Inspiration in the Studio

Integrated Audio Video is host for ASID Meeting!

Last week, our local ASID Design Community was hosted to a lunch and learn by Integrated Audio Video at Southpoint!  Brian Giordano and his staff gave an excellent presentation on the current technology available for the home…and lunch was great too!


Anyone who knows me well, knows that I can be seriously challenged when it comes to technology (my family is amazed I can handle this blog)! Well, Brian had me wanting MORE technology in my life! What about a docking station for your new iPad that can control the music throughout your home? Or a system that notifies a parent when their child comes home from school? Or a surround sound and television system made especially for the outdoors (think hot tub and movie)?


Integrated Audio Visual partners with Jeff Witherspoon of Witherspoon Woodworks to create unique, one-of-a-kind custom furniture pieces to accommodate the equipment. This television is on a custom lift that recesses into the cabinet when not in use. It’s an excellent solution to the never-ending problem of designing around a television!


Thank you, Integrated Audio Video, for giving me a new appreciation for home technology!

The Business of Design

Often, I get so wrapped up in my projects that I actually forget I am working! I suppose that’s a good thing. As much as I love the creative side of design, I have to remember that I have a responsibility to manage my business. A great design firm is able to successfully manage projects in an efficient manner AND produce functional and beautiful results! Oftentimes, this is easier said than done.

It’s no secret that given the choice between working on a fabulous new design or completing the tedious business tasks involved with every project…..I choose design every time! I recognize that a well-managed business is important, so I contract with a wonderful firm that provides a variety of support for the business side of design. Everything from business systems to CAD drawings, Gibson Design Management has been an excellent resource that allows me to focus on what I do (and like) best.  I was flattered when I received a call earlier this week requesting a testimonial of my experience. It made me realize that although my design firm is small, there are many contributing members to the Southern Studio business and I appreciate them all.

Check out the Gibson Design blog. I just love the name: Left Brains for Right Brains!  The name about sums up the conflict designers face every day. Thank you Martha, and the entire team, for keeping me sane!

Designing Vacation in Costa Rica!

The only problem with interior design is that it goes with you wherever you travel! As many of you know, my daughter Jacqueline is studying abroad for the semester in Costa Rica. The thought of not seeing her for 3 1/2 months did not sit well, so of course, we had to go visit. It was a wonderful vacation….no work and no cell phone for nine days!

As a designer, having some down time to dream and ponder helps inspire creativity for future projects! Traveling to new places also helps spark creativity and this trip was no exception. Here’s a few casual ideas that are sure to appear at some point in future projects:


Jackie at the Taco Bar in Jaco waiting for her favorite meal, fish tacos. The open air dining was the perfect spot for these swings that double as bar stools!  We loved them…fun and practical too. Check out the crafty lighting in between the swings made from coconuts!


At the resort, there were no downspouts to the gutters. Instead, there was a uniquely designed chain system that guides the water to underground drains. A subtle detail that makes a good design even better!


Also at the resort was the local Los Suenos Design Center. I had a great conversation with designer Lucia Esquivel. Our conversation confirmed that design challenges are universal no matter the location. What I found most interesting is that many of the furniture lines sold in Costa Rica are manufactured right near home in North Carolina!  Thanks Lucia for your hospitality.


This is the view from the front steps of the Design Center….not bad!


Here’s Dan and I on the path from the marina to the resort….a natural tunnel formed with ficus trees. No timbers or nails required for this structure!


Since I’m combining family vacation with design elements, the natural beauty of the Costa Rica coastline can’t be ignored. Our son, Brian, enjoyed the challenge of some world-class surfing.


I spent most of the week relaxing by the pool and catching up with the happenings in Jackie’s life.


And, my new best friend is Douglas, the pool bartender who makes the best pina coladas ever! Douglas, I miss you already!


Vacation is over and it’s back to work….relaxed and inspired! It goes with our family motto, Work Hard and Play Hard!