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We recently chatted with circaphiles ambassador & COLOR-HAPPY designer

LIZ CAAN

Here at Circaphiles we like to surround ourselves with inspiring friends, and Liz Caan certainly falls into that category. Founder of Liz Caan & Co., based in Newton, Massachusetts, Liz is a Circaphiles ambassador we are especially proud to have help lead our members. Known for layering pattern, color and texture, her designs are full of personality. Today, she is unlocking the door and giving us a peek inside of how she started her firm, what she wishes she knew then and more. Read on…

 

 

1. What did you wish you knew when you started your design firm?

I wish I knew a lot of things but I really wish I knew how much business management, business development, project management, and operational processes and procedures we would need to not only develop but also refine, change and continue to refine and change as we grew. Every year we find ways to do things better and more efficiently which is just as enjoyable as the design aspect. …it’s just a different part of your brain. While I love designing, it only accounts for a small percentage of my time. A lot of my time is spent problem-solving, teaching and mentoring staff and interfacing with clients. . .

2. Was there something unexpected that you learned from your team along the
way?

All my weaknesses as well as how much I enjoy teaching and mentoring and
developing. I learned that I needed to hire people who are good at the things I am
weak at or not really interested in or have no time for. I learned that we needed a team
with very different personalities and skillsets to be successful. We can’t all be type A
and alike. I needed to cultivate a team that had the skills and the temperament I
lacked.

 

 

3. If there is one piece of advice you would give a design student, what would it
be?

Much of design is about understanding who you are designing for (clients) and with, like architects, contractors, artisans, and workrooms. My advice would be to develop the most incredible and acute listening and observation skills. The best design is about collaboration and understanding the client’s values, goals and objectives so you can try and enhance their life through informed design which means you are always listening with your eyes and your ears.

4. When a client asks for a resource, how do you answer them?

We are pretty transparent about our resources. Many of our workrooms will not work directly with a client, only trade, so sometimes we even introduce the client to the artisan. They love getting a behind-the-scenes look and it gives them a personal connection to the piece being made for them.

 

 

5. How have you directly reached out to a potential new client?

I actually have never done this. Hard to believe but luckily our phone rings, and our clients give great referrals and our Social Media is a big source of new business.

PACIFIC DESIGN CENTER & CIRCAPHILES PRESENT: WESTWEEK 2021 OPENING NIGHT KICK-OFF CELEBRATION

An evening filled with friends, fun, and of course, lots of design talk. It was such a pleasure partnering with the Pacific Design Center to bring to life this year’s Westweek opening night event. Connecting with old friends, reflecting on the challenging year past, and hearing from industry icons – the night will go down in our history books!

Guests were treated to designer cocktail (a riff on a traditional Paloma) mixology lessons by interior designer Janice Barta with some mint garnish to top it off by Steven Ehrlich. César Giraldo shared his silver lining over swigs and the team at XTEN Architecture toasted from their newly-designed kitchen. All hosted by Snyder Diamond and greeted by Galerie Magazine’s Managing Editor, Jill Sieracki.

Kaitlin Petersen, Editor in Chief of Business of Home, gave an insightful interview with Breegan Jane. Erika Heet sat down with the iconic Roger Thomas from his new home in Venice, Italy. We played trivia games hosted by our friends Ron Woodson & Jaime Rummerfield of Save Iconic Architecture and Sea Zeda of 11 Ravens. Luxe Magazine’s Lisa Bingham Dewart took questions from the audience in an “Ask the Editor” segment.  Kneedler Fauchere President, Gina DeWitt, and UCLA chapter ASID Board President, Lissette Meza, voiced a heartfelt tribute to those we lost this past year, including Rocky LaFleur and Jeff Sampson; accompanied by a breathtaking acapella performance by Ines Belayouni.

Here is what we learned in our breakout rooms:

Spontaneous interactions are very much still alive and provided soup for our souls!

Crestron presented the latest inventive design technology with HomeTime live-streaming. A game-changer for Zoom meetings, events, and learning!

Samuel & Sons launched a collection of luxurious trims with the Roger Thomas Collection.

Hartmann&Forbes unveiled their latest wall coverings and textiles by Houston-based interior designer,  J.Randall Powers.

Snyder Diamond gave us a tour of their ever so sleek Van Nuys showroom location, opening soon!

