Monday, October 8, 2012

Cool and Creative Spaces

It's finally fall here in Dallas and I'm absolutely thrilled!  It just puts me in a happy mood. 

Do you work in a cool office?  Inc. had an interesting article come out last week - "What Makes a Cool Office?" 

Here are some of the interesting things I learned from the article:
  1. People are shifting from an employee mindset to being a team player...hierarchy and offices are being cut out so people feel part of a group.
  2. You don't have to have an open floor office layout to have a cool space.  Incorporating both quiet and open areas are important.
  3. People want to personalize their space so it's best to find a happy medium on how you can achieve this without decrementing your brand image.
Please read the article below to learn more about what really makes a cool office space:

Have a wonderful Monday!

Monday, October 1, 2012


Good morning and happy Monday!  It's been a while since I have posted - I'm back!  My husband and I went to Paris, London and Munich for two weeks, it was incredible! 

As the office continues to evolve, technology plays a key role of support to employees.  Whether you work for a law firm, real estate, architecture, etc. the technology component is always changing, and it's a must to keep up.

Some of the trends we are noticing in workspaces today are:
  • Electronic workrooms
  • Connectivity - employees relay on virtual technology's and social media to maintain a large informal network of connection
  • Videoconferencing - fixed and mobile
  • Smart surfaces
  • Increase in technology staff
  • Increased digital document storage systems
  • Visualization - the ability to display and manipulate concepts, data, drawings, maps, etc. to aid discussion and understanding
Using an iPad for Visualization
Smart surfaces
Access to and ability to display data and information, conference phones, videoconferencing, presentation equipment, multimedia, wireless Internet access, laptops, etc. are all examples of technology.  Which form of technology do you wish your office had?

Have a great day! 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Oh Happy Day

Hello, good morning and happy Friday!

I was having a hard time figuring out what I wanted to write about today and then it came to me...the top 5 things you can do to have a fabulous work day.

  1. Smile - research shows that even fake smiles genuinely reduces stress and makes you happier.
  2. Stretch - believe it or not, when you stretch throughout the day it helps your body feel more relaxed.
  3. Positivity - say hi to someone when you walk by, give a high five, make an effort to express a positive attitude.
  4. Dress to impress - when you feel good about yourself you will work better.
  5. End your day by thinking of all the great things that happened - focus on the success and not the loss.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Power of PowerPoint

PowerPoint's...some people love them and some do not.  Whether you are presenting to children, adults, business partners, clients - there is something every PowerPoint's goal should be:  Don't lose the Audience!

Here are some tips to make sure your next PowerPoint is a true success!
  1. Keep it simple, slides should inform, not distract
  2. San-serif fonts provide best readability for PowerPoint presentations
  3. Use keywords instead of sentences and make sure the text reads well from the projector
  4. Highlight important points with color, images, visuals
  5. Use pie charts for percentages, vertical bar charts to show quantity, and horizontal bat charts to compare quantities between areas, within the same time frame
Guy Kawasaki's 10/20/30 Rule is REALLY helpful:

  1. 10 PowerPoint slides - ten points are the most a human mind can comprehend in one meeting.
  2. 20 minute presentation - twenty minutes in the average attention span of humans when listening to a presentation.
  3. 30 point font minimum - large font size increases readability and forces you to keep slide test to a minimum.
At the end of the day, just remember - your audience will be engaged in the PowerPoint if you're engaged in the PowerPoint.  Try to stay positive, energetic and keep it simple!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Essential Rules for Sales

Hello everyone and good morning!  It's Monday - and for me that means getting back into the groove of everything from a relaxing weekend.  I was reading an article from Inc. and it gave me some motivation and advice I wanted to share with you regarding the essential rules for Sales Calls.  Some of you reading this may not be in Sales - but these rules apply to any profession.

10 Essential Rules for Initial Sales Calls

Sales Walk
Flickr/sidewalk flying

Over the years I've held thousands of sales meetings, selling both tangible and intangible products--and I've learned that there are some basic fundamentals that make a difference no matter what your offering is.  As the CEO of a growing business, you'll often find yourself in the role of "salesperson-in-chief." Keep these simple things in mind to make those first sales meetings a success.

