Thursday, May 26, 2005

Re/Max Street of New Beginnings, Part 2

From June 11th to July 3rd, 11:00AM to 9:00PM (Show closed Mondays and Tuesdays), in Holland Park, Beaverton, Oregon, you can see affordable homes at the RE/Max Street of New Beginnings, and Landfair Furniture + Design Gallery is proud to loan furniture to another home, the Hearthstone decorated by Marcie Harris of H/S Interiors (One of the Top Designers of 2004) and built by Dave DeHarppport of Four D Construction Co. The home is priced at $367,500 for 2,110 sq.ft.

Bev & Mike

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Top Designers of 2004:
Interview with Marcie Harris

LF+DG: Our interview with the Top Designers for 2004 continues with Marcie Harris of H/S Interiors. Marcie is a busy woman and we managed to catch her for a few moments. So, Marcie, you were one of our top designers in 2004 in terms of business with Landfair Furniture, why don't you start by telling us about your background?
Marcie Harris: Hi Mike and Bev! I will attempt to answer your questions now... I actually have to put my thinking cap on! I sold real estate in the 80's and started accessorizing the new homes I was selling to enhance their market appeal (as interest rates were 14% and climbing!) This lead me into a business partnership with H/S Interiors staging model homes for builders.
Mike: What does H/S stand for?
Marcie Harris: H/ stands for Harris (me) and Severson (my mother) who is my business partner in the model home furniture business. She has always been the best truck driver - goes back to the days when we started and couldn't afford real movers so we did all the moving ourselves - and our backs can attest to that now.
Bev: So you are an entrepreneur?
Marcie Harris: Absolutely! While I enjoyed the 'decorating' part of putting together builder models, I knew I was lacking in formal design training and so I went back to college to earn my BFA in Interior Design from Marylhurst University in 1996. I am an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers.

LF+DG: Who or what influences your designs?
Marcie Harris: I am influenced by just about everything that is put in front of me! One of my favorite areas of study is architectural history and so when I travel I relish visiting architectural sites. I shop like a madperson, I read copious amounts of design and shelter magazines each month and I also learn a lot from my own clients!

LF+DG: How do you define good design?
Marcie Harris: Well, of course, first and foremost good design must enhance the health, safety, and welfare of the end-user. While just about anyone interested in this field loves the access to gorgeous furniture, art, fabrics and accessories, good design is primarily about enhancing people's lives so the client can not only live in beautiful surroundings that reflect their interests and personality, but also enable them to live each day to their fullest capability. "Universal Design" and "Green Design" are areas that we now think of as 'specialties" but I believe will soon be standard requirements for all credible design proposals.

Bev: Whoa, Marcie, Mike just got lost with talk of "Universal Design" and "Green Design".
Mike: How did we switch to Green cars and Universal joints?
Marcie Harris: Ha, Ha! Certainly there is correct terminology for this concept - but my interpretation of Universal Design is creating an environment that is end-user friendly - for all age groups and for users with physical limitations. It is not just about ADA compliance. For instance, a space designed for a young family could have lower vanities in the baths for the kids - perhaps with a pullout cabinet under the sink if someone in a wheelchair needed to use it. It is about proper lighting - reducing glare, proper task lighting. It is about proper flooring - seamless changes in flooring materials so someone with limited ambulatory abilities won't trip on the edge of a surface change. It is about wider doorways and hallways and making bathrooms more accessible and safer with proper grab bars and turning radius and wheel- in showers. It is about a space that if you suddenly broke your leg - you would not be helpless in your own space. It is about aging in place.

Bev: It could be about aging "boomers"! And "green Design?
Marcie Harris: Again, we've heard a lot of this lately. My interpretation of Green Design is that designers and architects need to be educated about the 'lifecycle" of the products they specify. This is not only the recycling capability of products, but thinking about what it took to make the product in the first place. Obviously we can't evaluate everything - but if more pressure were put on manufacturers from designers and architects regarding "green design", I believe the industry would react accordingly. I have a client with a child that came down with environmental sickness after they moved into their new home. The off-gassing of VOC's from the various products (osb board, carpet glue etc.) was enough to keep her out of one whole year of high school. This was 8 years ago and things are improving - but it is still a huge concern.

