Futura Interiors

The World of Design at Your Fingertips

Archive for April, 2010

Traveling and shopping along the way…

By: Cindy Lam

Summer’s right around the corner and with that said…people will be traveling!  As a designer and a traveler, I would have to say that the best part of traveling is the shopping aspect of it.  Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, you’ve got to set aside time to visit the flea markets and all the local shops for all the hidden gems.   Who knows…you might as well be shopping for that residential project you have.

From past experience, I’ve traveled from small villages and markets to commercialized shopping centers and have preferred the one of a kind, small, low key local markets.  You tend to find the accessories or furniture pieces that are not mass produced.  I have always seen amazing local art, sculptures that were made by hand and paintings that represented culture and history and wished that I had access to shipping it all back. 

One tip I can pass on while traveling is if you come across something you really like, buy it!  I have passed on one too many “one of a kind item” that I’ve come across and regret that I didn’t buy it when I was there.  Now, I don’t know where to find these special hand made pieces for my home unless I travel back to the same spot. Don’t let that great product or fashion piece pass you by.  The more and more you travel, the more and more interesting items you’ll find yourself collecting and brining home for yourself or  you client.  The next time you’re packing for a big trip, pack lightly because if you’re a designer like me, you’ll most likely be brining back much more than you’ve anticipated. 

Before you travel to any destination, do your research on the places to see, stay, eat and SHOP.  

For more information on finding out where the hot spots are, you can find books by location, listing the local hotels, restaurants and shops from Taschen.com   


Rep’s Territory

by Erline M. Altamira

After leaving Los Angeles (LA) to move to Orange County (OC) last year I didn’t realize that most of my vendor representatives were only allowed to serve the LA design firms or designers. There were a great few that could but for the most part I had to start a new relationship for each manufacturer from scratch.

It’s been about a year and thankfully the Reps in the OC have been helpful and resourceful. I think it will take another year or so to fully develop a sync with each rep and look forward in specifying their goods for future projects.

Please let me know if you are a rep that would like to present your s our FI design team. Thank you!!


by Erline M. Altamira

Some of the important details in design are the finishes designers specify for various items. For example the finishes for paint, furniture surface areas, and metal hardware are a few to consider. You will find through experience that fine details like this will help prevent performance issues for the overall piece in the long run.

Paint: Depending on the manufacturer you will come across finish terms like Flat, Eggshell, Satin, and Semi-Gloss. Flat has a matte look usually the least expensive because it is usually used for ceilings that are rarely touched.  Eggshell is a bit more durable and has a low sheen. Satin finishes is my preference due to its moderate sheen and high durability; can be wiped down occasionally. Semi-Gloss is usually used for high moisture areas like bathrooms & kitchens or surfaces that need to be whipped down regularly.

Surfaces: Depending area your furniture piece (ex: console) is in, designers also need to consider the function of the surface area. If your console is in a penthouse in the far bonus room that is rarely used then a standard finish that the manufacturer recommends should be suffice. If the console is used in a high traffic lobby space or an entry area in a residence, then you consider polyurethane type finishes to withstand the regular contact the console will have with keys, rings, or hard objects.

Hardware:  A polished chrome finish is luxurious but in time a user or hotel housekeeping will be annoyed polishing and re-polishing metal rails, doorknobs, etc. because smudges are noticeable on this finish. A satin or brushed nickel finish will be cost efficient because less maintenance is involved.

Remember to consider the application of your piece and specify a finish that best suits the use. Please let me know if you have any comments or questions and I will try getting back to you!

Plants make you happy!

Written by: Cindy Lam

Over the weekend, my friend invited me to go plant shopping with her.   As much as I didn’t know about  plants,   I went along for fun.  Since she was very specific in what she wanted, we drove from Home Depot to Lowe’s to Ikea to find specific plants for her home.  At first I didn’t know why we were searching high and low for a lemon balm plant or a mint leaf plant and the list goes on…

As we shopped and shopped, we were learning more and more about the purpose of each plant and why you may need certain ones for each room in your home. I realized that having indoor plants benefit you in many more ways than one!

Let’s start off with the most common reason why people may buy a house plant, it looks good!  Let’s face it, plants add life, texture and color to any room.  The bigger picture is that houseplants add indoor air quality and can help improve your health.

Benefits of having an indoor plant:

-Plants remove carbon dioxide in the air and provide oxygen

-Green plants soothe ones’ environment and can add comfort

-Feng Shui

-Indoor plants reduce headaches, stress and can increase productivity in a work environment

-Natural air fresheners

-Controlled humidity levels

Types of plants and their added benefits:

Peppermint: Said to increase alertness and increase memory

English Ivy: Absorbs organic compounds and pollutants

Areca Palm: Known for filtering air borne particles

The ten air cleaning plants you may want to add to your work environment:

  • Lady palm
  • Spider plant
  • Dwarf date palm
  • Bamboo palm
  • Sword fern
  • Areca palm
  • Blue daisy
  • American rubber plant
  • Boston fern
  • Blue-eyed daisy
  • Thank you!

    We would love to hear about your favorite indoor plant!

    AI Portfolio Show

    by Erline M. Altamira

    A colleague and I attended The Art Institute (AI) portfolio workshop to view the works and design of the graduating students. There were many custom booths showcasing the graduate’s talents and interactive portfolios. We met a few graduates while they explained their concepts and skills. We viewed their works during the family & friends hours, which was great seeing the graduates supported by their family and many friends.

    AI offers majors in various design fields and culinary arts. The school provides good career resources and excellent help from the faculty. The faculty was helpful when I toured the Orange County campus and they continue to good relationship with FI. It was reminiscent to the FIDM Los Angeles campus and inspiring seeing the designers and artists of tomorrow. I look forward to seeing their talents being shared within our industry and the world.