1. Research
Anything you can do to learn about the person or people that you are meeting, the company, their products, their competition, and their customers can make a huge difference. It will help you understand how your product can tie into their overall goals: You can ask better questions, show the prospect you care enough to do the research, and gain the upfront confidence you get from doing your homework.
2. Confidence
Speaking of confidence: This is one of the most important elements of a successful meeting. People can and will read your expressions, body language and your voice inflection. They can determine if the words coming out of your mouth match your belief.
I've seen many people with a great memory for scripts who lack the deep enthusiasm, passion, and knowledge that's needed when the customer asks them why they feel the offering would add value. Confidence in what you're selling puts the customer at ease and lets them know you believe there is value in your offering.
3. Time
A simple question here is all you need. "I know we set aside 30 minutes for today's meeting," you should say. "I just want to make sure that still works for you?"
Common courtesy goes a long way: The last thing you want is someone looking at their watch because of a deadline that came up at the last minute.
Knowing the customer's time frame also helps you manage the flow of the meeting.
4. Connections
Breaking the ice the right way can set the tone for the rest of your meeting. If you found in your research that the person you're meeting was featured in a recent article or has a hobby or interest that you can relate to, ask them about it. Or just look around for information that could start a conversation--think about family pictures, sports memorabilia, awards.
Just recently I broke the ice in a meeting with a reference to the customer's espresso maker and special Italian coffee beans. He loves his espresso--and he loves talking about it. People buy from people they like, trust, and respect. Initial rapport is a big part of starting the relationship off on the right track.
5. Goals
Once you get started, you need to explain why you are there and what you want to accomplish. Some people call this an "initial benefit statement" or "general benefit statement." It goes something like this:
Thanks again for sharing your time with us. XYZ company has been helping companies [mention briefly what your company does and the benefits your customers receive]. Our goal today is to learn more about your overall needs, goals, and challenges and see if there is an opportunity for us to benefit by working together. We did our homework on your company but would like to hear more about [their business, their environment, etc.].
6. Questions & Answers
I've never--ever--seen a sales rep listen himself out of a sale. And no customer has ever told me that he doesn't like a rep because she listens too much.
Your first meeting has a greater chance of success if you have listened at least two-thirds of the time. You can still get the information you're looking for by directing questions carefully. But having the prospect expand and elaborate on his answers gives you a deeper understanding of his situation.
Note: This is even more important in longer and more complex sales cycles.
7. Qualifying
Your questioning process should be part of your qualifying. You need to understand how the customers buy--their time frame, budget, decision makers--and, most of all, whether you have added value to provide.
If you don't find out this information, your deal may stall.
Here's a question that should be easy to ask: "Is there anyone else, besides yourself, that you recommend speaking with about this decision?" Notice I said "besides yourself"--you don't want to offend or alienate the person.
One trick that could help here: Always call the prospective customer's highest level. You may very likely be directed down the ladder to a more qualified person--but that's better than going from the bottom up.
8. Presenting a Solution
While you were listening to the customer, you should have been thinking about how to adjust your presentation--because you'll have much greater impact if you include all the information you've learned about the customer's situation.
When talking about your product, refer back to their earlier answers: "You mentioned that ease of use for your employees is critical; we've made it easy for ... etc."
9. Closing
If your sales cycle is short and can be closed on the first call, then once you've presented your solution and your value, you can move to a close. What I've found works is simply asking the prospect: "What's our next step?"
They can give you the criteria you need to close the sale--or bring up any questions or objections they might have. It's better to know their concerns right from the start than trying to call back after the initial call.
10. Follow Up
One final thought: Be sure to follow up with your customer. It's that follow-through that can make all the difference. That's how a customer can really see your service in action.

Here is the article from Inc.

Monday, July 30, 2012


DIRTT - it's not as dirty as you think.  Last week I had the opportunity to visit Wilson Furniture's DIRTT Showroom and gained a lot of knowledge about the new DIRTT approach.  It's far from dirty, it's actually a clean, sleek and unique approach for an office or home.

The DIRTT approach is less a modular wall system than it is an adaptive approach to rapid construction.  The wall system creates customization and various reconfigurations.  When I visited the DIRTT showroom, I noticed you can mount and integrate pretty much anything you desire within the wall system, some elements included work surfaces, displays, etc.

Benefits of DIRTT:
  1. Adaptability
  2. Speed of Installation
  3. Material Efficiency
  4. Lower Cost
  5. Sustainability
Examples of DIRTT

All of the benefits of DIRTT are possible trough ICE software, which is an end-to-end application that ensures the precision and quality of the manufacturing process, according to  It was interesting to see how ICE was applied.  The program retains all of the information regarding contact of the original install, and allows the client to design new environments using the palette of elements already graphically displaced in inventory, which makes the process fast and efficient.

DIRTT is an exciting new product that's going to shape the future for modular walls and Interior Design!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ideal Office Space

Good morning!  Today's post is about designing the ideal office space for a tenant.  There are two options for design services.  First, is for the Tenant to use the Landlord's architect and the second, which is the strategy I recommend, is to hire a tenants space planner and pay them from the tenant improvement allowance that is given to the Landlord. 

Finding the ideal office space can be a difficult process; however, by selecting the right architect/space planner, it's critical in building an ideal space that meets the tenants business and operational needs and goals. 

