Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kids Bedroom Makeover with Ryan Seacrest? What?

Last week, I wrote on our Facebook page asking for submissions of kid's rooms in need of a makeover. I have some new products and new techniques I was hoping to experiment with and photograph in the made-over room. There was an overwhelming response. Now came the hard part.

I'm more of a Paula Abdul judge than a Simon Cowell. I'd much rather tilt my head side to side, smile and see the opportunities within, rather than be critical. But, unless I wanted to do twelve makeovers, I had to start narrowing things down. Immediately, there were obvious rooms that could be cut from the contenders and I don't think they were surprised by my actions. They really didn't need a makeover, just some editing and creative storage. They were the Chris Daultrey's and Adam Lamberts of room makeovers, just a little grooming and styling and they're done. I'm on the hunt for the William Hung or tone deaf, two left feet kinda spaces.

Down to six candidates, I posted them to our Facebook page looking for opinions. The comments and observations were fantastic. But, even with the great feedback, I was presented with a dilemma. A makeover theoretically means there's a before and after. It's the contrast between the two that shows the depth of change. Undoing what's been done and creating new would be the intriguing part of this. Much like this room. The room with no closet, technology spiderwebbed all over, nursery colors and the teenage need for storage. Undoing this "kid's" room and making a "teen" space would be great fun and a challenge.

The dilemma is this room presented as a blank slate, and I mean blank. Does that qualify? The accompanying story is sweet of two girls, sharing space who love fairies and princesses. Surely, two little fairy girls are deserving of a makeover...right? To create more challenges, I find out the room has 3 mysteriously placed attic access doors. Sweet and challenging....hmmm. The owners hit more of a road block which means the room will never progress past this point. There are a lot of parents that hit that same obstacle. They've purchase furniture, placed it in the room and have no idea what to do, especially when presented with two girls of varying ages, likes and 3 weird doors. So, Yes it is a makeover, officially candidate #2.

A third option consists of a room that started off okay, but lost it's direction. It lacked personality so it's a great makeover story in the making. Two boys, rough and tumble, love building things, how things work and are fast becoming the best of friends. Their room could be a place of imagination, fun times and brotherly bonding but it's missing the fun factor and bonus...there's a weird air duct "growth" just hanging on the wall and a out of scale door that leads into their attic play space, under the eaves. What to do...what to do??

The remaining candidates were all very similar, they are great spaces needing something to make them function better or come alive. They were good candidates, but in my American Idol analogy, they could sing, but couldn't find their voice. They're Top 10 material, but couldn't make the cut.

So, as of this post my top three are evident. The "I'm a teen, not a toddler", "Blank - a design roadblock" and "What's that weird duct thing doing in my boring room" rooms.


So, in classic Paula Abdul fashion, I nod and clap, hymn and haw, talk nice and vote all three through. What does that mean? Well, instead of just selecting one room, I select all three, THREE WINNERS!

In depth, this will mean three separate makeovers, with three separate goals and looks. All of which, I'll document and share with you here on the blog. Now, the intention is for these to be made-over, which doesn't mean a full revamp with all new this and all new that, like some game show prize. I'm going to rework the rooms, add some Embellishments tricks and techniques, build things from scratch, shop for a few new things, alter the existing and put the parents to work. We will be teaming up for some sewing, painting, crafty stuff and handyman hardwork. If we can work out our schedules to accommodate this, I'll be working on one room each month for the next three months and sharing the progress with you, here.

Thanks to all the loving parents whom submitted their child's room. I appreciate your faith in my abilities and willingness to allow me to take on this task. This will be fun. Be sure to bookmark or follow the blog for updates.

Coming soon....
Visiting the rooms onsite and discussing ideas for the makeovers.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Pulling Teeth- Re-imagining the Pediatric Dentist Office

Setting one's self apart from the competition, in my mind, is the new age mother of invention. With technologies ability to crawl, index and categorize everything from A to Z, it seems to me that the only way to be noticed is to be extraordinary at what you do. I have had the distinct pleasure of working with a new Pediatric Dentist on the scene whose ideals and vision is more akin to the extraordinary Walt Disney than a dentist.

As a child, I did not have the greatest of experiences with the dentist. Mine was a seemingly nice guy in his later 50's, white coat and pressed slacks. He spoke softly filling the air with a medicinal blend of mouthwash and cologne. His office was very clinical with textured wallpaper, old magazines, vinyl covered chairs and a walled off reception desk that seemed more like a security check point for what goes on beyond the walnut door marked "Please check in with the receptionist." The office was the product of the clinical mindset, function over form and was designed to get straight to business and get it done effectively and efficiently. There wasn't a surface material in the office that couldn't be pressure washed, scrubbed with bleach or hauled off in a hazmat suit. Counting the precisely place holes in the acoustical tiles, while he rummaged through my mouth was the only escape from the reality of the situation....cavities!

I open the door, expecting to see the recycled vision of my childhood dentist standing before me. This was my first meeting with Dr. Dustin James and I was manifesting the pains of dentistry through the sweat on my brow and the quiver in my hands. Although this was a meeting over design, I somehow felt I was going to end up driving home with gauze in mouth and drooling. To my surprise, standing before me is a thirty-something, bright smiled engaging man with an honest whit, personable way and thankfully no medicinal smell.

Usually when I'm hired to consult or design for uber professionals like dentists, lawyers or doctors, there's a huge communication gap to overcome. I speak in the abstract of the imaginary, waiving my hands as if to carve space into realized objects. They on the other hand are products of their disciplined education hoping for well defined ideas, pragmatic principles and designs that fit into blueprints not storyboards or renderings.

With Dr. James, the initial awkwardness was a product of my experiences now a preconceived notion. Straightline linear this....color theory that, speaking with my hands restrained were all futile exercises designed not to frighten this Doctor of Science with my left brain visions. In a moment he shattered those notions by starting to waive his arms around, motioning objects in the air and talking about movie sets, old restaurants and Walt Disney World. I had entered the twilight zone. Feeling more like I was being punked than interviewed for the work to be done.

Dr. James and I have been friends and collaborators for three years now. We communicate with our hands flying, chicken scratches on the back of napkins and pages of renderings depicting the imaginary realized. Between us we have a museum's worth of story boards, design sketches and mockups of our ideas. Our inaugural project Dentistry for Kids was a success and it's neighboring DFT- Dentistry for Teens recently debuted as the first dentistry office geared especially for teens.

If you haven't experienced the extraordinary in pediatric or teen dental care than I invite you to Wilsonville, Oregon, to visit his offices.

Designed from the ground up for teens, DFT features a technology counter for MAC browsing, smoothies and online music and game play. Props from my studio line the movie theater like cloud above the counter.

There's a bank of Video Game screens for XBox and Playstation play amongst the comic book wall. A vintage Ms. Pacman table console and a DVD jukebox offer entertainment.

After the visit his patients drop by the prize cabinet for a fun take home gift.

The rock n' roll operatory features a 9 ft guitar, video gaming and movie playing on the patient's video screen.

If you'd like to see more pictures be sure to check out and like my Facebook page.
Also, you can see some of our themed operatories here.

For those of you not familiar with the birth of Disneyland, I recommend the book IMAGINEERING-A behind the dreams look at making the magic real from Hyperion press.