Interior Design For Today Volume l (Interior Design & Home Staging Course Book 1)

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Direct, immediate individual experience is not the only source of information shaping architectural appreciation. Considering the breadth of the architectural enterprise, it may not even be the best source. Others include access to information about works through standard representational modes that are not the works themselves for example, drawings or photographs , transmission of tacit working knowledge through apprenticeship learning, and collective belief formation through client briefings and studio crits.

Architectural appreciation is social in building on our understanding of architectural objects as it develops, and matures, in experience of a built structure with and in relation to other individuals and groups of people. Indeed, a central goal of architectural education is structured imparting of collective wisdom as to how to best classify architectural objects and, relatedly, what the markers of appreciation have looked like, or should look like—as well as how they articulate with practical knowledge.

Further, architectural appreciation is environmental in building on our understanding of architectural objects based on experiences in relation to their natural and built surroundings. On one view, an architectural object may be more difficult to appreciate if we find that relation unexpected, or contrary to normative sensibility Carlson If, however, appreciation does not require enjoyment or satisfaction of any sort—and instead engages our understanding of, for example, what was intended and why—we may well appreciate in its own right an architectural object that has a surprising, even obnoxious relation to its surroundings.

Some problems of architectural ethics are characteristic of a range of typical moral dilemmas—agent-centered, norms-oriented concerns—as may arise for architects. In addition to a traditional set of questions applied to the architectural domain, architectural ethics also addresses problems special to the discipline and practice—as shaped by its social, public, practical, and artistic nature.

As conceptually prior to a normative ethics of architectural practice, a meta-ethics of architecture assesses alternate ethical modalities, such as whether architecture might be considered moral or immoral relative to its objects built structures or to its practices as a set of institutions or social phenomena. Another meta-ethical issue concerns whether moralism or autonomism best characterizes the relationship of aesthetics to ethics, as that plays out in architecture. Ethical modalities of architecture. There are three typical candidate modalities of ethics in architecture.

For one, there is the establishment of criteria for ethical norms of the enterprise such as architects in practice may observe. For example, architects can craft designs in ways that lower the likelihood of cost overruns and enhance safety. In an interpersonal vein, architects can represent their work honestly to clients or contractors. Another modality—beyond enterprise-defined ethical norms—is pursuit of criteria to gauge architects as moral agents broadly producing or doing good or bad in the world.


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For example, architects may create objects that uplift or constrain individual users and inhabitants; other architects may promote social utility by designing housing for those in need of shelter. Finally, there is the modality of seeking criteria to judge architectural objects as morally good or bad insofar as they directly produce pleasure or pain. As an indirect example, a hospital design is intended to facilitate the minimizing of pain, by fostering environmental conditions conducive to excellence in health care and patient well-being. As a more direct case, a bus shelter is intended to reduce exposure to the elements and corresponding discomfort.

This last candidate may be attractive if we see architecture primarily as a product rather than as a practice; it is noxious if we are unwilling to assign moral values to artifacts as we do to actions or their properties. A built structure might be inhumane in that it is bleak or uninhabitable, though it does not follow that the structure itself bears inhumane values.

Value Interaction. Vitruvian principles underlying much of architectural theory suggest a tendency to link the aesthetic and the utility-promoting. So, too, functional beauty theory recommends that aesthetic and ethical considerations are linked in architecture. To crystallize the matter, we may ask if it is possible for a built structure to be good though not aesthetically so. In this debate, architecture would seem a promising domain in which to find robust relations. At a moralist extreme, there is the suggestion—supported by some traditions in architectural theory Pugin , Ruskin —that aesthetic tasks in architecture simply are ethical tasks, reflecting ethical choices.

One prominent moralist perspective locates the ethical element of aesthetic architectural choice in obligations to a sort of honesty, in designing works that accurately represent underlying structural principles or operational capacities.

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From another angle, moralists point to the emotional impact of built environments as indicative of a union of the aesthetically gripping and morally compelling Ginsburg , though it may be noted that even where we detect such a union we need not judge the aesthetics of the architectural object on the basis of any ethical import so communicated. At the other extreme, autonomists propose that problems of ethics and aesthetics neither need arise at once, nor need be resolved at once, in architectural design.

