Friday, February 26, 2010

Norman Castle and Georgian delights

Memories of a Norman Castle and delightful Georgian buildings flood back at the mention of Heartbeat. Heartbeat the television series set in 1960’s Yorkshire will return to the screen next week. As I watch this show the songs playing in the background, the narrow streets, stone grey buildings, mini skirts and Yorkshire accents remind me of happy times spend there. 

It may sound like I spend a lot of time watching television but I don’t. I am very selective as to what I watch. Heartbeat is set in a place and a time when I lived there. I started school in Yorkshire and many years later I returned and finished my school years there.    

This is the place were I fell in love with Georgian architecture and history. We did spent some time in the South of England but it never captured my heart in the same way the market town of Richmond did. The school bus would climb the hill toward the ancient market square. 

The first site of Richmond the Norman castle built in 1071. The bus would then stop in the centre of the cobble stoned market square. The surrounding buildings are Georgian in style. Even the Woolworth store has been hidden within a Georgian style building. Nothing is allowed to spoil this beautiful town.

Richmond is the mother of all Richmond’s around the world. Richmond is a Norman word Riche-Mont meaning strong hill. The records of this town reach back into ancient times as far back as the Stone Age. Easby Abbey near by was built in 1152 and nearly destroyed during the reign of Henry VIII in 1536.

I remember hiding in the ruins. We were sent out on cross country runs. I must confess I hated long distance running and my friend and I would hide in the abbey until the others would return. We would then rejoin the group and run back to school.  I was much better at short distant sprints. 

During the next few blogs I will take a wonder through the architecture and interiors of this beautiful Georgian period. Richmond had it’s heyday in the 17th and 18th century. Think Jane Austin rooms, buildings and clothing. Maybe this is why I love Jane Austin so much.     

During the next few blogs I will take a wander through the architecture and interiors of this beautiful Georgian period. Richmond had it’s heyday in the 17th and 18th century. Think Jane Austin rooms, buildings and clothing. Maybe this is why I love Jane Austin so much.     

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Grand Designs and Andrea Palladio

My favourite TV programs are design, architectural and history shows. My Dad had Foxtel installed to watch his beloved soccer. When I would visit I would put on design shows and other decorating shows. Mum and I also loved to watch old black and white movies. When Dad would arrive home after coaching soccer he would roll his eyes and say ‘When our Rosena visits I forget what colour television looks like’ Mum and I would just smile and ignore him.

One of my favourite shows during this time was Grand Designs. The host of the show Kevin McCloud would follow of adventures of people building their dream homes. I was amazed at the courage of the people building these grand designs. Eventually to my great delight the Grand Design shows were shown on the ABC. My husband ended up as addicted to the shows as I was.

On Tuesday night Kevin McCloud introduced his four part new series called ‘Kevin McCloud’s Grand Tour’. In the program he takes a tour of the wonderful buildings of Andrea Palladio. I absolutely love Palladio’s work.

Andrea’s buildings of perfect symmetry have had a lasting influence on architecture around the world. His villas were built on podiums and were approached by impressive staircases. They were often a perfect square and the interiors of the houses had a central hall often with a dome. The windows were usually large and high with columns and the widely copied Palladian motif. The Palladian motif is made up of two giant columns supporting their own entablature then two sets of smaller columns each supporting their own entablature.

I found it amusing that Kevin measured one of the buildings to discover Palladio broke his own rules. Andrea published a book on his architectural style. I had thought some time ago I must get a copy of his book. Then I promptly forgot about it. I have now found a copy and will order a copy sometime.

This idea of breaking design rules is an interesting topic. I have noted a tendency in some current interior design practice to break the rules of proportion. For example in some display homes I have noticed very small tables often have very large vases, sculpture or lamps placed on them.

'Design must seduce, shape, and perhaps 
more importantly, evoke emotional response.'

April Greiman

Monday, February 22, 2010

Super Zuo Modern Furniture

Sample Board Online introduces new eco furniture manufacturer, Zuo Modern. The innovative office, bar, dining, occasional, and outdoor furniture will be added to the new modern furniture lines available to order online via a shopping basket at SBO.

Some Zuo Modern goodies available 
soon at Sample Board Online
The Clover rug
The stylized clover rug is made of durable leather in bold patterns and has solid stitching created to be the centerpiece for any floor. The Clover has an espresso base with green and white floral patterns.

