Interior design on a budget? Don’t let your clients stress. Design expert Frank Fontana, a specialist in low-cost, high-style design, shares his techniques room-by-room and project-by-project in his new book Dirty Little Secrets of Design (Stewart, Tabori & Chang; November 2010).
In the book, Fontana analyzes several beautiful homes, dissects the individual design components of each room, and applies his “Look for Less” principle to help readers build their own look on a budget. The book also includes more than 40 DIY projects that are accessible and doable for readers of various skill levels, such as a multipurpose ottoman, a custom display case, unique artwork make from reclaimed items, and more. Plus, he gives advice on how to be a savvy shopper when looking for home decor items or furniture, leaving readers with practical decorating and fabricating techniques.
Here are five of Fontana’s Dirty Little Secrets of Design:
1. Work with one small space at a time. Advise your clients to create vignettes and groupings of seating furniture that provide additional conversation areas and help break up a room. Don’t just throw a comfy sofa in a room next to a hand-me-down coffee table and call it a day; it will feel empty.
2. There’s no need to fumigate. Try using low-VOC paint (VOCs are Volatile Organic Compounds, and paints low in them are better for the environment and less harsh on your nose.) For a cheaper, homegrown solution, drop a few squirts of vanilla extract into the paint can, and breathe easier. (Note: The fumes are only masked, not eliminated.) It won’t affect the color.
3. Exit courtesy. There is one piece of furniture that Fontana considers essential to an entryway — a chair. Continue reading »
Whether you’re trying to motivate a team, negotiate a contract, or make a sale, the conversations you have will either help you succeed or undermine your goals. Communication expert and leadership coach Shawn Kent Hayashi has spent more than 20 years studying how the things people say impact their business and professional lives. In her new book, Conversations for Change: 12 Ways to Say It Right When It Matters Most, she not only identifies the 12 most important types of conversations people have, but shows readers how to reach their maximum potential by using conversations effectively.
Foundations for Every Conversation:
In order to communicate well, you must first master three fundamentals, says Hayashi.
1.) Building emotional intelligence. “When you are aware of what you are feeling, you can begin to speak about it in a way that builds rapport,” explains Hayashi. Emotional intelligence is not only for understanding yourself, but for recognizing your emotional wake — the affect your words have on people. For example, at the end of a meeting, are team members angry because they think they haven’t been heard, or do they feel excited about what they’re doing?
2.) Understanding workplace motivators. Figuring out what motivates you, and what motivates others, will help you build connections. Whether you’re trying to land a sale or gain permissions for a flextime arrangement, recognizing what drives those you’re seeking to convince will increase your chance for success. Hayashi discusses the six basic motivators, or values, that show up in the workplace, and how to identify them in yourself and your colleagues. Continue reading »