If we see a correlation in some architectural objects of ethically and aesthetically compelling design solutions, we see in other objects no correlation at all. There is good reason to uncouple these values just in case they must conflict. Suppose there is an ethical premium, for example, on the need to create environmentally sustaining structures, and that we identify resolutions of that problem as generally bearing the greatest mark of moral worth.

Then a connection between ethics and aesthetics in architecture seems improbable. A third position altogether proposes a pluralism. Sometimes ethical and aesthetic value march hand-in-hand, other times not—and their ways of matching up are diverse and run in various directions. So one architectural design may be aesthetically compelling as it reflects its ethically upstanding character, whereas another design may be aesthetically compelling as it reflects its ethically deficient character.

An even more generalized pluralism would suggest that a wide range of aesthetic and ethical valences can be matched up in different ways; we might value a war memorial for the way it grimly expresses the horrors of war. Traditional questions of architectural ethics. Architects design structures and environments for people, with concomitant effects on personal behavior, capacity to choose courses of action, and ability to satisfy preferences, visit harm, generate benefit, or exercise rights. To begin with, a traditional architectural ethics requires an account of architectural responsibilities.

As concerns obligations to persons, the range of stakeholders in architecture is great, hence ethical responsibility is diffuse. A further set of questions concerns rights. It is relatively novel to speak of authorial or community rights in architecture; owner or client rights are historically parasitic on property or sovereign rights.

Other possibilities include rights of developers, builders, engineers, environments, and societies. As that list grows, two further questions concern the sorts of rights that can be attributed to such parties or entities, and the criteria for distributing and prioritizing them given aesthetic as well as moral considerations. Architectural utility is familiar as a Vitruvian concept but has a wholly other sense in an agent-centered normative ethics, with a possible moral weighting not found in classic architectural theory.

Guidelines are needed to determine the usefulness of architectural goods such as built structures, restorations, reconstructions, or plans. These might include their social character, or individual preferences of the architect, owner, end-users, or public. A utilitarian approach to architectural ethics is attractive in capturing the aims of architecture to promote well-being, and relying on a ready marker of architectural value. However, it also discounts other traditional architectural imperatives such as a Vitruvian-style pluralist may honor, including beauty and structural integrity Spector Finally, a traditionalist picture of architectural ethics requires an account of virtues in the domain though these may be orthogonal to normative ethics.

Future-Focused Architectural Ethics. The focus of ethical rights and responsibilities in architecture is typically taken as relative to present or past. Thus, we speak of obligations to design and build in ethically responsible fashion, or preserve past architectural objects. There are future-focused obligations, as well.

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Sustainable design is forward-looking even as it is centered on what we design and build today. Further ethical issues may arise relative to future architectural objects. As to obligations to future architectural objects , we see as much in the short-term instance of planning around near-future buildings. Special ethical questions of architecture. Architectural practice generates special moral issues as befit its proper, idiosyncratic features, distinctive among the arts, the professions, and social practices. Yet other ethical issues special to architecture range over matters of personal and social spaces and the articulations thereof, including criteria for designing around concerns related to privacy, accessibility for the public generally and handicapped in particular , respecting community and neighborly preferences, and promoting civic values.

Other ethical matters special to architecture are particularly visible in global perspective. For example, there is inequitable distribution of housing across the developed and developing nations, and part of the solution may be architectural Caicco Further, architecture incurs special environmental obligations given that waste and degradation affect, and are affected by, architectural design.

One conceptual challenge of sustainability facing architects is to determine whether development is, in principle, a countervailing interest.


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This is to ask, once environmental obligations are defined, how they may be factored into or weighed against infrastructural and design interests and preferences. Professional Ethics. Fisher Professional ethical codes govern conduct in and thereby protect the architectural profession and avert problems related to business, fiduciary, insurance, or liability functions; the design function is an ethical focus relative to disability.

Architectural law highlights professional ethics matters as concern property, liability, and honesty. The law clarifies responsibilities among parties to architectural practice; defines who or what in commercial architectural interactions has moral agency—hence rights; and describes utility-wise or financial measures of distribution in architecture. Fisher a. Intellectual Property. One conceptual issue concerning architectural intellectual property is how such rights are to be weighed against other sorts of property rights, such as domestic or commercial rights.