Jumper Desk
The Jumper Jack desk will certainly liven up any workspace.  It has tempered glass top and shelving painted in green with a silver epoxy coated steel tube frame.
Unico Office Chair
This high back office chair provides the ultimate in lumbar support. The Unico has firm leatherette cushion rolls for the back and a plush seat. The frame is comprised of a steel tube and the arms are height adjustable. The tilt mechanism is locking and height adjustable.

Balcony Dining Chair
This chair comes in the most modern of all colors, black, white, or silver. A mash up of formal and modern, it comes with a sophisticated bend in the back with a lipped seat, all of which makes a design statement and a good chair to sit in: the Balcony Chair.

Chardonnay Dining Table
Like an architectural tower, the Chardonnay table has a clear tempered glass top with a chromed steel tube center and a black solid steel base plate. The intricate diagonal latticing comes in both bar and dining heights.

Anime Dining Chair
Made of a durable and flexible Acrylic, this nouveau iconic chair stacks and comes in solid dye or transparent. The Anime is warranted against cracking for two years of commercial use.

Vex Dining Table
A thick tempered glass tops seem to float on sturdy leatherette with stitching wrapped base. With its interesting lines and unique stance, the Vex table works well as either a dining or work table.

Terrace Dining Chair
One of our most interesting chairs is a unique mix of styles and genres. This chair has strong curves and a sleek shape wrapped in durable and washable leatherette. The Terrance chair makes a striking statement of simplicity and style.

Vixen Dining Chair
With a blend of material and design, the Vixen has a very playful shape. It has soft leatherette back with a glossy painted plywood seat, all sitting on top of a chromed steel tube base.

Wilco Dining table
The Wilco table echoes some of the great Mid-century design with its tulip base and bevel edge round top. Its top is glossy painted MDF and its base is glossy coated fiberglass.

Taffy Dining Chair
This classic bentwood chair is stackable and durable. The Taffy chair has clean modern lines and an unmistakable silhouette. It has a bent wood seat on top of a chrome frame.

"Form follows function – that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.”  
Frank Lloyd Wright.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Winter White Summer Heat

I often receive news and photographs from my UK relatives. As we swelter in 37 to over 40 degree Celsius heat they struggle with the snow, ice and cold. Just looking at some of the images of the winter wonderland makes me feel cooler.

I must admit I would love to run and jump into the snow and make snow angels. The images bring back memories of snowy white Christmases in Germany. We arrived in Germany just before Christmas one year and I can still see the beautiful village with fairy lights twinkling on the snow. When Christmas shopping in the city I can still recall the smell of chocolate, coffee and ginger all mingled together.

The chocolate decorations hanging on the tree were a great temptation. My brother, sister and I would stick our wee fingers through the back of the decorations and treat ourselves to tiny pieces of chocolate. We were always found out.

When we arrived in Australia we missed white Christmases, pantomime and the chocolate Christmas decorations.

I forget how cold the snow was and forget the short days and long winter nights. I also forget being snowed in and bored. I am grateful for what Aussie land has given us. However I would like to once more experience a white Christmas.     
I am only thinking about this because of the lovely photographs of the cool snow as I swelter in the Aussie summer heat. Everyone else I know has moved on from Christmas and embraced 2010. If I receive no more winter wonderland scenes I will happily move on too.  

Irish Joke

Bill: 'I just don't know what to do. I'm feeling rather homesick'
Ben: 'But you are at home'
Bill: 'I know, but I'm sick of it' 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

In a nutshell what people are like and what people want

The choleric person has a strong personality and wants control. The sanguine person has a bright personality and wants fun. The melancholy person is sensitive and wants perfection. The phlegmatic person will follow to achieve peace. 

“Design addresses itself to the need.”  
Charles Eames

Choleric achiever wants control
The achiever (choleric) and the talker (sanguine) tend to be extroverts and optimists. The easy going one (phlegmatic) and the deep thinker (melancholy) tend to be introverts and pessimists. Choleric and melancholy people are task orientated and the sanguine and phlegmatic tend to be people orientated.   

How can this information help you sell your design ideas?
If we understand what people are like and what they want we can tailor our design presentations into a sellable package. Choleric’s like a quick outline of the design ideas don’t bog them down with details. It pays to refer back to their suggestions. The melancholy person likes detailed comprehensive plans, they want to know everything. They like graphs and time lines. Be prepared to answer questions.

A sample board created at Sample Board Online will appeal to the achiever, talker and phlegmatic

Phlegmatic easy going one wants peace
The phlegmatic and sanguine like to be treated with friendliness and treated as a personal friend. Make sure the presentation is presented in a light easy way. Be prepared to reassure the phlegmatic they often need to be reassured. They prefer statements with ‘we’ instead of you or ‘i’. They like to think they are working as part of a team.

