Small Spaces, Great Places

By: Rick Hess/Mae Case, DISD


Bigger isn’t always better, and this mantra has been embraced in every corner of interior design and architecture over the last several years. A growing number of consumers are opting to significantly reduce their carbon footprint and it shows in how they are choosing to live, work, dine and travel. Creating usable smaller spaces is a trend that continues to resonate with not just homeowners, but business owners as well.  These unique, well-designed spaces prove that minimal square footage can still be fully functional and great places can be contained within small spaces.

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Interior Design on the Go: Planes, Trains and Automobiles

By: Rick Hess & Mae Case, DISD

Traveling can be a stressful and often uncomfortable event, whether you’re getting around on land or by air. When choosing a mode of transportation, one might consider distance, ease, comfort and style.  Designing the interior spaces of airplanes, trains and automobiles presents a unique set of challenges that an interior designer may not have to consider when designing the interior of a home or other building, but regardless of the type space, a good designer always keeps the focus on how the occupant will use the space.  Anticipating the evolving needs and habits of travelers reshapes the standards for designing these modes of transportation.  This post will transport you on a journey through cutting-edge design innovation that transforms travel into an experience.

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Building Your Interior Design Portfolio

By: Rick Hess/Mae Case, DISD

In the design world, a breathtaking portfolio is everything. You have just a few moments to leave a lasting, show-stopping impression with the design firm of your dreams. The work you share, along with how you decide to present it, has to be fresh, unique and memorable. Whether you are looking to land a great interior design or architecture job or just spice up your current portfolio, we have you covered. Design Institute of San Diego explores the do’s and don’ts of building your interior design portfolio to propel your career forward. From using typography in your favor to taking advantage of digital tools and outlets, here are some of our top tips to get you started. – Read More –

Innovative Cities Final

Innovative Cities

By: Rick Hess, DISD

Are you traveling as spring makes its way around the corner? Or have you ever wondered what city you should put on your bucket list?  If so, we at Design Institute have come up with five innovative cities within the United States for you to visit.  If you appreciate well designed cities as much as we do, then take a dive as we explore what makes these special destinations so unique. – Read More –

Sustainable Design

Sustainable Design

By: Rick Hess, DISD

Our resources are precious and as more information becomes available regarding the need to preserve these resources, sustainable design continues to be an important consideration within the interior design and architectural industries.  Homes and buildings are being designed in a smarter and more creative way with the ultimate goal of creating the smallest possible impact on our environment. Design Institute of San Diego  reviewed some recent sustainable design projects to showcase some of the incredible technology that is being utilized today. – Read More –


Interior Design Trends 2016

By: Rick Hess/Mae Case

Interior design trends are reflections of the lifestyle changes we embrace in society. As our mindsets and attitudes shift about certain behaviors and ideals, it’s often reflected in the built environment surrounding us. Design Institute of San Diego predicts that 2016 will be a year in which interior design focuses inward: a step back from using technology as a room’s focal point and opting for knowledge and enrichment to take the center stage instead, open spaces that can be customized easily to fit the demands of a family’s day-to-day needs, customization to suit the owner’s personality, and a continued acceptance of building spaces with a strong connection with nature and that promote health and well-being.

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Holiday Gift Ideas

Holiday Gift Ideas for Designers: Students’ Choice

By: Rick Hess/Mae Case, DISD

Creative types are often the hardest people to shop for. Already known for their discerning taste, trying to impress the design lover in your life can be quite the challenge. To put your mind at ease, we took the guesswork out of the equation by asking Design Institute of San Diego’s interior design students what they’d like to have wrapped up for them this holiday season.  We’ve comprised a list of unique gifts for creative individuals, and for anyone else that appreciates great design. – Read More –


Residential Design for Health and Longevity

By: Cynthia Leibrock

Imagine your home as a place for regeneration, a sanctuary for healing the wounds of the outside world.  It is clean, not cluttered and unmanageable.  It prevents disease and injury and restores you when the inevitable occurs.  It regenerates you on a daily basis, supporting good sleep, encouraging exercise, making it fun to do healthy cooking. – Read More –

Home of an Art Collector 3

Interior Design: The Home of an Art Collector

By: Rick Hess/Mae Case DISD

It’s often said that life imitates art. This is probably most literal for the avid art collector, someone who enjoys displaying valuable art pieces in their living space. Designing the home of an art collector is no different than designing for any residence in that to be successful, striking a balance between creativity and functionality is key. In any well-designed space, the placement of art pieces within a home is deliberate. For instance, when it comes to valuable paintings, placing them away from vents, fireplaces, wet walls and radiators is something to consider in order to preserve the work. Lighting is also important when displaying paintings in a home – allowing direct sunlight is something you’d want to avoid to prevent fading and drying out.

Of course, there are many other factors to consider for an art collector’s home, making it a great idea to consult a professional interior designer to ensure that your artistic pieces will be displayed optimally. Design Institute of San Diego explores several stand-out examples of homes that find the perfect balance of showcasing priceless works of art and creating livable spaces for their unique owners. – Read More –

Restaurant Design -

Restaurant Design

By: Rick Hess/Mae Case, DISD

Dining out is a centuries-old social ritual that has evolved with the times, but has yet to lose its appeal. The experience of treating yourself to a meal prepared expertly by someone else, amongst the company of your family or friends, in a space designed purely for your comfort and enjoyment is hard to match. Whether you’re seeking a dimly-lit establishment or a night out with friends in a loud bar, there is a restaurant out there that offers the dining experience you’re craving.

Designing a successful restaurant concept is similar to building a well-oiled machine. It’s a space with reciprocal parts that should be constructed purposefully in order to run like clockwork. The kitchen (known as the Back of House) and the retail space/dining area (known as the Front of House), are influenced by each other and must work closely together to support a successful operation. Moreover, the décor of the space should entertain the diners and provide a memorable experience that entices them to return. Design Institute of San Diego explores several local eateries that have made a name for themselves thanks to their delicious cuisine and impeccable interior designs, several of which have been nominated for Orchid Awards in the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s 2015 Orchids & Onions. – Read More –