A further issue is determined on the basis of judging architecture to be a service or product. Taking architecture as service means that architects do not have a stake on copyright, as they would then be creators-by-contract; tradition has it that rights to expression of ideas so created accrue to the contracting party. Copyright raises other concerns. Alternatively, we might view this as a routine episode in the history of architectural copying without attribution or permission. The challenge is to define relevant obligations of one architect to others, present or past.

Architect as judge in owner-contractor disputes. Architects have a dual role, serving as designer and administrator of architectural projects, and in this capacity may adjudicate between owner and contractor in matters of dispute. Standard issues concern conflicts of interest, grounds for adjudication, and criteria of fairness. Architectural objects often develop over time in cumulative and mutable fashion, through additions and alterations that—perhaps more frequently than not—change the design of a different, original architect or that of a prior alteration.

For any particular changes, or in consideration of design changes overall, we may stipulate obligations to respect original or prior intent and execution. One brand of such obligations, recognized in historic preservation and landmark laws, requires that aesthetic concerns in the public interest trump private interests. Key conceptual questions concern how to determine the source and conditions of any such obligations—and the sorts of responsibilities architects should have to existing structures.

Those responsibilities may extend to commitment to the integrity of work by fellow architects. While all artforms admit of a certain social character, architecture enjoys a particularly social nature, and may even be said to be an intrinsically social artform. There are two prominent candidate reasons as to why this is so. For one, a central aim of architecture is to design shelter and so meet a variety of social needs.

For another, architecture as practice is a social process or activity as it engages people in interpersonal relations of a social cast. The first candidate reason stands or falls on whether, in fulfilling social needs, architecture is thereby rendered a social art.

For an artform to be intrinsically social, any such need fulfilled should be critical rather than discretionary or extravagant. Thus, for example, addressing housing demands overall meets the criticality test—though addressing design demands for a third home does not. The first reason looks right because architects often integrate social needs into design thinking. Armed with socially minded intentions, they create built structures which serve myriad social ends.

A difficulty arises, however, in consistently upholding such intentions as a mark of the social if a such intentions are unclear from experiencing architectural objects, instantiations, or representations thereof, b built structures are repurposed, or c there are architectural objects with no corresponding relevant intentions. A second candidate reason that architecture is a social art is that processes of making architecture are thoroughly and ineluctably social phenomena, constituted by interactions of social groupings created and governed by social conventions and arrangements.

On this view, the social nature of architecture consists in the status of the discipline as shaped by social convention—where such convention is designated by, and guides actions of, architects and other relevant agents. Architectural phenomena are social, then, because they occur as a result of contracts, meetings, firms, charettes, crits, juries, projects, competitions, exhibitions, partnerships, professional organizations, negotiations, workflow organization, division of labor, and myriad other conventional and agreement-bound purposive actions and groupings of architects and other architectural stakeholders.

One might object that, on an institutional theory, all artforms are social in just these ways. However, as played out in art worlds, institutional theories tell us what counts as an art object rather than how such objects are constituted to begin with. Either view is temporally sensitive. Architecture as object and pursuit produces a great range of effects on social structures and phenomena, in particularly acute fashion in relation to housing, land use, and urban planning. In turn, architecture is shaped by such social concerns as scarcity, justice, and social relations and obligations.

Some of this shaping results from social group and institution requirements for space and the structured organization thereof, to promote group or institutional function and identity Halbwachs Causal direction. We might see social forces as primarily shaping architecture or else architecture as primarily shaping social forces.

Detractors counter that we cannot shape society through the built environment—or we ought not do so. What rests on directionality is how we parse not only theoretical relations but also practical consequences and perspectives concerning a host of social phenomena. To take one example, how we gauge and address the possibilities that architecture offers relative to social inequality is likely a function of whether architecture contributes to, or instead reflects, social classes and social hierarchies.

We might wonder whether architects can design so as to promote class equality—or solidarity, justice, autonomy, or other social phenomena as we might foster. On a third, holistic option, causality runs in both directions. Two examples of such are a systems analyses, which take built structures as social systems that contribute to social function, and b urban sociology, which takes the city en gros as social structuring of space which shapes its habitants, who in turn shape the city Simmel As expanded to environmental sociology, the suggestion is that built environments promote patterns of living, working, shopping, and otherwise conducting commerce among groups and in relation to other individuals.