Sanguine talker wants fun
With the sanguine it pays to keep the presentation fun and interesting. They can get bored with the details. They respond well to images. They tend to make impulsive choices.  Choleric are decisive and make quick decisions. If there is a problem they prefer to know as soon as possible. It is important to have a solution to the problem before approaching them. They dislike long stories as to how the problem occurred.  

The detailed specification sheet created with the sample board at Sample Board Online will appeal to the melancholy 

Melancholy deep thinker wants perfection     
With the melancholy if there is a problem they like to know all the details. Why this problem occurred. They need a detailed account of how you are going to solve this problem. The phlegmatic and sanguine will respond to an honest friendly approach when problems occur. It pays to earn their trust by creating relationship and to keep their trust in the same. 

Last year I worked on a design project with a couple with different personality styles. This is not unusual.  The gentleman was a choleric and lady a melancholy. This meant the gentleman wanted short meetings with quick outlines. The lady wanted detailed information about the project. I over came this problem by having short appointments with the gentleman and lady. Then I would give the lady a written detailed report. This worked very well.

I hope this mini series on the personalities has been of some benefit. It is a fascinating topic. The information can be helpful as a guide to human relations. There is always something new to discover in the wonderful world of people and design. I know I never stop learning. 

I’ll finish this blog with a wee joke. My family has lived in Australia for over 30 years. Ever few months my Dad would received a copy of the magazine Ireland’s Own. I love to read it. It is full of stories, words of songs and jokes.

Boss to secretary: ‘I know you can’t get married on the wages I pay you, but someday you’ll thank me for it’ 

Monday, February 15, 2010

What people want

Designers find out what people want. Some want fun, some want peace, some want perfection and some want control. Find out who wants what.

Over the years I have worked out my own little systems to help me understand and remember the different personalities. I have given the four main personality types a colour. To me red represents the choleric person dominant and active. Yellow represents the sunny personality of the sanguine. Blue reminds me of the deep thinking melancholy. Green represents to me of the laid back steady phlegmatic.

Choleric the achiever wants activity and control
I have also work out my own names for each personality style. The choleric is the achiever, extroverted and optimistic. The choleric is happy with control and activity. Their theme song could well be the Frank Sinatra song ‘I did it My Way’. They do have a tendency to think they have all the answers and in their eyes they are always right. It just as well it is estimate only three percent of the population are choleric.

Sanguine the talker wants to have fun
The sanguine person’s main objective in life is to have fun. The Cindy Lauper some ‘Girls just want to have Fun’ could be translated into ‘Sangs just want to have Fun’. To me the sanguine is the talker, extroverted and optimistic. It has been estimated twelve percent of the population are sanguine.

Belgian Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta believed homes should be portrait houses design should not merely reflect the owner’s life-style but be his portrait

The deep thinking melancholy wants perfection
Unfortunately the melancholy person wants to achieve perfection. They want to be perfect, they want everyone else to be perfect and they want the world to be perfect. With this motivating force no wonder they can feel depressed in this imperfect world. If they had a theme song I think it would be ‘Blue Moon’. The words of the song ‘blue moon you saw me standing alone...’ could well describe the melancholy person. They like to spend time alone. It has been said the melancholy takes a long time to find a partner because they are looking for someone perfect.  They are estimated to make up seventeen percent of the population.    

The easy going phlegmatic wants peace
The easy going phlegmatic wants peace. They too can be introverted and pessimistic. If they had a theme song it could well be ‘Lazy Sunday Afternoon’. The song continues ‘got no time to worry.. .’ They would like to live a relaxed life with no worries. About sixty eight percent of the population are estimated to be phlegmatic.    

I could go on discussing this fascinating topic. I had planned to finish the discussion today. However it I think it is better to continue the discussion in the next blog

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Designers helping the phlegmatic to make decisions will bring success

A person with a phlegmatic temperament hates conflict and confrontation. They tend to be motivated by loving approval. They prefer to work in a team. It is bliss to the phlegmatic ear to hear we can do this together. Not you do this and you do that.

Some phlegmatic traits
• Easy going
• Relaxed
• Faithful
• Reliable
• Find it difficult to take initiative
• Relate well to others

Australians have a saying which would suit the phlegmatic person very well. The saying ‘She’ll be right mate’. They are happy to take instructions. They prefer not to be in charge. It has been estimated by some personality theorist about 68% of the population have a dominance of phlegmatic traits.