& a special thanks to all of our event sponsors Crestron, 11 Ravens, Snyder Diamond, Hartmann&Forbes, Samuel & Sons, and Dedon.

 

The theme of the evening? Reflecting on the Silver Linings of the challenging year past. Hear from Circaphiles founder Genevieve Trousdale, designer Margaret Ash and Toma Clark Haines as they share their Silver Linings below! 

The key to a future of silver linings? What we saw from Crestron is a game changer!  We were so impressed by their new HomeTime technology for enhanced virtual communication, we asked them to create this video to share with you…since our clients are asking for this more and more!

From changing scope mid-project to managing clients and pesky backorders, there are few things the design community is better equipped to handle than a last-minute change-up. As the world began to shutter over the last year, our community did what it does best and switched things up to effortlessly meet the world where it was able to, online. Case in point? An abundance of virtual showrooms that facilitated the continued sharing of the work of artists and designers. 

Amongst these, one showroom caught the enraptured attention of our Circaphiles office and begged for a deeper dive into the details behind the designs. Obsidian Showhouse by the Black Artist and Designers Guild was not only thoughtful and unique, but the execution was exceptional.

Curious how it came together? Read on…

ABOUT THE SHOWHOUSE:

Imagined as the quintessential design for the modern Black family, the showhouse is a completely virtual space tasked with supporting the spiritual and functional aspects of the home. While the design was virtual, the space conceptualized had a   (very real) plot of land in Oakland, California as its dreamt-up home. With a concept and location in mind, designers and artists began work, considering work-life balance, family life, rest and nourishment, spirituality, and creating joy in a dynamic, cohesive space. Twenty-three creators came together to collaborate on the space.  

Keep scrolling to see just a few of the spaces that we fell in love with! Our team sat down with the creators to find the root of their inspiration and all those precise, minute details that make a space truly shine. The entire project can be viewed virtually here

Come along…let’s make our own virtual tour! 

DIVAI BY PENNY FRANCIS & CASI ST. JULIAN OF ECLECTIC HOME:

We were first introduced to the New-Orleans based design firm, Eclectic Home, last Spring and have been followers ever since! Principals Penny and Casi had the enviable job of creating a unique entertaining space that celebrates Northern California’s thriving wine industry. Penny says Divai (wine in Swahili) is not only a place to store wine but to experience it with all the senses, creating a luxurious experience for the oenophile.” Moody colors and organic forms take center stage with walls built to display wine and cocoon guests as they enjoy a meal. 

A note from the designer, Penny Francis: “Heaped in the diversity of Southern Creole culture and our own history, our Black experience is reflected in the design choices. African, Haitian, French, Spanish, and Native Americans all have influenced our culture, architecture, and spirit. It is the mix of diversity that draws us to contrast in materials and juxtaposing periods and styles. Inspired by Hausa architecture and the movement of the building ornamentation, our favorite detail is the racking system.  The racks’ fluid, curved shape envelopes you, drawing you into the space for a sensory experience; not to only enjoy the wine but the layers of materials and beauty of the space. “

The artist studios & garden by linda allen of linda allen designs

A space for reflection and creation, Linda Allen paired neutral tones with soft lines for her interpretation of an artists studio and garden. She centered her space around supporting the experience of the Black high-achiever. Linda says “I call my spaces ‘I am Good Enough’.”  The intention being to foster creativity and provide the space for inspiration and expression through natural formations and elements. She noted there is a pressure to “create a legacy” for Black professionals and her goal was to create a space for that work and also for authenticity and healing. 

Unlike corporate spaces, the lighting layers softly glow and contour the curves through the room.  Our eyes studied this room with ease, breaths deepened and minds slowed. Take a moment and do the same

harmony room: laura hodges of laura hodges studio

Fun and inviting, this dining and living space by Circaphiles ambassador. Laura Hodges, features big, bold industrial elements complemented by natural design components. A communal dining area is anchored by an abstract mural by BADG creator, Glenyse Thompson.  While the seating area seems to have been blended into the foundation of the room, building on the “natural” theme; almost as if it’s carved out of the space.

Be sure to view the showhouse in its entirety here.  The Obsidian Showhouse is truly a masterclass in creativity and you’re bound to find a few new favorite designers and artists!