Futura Interiors

The World of Design at Your Fingertips

Archive for November, 2009

Magical Effects

By Tina Howell

I had an eventful week- being to an art exhibit closing party, attending a holiday celebration at an art studio, seeing a Disney production play and exhibiting at a privately owned banquet hall. Out of all of these venues, the one thing in common was the unique experience that each of the places had to offer.

These four spaces couldn’t be any more different, yet, the purposes of the events were similar: interacting with people, entertainment, and learning. I enjoyed being within each of the space because of the unique atmosphere and audience it brought together.

Although many of our daily activities are gradually been substituted by virtue space, our physical experience in a space can never be digitally substituted or duplicated. It gives me a sense of fulfillment knowing that we as designers are enriching our world and creating magical experiences for generations to come.


Indoor Air Quality

By Melody Saradpon

In this day and age, the design industry has intensely focused on “sustainability” and becoming “green”. Many of our efforts have been revolving around the exterior environment and restoring our natural resources; however, in doing so, we have also neglected another important environment: indoors! The majority of Americans spend approximately 85-90% of their time indoors, where the USEPA (also known as the United States Environmental Protection Agency) have stated that indoor air pollutant rates are almost 5x higher than outdoor pollution. This statistic is not a simple scare tactic–about 23 million  of people suffer from allergies, asthma, and other respiratory ailments; it has been proven that indoor pollutants contribute to these illnesses.

Many of our common household items and surfaces emit toxic fumes (also known as VOCs: volatile organic compounds), which negatively affect our health; cleaners, solvents, paints, and even wood furnishings are just a few examples. While extensively fool-proofing your home or office may be too costly or unrealistic, there are a few methods that can help increase indoor air quality:

– Ventilation & Filtration: Most interiors have a ventilation system that helps circulate outdoor air indoors to maintain a comfortable and clean atmosphere. Maintaining a clean HVAC system, as well as installing clean filters to catch airborne toxins, such as dust, mold, and asbestos. In addition, make sure you utilize windows and other exterior openings to bring in more outdoor air to break up concentrated toxins indoors.

– Source Control: This method is considered the most effective in increasing indoor air quality for a home; you can reduce the amount volatile compounds by including more plants indoors, or by stashing all of your cleaners/solvents/paints in an outdoor shed or garage, as opposed to storing them under the kitchen or bathroom sink (which can affect your water!).

Being mindful of the air we breathe–indoors and outdoors–makes for happier and healthier human beings!

Resourceful Resources

by Erline M. Altamira

Developing your resource library is a necessary ongoing task we as well-prepared designers must do everyday. Designers and design firms update, add/omit their resources on a daily basis. We develop a collection of various lines, finishes, etc. to aid us in our sometimes impromptu designing. Surprisingly libraries get full of products and we’ll have to update and clean out what we don’t use to make room for what we use most. The latest and greatest products don’t always end up on the shelf. Price points, reputation, custom capabilities, innovation, lead time, and especially great representatives are what help put these lines/manufacturers on the shelf.

I admire and respect the representatives that aid designers design our innovative schemes. Good reps are our resourceful resources that support us behind the scenes, assist us to meet the budget, are flexible to help us produce beautiful custom work, and sometimes help designers look like heroes in front of clients. Most reps will go the extra mile to help the project in any way they can and will stay true to their word.

I look to them as educators and rely on them as an important resource for incorporating great product our designs. Even in this digital world, great reps are a commodity and are valued for their knowledge and experiences.

Greening Our Designs

by Tina Howell

Most designers might agree that we are visual people and are naturally inspired by colors, forms and styles. A preliminary design process usually starts with collages of colorful concept images. Somewhere along the process, the project will eventually turn “green”, while the final design coordinates with original design concept.

At FI, we are learning that the sustainability standards much like design trends are changing and elevating all the time. We are building a green product library, which will help changing our design process to enhance our research results, incorporate green products, collaborate with local sources, and discover alternative solutions in the early stage of designs. We hope our clients will in terms receive better quality service.

The road to greening our designs has brought us lots of surprises. We are excited and hope to gain more support along this path.

Industry Acronyms

by Erline M. Altamira


Our industry carries a variety of different terminologies and acronyms that might sound foreign to a newcomer. Then you cross international waters and the meanings are different and are interpreted differently there.  The term “lift” translates to elevator which I learned earlier in the year; makes sense.

Example: BOH – Back of House in our industry can translate or mean the following to others.

Acronym Definition
BOH Bournemouth Airport Identifier
BOH Bank of Hawaii
BOH Board of Health
BOH Back Of House
BOH Board of Housing
BOH Bridge Of Hope
BOH Badge of Honor
BOH Bag of Holding
BOH Balance on Hand
BOH Boots of Haste
BOH Best of Highlands
BOH bottom of hill
BOH Bat Outta Hell
BOH Beginning On Hand
BOH Break-Off Height
BOH Baseline Overhaul
BOH Bay Osteopathic Hospital
BOH Bad on Hand
BOH Before Office Hours
BOH Bros Over Hoes
BOH B-hydroxyethyl hydrazine
BOH Bad Obstetrics History

In this new age of initialism, texting, and abbreviating, we not only need to know what terms like CFO and company’s acronyms stand for; we also need to understand shorthand for things like ETA and EOD. There are good websites and tools to help people understand, but in the end your experiences will help you catch on faster. TTYL.

DIY Projects

By Tina Howell

My husband and I have been working on various small home improvement projects. Like many home owners, we are constantly challenged with “small projects” that may or may not impact the aesthetics of our home. Our combined backgrounds of engineering, design and project management have strengthened our DIY confidence. For example, our latest driveway gate project have progressed through a series of processes: preliminary research, buy or make analysis, rendering, drafting, design, material and hardware selection, fabrication, and vendor management. After verifying the condition of the posts for the gates, we decided to leave the installation work to the “experts”.

It is a privilege working with interior design experts and able to access an abundance of design resources. Have you gone beyond your comfort zone with home improvement and are considering professional help? Give us a call!


by Erline M. Altamira

It’s curious to see many companies jumping on the bandwagon of sustainability. I applaud those who are actually using sustainable ways to manufacture their products or run their business, but for those who are just throwing the “green” or “sustainable” word around….please be discrete. There are so many aspects and factors that categorize a sustainable product but no actual regulations to make sure companies are being truthful.

I’ve noticed companies that recently had sustainable claims about their products have updated their websites or literature completely removing their previous note. There are also reps that are not even sure why the products they are selling are claiming eco-friendly or sustainability. It’s a great way to market but please be prepared for the inquisitive people who actually want to be enlightened.

Later we will see benchmarks and principles we as a company will have to abide by before we can claim to be sustainable. I’m thankful for those who are taking the challenge to producing quality products and service while keeping our planet in mind. The industry has a long way to go but fortunately the aim is there.