Through her efforts to synthesize the latest research into her designs and teaching, her contribution has helped to shape happier, healthier and more sustainable interiors.

Topic: An informative presentation on Biophilic Design, nature-inspired architecture, and how it is the next great design journey of our times.

Conference Speaker
Friday, April 15, 2011
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Room 155

BIG Green Conference 2011


BIG Green Expo
Friday & Saturday
April 15th & 16th 2011
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.


Add some color to your home!

Splash Your Home With Color: The 2011 Color Guide And Trends

Thinking about giving your home a whole new look?
Why not start by adding color? Here is your 2011 color guide and color trends to consider…


Soft Green Living Room

Green is the color of nature, life and powerful organic energy. If you want to incorporate green into your home, remember that it represents harmony and growth so that you can balance its calming aura with surrounding colors.

One of the best places to start with green is the bedroom. Because it is organic and natural, it will help you fall asleep embraced by the sensation of nature. You can try painting your walls in a lush, cream green, and pair this with a linen, beige comforter and accents. This look is reminiscent of a tropical resort on the beach, especially if you add bamboo and other natural elements.


Red Wall

Red will always be part of modern interior design; it represents passion, love and excitement. However, 2010 and 2011 reds seem to be more content to be on the periphery as accents, scattered here and there around the home.

If you want to add some red to your bedroom, avoid the walls. For other rooms, red can make a space feel cozy, but it is usually too overpowering for a bedroom. However, red can be incorporated into curtains, pillows or a bedspread — often with gold, taupe or blues running through it to break it up.

Kitchens can get a spark of red in the form of glossy red cabinets or red dinnerware.


Grey & Purple ColorsIf you’re struggling to find a color palate for a particular room, you don’t necessarily have to reach for the beiges, taupes and off-whites. These can be great starting points, but they tend to be a little boring, especially if your home relies too much on their unassuming neutrality.

Instead, why don’t you go gray?

Gray is a wonderful neutral color that can be combined with almost any color to create a fabulous effect. Take a look at the image above — the purple pops, because of the dark but not overpowering gray.

Gray also looks fantastic with yellows, greens, blues, reds, oranges, pinks… you get the idea.


Orange BathroomRefresh and revitalize your home with citrus. Oranges, reds, yellows and greens can be combined together in nearly infinite ways to give your home a splash of style and lively freshness.

You can paint an accent wall in a deep, burnt orange for some sophisticated citrus accents, or try a cheery lemon yellow in your accent pillows and curtains. Citrus has an innately upbeat appeal, so it is best used in a room in which you want to bring a little life.

Lime green is an interesting citrus color that you can play around with in your home. It is bright, but not part of the red-yellow spectrum like the rest of the citrus group. This means that you can incorporate it with other citrus colors to make a bold statement, yet ensuring that the colors match completely.


Black & White RoomUsing black and white can be an effective design tool to highlight your home’s stylish simplicity if done right.

When going monochrome, try to avoid the possible pitfalls of such a paltry palate. First, why not try adding one or two pieces in black and white before doing a whole room renovation. You can bring in a black sofa with white accent pillows, or a black glass table with a lily-white, porcelain vase centerpiece. If you like the look, expand outward from there.

Black and white is all about contrast, so why not go beyond colors? Some of the best black and white interiors use patterns and textures to augment the effects of the monochrome walls and furniture. And if you’re going this route, take a risk — pair plaid with checkers and hold your head up high! You’ll be surprised at how stylish black and white can be with some bold texture choices.

So, go grab a paint brush, paint and REDEFINE YOUR SPACE!

For more of Omer’s blogs, visit www.faiziurbandesign.com/blog.

Kitchen designed by Faizi Urban Design

Have A Small Kitchen? Learn How To Make It Look Larger

Phoenix Metro is the 5th largest city in the United States, and we are seeing that more urban living optionsKitchen designed by Faizi Urban Design are growing. Unfortunately, these new smaller, urban living options — like lofts, condos and townhouses — are not as roomy as a traditional single-family home in the suburbs.

So, we end up compromising on some things — two bedrooms instead of three, tiny bathrooms, no wall space for your 32-inch plasma, and/or just enough room for a sink in the kitchen.

The kitchen is the heart of our home. Candlelit dinners, family brunches and birthday parties – they all begin here. A well laid out kitchen allows us to spend more time with loved ones; and a beautiful kitchen turns the cooking and baking hours into an enjoyable, warm experience.