After the tenant makes a broker selection, the next step is to get an architect/space planner involved.  Once the space planner has done their  job of meeting with the client, gathering information on their office culture, workspaces, budget, future requirements, etc, then the required amount of usable SF is estimated.   Planning is the most important phase in the real estate process. It is the strategic road map that guides clients to achieve maximum success and savings. It must be done properly to accomplish optimal results.

By doing the programming up-front, the Tenant Representative will now have a better idea of the required space square footage that meets the tenants needs and to better position and identify ideal buildings.

According to Coy Davidson, from Colliers - Houston, the increased focus on the detailed planning of works space is driven by several factors:
  1. Minimizing Real Estate costs
  2. Emphasis on productivity
  3. Changing demographics of the work force
  4. The accelerating cycles of change
A Prototype Space Plan is designing a plan around the most efficient and productive layout for the tenant, instead of planning around a specific building.  There are pro's and con's of both, but some of the benefits of doing a Prototype Space Plan include the below:
  1. Image
  2. Efficiency
  3. Productivity
  4. Build-out costs
Office tenants are best served when their own architect/space planner, not the Landlord's is engaged early on to work with the broker to determine the best possibly occupancy solution.

Here are some examples of office spaces completed by the Tenant Architect:

Genband - CB Richard Ellis

Bell Helicopter - Jones Lang LaSalle

Radio One - Studley

Accident Insurance Services - Cushman and Wakefield

Have a great day!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Distributed Work Environments

Good morning! 
Today's post is from a Knoll Workplace Research handout I recently received on the metrics of distributed work places. 

Distributed work places are those that use collaboration and efficiency.  Distributed work environments are characterized on the below:
  1. Smaller, higher density individual spaces
  2. A wider variety of group settings
  3. Increased allocation of seats for collaborative spaces
  4. Reduced emphasis on large conference rooms
There are many benefits of distributed work environments and I'm excited to share with you some of the recent research Knoll putt together. 

The model below shows the average square footage per person 10 years ago, which was 227SF, compare to today's average average person at135SF. 

Some of the other research found in the packet included:
  1. Small meeting spaces have higher utilization rates
  2. Distributed work strategies more than double the employee-to-desk ratio
  3. Distributed work environments offer more vairety in meeting types (patios, cafe's, game rooms, etc).
To learn more about this topic go to

Have a great day!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Corporate Cafeteria's

Good morning and happy Monday!  I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July!

Today's post is discussing the importance of cafeterias and cafe's in the workplace.  Because some people are in their offices 24/7, companies have started implementing a large break room or cafeteria in their space in order to have in-house dining.

What are the top 5 benefits of cafeterias/cafe's in an office space?
1.  Big break rooms allow for healthy communication, employee bonding and collaboration.
2.  Upgrading break rooms so they can serve as "touchdown" space for associates to work, talk, and relax at any time of the day.
3.  Employee retention increases because people feel more included.
4.  Large cafeterias can serve as a meeting space for in-house events.
5.  Employees save time at lunch when they don't have to go out of the office to eat.

Here are some examples of corporate cafeteria's:

Bell Helicopter Employee Center
Merriman Associates/Architects, Inc.

Merriman Associates/Architects, Inc.

Corporate cafeterias serve more than just a place to wine and dine - it's a place for employees to get to know one another and connect.

Have a great day!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Color Crazy

Happy Friday everyone!

Today's Trend is COLOR!

Whether it's your company's brand or you want to add some spice to a space, choosing a color is energizing!  You can add a burst of color in many different ways - furniture, finishes, materials, walls, the list goes on. 

Studies recognize that colors bring about emotional reactions to individuals.  According to the Global Healing Center (, colors that are useful in the office are: orange – stimulates creativity; yellow – intensifies the intellect and heightens motivation; red – energizes; blue – calming, fights physical and mental tension; green – fights irritability and has a healing effect on the body. For the office, use colors that you are drawn to as these are the colors that will benefit your health.

Adding a WOW color factor can be a simple accent piece or loud and bright.  Here are some examples of how to incorporate color into an office space.

Trendy flooring by Modularity Tiles 
 Orange Tiles and Chairs

Bell Helicopter Employee Center (Merriman Architect Design)
Red Walls 

 Swedish Pension Agency
Color Wall

Google's Office
Red Chair and Reception Desk

I hope these examples give you inspiration to get creative!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 25, 2012


Hello and good afternoon!  Today's trend is Chevron.  It's my absolute favorite pattern.  It works great in the home or office, which makes it a versatile print anyone would enjoy.  It can be seen on chairs, carpet, walls, pillows, art, - and even on pottery.  Chevron can be classy and conservative or bright and funky.  Here are some ideas of how you can incorporate Chevron into your interiors.