Other social science domains suggest attendant conceptual issues. For another, sociology of architecture also studies the profession: the backgrounds and relations of architects and other stakeholders, norms governing behavior, and social structures of an architecture world constitute a species of artworld. This last suggestion prompts the question as to what influence we should attribute to an architecture world on the status of architectural objects.

The architecture world raises issues beyond those motivating Danto or Dickie, engaging many parties whose interests and preferences are not primarily aesthetic or even economic but driven by social, commercial, engineering, planning, and various other factors. For a third, a Science and Technology Studies perspective Gieryn investigates how architecture—primarily in its optimization focus, qua engineered technology—shapes knowledge formation for example, in laboratory or university design and organizes social behavior for example, in architecture for tourism or retail sales.

Conceptual issues here include whether there are global principles of optimization of architectural design for social advancement, and what sorts of moral constraints are appropriate to such optimization. That architecture has some political aspects is a widely held, if not entirely uncontested thesis, with weaker and stronger variants. One weak version suggests that designing built structures entails political engagement through interactions of architects and the public.

For example, architects solicit political support of government officials for development projects, governments engage architects to design built structures that express political programmatic messages, and citizens do political battle amongst themselves over architectural designs or preservation decisions. A stronger version highlights a possible role for architecture as an instrument of politics.

In other words, designing built structures entails political engagement through the control by force of behaviors and attitudes of people who interact with those structures. That architecture might have any significant role in politics, or the other way around, calls for explanation. One account stresses that the two domains are oriented around utility-maximization. Utility criteria deployed to judge the worth of architectural objects are exemplary subjects of democratic debate, policy analysis, or community consensus.

Further, traditional architectural promotion of urban and social planning may be linked to social utility criteria for architectural quality; that relationship might run in either direction. In distinct progressive and utopian traditions in architectural thought Eaton , advancement of social utility is a central motivation in architectural attempts to realize idealistic visions of modes of living and societal organization.

For a critique, see Harries Power, control, and change. This is not an obvious use in societies where individuals freely choose dwellings or other structures with which they interact. Prominent such architectural types include prisons and refugee camps. Some see potential in architecture for more globally promoting maintenance of power through behavior regulating norms that such built structures represent Foucault Even in generally free or open social settings, though, at the level of urban planning architecture indirectly determines behavior in politically shaped ways.

Architects and others planning urban or other densely settled environments take into account such political aims as honoring community values, promoting civic virtues, maximizing social utility, fulfilling professional or public responsibilities, and respecting citizen or leadership preferences Haldane , Paden , Thompson The politically hued results of such planning and design efforts, whether pursued in authoritative, consultative, or participatory processes, are architectural objects that change, encourage, or reward particular behaviors.

Ideology and agency. Architecture is also used to promote political views, culture, or control, by conveying symbolic messages of power, nationalism, liberation, cooperation, justice, or other political themes or notions Wren cs. In government commissions, the architect generally cedes design control, at a certain point, to the government. Yet the architect is the creator of record. This leaves open whether architects so engaged are promoting the given ideology—or else merely acting as proxies for such promotion. It may seem odd to suggest that, from an aesthetic standpoint the design is of architect X but from a political standpoint the same design is not attributable to X.

Political agency among architects is a special version of the more general issue of architect agency relative to clients, including as well corporate and individual clients. One question is what scenarios or conditions would need to pertain to justify apportioning more or less agency—and, correspondingly, political or moral responsibility—to the architect or to the client, in design and build phases of realizing an architectural object. The phases matter.

The design phase appears, at least initially, to be the agency-wise province of the architect, and any post-build phase appears to be generally the province of the client and any relevant user-base until any such renovation or repurposing as may occur. What happens in phases en route to post-build is murkier, though. Architectural Failure. Failed architecture is not a straightforward subspecies of failed art or failed artifacts. Architectural objects may rate as aesthetic disasters yet in some overall sense as successes, unlike non-architecture art objects.

