Adventures at NeoCon, Part 2

Welcome back to our series on the 2018 NeoCon event. If you missed part 1, it can be found here.

Sometimes you come across a product or booth that may not speak to a particular trend or movement in the design world, but it’s pretty cool all the same. This installment of What I Did on my Summer Vacation will focus on those products that made me stop and say, “wow!”

The Juice Mobile Power Strip by Bretford


Designed specifically for classroom and educational use, this product probably also has a wider use range than just that market. Each 12 foot track is designed to be plugged into an outlet to extend the range of how far you can be from the wall and still plug in your laptop. It also provides convenient floor power without having to rip up existing floor or build a floating floor. Need a longer distance? No problem, the units can be daisy chained together to provide flexibility.

Designtex’s Celliant Upholstery Fabric


Celliant fibers have been around since 2008, but have seen a renewed interest in recent years. Designtex has released a collection of upholstery fabric backed in these fibers that collect the heat given off by the human body and reflect it back as infrared light, promoting increased circulation and blood oxygenation. This fabric won a Gold award for upholstery fabric in the Best of NeoCon competion.

PIXA Cube Light from Sensitile


Apologies for the blurry picture, but I couldn’t resist this light fixture using Sensitile’s PIXA material. This particular pattern is made from terrazzo with little bits of optical plastic that is made partially from recycled plastic from the manufacture of some of their other products. It can be used towards LEED points. Very mod, very green.

VR and AR Support for Configura CET Designer


If you’ve taken the FF&E class, you know about Configura CET Designer. It’s a nifty little piece of software that allow you to design in both 2D and 3D simultaneously can produce photo-realistic renderings. In the US it’s mostly used for commercial projects, but also has a strong kitchen and bath presence in Europe. The coolest part is that in now supports Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Using a $20 headset and either your phone (or a cheap refurbished one, as long as it has wifi) you can put your client in the room and space, it’s definitely an on-trend alternative to fly-through videos.

A partner company has also allowed for the use of Augmented Reality in conjunction with Configura CET Designer through use of an iPad. Scan a CET drawing with the iPad and show it to your clients on the screen in multiple scales, including 1:1. This means that you can show a client what the furniture selections would look like in an already built environment.

There are many more interesting products than I can post here, but there is my top 4!

Interested in going to NeoCon yourself? Next year’s NeoCon takes place June 10-12, 2019.

Have a cool competition, job opportunity, or other design related news? Let us know! Email us and we’ll get it up on the blog!


Adventures at NeoCon, Part 1

Earlier this week, I was fortunate enough to be able to make it down to the Merchandise Mart for NeoCon. I saw a lot of familiar faces there, but for those who couldn’t make it, don’t worry, I took pictures!

For those who may not know what NeoCon is, every June, the Interior Design community gathers at the Merchandise Mart to see what’s new in the industry. Manufacturers and vendors announce and display new products, paint companies reveal their color of the year for next year, and seminars about challenges that designers face in their projects are held. It’s also a great place to network! I left the house on Monday morning with maybe 50 business cards, I came home on Wednesday afternoon with around 20 left. That’s 30 connections made. It’s especially great for students as admissions badges for students are free! Interested in going? NeoCon 51 will be held on June 10-12 2019, mark it in your calendars today.

Without further ado, here’s what I saw at this year’s NeoCon!


There were quite a few seminars going on that were discussing the future of office design, the common thread being moving away from open office plans. Despite this, just about all of the office furniture set out on the showroom floors were benching systems. However these systems started to have more curves in their design and less straight lines as well as customization of privacy and noise reduction.

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In addition to an abundance of benching systems, there were quite a few retailers who were either expanding into or specializing in privacy pods for the office. Some where glass, some had open sides, some resembled traditional recording booths. With such a wide variety of styles, it was interesting to see how each product differentiated it’s self from the competition and their strategies for getting you to look at their product. One manufacturer would plant a tree if you gave them your email address.

Green and living walls have been a trend for a while. What caught my eye was the amount of vendors using moss instead of live plants. Touted as being lower upkeep (it doesn’t need light or water) and having superior acoustical properties, it was fun to see companies make cool shapes out of colored reindeer moss for custom green wall solutions.


I didn’t get as much time to look in the healthcare furniture booths as I’d like, so I don’t have much to report there, other than pattern and color have seem to come to play on not just on guest seating, but exam tables as well.

That’s it for this installment! Check back tomorrow for some of the cool products I spied!

Have a cool competition, job opportunity, or other design related news? Let us know! Email us and we’ll get it up on the blog!


We spoke to the owner of this firm at the Portfolio Show, and encourage anyone interested in the Kitchen & Bath and Residential construction & remodeling industry to reach out to them. They are open to talking to recent graduates.

Check out there website HERE. They do some beautiful projects.OHI position

Junior Designer Position at Designing Interiors, Inc.

Maria Hildebrand and her team at Designing Interiors, Inc. is looking for a new Junior Designer to join them! Maria has been in business in the Western Suburbs for 15 years and specializes in custom home builds and renovation projects. The company assists with everything, from blueprints to the final finishes to truly allow for any customer’s need. As a long standing member of the Northern Illinois Home Builder’s Association, this is a perfect opportunity for those who are looking to get into residential design.

As a Junior Designer, you will be required to:

  • Be self-motivated and flexible, with the ability to learn new skills and apply them.
  • Understand project scope, take initiative and work independently.
  • Have a strong knowledge of CAD, Power Point, Excel, and Word.
  • Have a basic understanding of Interior Design Trends.
  • Experience in the building or home furnishing industry is a plus, but not required.
  • Have excellent communication skills.
  • Have strong time management skills and the ability to work on multiple projects at once.
  • Be a team player, creative, and fun.

