My top Takeaways from Design Camp Atlanta

Last week as I shared in my previous post, I was lucky enough to attend Design Camp in Atlanta; an information packed design seminar hosted by celebrity interior designers Lori Dennis and Kelli Ellis. It turned out to be one of the most inspirational seminars I have attended. A full back to back line up of speakers who comprise some of the industries most respected designers, bloggers, photographers, social media experts and business specialists. It seems like we covered everything design related and the speakers were all so open with sharing advice that lead them to the success they enjoy today. Representatives from Houzz, HGTV, Duralee, Hansgrohe, Sub Zero Wolf, Ronda Rice Carmen, author of All The Best Blog, photographer Gerardo Jaconelli and many more shared so much information that I hardly got any sleep my entire time there.  Not to mention being a little celebrity awestruck ( Barry Dixon, Kimberley Seldon, and Susanna Salk to name a few).

Many of the attendees wrote wonderful blog recaps of all the events including my friend Lisa Mende and also Paloma of La Dolce Vita, and you should definitely check them out. If you are like me though, you want to know specific details…what did they say?  What did you learn?

So here are some of my biggest takeaways from Design Camp.

The first day began with Trends…who doesn’t love that topic? Our speaker was the quite colorful Bill Indursky of V and M (Vintage and Modern). V and M is an online source for unique vintage finds of furniture, jewelry, fashion and design.

V and M founder Bill Indurskey

V and M founder Bill Indursky

Bill spoke about 4 trends going forward into 2013-2014

Raw Trend: weathered wood, rusting metal, oiled and pickled woods, patina, home made. Hotel look is out, stripped down Americana is in. The one surprise for me was (hang on to your fan decks color lovers)  Beige is coming back! Yup, no sooner did I get home and see that the new House Beautiful and Architectural Digest both have Beige rooms on this months cover. Humm…this I have to think about.

Pattern Play: Ikats, tribal prints, lettering is everywhere, esp. popular are Roman Numerals, large rusted numerals and vintage signs.

Dramatic License: taking normal proportions and playing with it. Furniture with blocky and cartoonesk shapes…Bill called it “Flintstones furniture”. Shag carpeting is making a come back and we will see more rock patterns on fabric and over blown proportions…”the Gaga of furniture design”according to Bill.

The Ancients: classicism that is full of angelic themes, neoclassic, traditional murals. We have seen so much Moroccan influence but the newest trend is Egyptian Revival. It was quite a coincidence but Design Camp was held in the Fox Theater and the building is Egyptian Revival. Check out the carpet in the room we were in.

and look at this gorgeous wall sconce.

Fox Theater Atlanta

Barry Dixon was AMAZING! So down to earth and just the exact opposite of trendy. He creates timeless interiors that are as current today as they were 20 years ago. He was so generous in sharing his design philosophy and tips.

Barry Dixon

Barry Dixon

Barry gets most of his design inspiration from nature and the landscape that surrounds his farm (Estate) in Virginia. My biggest takeaways from Barry were:

The best ideas are the ones that come most quickly to us. Don’t belabor your design plans, your first gut instinct is almost always the best.

Quality always sellsand my absolute favorite:

“No matter what the client’s budget, spend only at the very top and the very bottom“. Never spend in the middle or you will have mediocre design. If needed Barry has no problem with layering high end Antiques, designer furniture and fabrics with low end accessories from Target.

Kimberley Seldon is a design guru who had the whole room captivated. She was one of the most entertaining speakers, and for me,  one of the highlights of the event.

kimberely Seldon

kimberley Seldon

The woman is really amazing. Besides a hugely successful design business, she is an author, a TV personality, a well respected business coach with a huge following, and the publisher of Dabble magazine. She also has a family yet has figured out a way to make it all work on her terms…without being stressed out.

My biggest takeaways from Kimberley were:

most of us are not charging enough. Clearly evident by having all the attendees first stand up and then sit down as she quoted hourly rates.

Branding is hugely important!!!  It’s no longer just about pretty interiors.

The best way to pre-qualify a client is by telling them your fee (I love that one).

Susanna Salk is an author who writes about design. Her latest book is Be Your Own Decorator and I must say, one of my favorite new design books. Unfortunately I didn’t get a good photo of Susanna but she is as gracious as she is beautiful.

susanna Salk

Susanna Salk

My biggest takeaway from Susanna was:

Don’t Over Style your room photos. Editors are over the highly “staged” and “show house” styled rooms. They want to see a more authentic side of life. I have noticed these less than perfect rooms quite a bit lately; dogs, kids, hastily made beds and nowhere near perfect rooms are much more prevalent in many decor magazines. She had us all laughing when she said if an editor sees one more photo of an ottoman with a tray on it set for breakfast they will immediately throw it out.

