My Top Five Commercial Interior Design Trends

While the ‘telecommute’ trend is growing, more than 80 percent of us still work in a traditional office environment.  The average employee spends 50 weeks or 2,000 hours a year in said space, generally seated in a cubicle.  Increasingly, employers are beginning to understand the importance of creating an environment in which employees can collaborate and create.

Historically, companies would hire designers to create space plans. Determining how many desks and bodies can be squeezed into one space was their primary focus.  Now that employers are being enlightened (likely by generational influences) they’re asking their interior design teams to think differently.

These are the five trends happening in commercial design:

1- Authenticity.

I’m seeing a big demand for authentic designs that are reflections of the company’s core values. For family-focused companies, authenticity-centered design may take root through a room for mothers to breast feed, for example.  For another with a health-driven mission, providing employees with standing desks and yoga balls might be how they are in alignment with their brand.

2- Color and Art

No longer are offices dark and dreary.  More and more, my commercial clients are requesting colorful furniture, exciting original art, and even featuring – and sometimes selling! -- the work of local artisans.

3- Homey

Lately, I am installing wallpaper, chandeliers, beanbags, plants and even draperies in places like conference rooms and breakout spaces.  The employer mindset being that if you have to be there eight hours or more a day, you might as well be as comfortable there as you are at home!

4- Generational Appeal

Today’s “cool” offices tout open floor plans, coffee bars, happy hours and foosball tables giving millennials plenty of time for on-the-clock play.  This movement is often referred to as “activity-based working” where employers offer a variety of work settings that will support brainstorming, collaborating and team building.

5-    Performance.

While form has become much more important, function certainly isn’t dead. “We are definitely seeing a change in what designers and clients are looking for,” says Shannon Ferrigno, design studio director for SmithCFI.  “It really comes down to creating a variety of inspiring spaces that offer choice of posture, technology interfaces that perform well and settings support the work that is being done throughout the day.  It is not enough just to be beautiful”.

I surprised myself and have fallen in love with designing commercial spaces, including restaurants, retail stores and offices.  If you’re thinking about transforming your businesses’ space, let me know!

Top 10 Home Decor Stores in Portland, Oregon

Furniture and Other Finds in the City of Roses

The city of Portland is hot, hot, hot (lately, that’s also been a literal thing).  It seems everybody and his or her mother are visiting, moving here, planning to move here or want to move here.  Most people flock to the city of Roses because of its ample outdoor activities, scenic beauty or bustling foodie scene. Less thought of is its killer design community.  If you’re visiting Portland and interested in home décor, there are many great independent boutiques all of which are well worth a visit.  These are my top ten:

The gloriously eclectic Cargo.

The gloriously eclectic Cargo.

1. Cargo

Cargo bill itself as “a journey of spirit, time, and place.”  When you walk into their gigantic historic warehouse, you’ll see why.  All corners of Cargo are filled with everything from Japanese tansus to Indian quilts to teapots and everything in between. If you leave this place empty-handed – or uninspired – there’s something wrong with you.

81 SE Yamhill St. Portland, OR,

2. Canoe

Founded in 2005, Canoe features simple, functional and beautiful home goods made with natural materials. Think glass-and-wood; textiles and ceramics all of which make great gifts for friends or self.

1233 SW 10th Avenue, Portland, OR,

3. Hive

Hive’s motto is "Good design can and should be presented in an inspired, knowledgeable and friendly manner." Through the company’s website and in its northwest Portland store, Hive sells the iconic modern brands Alessi, B&B Italia, Herman Miller, Knoll, and Vitra in a museum like atmosphere.

820 NW Glisan Street, Portland, OR,

4. Schoolhouse Electric

Schoolhouse Electric was founded by Brian Faherty in 2003 following his discovery of a long-lost collection of cast-iron glass shade molds in an abandoned warehouse and carefully restoring them back into production.  Today, he’s now operating out of a gigantic facility in the industrial district selling all manner of furniture, lighting, bedding and hardware.

2181 NW Nicolai Street, Portland, OR,

5. City Home

Locally owned City Home has two showrooms that specialize in midcentury modern to reclaimed and steampunk. They also carry designer home decor and furniture lines, including Magnolia Home Furniture Collection, Joybird and Justina Blakeney Home.

Central Eastside Industrial        
217 SE Taylor Street

Pearl District
825 NW Davis Street

6. Asia America

For fans of Asian goods, Asia America is worth a stop. They boast a nicely curated collection of art, antiques and furniture from over 40 years of travel to every corner of Asia.  Between their SE warehouse and their waterfront showroom, they have more than 5000 pieces to ogle. 

Riverplace Waterfront  0315 SW Montgomery Street, Suite 330

Central Eastside Industrial 79 Southeast Taylor Street Suite 200

Asia America in SE Portland carries rustic furniture and antiques.

Asia America in SE Portland carries rustic furniture and antiques.

7. The Good Mod

This 20,000 square foot industrial loft is a midcentury modern design lover’s dream.  They specialize in restoration and custom design and upholstery work.  You can get a taste of the kinds of amazing pieces they bring in by visiting their website, but their store is not to be missed.

1313 Burnside St, 4th Fl., Portland, OR,

8. Solabee

This is exactly a home décor store, but Solabee is an oasis for plant and flower fiends. A women-owned full-service floral studio and plant shop provides fresh and unique botanical treasures.  And their super knowledgeable staff at their conservatory-like shop will assist you in selecting the perfect plant for your space.

801 N. Killingsworth, Portland, OR,

Solabee Flowers in heaven on earth for plant lovers. Photo by Urban Nest Realty.

Solabee Flowers in heaven on earth for plant lovers. Photo by Urban Nest Realty.

9.  Legacy Modern

Legacy Modern is your one stop shop for mid century modern, industrial, Americana and Mission Arts and Crafts home furnishings. Owner Mike Albino hails from a fourth generation of furniture traders.  If he doesn’t carry it, he’ll find it for you. They’ve also carry the works of many local artists and fabricators, as well the furniture line, Gus Modern. 

1530 SE 7th Ave, Portland, OR.,

10.  Seams to Fit Home

Seams to Fit Home is an upscale consignment furniture designer showroom offering a modern mix of furnishings and home decor for urban living, located in Northwest Portland. This is the place to hit for beautiful, very lightly used custom pieces. 

2237 NW Raleigh St., Portland, OR.,

Not Portland, but absolutely worth the drive.

11. Rose City Modern

Rose City Modern specializes in quality mid century modern furniture and housewares.  Following these guys on Instagram is like getting a lesson in midcentury design and their store is the same way.  If you’re a midcentury fan, make the trek to nearby Beaverton and pop in to this unassuming little shop.

12675 SW 1st St, Beaverton, OR.,

What did I miss?  Let me know in your comments below!