And architectural objects may cease to function—or never have functioned at all—yet count as overall successes, unlike a range of though not all non-architecture artifacts. Another feature of architectural failure—in keeping with general design phenomena—is that architectural objects may count as successes or failures depending on different states of affairs, context, or remarkably small differences. Thus, a given architectural object may be a failure as an active and integral built structure but not as a ruin or vice-versa.

This suggests that background intentions may matter at one early stage, and less so at later stages in the life of a built structure—and that failure may have one criterion for architectural abstracta and other criteria for counterpart concreta. Further, among architectural objects with standard, closely related variants, some may fail while others succeed—perhaps because of a minor distinction such as a garishly painted exterior.

A viable account of architectural failure accommodates such features or else devolves failure to the level of some single dimension of architectural objects, such as their putative nature as art objects failed or otherwise. Corruption, Ruins, and Preservation. Architectural objects as physically instantiated are corrupted or fall apart over time, and may develop new forms in disrepair or as ruins. From an inclusivist, concretist standpoint, a ruin is not any lesser an architectural object than its corresponding newly built structure.

An inclusivism is available to the abstractist, too, though she will not see them as the same object—and will rate them both as somehow lesser than the originary object. If we take them as the same architectural objects, we need an account as to how they relate to one another—apparently not by reference to intentions. Even if an architect designed a path to a ruin state, the actual ruin-state would likely take on a wholly different shape. Some may take this as an argument against inclusivism.

Architects typically embrace the Vitruvian premium on firmitas and reasonably assume that built objects should endure—and that they serve intended functions for as long as is desirable. That pair of assumptions in design thinking is at odds with concretism, given corruption and decay of physical constructions as well as routine repurposing in the lives of built structures. The first assumption is consistent with an abstractist vision of everlasting architectural objects.

Endurance of serving intended functions is another story: for architectural abstracta, stipulation of repurposing may not change the nature of a given, selfsame object. Corruption brings not only total destruction and absence of previously intact built structures, but also enduring ruins or flawed, damaged structures. There is a longstanding premium on ruins in architectural culture as promoting historical perspective, nostalgia, and at least one style Romanticism. Yet ruins fit awkwardly, if at all, into standard architectural ontologies. The cultural premium is hard to explain for the abstractist, for whom ruins represent defective physical instantiations, which are already substandard in the abstractist worldview.

Corresponding intentions instead typically concern preservation, restoration, or elimination. Preservation and conservation possibilities prompt additional considerations, such as whether restoration or maintenance of a built structure sustains it as an authentic architectural whole—and if this is independent of functional integrity, or holds for wholesale reconstructions Wicks ; what conditions warrant preserving or conserving a built structure; and what principles guide warranted alterations or completions of built structures—and whether other considerations may include creativity, fancy, or sensitivity to contemporary needs and context Capdevila-Werning As concerns completing unfinished structures, one issue is whether it is possible to discern original design intent altogether.

Taken together with contemporary norms that shape our understanding of past architecture Spector , preservation and conservation are at least partly bound to present-day design conceptions. Built Versus Natural Environment. This is amazingly informative. Lots to think about! Another brilliant and helpful post Laurel. Thank you! So glad you enjoyed the post Brenda! You are wonderful. I have a new living room in a new house and have zero furniture for it, and I have been wondering where to even start.

This is great — thank you! Ahh like peace in my brain when I read your instructional posts. I have a mid blue velvet that goes with nothing, my folly haha. Or just have a narrow walk through. Loved the pic with palest grey and blue chairs. Things will be a little tight as dining table has to go in the far corner, and the door into kitchen family area is hard up on the right wall. Big window down entry end which will leave quite a space when I move the couch along towards the dining table. Guess a vignette of table and armchairs in front f the window, I have a nice octagonal loo table.

Oh sorry, waffling out loud, setting the scene haha. Question is actually with only 11ft wide do I add slipper chairs, or leave them out do you think.? And even IF I could see, I often spent hours working out room layouts for clients— with pencil, graph paper, templates, architect scale fancy ruler and a big fat eraser. The only thing I will say though. If in doubt; leave it out. You can always add later.

You still have to measure your space and measure your furniture pieces to figure out what can FIT where in the room. My living room is only It depends on the room. But the relationship of the furniture should be similar, is the point. I just love this! Thank you for these furniture layouts. They have given me more food for thought in my continuing obsession about how to best arrange furniture in my small 14 by 15 foot bungalow living room!