Some keys to recognising phlegmatic at first glance
Moves slowly
• Friendly
• Good listener
• They lean against things
• Tend to be watchers
• Appear relaxed

Phlegmatic people are inoffensive. They can be lazy and avoid responsibility. But can be faithful reliable workers. Family are very important to them. The will put family before work every time.

Working with someone with phlegmatic traits
Be caring
• Take time
• Move slowly
• Create a peaceful atmosphere
• Guide them gently toward decisions
• Be friendly
• Show interest in their family
• Work with them
• Explain things carefully
• Be reassuring
• Gentle

Phlegmatic and choleric are opposites
Phlegmatic traits are often combined with either sanguine or melancholy traits. Phlegmatic people with sanguine traits can be more outgoing. Phlegmatic people with melancholy traits can be detailed and perfectionist.

Phlegmatic can have secondary sanguine traits
The phlegmatic person can find the sanguine too much. They dislike all the action, talking and loud laughing. They often dislike the bossy choleric approach to live. Choleric personalities want the phlegmatic to get moving and hurry up.

Phlegmatic can have secondary melancholy traits
The melancholy person wants the phlegmatic and sanguine to take more care, be more detailed. The phlegmatic person with secondary sanguine traits wants the melancholy person to have some fun and stop being so serious. People are more important than tasks in their eyes. Tasks and getting the task done perfectly are more important to the melancholy person.

The easy going phlegmatic wonders what all the activities of the sanguine and choleric achieve. Why can’t they take it easy? It will all workout in the end what’s the worry. And as for those melancholy guys why does everything have to be perfect. There is no such thing as perfection so why try, just relax, be happy.

I have found it really pays to have an understanding of the personality styles. The knowledge can help us to understand ourselves and others. I see them as a guide to help me get along with other people.

Not only Plato suggested we should “Know thyself”

Myer Briggs has one of the most respected profiling methods if you go to the website you can read a more detailed account of their theories.

In the next blog I will review and finish the discussion on personalities

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Designers take time with those with a melancholic mind

The gentle sensitive person with melancholy traits can be genius prone. Many great artists have been people with a melancholy temperament. The troubled artist Vincent Van Gogh is an example of a person with melancholy traits.  

They have perfectionist tendencies. If you want something done perfectly; just call on the person with melancholy traits. They are very task orientated, take in every detail and aim for accuracy. The melancholic type person tends to be orderly organised and able to find creative solutions.

Some melancholy traits:
·         Detailed
·         Organised
·         Creative
·         Perfectionists
·         Careful
·         Cautious
·         Competent

The melancholy person tends to be more interested in getting the job done that wasting time talking. Being deep thinkers they take their time before making decisions. However they can take so long to think things through they can find it hard to come to a decision or finish a job.

Some keys to recognising melancholy at first glance
·         Serious
·         Often appear shy
·         Can listen without looking at the person speaking
·         Can have a far away look
·         Usually dress in understated way
·         Speaks quietly 

Treat the gentle, easily offended melancholy person with care. They hate to think someone maybe laughing at them. They do not like confusion or noise. They usually hate trivial pursuits and do not like to jollied along.

Working with someone with melancholy traits
·         Be accurate
·         Be detailed
·         Take time
·         Be honest
·         Have a quiet air
·         Explain things clearly
·         Be prepared for questions
·         Conduct interviews with this client in a private place
·         Make sure you will not be interrupted
·         Give detail reasons for your selections
·         Be reassuring
·         Gentle
·         They like graphs and schedules

It can take time to earn the trust of a person with a melancholy personality. They can be suspicious and negative. They tend to sit back and view the world. They don’t smile a lot so it is often difficult to know when they are happy or pleased with your suggestions. They tend to see all the problems in situations. They want every ‘i’ dotted and every ‘t’ crossed.

Melancholy people and sanguine are opposites
The melancholy person can think the sanguine is too noisy, laughs too much and is reckless. The sanguine can be impatient with the melancholy person because they take so long to make a decision. They also don’t laugh enough. They are just too serious and in the opinion of the sanguine need to lighten up. This insensitivity can be very hurtful to the melancholy person.

Melancholy can have secondary choleric traits
A melancholy person with some choleric traits can be strong willed and decisive. The melancholy person with some phlegmatic traits can be stubborn and may need help making decisions.

Melancholy people can have phlegmatic traits
As I said at the beginning of the discussion on personality styles this is a very simplified outline of a complex subject. I have found it helpful to have a least some understanding of the subject. I don’t always consciously analyse everyone I meet. However I have used my understanding of the personality styles to help me when I find things are not going to well.

