# Designing with Mathematics

The sum of .45(x) is greater than the sum of (1.79)x…. Bear with me, it will make sense in a minute!

Wallpaper provides texture and style paint cannot match, but it also saves you money.

“Wallpaper is too expensive.”

This is a line often used by painters and builders. Homeowners sometimes say the same thing when they look at the upfront cost of paint versus vinyl wallcoverings. But as in so many other areas, the total cost lies in the maintenance fee not the purchase price.

A recent study found that wallpaper lasts, on average, for 15 years. The average coat of paint, on the other hand, lasts about three years before needing another coat. So with a lifetime five times as long, wallpaper brings with it an added value. We can break this down with some simple math.

Let’s say you’re going to paint your bedroom. The room is 14 x 20 and the ceilings are eight feet high. So we add together the length of all four walls: 14 + 20 + 14 + 20 and come up with 68. We then multiply that by the height of the ceiling to get the total area of the room (68×8= 544).

Industry standard costs for painting professionals are about \$.45 per foot*, so the cost to have this room painted would be 544 x .45 = \$244.80. Now, in order to maintain the look of this room you will have to paint about every three years. Over a 15-year period, this will amount to six times, which comes to (244.80 x 6 = \$1,468.80).

Let’s compare this to the cost of wallpaper. The industry average cost for wallpaper, including professional installation costs, adds up to about \$1.79 per square foot.* We can calculate this using the same method we used to determine the total wall area. We come up with the same 544 square feet. (544 x 1.79 = \$973.76) As you can see, this is much more expensive than the initial painting of the room. But when you factor in the longevity of wallpaper, which lasts 15 years, it’s not only cheaper than paint but considerably so. Over the 15 years, the savings in this room alone would amount to (total cost to paint \$1,468.80 – cost to wallpaper \$973.76 = \$495.04). That’s a savings of almost \$500 for just one room!

Now if it were just about dollars and cents, our argument would be made. But we are not bankers. We are interior designers. Our argument must include talk of décor, of aesthetics, of the beauty of the room. For that reason we must look at the styles, patterns and textures available with modern wallpaper. The industry has advanced so far in the past ten years with new technology that the options wallpaper can bring to a room are practically endless. If you want woven cloth, the look and feel of marble or a 12-foot wide artistic mural – it is all easily created with wallpaper. So for financial reasons and for aesthetic concerns we can see that the cost of wallpaper is not only cheaper than other wallcoverings, it is also a great aesthetic value!

*Rates provided by the National Guild of Professional Paper Hangers

# A New Kind of Art

One of my favorite things we carry here at Interior Place are the oil paintings. European masters paint traditional landscapes and portraits for us. The artists are, for the most part, unknown, but the work is brilliant. Below I’ve added a snapshot of one of my favorites. These aren’t available in our online store, but if you’re in the Philadelphia area please come by our showroom to see the whole collection. But before you get there check out the video below. This is the work of a man named Kyle Lambert. Lambert is a traditional artist, but he’s also mastered the newest technologies, as you will see in this clip of him painting a famous face right before your eyes, all with digital brush strokes on an iPad. Amazing stuff. Enjoy!

# In The News…

Interior Place President Elman Lurie was interviewed recently for an article in House & Home Magazine.

# Happy Thanksgiving From Interior Place!

We hope you and yours are enjoying a warm, fun holiday meal with family and friends. If you are one of the many people around the world who purchased home decor items at Interior Place this year, thank you for trusting us to make your home more beautiful. If you haven’t shopped with us yet, stop by our store and see the exciting new lines we’re adding every week. Have a great Thanksgiving!

# A Brief History of European Porcelain

European porcelain has been some of the finest in the world for more than three centuries.

The Earliest Days

The history of porcelain is one which parallels the history of civilization itself. As long ago as 200 B.C. craftsmen in China were creating porcelain with techniques nearly identical to those still in use today. This tradition continued through a series of dynasties, each leaving their own mark on the craft by introducing new colors or styles. Designs became the mark of royalty – so much so that possessing porcelain decorated with these protected designs outside of the royal palace was a crime punishable by death.

Throughout the centuries, a disciplined, strict demand for the highest quality moved the art of porcelain making forward. Mountains of shattered pottery are found adjacent to all ancient kilns. These piles of shards were not from pieces dropped or that came out of the kiln misshapen; these were pieces – numbering in the tens of thousands, even at the smaller operations – that failed to make the cut. Quality was never compromised in the production of porcelain in China. Once the Chinese established trade routes to the western world through the Silk Road, new markets emerged for these high quality wares. The Chinese standards of allowing only the finest products to be sold sparked ravenous demand throughout the developing world.

Painted by master artists, each piece in this set is a work of art.

Enamored with “China”

By the 17th century, steady shipments of porcelain were arriving in Europe. The arrivals were met with a feverish demand, one likely not seen before in the economy of the developing world. Millions of pieces of porcelain started to enter the world market from China’s open trading port of Canton. Historically an isolationist nation, China’s borders were closed to foreigners. But with the appropriate government licensing, select merchants were allowed to purchase goods at the port for exporting back to their home countries. The East India Company was the main exporter to Europe at this time. The European obsession over porcelain was such that the wares soon became known simply as “china,” as if that part of the world existed only to produce the tea sets, bowls and figurines that so captivated the western imagination. But within a hundred years this seemingly insatiable demand would drop dramatically. Another producer of porcelain would emerge. European craftsmen, with the help of a traveling priest, would learn the secrets of the porcelain craft. They would begin to recreate the impossibly delicate and translucent porcelain that somehow was stronger and less prone to staining than traditional pottery. From that point, the porcelain produced in Europe would rival those high standards of quality set in China so many centuries earlier, and demand for porcelain from Europe would continue into the present day.