LF+DG: Ok, a change of pace. If I walk into one of your client's homes, will I say, "Ah, this is a Marcie Harris designed home!"
Marcie Harris: Since a lot of my design work in the past has involved model homes - I have had the opportunity to be my own client over and over again (with, unfortunately, the budget constraints that go along with me!) So I'd say a lot of my models have a similar "look." As I moved away from "staging" to working for individual clients, I broke loose from that, however, and lately I've been incorporating some more 'modern' touches meaning a more streamlined look - more mid-century modern; traditional forms simplified- not as much embellishment; a "quieter" look. I still adore traditional interiors but find the 'modern' look to be appropriate in many environments today.
When I work with a client, I interview them thoroughly and have them do a lot of homework themselves before we get started purchasing or selecting finishes. They may start out thinking they don't have any preferences, but when we are done - they certainly know their likes and dislikes - and this is my goal, to give them an environment that speaks to them.

LF+DG: Do you use a presentation board with your clients?
Marcie Harris: I rarely do except for commercial jobs. In residential design a lot of the approach is educating the client as to what is available to them. This involves many 'field trips." Once the client and I have a contract, I immediately render furniture and cabinet plans so they can get a real sense of what I am trying to achieve with the design. I am big on hand drafting and rendering - being the dinosaur that I am.

LF+DG: How do you charge for your services?
Marcie Harris: I charge by the hour- and this is my primary compensation. My fee starts from the time I leave my office to the time I leave the client. On custom orders I charge cost plus a small mark-up. I may not make a lot reselling furniture to clients, but I find they trust me with all their decisions and there is no problem if they decide to purchase something 'retail.' I feel this industry is becoming very SERVICE oriented. Much of what I do is not just about picking out great stuff, but getting it implemented in a well organized manner is often just as important to my clients.

LF+DG: We find that designers with whom we work have all sorts of other creative outlets. What other creative things do you do?
Marcie Harris: My work is my creative outlet. Give me a pencil and ruler and I'm happy. I relieve stress by gardening and painting and entertaining family and friends. I try to travel somewhere interesting at least once a year. My daughters are dancers and their performances generally keep my social calendar full.

Mike: It fascinates me how women can do this dance. This dance of balancing wife, mother and career woman. How do you manage?
Marcie Harris: My career as an independant interior designer has enabled me to schedule my appointments around my children and still work a full week. I was setting up model homes with newborn babies; and my sister, a design student that works for me, has done the same with her three kids. My work with individual clients has grown as I have had my schedule open up once my girl's got their drivers licenses! Although sometimes I work 7 days a week - doing my books on Sunday afternoon, I never feel put out. I have a very understanding husband and that helps too. Plus he's great at loading a sofa once in awhile!

LF+DG: Anything else?
Marcie Harris: Bev is my favorite design source in the Portland area. I feel her place is the coffee shop at "Friends", since I always find an interesting designer to talk to there. Her complete and undivided attention to us designers really makes our lives so much easier - THANKS BEV!

LF+DG: We didn't prompt Marcie to say that. We love to see Marcie and are happy she feels that way about Landfair Furniture where there are always fat free animal crackers. You can reach Marcie Harris at H/S Interiors 503-341-2333.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Re/Max Street of New Beginnings, Part 1

From June 11th to July 3rd, 11:00AM to 9:00PM (Show closed Mondays and Tuesdays), in Holland Park, Beaverton, Oregon, you can see affordable homes, and Landfair Furniture + Design Gallery is proud to loan furniture to
The Covington, an Old Portland design by Timberland Homes. The home is priced at $384,950 and has 2,259 sq. ft.

Steve Brown is President of Timberland Homes and the website is We are working with Jamie Devlin of Design Interiors, Susie Buchanan of Finishing Touches, and Michelle Barnes of Timeless Interiors.