This creates a walkway dividing the conversation area into two parts. I feel that by routing a pathway around the conversation area that the whole room is divided in two and that actually the half closest to the fireplace, where I have done most of my furniture re-arranging activity, feels a little cramped. Sometimes I put the love seat at right angles to the fireplace with the chairs facing it. Taking the longest wall to the right of my entrance for a sofa and having chairs on either side of the opposite fireplace wall would make the room feel more spacious, but the pathway between the sofa and chairs would divide the conversation area.

I just wish I could settle on a comfortable resting point for myself and my furniture. Of course you can have pathways through a conversation area. If the room is not large enough to float the furniture, so that you can walk behind it how are you supposed to get from one end of the room to the other? You are so generous with your information. I really enjoyed it. But, it depends on the style of the lamp, in part, the height of the ceiling, the size of the room and other furniture.

We moved 2 years ago into a year old house with a huge living room and on one end of it there is an enfilade — from the sunroom, then living room, then foyer, then dining room, all across the front of the house. Also lovely French doors on 2 sides of the room but they are painted shut. Furniture placement was so tricky!! Your home sounds amazing! You are amazing. So interesting.

I too have a corner fireplace in an open concept great room. I was talked into a sectional which is another story. Ungracious room, so descriptive and so right. I laughed at that one. Laurel, Laurel, Laurel…where is the TV? Every house we have ever lived in had to be decorated around our television. It is, has been and will probably always be my biggest challenge.

How does practical and comfortable meet pretty? I love him but I would cry every day if I had to witness that scene. What kind of furniture do I get so that my family and dog can hang out, lay down, put their feet up without me getting agita? Only 3 walls… Fireplace is on the short wall and windows on back long wall. This leaves plenty of room on the 3rd long blank wall for a massive TV. The 4th wall is open to the kitchen area. It looks cozy with a throw over the foot of the chaise. There is an up-to-date entertainment center with bookshelves on the opposite wall, with sliding doors that conceal the TV if needed.

With the doors closed, you see the bookshelves on each side. They used narrow tables on each side of the sectional, and a rectangular coffee table that fits the sectional. This is one of those situations where consulting with a designer in your area would probably be very helpful. I get that he needs it. I love reading your blog and have learned so much from you. This post was especially helpful in terms of elements of good design, spacing and flow.


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Unless I want a chair in the middle of the entry flow, having fireplace seating is not the best option. Thanks for all of your insight and years of experience! And that is why I was sure to include some love seats. That first layout is wonderful for people dealing with two focal points- a view and a fireplace, which is common where I live. It also has symmetry along both the short and long axes of the room, brilliant! Hypothetically, if you had an even longer room with room for another conversation area near the far windows, would you still use as many chairs or is there a secret chair-to-sofa ratio you employ?

Or maybe a bench or daybed. Is there such a thing as too many chairs? One time there was a door to the sunroom in the middle of the large living room in an old Victorian. There, we did a sofa facing the fireplace wall and two chairs and then two facing sofas on the other side. Another time, I did a sofa and two chairs and in the other seating area, four chairs which is a nice arrangement. More important than how many chairs is the size of the chairs. Thank you, Laurel! That is just the advice I needed.

Even my leather library chairs are as small a profile as they can be and still be comfy for a long read. Love your reading your posts! You are so right—interior design is really really hard! Then move the little furniture cutouts around to see what works. I also use cardboard boxes or pieces of flat cardboard on the floor or things like a folding lawn chair to simulate where the real chair will go. You can even put masking tape on the floor to see if there will be enough walking room between pieces.

Cardboard also works to see if picture or mirror sizes will work. Thanks for the great post today! Speaking of which, Laurel were you going to show us pictures of the wall from that awesome kitchen from last week? You have to click the link to see the new images on the post they go with. They are at the bottom of that post. Thanks, Laurel!

Floor plans are my favorite! I place magazines and catalogs on the floor where furniture may be placed some day. Thanks for the peek at your beautiful bedroom. I am a Leatherwood Design Deb Cronin fan! You two could design wonderful things with beautiful fabrics! That works. My old boss from the early nineties, used to put masking tape on the floor. This post is so packed with info and ideas, perfecto. This is like a little design bible for me. A big corner shelf, exactly what my room is missing something else with height.