Hair dresser with choleric flare
Last week I went to have my hair cut. I have been going to the same hairdresser for years. I know the owner of the salon. My hair dresser and the owner are friendly easy going phlegmatic people. During this visit the owner was having a day off. A new hairdresser very promptly left her client and asked me abruptly did I have an appointment. I wasn’t too happy with her attitude. She made no eye contact and did not smile. 

With my back up and feeling annoyed I sat down to wait and watched this new lady. I realised she had a lot of choleric traits. As she was cutting her client’s hair she moved quickly. At the same time she would look around her keeping an eye on the reception desk and was always the first one to answer the telephone. I realised she was not intending to be rude she was just being her task orientated efficient self. So I let her off the hook. Just

It was interesting to observe the different atmosphere created by a strong personality. I had always been welcomed at the salon in the past and enjoyed the friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Every personality type has both negative and positive traits. I have many sanguine traits and have worked on overcoming my many negative traits. I am still trying I have found it is an ongoing challenge; a life time job. But I am enjoying the journey.

What colour?
Oh I nearly forgot and I am sure you just can't wait to know if the melancholy person was a colour what colour would they be? Blue of course. 

Next time the laidback easy going phlegmatic personality will be under the microscope.      

Monday, February 8, 2010

Designers if you give cholerics the lead your sale will succeed.

In this blog I will outline what this means for the designer trying to sell design ideas to a person with choleric tendencies. One theory on the personality styles estimates that about 3% of the population are choleric. When you consider choleric’s are born leaders it is just as well they only make up 3%.

Most great leaders have been people with dominant choleric traits. When working with people with choleric characteristics the important thing to know is they like control. They are born leaders and dislike being told what to do.

Some choleric traits:

Born leaders

• Like control

• Have strong personalities

• Decisive

• Know what they want

• Can be bossy

• Organised

• Practical

• Productive

• Visionary

A person with a dominance of choleric traits is like the sanguine outgoing and optimistic. They are also very decisive and can make decisions quickly. They are the sort of people who get things done. Being direct and independent they are well organized and simulate activity.

As great leaders they can be productive, resolute, practical and visionary. They tend to move quickly and look like they are in charge. When this sort of person walks into a room everyone usually sits up and takes notice. The choleric person can do many things at the same time they have an abundance of energy. They can actually exhaust everyone else. They tend to thrive on activity and do not like to stay still for long.

Some keys to recognising choleric at first glance

Move quickly

• Will take the lead

• Direct

• Talk quickly

• Have strong hand shake

• Look you straight in the eye

With their strong personalities they can boss everyone around. They appear to have a bundle of confidence. They are the sort of people who want things done yesterday. Designers working with these sorts of characters will find they like to control projects and they are very clear about what they want. They don’t like fuss or as they sometimes say ‘This lovey dovey stuff’.

Working with someone with choleric traits

Be professional

• Be prepared

• Let them talk

• Be honest

• Have a confident air

• Show no fear

• Be concise

• Make short clear statements

• Give outlines not details

• Use images

• Pay attention

• They do not suffer fools gladly

Yesterday I mentioned how I had worked out a colour for the four main personality types. If a person with choleric traits was a colour. It would be my guess they would be red. Red demands attention and promotes activity. Just like the choleric person. I read somewhere studies were carried out in a staff room. When staff room walls were painted red the staff did not stay in the room very long. Thus making it an ideal colour for staff the room as it encouraged people to quickly return to work.

Choleric and sanguine traits are often combined

People with choleric traits can have secondary traits of the sanguine or melancholy personality. They are very unlikely to have phlegmatic traits. Choleric and phlegmatic people are often opposites. If a person has choleric and sanguine traits, they can be entertaining and charming. The choleric person who has melancholy traits can be detailed and careful.

Choleric and melancholy traits are often combined

I have found people with strong choleric traits resist these sorts of personality theories. They tend to be the most sceptical of the personality types and followed secondly by the melancholy type of person. Sanguine people tend to embrace anything new and novel. Phlegmatic types can be very easy going and laid back about most things.

Choleric and phlegmatic are opposites

Over the years I have read about, studied and used a number of different personality theories. One is the DISC system I was introduced to in the 1990’s. The DISC Personality Profiles indicate all people share four styles in varying degrees of intensity. The acronym DISC stands for the four personality styles represented by the letters. D is for Drive or choleric. I is for Influence or the sanguine. S is for Steadiness or phlegmatic. C is for Compliance or the melancholy. If you would like to find out more about this system you can visit the disc website at where you will find loads of information and a free DISC personality test.

In the next blog I will look at the sensitive melancholy personality