Making the best use of a small space is tough, but it’s definitely achievable and well worth the initial planning you put into it. Smaller spaces just mean that you need to think a bit more creatively.


  • Think about choice of color.
  • Keeping walls and ceilings light and bright is always a top tip, especially if you have no windows.
  • Pay attention to the right type of flooring.
  • Sticking to the basics, choosing light cabinetry and opting for a darker bench top will create a flow between the walls, flooring and bench space and create an illusion of space.
  • The most expensive aspect of the kitchen is the appliances; try to stick with stainless steel or stainless steel finish products.
  • Think simple. Avoid cluttering this small space with too many counter-top appliances and accessories.

The exterior appearance of a small and well functioning kitchen is important. It is also just as important to feel happy in the space. The essentials to a kitchen are sometimes minimal, but without things like adequate bench space and the correct placement of appliances, you can become fairly dissatisfied pretty quickly.

Kitchen designed by Faizi Urban Design

Keep things simple and functional through cabinetry that has multi-leveled capabilities. Choose a trim-lined fridge and freezer systems, or chic, well-designed ovens and gas tops. Or, try open shelving with space for hooks and pot racks; these ideas are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to selecting the fun stuff for your small kitchen.

So, if you don’t have the imagination or time to lay out your smaller kitchen, let an interior designer do the work so you can save, enjoy and have endless family meals in your new kitchen space.

For more articles by Omer, please visit www.faiziurbandesign.com/blog

Omer Faizi Room 3

Sellers Beware: Staging Can Help Sell Your Home!

It wasn’t just the tall cheetah print chairs, luminous red and green chandeliers strung from the ceiling, that were distracting. When apartment hunters stepped into the 5-floor studio for sale, they found a white leather upholstered bed with red and orange shimmering pillows, funky artwork and a hanging L.E.D. lamp giving off different shades of colors. Some said it reminded them of a set out of a science fiction movie.

Omer Faizi Room 4“Some would laugh,” said one of the listing brokers for the building. This was the model apartment for a condominium conversion project, and it was not selling itself, much less helping to sell other units in the same building as it was intended to do.

“They quickly realized that it hurt more than it helped,” the broker said.

I knew it would take more than replacing towels to make buyers feel comfortable in a space where even Lady Gaga might crave beige walls and cream couches.

With help from an interior designer, he had the white wood floors stained a darker shade and installed furniture more commonly found in Manhattan apartments, like a rectangular bed. He strategically placed on the kitchen counter martini glasses, a bowl of lemons and a shaker primed for after-work cocktails and left around reading material like the Sotheby’s catalog.

“This is the where I would live: said most of the people viewing the model, and a lot of people can identify with this,” said the new management team members as the owner walked through the new model unit.

The designer’s efforts had paid off.
 During the real estate boom, eager buyers bought units requiring enormous imagination to picture as homes: They bought un-built condos or empty spaces with blank walls. Today, buyers are much less likely to take risks on apartments, lofts, condos and single-family homes where they cannot figure out how to fit in their sofa bed or sideboard. So, brokers have been redecorating old model units or filling unfurnished apartments by doing it themselves, which can back fire if you don’t have the eye for design (to save cash), or by doing the smart thing, hiring a interior designer.

Omer Faizi Room 2The difference between three years ago and now is that you could have actually shown an empty apartment without much staging, the market was great, but now – we all know what is happening do I need to go any further?

For some high-end listings, the brokers will fill cabinets with fine china, not just “dishes in there from Kmart.” He has even had brokers fill closets of for-sale apartments with clothing like “Louis Vuitton, Prada, Chanel, and Paul Smith.”

If you’re going to hang anything in the closet, it should be a name brand that the buyer can relate to
. The clothing and accessories do not go to waste, they get moved to the next condo project.

But we must remember nothing comes cheap. There is a price to pay to hire a creative designer/team to execute a amazing sexy retro to traditional styles. So hire a designer who has the vision and can turn a blank canvas into a home – ”your home.”

Ryan O’Meara Opens Outdoor Ice Skating Rink In Scottsdale

Olympian Ryan O’Meara Opens Outdoor Ice Skating Rink In Scottsdale

If you’re from Arizona, chances are you haven’t experienced Jack Frost nipping at your nose while skating around an outdoor rink.

Bust out your mittens, hats and scarves, Arizonans, because that’s about to change.

