Interior Design Social Diary™: James Swan in MD

James Swan with IDRA Managing Director V. Carr

Celebrity interior designer and author of the book 101 Things I Hate About Your House, James Swan, made a special appearance at trade-only book signing and reception held at Dan Kuglers Design Center in Rockville, Maryland.  Hosted by Fanny Zigdon of Design Loft Interiors and Dan Kugler of The Dan Kugler Design Center, Swan helped celebrate the launch of new lines available to the trade and consumers through Kugler’s Design Center.

After mingling with guests, James read excerpts from his book followed by a question and answer session during which he shared pearls of wisdom from his time working with celebrity clients and Hollywood insiders. "James is a treasure to the interior design community and  quite possibly one of the kindest, most gracious people I have ever met." said V. Carr of The Interior Design Resource Agency. "We  hope to see him back very soon."

Fanny Zigdon of Design Loft Interiors


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Interior Design Social Diary™: Million Dollar Decorators Mary McDonald


The Interior Design Social Diary™ is a Trademark of the The Interior Design Resource Agency™
All Rights Reserved.


IDRA Software Feature: AutoCAD for MAC 2012

The new AutoCAD® for Mac® software is here, helping you create stunning designs on your platform of choice. AutoCAD for Mac CAD software delivers powerhouse 3D design tools and timesaving drafting tools. It takes full advantage of the Mac OS® X platform, with an intuitive user interface. Share files regardless of platform with native support for DWG™ technology. And new network licensing support may help you more easily manage your licenses and save money.


Design and shape the world around you with AutoCAD® for Mac® software. Explore your ideas, speed documentation, and share data seamlessly. With the power, flexibility, and accuracy you expect from AutoCAD® software in an intuitive, native Mac interface, AutoCAD for Mac helps you take your design and documentation further.

Native Support For Mac OS

Get the robust 3D free-form design tools and powerful drafting capabilities you expect from AutoCAD in an intuitive Mac® interface. AutoCAD for Mac software takes full advantage of the Mac OS® X platform. Draw and manage layouts using controls that work like you think. Pan and zoom with Multi-Touch gestures and find your designs quickly using Cover Flow navigation to flip through previews of your files

3D Free-Form Design Tools

Explore your design ideas with easy-to-use tools that help you transform concepts into reality. Push and pull faces, edges, and vertices to model complex shapes. Refine mesh surfaces and create high-precision NURBS curves and surfaces. Preview surfaces and solids as you create them—in real time

Productivity Tools

Auto-complete options help you access commands more efficiently. The power of multi-functional grips extends to most AutoCAD objects, including lines, arcs, dimensions, and mleaders as well as 3D faces, edges and vertices. External reference (xref) visor puts xref tools at your fingertips. Elements modified in one file are easily updated in related design files. Divvy up large project components and work on them simultaneously to maximize efficiency.

Rendering Tools

AutoCAD for Mac software transforms your designs into images that convey the nuances of your design. Powerful rendering tools let you choose from hundreds of materials, apply photometric lighting, and control the display to create highly accurate, photorealistic images.

Associative Array Functionality

Reduce rework by creating relationships between arrayed objects, such as windows on a building or trusses on a bridge. The automation, management, and editing tools in AutoCAD for Mac software help you reduce repetitive tasks

Parametric Drawing

Define persistent object relationships and your design adjusts automatically as you draw—parallel lines stay parallel, concentric circles stay centered. Infer both geometric and dimensional constraints in real-time.


Configure settings, extend the software, and build custom workflows. You can even create specialized design and drafting applications—such as industry-specific software or add-on applications from partner developers.

Network Licensing

AutoCAD for Mac offers a choice of licensing options – including network licensing – to help simplify software asset management and give you more flexibility in maximizing the software across geographically dispersed teams.

Native Support For DWG

Work natively in DWG™, one of the world’s most common file formats. Share files easily and confidently regardless of platform.

Rephouse Releases Commercial Flooring Design Tool

Rephouse has released over 30 new colours as part of its 2011 Neoflex commercial & recreational flooring range.

Not sure which colour combination to choose? Why not design your own flooring with Rephouse's new Think Color interactive design tool?


Select chip sizes and % colour distribution to view your own design- once you've created your ideal
floor, Rephouse will produce a free sample, so you can see how your finished floor will look!

Interior Design Social Diary™: Apt Therapy & Mid-Century Madness


Suzanne McLees - A native Washingtonian and resident of the award-winning mid-century modern community in Alexandria, Virginia, Hollin Hills, Suzanne McLees is a passionate enthusiast for modern art and design. Formerly Northeast Area Manager of Design Within Reach (DWR), Suzanne opened DWR's first location in Washington, DC, in Cady's, Alley/Georgetown in 2004 and managed the Adams Morgan studio (now closed) from 2005-2007. She has lived in France and traveled to 26 countries. Although her current profession involves international health and development with travel to Africa, in her spare time, she actively pursues her interest in all things modern. Suzanne is Chair of the committee planning the April 28, 2012 Hollin Hills House and Garden Tour (for details, visit and, on Facebook, Hollin Hills House and Garden Tour).

