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!

Paint Party to benefit the Durham Rescue Mission

Last week, our local ASID Design Community hosted a Paint Party as our holiday charity event. Of all the duties involved with organizing our Design Community, I have found that the events that give back to the community are most rewarding. Isn’t that what we are always told? Why, then, do we not do more of it?

Under the amazing guidance of Susan Hecht, our ASID members created beautiful themed paintings. The canvases will be hung at the Women’s Center at the Durham Rescue Mission. A fun-filled evening for a great cause….what a combination!


Angela Pence…it’s been an absolute pleasure for me to co-chair our ASID Design Community with such an incredible designer.


Susan Hecht and her “designer” art students!


A few of the beautiful creations!  I can’t wait to install them at the Mission next week.



Next time you’re visiting historic downtown Apex, North Carolina stop in Studio 123 to visit!


It’s our hope that the variety of landscapes will bring peace to the Mission residents who are working through difficult times. The “wish list” at the Mission is long and it’s our hope that we can continue to fulfill their needs and bring a little joy all year long!

Factory Tour at Hickory Chair

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of traveling to Hickory, North Carolina to attend an ASID meeting and tour the Hickory Chair factory. What an incredible day!

The continuing education class was an overview of furniture building techniques for high-end furniture. The construction and materials used in both case goods and upholstered furniture can vary greatly by manufacturer. Before specifying furniture for any project, it’s important to know how to recognize quality furniture. Well, we definitely saw some beautiful furniture being crafted.

The organization, the customization, the craftsmanship….the factory tour was more than impressive! Check out this inventory of tables…


Upholstered furniture frames being hand-built….


This gentleman was carefully carving a table leg.  Amazing talent.


8-way hand tied dining chairs! Now that would make a comfortable dinner party!


Inventory of fabrics…and Hickory Chair promotes the use of COM fabrics (Customer’s Own Material) so the end result is truly custom for each individual space.


And, of course, the end product in the showroom.  The look of this beautiful display cabinet can change dramatically with customization options and finish choices.



Thank you Hickory Chair (and our tour guide Laura Holland) for an inspiring day. Even in the cold, dark, dreary rain, it was definitely worth the trip!

The Role of an Interior Designer!

Last week, an article in the New York Times titled Interior Designers Help Homeowners Discover Styles, focused on the benefit of hiring an interior designer. It made me realize how confusing our industry can be. No wonder people have a hard time figuring it out! This article had some great tips for working with a designer.

The American Society of Interior Designers requires its members to meet strict education and work experience requirements. There is a great section on the website that explains the benefits of working with an interior designer.  It says, “When you hire an interior designer, you get the benefit of an experienced professional who can solve problems, help you avoid costly mistakes and, most importantly, create an attractive, affordable space designed specifically to meet your lifestyle needs.”

Last year, I documented the interior design process when I participated in the ASID Carolinas Showhouse.  When I started the project, it was an empty space with rough-ins for plumbing and electrical.


There were so many decisions to be made very quickly, including cabinetry layout and design, appliances, countertops, lighting, plumbing fixtures, tile design, wall finishes, furnishings, accessories….oh, and did I mention the budget? Great design is all in the details, so I began putting together the plan.


After a few months of diligent effort, here’s the end result (which hopefully demonstrates how a professional interior designer can contribute expertise and experience to a project).

080507vic-Raleigh ASID Showhouse

I absolutely love what I do every day. How many people are so fortunate? But, I’m constantly challenging myself to push the limits of design, manage budgets creatively, and help clients meet their unique lifestyle needs. I create beautiful homes every day, but I always try to remember that my clients only have one chance to get their project right!

Road Trip: ASID Carolinas Fall Conference in Wrightsville Beach

This past week I traveled to Wrightsville Beach for the ASID Carolinas Fall Conference.  October is the most beautiful time of the year at the beach and the SunSpree Resort was the ideal location for our conference.

It was a day filled with design inspiration and continuing education.  Katie Wakeford, co-editor of the recently published book Expanding Architecture:  Design as Activism challenged us to consider creative design in the service of the greater public and the greater good.  We often consider design as only being accessible to the wealthy.  Katie reminded us that design should be accessible to all and can improve the daily lives of entire communities.  Am I hearing a calling?

The afternoon was spent in an interactive seminar on social media.  The statistics are fascinating!  Did you know that if Facebook were a country, it would be the 4th largest in the world?  That’s right…China, India, United States, Facebook. It looks like social networks, like it or not, will be in our future. I’m slowly conforming to this new networking tool and invite you to join the brand new Southern Studio Interior Design Facebook page.  Won’t you be a fan…please?

The highlight of the day was spending time with many talented designers from throughout the Carolinas.  I guess they’re actually my competitors, but I’d rather call them friends. I have a great appreciation for the talent of many designers, including Angela Pence and Michael Steiner.


We all need inspiration in our daily lives and today, it’s my wish for each of you….Vicky