Bev & Mike

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Values of Designmaster

One of our lines is Designmaster Furniture. We were working to add pictures of Designmaster side chairs and dining room tables to our web site Landfair Furniture Annex, when I came across their "Purpose, Vision, Values, Goals". I was struck by its clear purpose. More about that in a moment.

Last night we viewed the movie In Good Company staring Dennis Quaid, Scarlett Johansson, and Topher Grace. On one level it was a movie about Quaid and his family, and things that parents go through to raise and provide for their children. Quaid and his wife were examples of good parents. They walked their talk. On another level, the movie was about the challenge of running a company, the ability to maintain the corporate family, while trying to dominate a part of the corporate world. Can that be done? Mike is just finishing Confessions of An Economic Hitman by John Perkins, so he's sensitive to the damage corporations can do in the name of progress. In the book "hitmen" would deliberately get a country deep in debt, then like the mafioso, demand favors. So we were surprised by the Designmaster site, a furniture company located in North Carolina.

Purpose, Vision, Values, Goals


Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him a third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep."
--John 21:17

The purpose of Designmaster Furniture is to feed God’s sheep.

Our purpose can be viewed from several perspectives:

* We feed the employees and sales representatives of Designmaster physically – with work, so that they can provide for their families.

* We feed the stakeholders of Designmaster spiritually – by praying with them and for them and by sharing with them how God is at work in our lives.

* We tithe from the profits of Designmaster, using product and cash to help fund Christian charities and ministries.

* Why does God have us building dining furniture? We believe that the family is under attack in our culture today. Eating together as a family used to be the rule, now it is the exception. Perhaps God will use our chairs in a small way to encourage a family here and a family there to eat together and share His love over dinner.


Our vision is to be the best at what we do.


Out of our personal relationships with Jesus Christ, we choose to value:

* obedience through prayer

* Godly relationships

* truth

* quality work

* freedom with accountability


Our goals are

1. To provide our customers with the highest quality and most technologically advanced services and products at competitive prices

2. To provide our employees with steady continuous employment

It's real clear what Designmaster believes, why its important to them, and that they accept responsibility. Here are some of our favorites:

Bev & Mike

Friday, May 13, 2005

Get a Blog!

So you set up a blog to support your business. How do you know if your blog is having an impact on sales. Lip-Sticking has an interview with Elisa Camahort from Worker Bees
See, they wanted to be able to quantify their return on that blog, but they didn't want to offer any promotion to blog readers. So, no matter how many times I pointed out that the impact the blog was having on sales would remain opaque if they provided no trackable offer, they continued to want quantifiable sales results, without implementing anything that would allow it to be so.

Truth be told: I think blogs are excellent marketing tools, but not necessarily great sales tools. How is that different you ask? Well, blogs are conversations. And if I may be so crunchy-granola, blogs are about organically developing a relationship with your potential and existing clients. They're great for creating awareness, for giving people something to talk about, for building a positive image in the minds of your audience. It's about inching your way into someone's brain space, until you occupy a little slot there. GM blogging doesn't make me run out tomorrow and buy a car, but when I shop for a car, GM and Saturn are going to occupy a little space in my brain where they weren't before, because I appreciate their blog.

IMHO, if blogs are about conversations, women are better at it than men, if Mike is any guide. He talks with his male friends and gets surface information. You know how it goes.

"How's Bill?" I ask.
"What has he been doing?
"Nothing much."

With that said, get yourself a blog and take a half hour each day to write about yourself, your business, your day, your kids, your husband and your life. Include some pictures of your pets, your designs or favorite places. In truth, we like doing business with people we know and like, and have invested some time in getting to know, even if it is through a blog.

Finally, mention this blog when you visit our store and there will be a token of our appreciation in it for you.


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Top 10 Home Decor Trends for 2005

1. and 2. Nesting and Entertaining at Home - Kitchens have long been considered the "heart" of the home and today's accessories reflect this sentiment. Serveware and barware are hot. In addition, the wine theme, which complements Tuscan-inspired motifs, continues to be strong.