Michael Shapiro - Michael Shapiro is founder of the popular local blog Modern Capital and is a Realtor with Long and Foster. Modern Capital (, launched in the fall of 2006, is dedicated to covering mid-century modern and modern real estate, design and events in the D.C. area. It also is committed to raising awareness and supporting efforts to preserve mid-century modern architecture through donations to local and national preservation groups. Michael's passion for informing people about the variety of mid-century modern homes and neighborhoods in the area and an intense interest from readers looking for a real estate professional who understands and appreciates mid-century modern architecture, led him to pursue his real estate license. He is now licensed in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia focusing on helping people buy and sell mid-century modern homes.

Robert Chapman - Robert Chapman is one of DC’s leading purveyors of mid-century modern furniture. Many of you know him from his years running Modernicus. He is now preparing to open his new store at Cady's Alley in Georgetown, ARCHER which aims to be an inspiring retail experience that highlights 20th Century design and fine art alongside a permanent collection of high quality modern furnishings for the home. A regular exhibition schedule of important designers from around the world ensures the continued dialog of good design.


Building Your Press Kit: How to Get the Media Coverage You Deserve!

More Tips for Building Your Press Kits


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Creating a VIP Client Experience: Welcome Packets

How to Create the "VIP Experience" for Your Clients with a Welcome Packet

When you start working with a new one-on-one or high-end client you want to set the scene for your relationship together and make them feel that they really have made the right choice in deciding to work with you - even though YOU know that they have!

When you work one-on-one with your high-end clients you need to develop the "VIP experience" so that your clients feel that they are more than "just another client". This goes beyond the professional, courteous, customer service that is part of your business but extends into the "experience" of your busines. It's about how you make your clients feel and the experience they get as a result of working with you.

One of ways in which you can do that is to develop a Welcome Packet that you give to your client as soon as you've agreed to work together. A Welcome Packet is a document - either be printed and mailed or digital and emailed - that you send out to your new clients when they sign up to work with you, and cements the relationship you are about to have with them.

Each business owner's Welcome Packet is going to be different, depending on their business and what they want their clients to know, but what I'd like to share with you today are some key elements for including in your Welcome Packet. You don't have to include all of these in your own, simply use this as a guide for developing your own unique Welcome Packet:


1. Welcome Note from You: When your client opens their Welcome Packet make the first thing they see a welcome note from you. Introduce your business and tell them how you help clients - I know they may already know this from your initial conversation with them, but it helps to reinforce their decision.


2. Personal Note: Include some personal tidbits about yourself, your background, and your story, i.e. how you came to be a solo service professional. If you can, add an informal picture so your clients get to see the person, not just the business owner. This will help to cement the relationship going forward as they'll feel they're getting to know you already.


3. Enrollment Form/Project Booking Form: On this form have space for your client to fill in all their details and a place for them to sign so that they can fax this back to you - and include all the details about your program/service that you've already discussed. This confirms the arrangement you've both made, and both parties know exactly what they're signing up for.


4. Terms & Conditions: Okay, this isn't exactly exciting reading material but it's very, very important. It sets out specifically what your terms and conditions are, i.e. payment policies, payment methods, confidentiality etc. etc. Now this part will very much be unique to your business, and if you've had something formal drawn up by an attorney make sure you include that here too.


5. Credit Card Authorization Form: You want to get paid, right? Be sure to include this form on a separate page so that your client can fax back their credit card details to you. And I *highly recommend* that you tell your client to fax or mail this form to you, and not email it. Why? Because this is confidential information and standard email is not secure - think in terms of a postcard being sent through the mail; anyone can read it!


6. Policies & Communications: This part is important because it sets the boundaries for your business. It lets your clients know, amongst other things, how and when they can communicate with you i.e. you can state that phone calls must be scheduled in advance or you'll only take calls between certain hours - you don't want clients calling you at eight o'clock on a Sunday evening, do you? It might include some information about how you schedule work priorities, handle urgent requests etc.


7. Additional Services/Programs: This can also be a good way to let your clients know about other services, products, and programs that you offer - just a one page sheet is enough to give them a taste of how else you can help them.


Oh... and one other point about creating your Welcome Packet - make sure it's professionally laid out and presented - it all goes towards creating the "VIP experience" for your clients.

By Tracey Lawton
Photography by Serghei Starus


(c) 2009 Tracey Lawton  Online Business Development Strategist, Tracey Lawton, teaches solo service professionals how to create a thriving and profitable business through the implementation of simple office organization and online marketing systems, which leads to more clients, more profits, and more freedom. Get your "Office Organization Success Toolkit" plus how-to articles, resources, tips, and tools at