I hope others can read the design and apply it to their rooms without everything being so literal. These rooms could help me in many spaces throughout my house. I desperately need that size for my bedroom and cannot find it! A space is a space and people are people. There are two lengths. Designers can contact them for a catalog and price list. Your layouts are so wonderfully symmetrical! Any suggestions? Thanks, Brenda, for your helpful suggestions. Fireplace is going to stay, but sizing the sofa is a great idea.

Who knew it was your favorite too! I think the addition of two more chairs is the magic. I remember seeing it in a book my second semester of interior design school. Ahhh… another complete design out of thin air. This one required a water color rendering of the floor plan AND elevations. Only one week to complete the assignment and I had never used water colors. So, I went to the book store and found a book with a room I loved.

Copied it. I feel your pain Genie. My old living room was the worst in terms of furniture placement. You are always SO spot on with your advice and knowledge!! Thanks so much Elizabeth!

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Hi, great post. A very common layout we have in the Cleveland area seems to be the L shaped living and dining room, with the living room being the longer and more awkward room. Any advice? Glad that you enjoyed the post Cindy! One little thing…check piano in layout 2 Reply Cancel. Oh, do I have it backwards?

Hi Laurel, Happy to see the piano in the right position. The pianist should be facing into the room. Great information as always! Presentations and talks are usually a mix of information, inspiration, and motivation. Anytime we get on a stage to speak we are talking about change. You can think of change in two ways. First, the content of every good presentation or story addresses a change of some kind. Second, an effective presentation or a story told well will create a change in the audience.

Sometimes this can be a big change and sometimes it is quite small. Too often, though, the only change the presenter creates in the audience is the change from wakefulness to sleep. When we are surprised—when the unexpected happens—we are fully in the moment and engaged. In classical storytelling, reversals are an important technique.

Do the opposite of what the audience expects their expectations were based on your earlier setup. Your surprises do not have to be overly dramatic ones. Often the best way is more subtle. Make the audience aware that they have a gap in their knowledge and then fill that gap with the answers to the puzzle or guide them to the answers. Take people on a journey of discovery. And this journey is filled with bits of the unexpected. This is what keeps the journey moving forward. Storytellers—filmmakers, novelists, etc. Yes, facts, events, structure are important, but what people remember—and what is more likely to push them to act—is the way the narrative made them feel.

In the live presentation I mistakenly said that vulnerability was the formula for authenticity. I misspoke. What I meant to say was a willingness to take a risk and be vulnerable was a necessary condition for authenticity. There are no formulas. Vulnerability is what makes us human. We are attracted to characters like Woody Toy Story because we see ourselves in their fragility. Even superheroes are interesting only when we know that they have weakness, including the perceived weakness of self-doubt.

What made Robin Williams such a remarkable and beloved entertainer was his humanity and his authenticity. This is not something you can fake. Faking authenticity is like faking good health. Sooner or later its all going to come crashing down. Authenticity is built on honesty and a willingness to be vulnerable. It is risky, which is why authenticity is relatively rare, but so appreciated when it is found. Wired for story We are a storytelling animal. We are not a bullet-point-memorizing animal. We are wired to be attracted to story and to learn from them and to spread them.

Everything depends on the context of the presentation, but in most cases a good presentation is a mix of logic, data, emotion, and inspiration. We are usually OK with the logic and data part, but fail on the emotional and inspirational end. Certainly leaders and educators need to infuse a bit of wonder into their talks that inspire people to make a change. A good presentation should not end when the speaker sits down or the class comes to an end. We will not impact everyone in even our greatest presentations.

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But if we can get enough people talking about the content in the hours or days after our time on stage, then that may be enough. That's something. That's a small victory. Maybe we have lit a spark or motivated someone just a little to explore our message more deeply in future. That is change. It may not be a big change, but it is a change And that is worth getting out of bed for.

Posted at PM Permalink Comments 2. Bill Murray is a wonderful storyteller. In this radio interview, Murray said the key to being funny was being able to tell stories. How, then, does one become a good storyteller, Stern asked. You have to hear stories and you have to live stories. You have to have a bunch of experiences and be able to say 'Here's something that happened to me yesterday So that's what I learned in improv People often ask great storytellers—writers, producers, directors, authors, etc. This is why I always say you have to live a life to tell a life.

