You’re Never Too Old To Learn

Something that I have greatly learned about RH is how much they want to not only have knowledgable designers in the gallery, but also continue to teach their designers. I come in everyday and learn something new or hear from a more experienced designer about something that can help me evolve as a designer.

Everyday we have meetings to discuss some things that RH finds important and how we can learn from mistakes and make things better. We discuss design process and how to go through the process of helping our clients in the best way. I have been able to learn my role on the RH team so much faster by hearing others experiences and thoughts on how to do certain things. It really is a great way to see how you also can have potential in the company. Many of the members on the team I work on have been with RH for years. They have learned how to work with the design process in school, but also have adapted it to how RH works and with our clients needs.

I think it shows a lot about a company that takes an hour to discuss this with their members and tries to help them grow as designers. This is so important since the design world is always changing. It also helps our team become closer and more like a family. We are able to depend on each other and work as a group, not individuals. Just today I asked a few other designers on their opinion on what I was suggesting to a client before I processed their order. It reminds me a lot of working on group projects in studio.

RH cares about the future and wants their company to continue to grow as well as their designers. I am so thankful for this experience and all that I am learning from them this summer.

Below I have posted a photo from the RH modern collection. This is in some galleries, but will be put in more during the fall. They are still keeping their RH look but adding a modern twist to fit the needs of the clients in todays design trends.

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Picture from the RH Modern catalog

ATL w/Jefferson Browne Architects Blog 2: A lesson of self competition

In my previous entry I listed off several lessons I learned from my work at Jefferson Browne Architects. As I mentioned before, I’d like to look back and find these lessons like notes to self for future me. Last time I have those lessons clear cut, but the things I have learned this week are not so simple. this past week I found little gems on knowledge about my self  And the small office I am in.

The office I am in is a branch of the main office, which means there are very few people I am working with. This, in it’s self has been a continued lesson everyday. I have learned that I really thrive in an environment with many people, as many people as possible really. That I thrive on the buzz. Of others working and love jumping from one thing to the other. I have found that I focus better with many people and activities going on all at once. With this being said, I have had to focus more being that I have few people around.

I have felt a great amount of pressure to do better at any task I am given, small or large. Being that there are few people around, my skills have been showing through more brightly than I would expect. This has been true in my knowledge of material selection and product specification. It’s actually a task to look up different manufacturers from scratch, I’m very glad to have the familiarity that I do from my experience at school and other internships I’ve had in past. This being said, I have sent many e-mail to the other designers from the other office here asking for advice, since they still know more that I can learn from.

Looking up materials, however, is only one task that I have to complete over a long period of time. I have also found that my knowledge in AutoCAD has been a skill that very few others in my office feel comfortable in. I never really thought I was good at it, but now I have definitely sharpened my skills to a point. I feel that I will be able to further sharpen this skill as I stay here.

No worries though, that’s not the only thing I have gotten to do. Just this week I was able to create a fully photoshopped rendering for a preliminary design ideation to show a client what could be. I was very excited to take on this task and happy to find that one other person here could also do a lot in photoshop. They really taught me a lot. As mentioned before, find that the combined efforts of individuals is my preferred way to learn skills.

I have also been working here and there on Revit, which I have only recently began to feel comfortable with. I feel like I could use more practice with this, but I think I will get more Revit work soon. I hope I can sharpen this skill more, so that I can better my design abilities.

To concluded I would like to say that working in a team is great, but there is much to be said about being an individual within a larger group. one must be more focused and manage their time more precisely. the skills you have will be tested at all times, but those that you are good at will shine more brightly. I found that this week taught me that I am like a single tree in a forest, or a runner on a track team, because as an individual I must do my best to succeed for the better of the gro. Trees can only help serve the forest in ways that each individual can provide. A track team works together, they cheer eachother on, but when it is your turn to run you are the one to shine. You must run not only for the group, but for yourself so that you can succeed.

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Getting to Know RH

As my time goes on at RH I am getting to know their ways better and better. This week I would say was a big improvement on product knowledge. Our gallery isn’t small, but also not huge (like the one in downtown Chicago!). I feel confident in the pieces we have on the gallery floor though.

By working more with customers and hearing the other designers talk I feel like I am gaining product knowledge. I still get stuck sometimes with pieces that we don’t have in the gallery, but a client had seen online and would like to know about. We carry ipads around the gallery with us, so I can easily look up the product a client is talking about if I am drawing a blank on it. We also have walkies, and everyone is so nice to help tell me information if I am not sure on something.