The position is 20-30 hours a week with a starting pay of $15/ hour, with the possibility of commission. If this sounds like the perfect job for you, contact Maria Hildebrand with your resume and any other supporting documents.

Have a cool competition, job opportunity, or other design related news? Let us know! Email us and we’ll get it up on the blog!

Internship Opportunity with Kelly Hurliman


Kelly Hurliman is looking for an intern to help her with her new, growing, interior design business. Kelly, who has spent over a decade as the personal stylist to Oprah Winfrey and apprenticed at Nate Berkus & Associates has opened her own design firm. She has been noted by Chicago Splash Magazine as one of their “Who to Watch”.

Kelly is looking for someone who is self-motivated and flexible.  The ideal candidate would be able to help with Photoshop layouts, social media marketing, installations, pick up and returns, contact vendors for pricing and sales, possibly work from home, and have a valid drivers licence. The job is 10 – 15 hours a week and earns $10/hour.

If this sounds like the perfect opportunity for you, please contact Kelly Hurliman with your resume, portfolio, and to schedule an interview.

Have a cool competition, job opportunity, or other design related news? Let us know! Email us and we’ll get it up on the blog!

Job Opportunity at West Elm

The West Elm store at the Oak Brook Center is looking to hire a part-time stylist. They are looking for someone who:

  • Loves to sell, can articulate a proven ability to exceed selling goals & most importantly can close a sale
  • Succeeds in a team environment, while able to work independently & manage your own time
  • Enjoys being hands-on with product & functions well both in-store & in the customers’ home
  • Recognizes that every customer has individualized needs & aesthetics & can cater your designs accordingly
  • Thrives in an entrepreneurial environment & are constantly looking for ways to think outside-the-box
  • Has an obsession for interior decorating, architecture, art, creativity, craft, artisans & neighborhood’s treasures
  • Keeps their finger on the pulse of design trends both globally & in your local community
  • Knows what questions to ask your customers in order to understand their personal style & needs

As part of the job and part of the company you will:

  • Drive sales & achieve sales goals per hour, by connecting customers to you & West Elm
  • Inspire associates & customers by connecting them to design trends, inspiration & local resources that reflect the eclectic, creative & modern spirit of the brand
  • Develop & manage relationships with clients, designers, developers, local businesses & artisans
  • Prioritize the customer & collaborate with your team to ensure adequate selling floor coverage during in-store or in-home appointments
  • Discover each customers’ style by sparking conversation, sharing inspiration & consulting with them to learn how to bring their story to life
  • Share decorating expertise & develop thoughtful space plans that fit the customers’ lifestyle
  • Advise customers on where to access design resources for products & services that may be unavailable at west elm (wallpaper, appliances, re-upholsterer, etc)
  • Share the stories, collaborations & craft behind our products to bring them to life for our customer
  • Develop vision boards, Icovia floorplans & utilize Pinterest to help customers express their personal style at home
  • Be held accountable for the following brand competencies: operates with strategic agility, drives innovation & change, provides influential leadership, communicates effectively, develops self & others, creates teams & partnerships, focuses on the customer, builds operational excellence and drives execution

Having at least 1-2 years schooling or experience in Interior Design or Furniture Design is appreciated as is an ability to work weekends and holidays and to travel to client homes. Pay is between $12 and $14, depending on experience. You should also have an ability to lift at least 75 lbs.

If this sounds like you, email your cover letter, resume, portfolio, and any other pertinent information (Instagram handle, blog address, Pintrest boards, ect.) to Amy Cappelletti.

Have a cool competition, job opportunity, or other design related news? Let us know! Email us and we’ll get it up on the blog!

Part Time Position at Bradford and Kent


The team at Bradford and Kent is looking for someone to fill a part-time role in their firm. They are looking for someone with:

  • Knowledge of AutoCAD
  • Familiarity with Kitchen and Bath design
  • General computer skills
  • Ability to do social media and marketing assistance.

This is a great opportunity if you’re currently finishing or have finished the Kitchen and Bath certificate! They are looking for someone to work about 20 – 30 hours a week, at about $17 an hour. If this sounds like the perfect opportunity for you, please contact Sharon Thorsen, their Senior Design Coordinator for more information and to schedule an interview.

Have a cool competition, job opportunity, or other design related news? Let us know! Email us and we’ll get it up on the blog!

Environmental Materials Field Trip to the Mart

Yesterday, the Environmental Materials class took a whirlwind tour of the Merchandise Mart. Among the stops were the showrooms of Ann Sacks, Carnegie, Maya Romanoff, Benjamin Moore, Osborne and Little and Bolyu! Students also had the opportunity to gather samples for their Health Club projects.


Environmental Materials and Applications is a 1000 level course required for both the Associates Degree and Kitchen and Bath Certificate programs. Students learn how to select appropriate materials for their projects and how to estimate their usage needs and costs. The class culminates in a project to design a Health Club and select all the furniture and finishes. If you are interested in taking this class, contact Kelly Dunn, who teaches the course.

Have a cool competition, job opening, or other design related news? Let us know! Email us and we’ll get it up on the blog!

Job Opening at HDW Interiors!


HDW Interiors is looking for a recent graduate or alumni to fill a position within their company. HDW Interiors is located in Merrillville, Indiana and would be especially convenient for members of the COD ID family who live in the Southern Suburbs. They specialize in healthcare, hospitality, education and general office design.

This position is great for people who have completed the FF&E class as part of their studies, as they are looking for someone who has experience with furniture specification software like ProjectMatrix or CAP 2020. Other great skills to have include AutoCAD and Sketchup.

If you feel like this is the perfect job for you, please email your resume and portfolio to Jean Nejman, their business director, at

Do you have a cool competition, job opportunity, or other design related news? Let us know! Email us and we’ll get it up on the blog.