Paul Schneider Ceramics

Chairs from Room Service, LA

Home Office

Belle Maison

Wall Art from Green Your Decor

Remember, your office and home design is up to you - have fun with it!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Healthy is Hip

Good morning!  Do you walk or bike to work, take short walks during the day to clear your head or play on your companies kickball team?  If so, you are a great example of Corporate Wellness.

Environments that support well-being can be a highly desirable oasis where people are less stressed, more productive, more create and healthier.  They're the workplaces of the future, not the past.  Merriman is currently helping some of our clients reach their goals by incorporating a healthy lifestyle into their office culture. 

Here are some tips for incorporating wellness into your day at the office:

Coordinate a informal sport leagues for softball, baseball, kickball and soccer
(here are some of my friends from KPMG)

Choose to eat snacks from a healthy vending machine

Take a break during the day for a short walk

According to National Business Group on Health, if you have a corporate wellness program in your office, there is a 41% increase in your employees health, 56% increase in employee morale and 8% increase in employee productivity.

Have a great day!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Law Firm Trends

Good Morning!  Today's Law Firms are engaging in key design ideas to keep their spaces efficient and comfortable.  They also want to reduce costs, create a more collaborative work environment and increase productivity.  Here are some fascinating trends for Law firms:

Have a great day! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Whiteboard Wonders

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.
I was on a tour last week for a client - they were an extremely innovative and creative group.  We were brainstorming ideas for their conference rooms, which is why today's post is about a clear paint that you can paint over any color wall and it will be a dry erase board. 
ClearErase is a product from TRI-KES:

ClearErase is a dry erase clear coat that can be seamlessly applied to interior spaces as easily as traditional paint. Turn any existing wall, in any color, into a durable and cleanable surface resistant to scribbles, common marks and daily wear.

Waterbased and low VOC – ClearErase is an environmentally smart solution perfect for any commercial interior needing a seamless dry erase workspace. Our easy-to-follow instructions make application a snap. Simply mix, stir and roll like traditional paint.

There are lots of dry erase board trends in the marketplace right now, but here are a few ways to incorporate the dry-erase board into your conference room:
KeyBank Marker Boards using Dreamwalls Color Glass True White

Genband Corporate Headquarters - Merriman Architects design

ClearErase by TRI-KES

Have a great day!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Terrific Trends - Barn Doors

Welcome to a new series on Dallas Design.  There are so many great office trends for corporate users, architects, brokers, etc, and I wanted to be able to share them with you.  So, that's what I hope Terrific Trends will be - a place to learn about various trends in the marketplace.

Now, I know this isn't a new trend, but I just can't get enough of it.  It's great for both the home and office.  There is a feeling you get when you open a barn door, it creates an inviting atmosphere. 

Urban Evolutions
Beautiful white barn doors in a bedroom


Merriman Associates/Architects, Inc. 

Photo from Southern Living

Barn doors provide flexibility and multi-function proposes to the space, whether it's a home or office.  They are also a good way to bring your personal style into the space.  One of my favorite things about sliding doors is that they come in all different materials, styles and colors. 

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Introducing the Urban Armadillos

I'm thrilled to introduce the Urban Armadillos!  Funny name.  Awesome organization.

The Urban Armadillos (“UA”) was founded in 2012 by Mike Wyatt and Skyler Baty.  While Mike was on an office leasing tour of Bryan Tower with a client, it was brought to his attention that in 1873-74, the famous gambler and gunfighter of the OK Corral, Doc Holiday, had his first dental office on the Building site.  The location was verified and is currently memorialized by a 8”x 16” bronze plaque embedded in concrete on a forgotten corner of the Building. At that moment, Wyatt enlisted the help of Skyler Baty to form a group of civic-minded professionals to not only uncover other culturally-significant landmarks and lost treasures within the CBD, but to create a pedestrian trail linking Dallas’ eight urban Districts. The group was thus named and empowered to “Dig Up Dallas” District by District!

Mission Statement:

The Urban Armadillos (“UA”) are a group of civic-minded professionals whose primary purpose is to create and maintain an urban walking trail for both residents and visitors within the CBD of Dallas.

The “Trail” will promote Dallas’ unique landmarks, parks, architecturally-significant structures, “pop culture” and urban legends within each of the Districts. By connecting each of the Districts, the UA’s goal is to preserve Dallas’ urban treasures, to enrich the experience of visitors to the CBD, and to increase the overall economic vitality and legacy of our City.

Here are a few pictures from our second meeting last Thursday.  Email me if you're interested in joining!

Embrace the Challence; Uncover the Past; Preserve note-worthy landmarks; Re-build the economic vitality of our City; and ultimately -- create a rewearding experience for past, present and future generations!

Have a great day!