What I find interesting about RH is the fact that their products come with a story. All are made from artisan, so there is always a story or small description behind a piece. I don’t feel like I am just showing off a piece to a client then, I feel as if I can give them more and make them fall in love with the piece. I want them to feel as passionate as I do about the furniture they will be purchasing. This also helps create a bond with your client. I am more opened to what a career I may take in design after graduation know. By seeing another form of interaction with clients and the design process.

Below is a photo of my favorite piece from RH. It is called the 1920’s German Light Bulb Voltage Tester Bar. I just find it so unique and a piece that brings so much to the space. Yes, it may be a bar but it is a focal point too.

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Picture from RH.com

The Start of a Summer at RH

I started my intern June 2nd after a month abroad with an interiors program. It was a struggle to adjust in two days to being back home and then starting a new intern. For the summer I am interning at Restoration Hardware, RH. I have always been interested in the retail and residential side of design and thought why not try it out! And so far I am absolutely loving it! At first I wasn’t sure what to expect, I was hired as a design consultant, which yes I do work on the floor helping clients that just walk in, but I am designing. I just meet my clients in a different way then another firm may.

It surprised me how many different forms interior design can take in a job role. I meet my clients by greeting them into the gallery and then finding out what I can help them with. I like this way of designing because at times it is more fast on your feet and helping people that may not know they needed the help. It has helped me develop already as a designer in just the week and a half with them. I am always on time to my job, and if not early. I live about forty minutes from the gallery so it is a longer commute than what I was use to doing for work. I’ve learned how to mix what I know about design and the process with the process that RH has for meeting with clients. The best thing you can do for a client is to let them know that you really are putting in a lot of time and effort to think of what will best fit their needs. I can see with RH that they really are about helping others and while doing that educating them on the product we are putting in their space.

At RH there is a large amount of product to learn; and once you learn the product you must learn the options of the product. One thing that I am slowly learning is their selections of rugs! They have such a wide range of options to fit a lot of spaces. I have to say I have probably picked at least ten favorites already. It has really helped me with my communication skills in learning what exactly the client is thinking in their head and how I can design that for them. I have met the team and learned how to also use them as references if I need help on something and learn more skills to bring to the design work I do.

Below I have posted a picture of just some of the rugs we have in the back of the gallery for us to show our clients. It is absolutely crazy how many we have to pick from! I am so lucky that the team is patient enough to help me learn and pick out some for clients if I am unsure on what exactly to pull.

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ATL with Jefferson Browne Architects

I’ve been here for about 4 weeks now, but I’d say that by about the second week was when I really started to get the hang of things. Even still, there a few tips and tricks I’ve learned from these 4 weeks that have been reinstilled from things I’ve learned at COD.

One, there’s something about sending e-mails, calling, and ensuring that every possible question is answered. Joe says it all the time, but really he’s so right. I have been working on projects to fix little mistakes in construction documents, but I have little knowledge about what they are about. I felt a bit dumb at first, but asking a million questions is the way to go. A couple times I even caught an extra error, simply because I asked what something was.

Two, always write things down, if thing else it will help you remember what is going on. One of the first things I was assigned to do here was begin a material lab at the North office (where I am working), but I had little to go on, so I began creating a digital list of all the products I could find that we might want. I filled in info for each material into categories as I found information about each as to who I could contact. My supervisor saw the list and told me I should post it to the office shared file cloud under libraries, so that the other office could use it too.

Three, taking yourself and your work seriously is okay, but remembering that being an intern and a student means you are still learning. I needto calm down sometimes and realize that even when I am trying to be in schedule, someone else is going to double check my work. It feels different in school when you work on a whole project start to finish, but in the work world someone is always checking and double checking.

Four, even though I’m an intern, putting in a suggestion from time to time can be really helpful. A project that I was working on with my supervisor was in current construction phase and the steal beams where put in incorrectly, but we ended up coming up with a cool solution and added a neat twist to the design of the interiors.

Five, knowing how to use both AutoCAD and Revit is a must. I’m so glad I came into school learning both programs, even if I’m not fully competent in both, I at least know the basics and can edit files in either. Versatility is always a plus, just make sure that you don’t spread yourself too thin. AutoCAD may be phasing out, but it is still around and many current project I have been work on have all been in AutoCAD.

And six, reps are the best and you should always ask for a card. They may personally drop off materials you ordered, so you should make good conversation while they are there and keep their information.

So far, these are my six current good practices and things I’ve learned that I would like to continue to document so that as I go through this learning experience I can remember the important notes to self. I’m sure there will be far more to come as I continue.

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Above is an image off Google of the office tower I work in, there’s a lot of construction on the street outside where an apartment complex is being built, and the traffic is always thick, so I couldn’t get a clear picture, but I’ll post another to replace this one soon.