3. Retro - Retro is now more mainstream ranging from soda fountain mixers to furniture collections inspired by Hollywood of the 30's and 40's.

4. Organic Materials - This theme is two-fold, with decorative accessories either accented with natural materials or completely made from them. Leather is the hottest material in furniture, but it is also selling great on lamps, pillows, picture frames and a variety of other decorative accents. From leather to linen and wood and shells, natural, organic style is in.

5. Pets - Americans love their pets! 62% of all households have at least one pet driven by a few key segments - young couples, empty nesters and singles.

6. and 7. Beach and Tropics - Becoming more refined, it combines a lot of natural woods and fabrics as well as earthy brown and dusty blue accents. This theme can also be fun with picture frames featuring flip flops, sunglasses, bikinis, margaritas and cocktails.

8. and 9. Modern and Clean Lines - Lots of basic geometric forms - squares, round shapes and polka dots are hot. Abstract patterns are starting to appear as well, with swirls and mosaic patterns most often seen. A retro of 70's mod look is often blended in.

10. Opposites Attract - Contrsting materials as well as themes are used to create an eclectric yet well coordinated look. Concepts combine elements of each of two opposite themes, for example modern with retro or cottage with contemporary.

Buzz Words - Casual Lifestyles - Clean Design - Pattern Mixing - Texture - Color - Vintage - Retro - Theme Mixing - Outdoor Living - Nature - Fresh - Home - Entertaining - Fun - Family and Friends - Humor - Whimsy - Connections - Laughter

Friday, May 06, 2005

Gillian Drummond, Comfort and Convenience

Here's a great article by Gillian Drummond, Interior Insights Creating a room of comfort and convenience
In choosing comfortable seating, use mostly upholstered furniture. Vary the size, style, and purpose. Use a mix of chairs and sofas to form conversation groups. In a small room, arrange the furniture to accommodate one large group of at least six people. In a larger room, consider having two or more groupings, which could be for as few as two people and, depending on the size of your room, as many as six or more. Also, use pull-up chairs with wood or painted frames to make a grouping more interesting.

Beyond choosing furniture that is comfortable, how else can you bring comfort to your seating arrangements? With tables and lamps. Place tables adjacent to the chairs and sofas. On each table put a lamp that casts a soft light — bright enough to lighten the room and for reading, but not too bright or poorly placed so that it shines in anyone’s eyes.

Tables are an important element in a room devoted to comfort and convenience. Keep tabletops clear for wonderful lamps and objects of beauty, which express your personality and interests. Use tables in a variety of sizes and shapes. Select from a wonderful array of woods and other finishes: mahogany, walnut, oak. Adding tables that are painted, lacquered or made of metal are other good options. Also, trunks and boxes can add variety and convenience as surfaces and storage. In addition to tables with legs, add ones with pedestal bases. When considering tables and chairs, be careful not to use furniture with too many legs in one room. Variety is the spice of life.

Drummond advocates using decorative screens for visual excitement and height in a room. She suggests adding furniture with mass to balance a room like trunks and armoires. She writes like she has been visiting our showroom.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

10 steps to creating a successful business blog.

Estate Legacy Vaults has taken a look at the way Landfair has integrated its website, on line store and blogs, and has posted 10 steps to creating a successful business blog. We like #4 best:
4. You interview each of your top designers, making them your friends and bringing them publicity and referrals which makes them even happier.
We have learned a lot from our interviews, such as how creative you all are and how a successful career helping others with design problems is not your only creative outlet. We could have a show at our store featuring the art of Top 20 Designers. It might make a great charitable event for your favorite cause. Let us know if you have suggestions.

Bev & Mike

BTW Estate Legacy Vaults has another post, Blogs are the demand side supplying itself. Here's a great thought about your need to have a blog:

Blogging is about rolling snowballs downhill, not pushing rocks uphill
Bev & Mike