The craftsmanship in European Porcelain is second to none.

Cracking the Porcelain Code

The local manufacture of porcelain in Europe begin with a series of trial and error attempts by craftsmen familiar with making traditional pottery. Many of these efforts resulted in a “soft paste” ceramic that failed to mimic the hardness and strength of Chinese porcelain. European potters experimented in the earliest days by mixing everything from feldspar and quartz into their clay, to introducing “frit,” which was glass ground to a fine powder. They studied the Chinese porcelain and worked to match the quality of the pieces, which were gaining in popularity among the upper classes. But their efforts were in vain because no one was able to produce the quality porcelain that was arriving in ships from Canton.

It wasn’t until 1712 that the secrets were finally revealed. A traveling Jesuit priest named Francois Xavier d’Entrecolles was fascinated by the manufacture of porcelain in China, where he was stationed as a missionary priest. d’Entrecolles wrote to his superior in Paris, where the headquarters of the French Jesuit missions to China and India was located, about the techniques he witnessed at the Chinese porcelain factories. This series of letters were published and became hugely popular throughout Europe, where artisans were still working, diligently yet unsuccessfully, to reproduce the fine “china” tea sets, bowls, vases, figurines and other items that were in such high demand.

With the trade secretes now published, the game changed. The importance of the type of kaolin clay and its composite minerals, including kaolinite, feldspar, alabaster and others, was finally understood by European potters. The production of fine porcelain began in earnest in the west.

Only original Cobalt and 24-karat gold can produce these vibrant colors.

The Porcelain Legacy

The appetite for porcelain would only increase over the years. In fact, many of the very first manufacturers of porcelain in Europe remain in business to this today, producing tens of thousands of finely-crafted, handmade pieces still very much in demand. This is where Interior Place places its large orders for porcelain. Our buyers abide by a strict code of quality, ensuring that only the most beautifully decorated, carefully fired and artfully painted pieces make it to our shelves. And because of the amount we sell, we are able to negotiate the lowest prices anywhere and pass on that incredible savings to you, our loyal customers. Please browse our entire porcelain collection today. We are certain you will find that perfect set, a family heirloom that will fit the decor of your home and add to its beauty for years and generations to come.

# Big Job But Small Budget? We Can Help With That.

When Leilani Patterson Pedro was tasked with organizing a fundraising event at her son’s school, she knew she was going to need to come up with something spectacular. St. Peter the Apostle Catholic School in Fallbrook, Calif., depends on the annual fundraiser to keep it operating throughout the entire year, so the pressure was on.

“We were on a budget of \$500 to decorate the whole event!” Leilani said.

The theme for the event was “Treasure Island.” Leilani said she searched online for products that would deliver the right effect while still keeping within the confines of her extremely tight budget. She wanted the walls to look like the inside of a ship, and when she did an Internet search for faux wood wallpaper, she found Interior Place.

“You had the best product for the best price and many different choices that fit my budget,” Leilani said.

With the eight double rolls of Brown Faux Wood Plank (\$25.99 per double roll), Leila was able to transform the school’s Parish Hall into a fantasy realm of pirates and deep sea adventure. Leilani was in charge of the entire project, but she said a lot of the credit goes to the people who volunteered their time to help her.

“The look was perfect. It went over great with help from volunteers.”

Leilani said they used paper clips in the ceiling to hang the wallpaper, and applied sticky putty to the back to keep it firm against the wall. After the event, they rolled up the paper and stored it to be used again.

We were so happy that Leilani contacted us about her project, and so very pleased that we played a part in such a quality fundraising event that we thought we would share the story . Below are before and after photos of the Parish Hall Leilani decorated in the “Treasure Island” theme. Enjoy!

# Cheers To Another Holiday Shopping Season!

## Online & Mobile to Save Christmas Again

Sales projections are less than cheery for traditional retail this holiday season, but analysts say online and mobile spending is expected to increase in leaps and bounds yet again.
Marginal increases of 3.9% are projected through November and December for traditional retail sales, according to a report from the National Retail Federation. This amounts to \$602.1 billion in holiday sales.
Many retailers depend on this spending surge, which can make up as much as 40% of a company’s revenue, and up to 20% of total industry sales, according to the NRF. While traditional sales are projected to be solid, the increase is not the reason so many retailers, like us here at Interior Place, are optimistic for 2013.
Online and mobile continue to be a leading growth sector for retailers. Consumers use the web to shop, to research their purchases and to see what others are saying about products through social media channels. This trend has continued over the past several years, and economists suggest it bodes well for the retail industry as a whole. In fact, research done by shop.org, an arm of the NRF which studies digital commerce exclusively, indicates this holiday season will experience a 15% boost over last year. That is in line with last year’s figures, which had experienced a 15% increase from the previous year. This trend will amount to \$82 billion being spent online before the end of the year, according to the report.
“Online and mobile continue to be a leading area of growth for retailers. In this economy savvy, cost-conscious consumers go to the web to do their research and get the best bang for their buck,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “In addition to researching what their peers are saying online about products and gifts this holiday season, consumers will use the buy online pick-up in store option, retailers’ apps and mobile websites to find something special for their loved ones.”
In addition to the rosy revenues predicted for the coming holiday shopping season, seasonal hiring is expected to increase as well, according to the NRF. Retailers are expected to hire as many as 780,000 temporary workers, marking another healthy boost for the nation’s economy and giving us in the retail industry one more reason to toast our egg nog and wish each other a very Merry Christmas!
Below is a great infographic from the folks over at http://www.internetretailer.com. It shows how shopping has evolved over the last few years in what just may be the most exciting time to be in the retail biz.

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.