Thursday, November 10, 2011

Designer Diaries: New Elementary School

I'm back with another installment in my Designer Diary Series.  This time it's to share a little bit about an elementary school I designed that is currently nearing completion.

In the early stages of the design process, I sometimes start with just a palette board.  I make up several paint palettes along with inspiration photos for the client to look over.  It's a nice way of getting them to chose a direction for their building, without overwhelming them with lots of design decisions all at once.

Here is the board they choose:

 { I've cropped off the titleblock @ the bottom of the board, that's why it looks a little funny }

At the next design meeting I came back with options for the finishes.  This is what they choose:

The image below shows a small portion of the school.  This is the floor pattern they chose for the corridors:
And here is a photo of the flooring being installed:

I know the quality of these photos isn't the best - this job is out of state so I haven't been able to visit the site to take photos.

The flooring is linoleum by Forbo.  Linoleum gets a bad rap because most people refer to sheet vinyl as linoleum.  Huge, huge difference - not at all the same thing!  Real linoleum has been around long before sheet vinyl and is manufactured of natural ingredients (linseed oil, resins, natural pigments, and jute backing).  Linoleum is definitely making a comeback and is once again popular.  This building will be LEED certified, so linoleum was the perfect choice for many reasons.  I've also specified Armstrong linoleum - both are great manufacturers.

This is the floor pattern they selected for the cafeteria:

Tile behind the drinking fountains:

I know, I'm sure this isn't exciting to you, but I just love seeing anything that I designed!  I wish I had more photos of the building to share.  So far, this is all I have!

These are a few of the fabrics I used on furniture throughout the building.  The top one is from Arc Com and the middle and bottom one are both from Momentum.  All three are Crypton - a high performance upholstery.

I just love this one:

And this one too:

This is a very small portion of the complete design.  Most people think that interior design is chosing colors and selecting patterns.  In reality, it is just a VERY small portion of the process.

Hope you have a wonderful Thursday!


  1. Alissa: Thank you for showing us your designs! I think it's really interesting to get a glimpse of your work. I've always thought that it would be amazing to be an architect and see a building that you've designed become "real." The same must be true for you. To see your designs become reality and know that hundreds of people will benefit from your creativity--that must feel wonderful! Take care! Tricia

  2. Oh my neat is this!??! Such a HUGE project and an amazing thing to see come to life. I love's going to look great! :)

  3. This is very exciting!! It's so fun to be able to see the design boards that were chosen and the process as they are being implemented. I love the fabrics you are using. Thanks for sharing with us! I can't imagine how proud you must be as I'm sure tons of hardwork has gone into the project, but it must be so rewarding at the same time. Looking forward to seeing the finished product.

  4. Great post Alissa! I love what you've done with the floor patterns and the primary colors. What a fun project to work on and such an acomplishment to get Leed certification.

  5. awesome! it must be a great feeling to present an idea and then watch its progression in real life! congrats

  6. Looks great, Beege! I love all the red fabrics, I'm sure the kids are going to love this new school!!

  7. That is awesome. Thanks for sharing the nitty gritty. That school is going to be a vibrant place, with all those "cheery" colours. I am impressed Alissa :)

  8. I love this project! the reds are making me very happy! is the school happy with the design so far??? ...I be they are loving it!


  9. Looks great. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Thanks for sharing! It's interesting to see commerical places being designed. Please consider to share more if you want! would love to see them!


  11. I love when you share your design! I personally find it amazing that you get to do that on such a large scale. And you do it so well. I think that school looks like a happy place to be...endless numbers of children and teachers will enjoy it for years!

    good job u.

  12. So cool, Alissa. I never knew what you "officially" did. :)

  13. I think it is awesome that you are sharing this, and it's so interesting. You must be so excited to see your projects come together.

  14. Before I read that you were pleased with the finished product I was thinking the same thing. How gratifying to go from a sample board to the cheerful end product. I love all the colors, patterns, and textures. It will be a happy place for children and adults alike. Congratulations on a job well done.

  15. kudos to your part in designing an LEED certified building. well done!!

  16. Wow, that is so cool! I love the colors and design, you did an awesome job. I wish my school looked that pretty when I was a kid :) I love seeing how a projects starts and gets finalized very interesting!

  17. Excellent combo! I would love to teach in such a vibrant place....the 1970's decor of my school is just a wee bit different :) Great job!

  18. Love this! The colors are so cheerful and that school is going to look great! Thanks for sharing!

  19. Very nice patterns! You are definitely creative:-)


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