Lastly, what would Camp be without a bunch of giveaways? The sponsors were unbelievably generous with free gifts but I must say the highlight was when Jason McNeely of Hansgrohe said he was giving away two high end shower heads only to change his mind and tell everyone in attendance they would be getting one. The entire crowd started to scream…you would have thought we were in Oprah’s audience and had just been gifted a new car…it was such fun! thank you Jason.

If you want to get inspired and get your business back on track this year I highly recommend you check out Design Camp. There are new sessions already posted including an upcoming one in Seattle  May 1-3rd.

I hope you enjoyed my takeaways…did you learn anything? which one was your favorite?




21 Responses to My top Takeaways from Design Camp Atlanta
  1. Andrea Brooks Reply

    Thanks so much for the recap and insider information Linda! You know I wasted no time searching out and finding a great vintage Egyptian revival vase–right on trend in an attainable way!!

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Love that you did that Andrea and so happy to share all that I learned.

  2. Jennifer Reply

    FANTASTIC recap Linda!!! Thank you for sharing:)

    • Linda Holt Reply

      wish you hadn’t been sick Jennifer but hopefully you will be able to attend another one.

  3. Sarah @ Redesigning Sarah Reply

    Great recap – sounds amazing! Kimberly Seldon is fantastic. I’ve done some of her Business of Design courses and she is very forthright and open with her ideas.

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Thanks Sarah, I am a huge fan of Kimberley’s as well. I plan on taking her class when she brings it to the East Coast later this year.

  4. Sherry Reply

    Thanks so much for sharing your recap, Linda! Good stuff.

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Glad to be of service Sherry!

  5. Reflections Interior Designs Reply

    What a great recap, thank you so much, and I didn’t realize they were having one in Seattle. I’ll definitely need to check that out. I highly recommend Kimberley’s Business of Design online course, it’s fantastic. It’ll be up and running again late spring!

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Thanks Jil, I’m sold…Kimberley was great!

  6. Ellen @Color Calling Reply

    Linda, thank you for a wonderful synopsis. Sounds like a very worthwhile opportunity. Stay warm, I understand Ol’ Man Winter is coming knocking in your area right about now! Best, Ellen

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Thank you Ellen and yes we are awaiting a big wintery blast!

  7. Vered Rosen Reply

    Thanks for sharing what you’ve learned! I liked the tip about using either high end or low end. I just mentioned this yesterday to a client who bought high end furniture from Ethan Allen and was worried about spending too much on the project. I brought in some pillows from Marshall’s and pier1 and they looked great, because they were the right color, pattern and shape! She was a bit baffled that she may not need to order expensive custom made pillows, but I reassured her that it was perfectly fine and that she wold better spend that money on lighting or a unique coffee table that she liked.
    By the way, I am right around the corner from you (newton), and we are getting ready for the blizzard as well…

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Thanks so much for the comment Vered and stay safe in Newton…looks like it is going to be quite a storm.

  8. Stacy Naquin Reply

    Thanks so much for sharing Linda! Wish I was there!!!

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Thanks Stacy…I wish you were there too as I would love to meet you in person!

  9. Sheila @sZinteriors Reply

    Wow, Linda! What a fantastic post – bookmarking in action! I can’t decide which tip is my favorite as they’re all really helpful… But to pick one… Hmmmm. I think it would be, no matter what the budget, spend at the very top and the bottom of it. I am working on my own space right now, and inadvertently reached that conclusion about choosing our main piece. It was interesting to feel how it shifted my focus. But the way the tip was presented here has truly solidified my resolve. Now… I just have to find ‘the one’!

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Glad you enjoyed it Sheila. So many great ideas shared by such great industry leaders. My favorite was definitely the tip about spending at the very top and very bottom too. The job I am finishing up actually ended up following that model only because after the major pieces were in we ran low on cash. Homegoods and target to the rescue!

  10. Kelly Reply

    Thanks s much for sharing Linda! I will be returning to review often. I can’t pick my favorite- they are a lot of great ideas! Sounds like you had a great time!

  11. Kristie Barnett, TheDecorologist Reply

    Thanks for sharing all this, Linda! So glad it was worthy of your time. I especially like the advice from Barry Dixon about buying things at either the high end or low end – not the middle. What an interesting way to look at things!

  12. Ann M. Morris Reply

    Thanks for sharing Linda. Great scoop…Wish I could have gone.

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