Olympic ice dancer Ryan O’Meara is bringing winter fun to downtown Scottsdale. The rink will sit outside of Palavela Home, the interior design store he owns with his mother Sue O’Meara, for the month of December, and is open to the public.

“For me it’s so different skating outside,” O’Meara says. “[I’ve] spent pretty much my whole life on a skating rink. … [But] it’s completely different feel.”

The rink isn’t just about family fun, it’s also about bringing attention to downtown Scottsdale retail stores in a rough economy, O’Meara says. With an outdoor rink, customers get a chance to explore the shopping opportunities while having fun, he says.

The rink is “a way to boost the downtown Scottsdale area, as well as giving back to the community,” O’Meara says.

O’Meara teamed the rink up with four local charities, giving each charity a week in December to call their own. Each week 15 percent of store and ice rink sales will be donated to the designated charity. The charities, in order, are Homeward Bound, Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, the Arizona Chapter of The ALS Association and Ryan House.

O’Meara will be out on the ice with his partner, Emily Nussear, and Thursdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. a local amateur skaters will put on a free show.

But if you’re looking to stake out a piece of the ice to practice your triple salchow or quadruple lutz, you should call ahead. The rink can hold only 40 skaters at a time, and O’Meara strongly suggests you reserve a spot.

This is a unique opportunity to skate outdoors in winter weather that doesn’t give you instant frostbite, O’Meara says.

Wondering how the ice is going to stay frozen? The rink will be made of synthetic ice, which allows skaters to glide around as if on real ice, but without the added cost of refrigeration.

On a side note, Palavela Home is named for the arena O’Meara skated in during the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. After retiring from skating, O’Meara transitioned to a career as an interior designer.

If You Go:
Palavela Home
4222 N. Marshall Way
Scottsdale, Ariz. 85251
Hours: 11 a.m.–9 p.m. daily, except Dec. 23–25
Cost: $15 per 45-minute session–skates included
Reservations: 480-946-1006 or palavelahome@aol.com

Arizona Home & Building Expo

Home & Building Expo 2010

The 2010 Arizona Home & Building Expo took place September 10th through 12th. Typically 20,000 people attend the annual Expo where they find companies involved in home improvement, interior design, solar energy, home building products and services, and more. Exhibits are targeted to the residential consumer and those in the design and building industry. Arizona Home & Building Expo for 2010

Bejewelted Poolz



H20 Concepts



Innovative Wine Cellar


Lumber Liquidator$


Pep Solar

Rosie on the House

Sanderson Ford


Arizona Stone

Sun Valley

Waste Management

South West Build it Green

Active lobby of Home & Design Idea Center

A New Home And Remodeling Concept Debuts In Scottsdale

When Sytek’s Design owner Charlie Sytek was ready to launch his decorative bio-fuel fire business, LookAtMyFire.com, the only thing missing was a location. But even in a time when the commercial real estate market was upside down, finding affordable space for a young retail business proved difficult. Continue reading

Coco Dixon Pennell

AZ Entrepreneur, Coco Dixon Pennell, Founder Paramount Design Group

Coco Dixon Pennell, Founder

Paramount Design Group

Industry: Interior Design
Est: 2005

“When people ask what I do, I say I change lives.” — Coco Dixon Pennell

After packing her bags and leaving New York City, designer Coco Pennell made several stops before finally settling in the Valley in 2000. The desert has had nothing but a positive effect on her.

“I feel like a big fish in a small pond in Arizona,” says Pennell, adding that people who migrate here bring the “competitive edge.”

Her extensive design experience, including a 12-year stint as design editor at powerhouse fashion magazine Vogue, and her incredible drive, helped propel Paramount Design Group to success.

“I hit the ground running,” Pennell says.

With its unique approach and business plan, Paramount Design Group is commissioning new clients at every turn. And Pennell plays the role of a true entrepreneur — from marketing to designing to overseeing installation, she does it all.

“You’re everybody,” she says. “I’m passionate about what I do … each client has a story to tell (and) my goal is to bring the best living to them with the budget that they have.”

It is this intense focus on the clients’ needs — not her own financial gain — that has helped establish Pennell’s passion for realizing her clients’ dreams.

Her need to give back extends to up-and-coming designers. Pennell’s goal is to create a type of mentoring program in which designers will be able to use her showroom to establish their own budding design careers.

“It’s a huge undertaking … but the end result will be even greater,” Pennell says.