I believe this is what Murray is saying above when he says it's important to have a "bunch of experiences" from which to draw. The experiences—good and bad but especially bad —are like a persona library of history and insights for the storyteller. The video above is a nice example of a simple, short story that Murray tells, seemingly impromptu, to a question from the press during a panel interview for the film The Monuments Men. Most people may think nothing of this tale from his life, but it's a great example of the everyday kind of real-life memory from one's past which holds a lesson or a gem of wisdom.

His recollection is a kind of "man-in-hole" story. Right from the beginning, we hear of a traumatic failing that sends Murray out onto the streets of Chicago for a long walk. He's at his lowest, and things look like they will get worse. He continues to walk, not feeling especially hopeful, until he stumbles upon the Art Institute of Chicago.

There, expecting nothing, he is moved by a piece of art. His day went from one of his worst to one with hope and a new perspective, in part because of being exposed to The Song of The Lark , an painting by Jules Adolphe Breton. Posted at PM Permalink Comments 3. Part of the aim of this project, as stated on the Pixar-in-a-Box website is to show how "The subjects you learn in school — math, science, computer science, and humanities — are used every day to create amazing movies at Pixar.

Pixar may be the best at the technical side of animation, but what really made them successful is their understanding of story and storytelling. In this interview regarding Pixar's success , Steve Jobs said this: "Even though Pixar is the most technologically advanced studio in the world, John Lasseter has a saying which has really stuck: No amount of technology will turn a bad story into a good story. The new Art of Storytelling series is great news for educators who want to bring the principles of storytelling into the classroom and help their students understand the art of story.

Yet this is also useful for anyone who wants to become a masterful storyteller in business or in any other endeavor. Here's the introduction video for the Storytelling series. The storytelling series will cover six main parts that take you from the formation of your rough idea to actually creating storyboards. Each lesson features videos and activities, so this is something you can do on your own or as part of a class. Here are the six sections to be covered as outlined in the introductory video in lesson 1: 1 We are all Storytellers 2 Character 3 Structure 4 Visual language 5 Filmmaking grammar 6 Storyboarding Currently, all six lessons are available.

Even if you do not desire to make an animated film, the lessons — especially those related to structure and visual language — will help you create better presentations in all their myriad forms or incorporate storytelling into other aspects of your work and life. If you have not heard of Pixar in a Box, here is a video presentation that explains the concept. And in the true spirit of Pixar, the video introduction is done with great clarity and humor. Here are two good books on Pixar I read recently.

The first one is Creativity, Inc. Both give great insights into the workings of Pixar and also the story making process. The Zen Master of data visualization has died. I am sorry to have to report that Dr. Hans Rosling passed away today in Uppsala, Sweden. He was just A profoundly mournful day for anyone who knew Professor Rosling, obviously. Rosling's work was seen by millions and will continue to be seen by millions worldwide.

It is incalculable just how many professionals Hans inspired over the years. His presentations, always delivered with honesty, integrity, and clarity, were aided by clear visuals of both the digital and analog variety. He was a master statistician, physician, and academic, but also a superb presenter and storyteller. Almost eleven years ago, just after TED began experimenting with putting some of their talks on the web, I wrote this post called "If your idea is worth spreading, then presentation matters.

Rosling from his TED Talk:. If you want to know how he did all those graphics, go to gapminder. It's all there. Hans is saying the problem is not the data. The data is there. But it's not accessible to most people for three reasons: 1 For researchers and journalists, teachers, etc. His solution is to make the data free, let it evoke and provoke an 'aha' experience, or a 'wow! I loved the way he got involved with the data, virtually throwing himself into the screen. He got his point across, no question about it. From that point on, I watched virtually every talk he made and featured him in every book I wrote on presentation.

I saw the professor in person at TED and was a fellow presenter with him at Tableau in Seattle where he, as usual, had the crowd of data geeks in the palm of his hand.

Hans Rosling is that master. His contributions are immense, and he will be missed deeply. Below is Dr.

topdsasocolce.tk Rosling's debut at TED It's as good now as it was then.