The 4th Edition of Residential Interior Design Will Be Published in Late Fall 2021

This edition contains many updates and has been reorganized a bit, but the book continues to cover residential design using a room-by-room  approach. Research for this edition included a deep dive into updates in green/sustainable codes, standards, and certification programs as well as environmental product declarations. We also expanded information for students related to carbon and the built environment and attempted to provide an expanded overview of human behavior, culture, and housing.

New content related to utility rooms and workspaces has been added –heavily influenced by the amount of time many people spent working from home during COVID-19 restrictions. Kitchens and bathrooms continue to be a focus, with expanded information provided in those chapters. “Smart” home elements are also covered, along with updated 2021 International Residential Code (IRC) information. 

Working on a new edition requires research to determine what has changed and what has remained consistent over time. My sense is that the basics of space planning have not changed but some details do change and our expectations for residential spaces continues to evolve. Most of us lucky enough to have a home, have spent more time inside during the last year and that will surely change our expectations for residential space moving forward. 

The new cover  design and an example of expanded ergonomic information are shared above and below.

Desk and work surface reach and clearances are included in the new edition (shown above)

Links to purchase information from Wiley and Amazon are below:

Presentation Continued: another excellent example

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This is E Nelson’s design solution to the YouMedia project described in the previous post. The design is well thought out, and meets all of the project requirements in a visually striking manner.

This presentation is an excellent illustration of best practices for student design presentation for the following reasons:

  • The content is clear and easy to follow, the information provided is well written, and accurate.
  • Presentation visuals directly support the project design aesthetic.
  • White space on pages is handled consistently and helps to focus the viewer on project information.
  • Well executed 3D renderings communicate the design beautifully.
  • There is graphic consistency in the presentation yet each sheet varies as necessary (due to required content). This creates a dynamic yet cohesive presentation.
  • The graphic/title bar at the left of each sheet is consistent and relates well to the project.
  • Inclusion of design process drawings (last sheet) is cleanly handled (no messy, wrinkled sketches), allows potential employers to see the design process. The narrative at right is also helpful.

Looking at an excellent design presentation like this one, one often notices that simple, well thought out design graphics are key. These well thought-out graphics should be supported by a clear, project narrative as in this example.

More on Interior Design Presentation…

See notes below presentation images:

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Rendered floor plan (some areas on plans are obscured to prevent plagiarism).

Design process is documented below:


  • The presentation is simple and well edited, making it easy to follow and understand
  • All elements are very well executed: as I recall this was modeled and rendered in Revit.
  • The drawings are technically accurate, easy to read, and the renderings are amazing.
  • Most of the sheets follow a similar layout with a column of type/white space on the right-hand side (finding a consistent layout sheet to sheet, where possible, is a great approach—see last sheet below with my notes on it about layout)
  • The color-coded floor plan was required for the project and clarifies the location of project requirements outside of the standard rendered floor plan.
  • An additional annotated line drawing of the floor plan was included and contained additional project notes that didn’t fit on the color-coded plan (it is not included here).
  • Each rendered 3D view has a small key plan to help orient the viewer to location of the view relative to the plan. This is helpful, especially when projects are presented via projector so that each sheet must stand alone.
  • Design changes and project process refinement are clearly presented with notes about changes made during the design process.

Interior Design Presentation

Presentation of retail project designed and presented by P Schrupp

The examples shown here are parts of a presentation for a small retail design project done by P. Schrupp. This presentation is effective for a number of reasons. Notice that the 3D views are large and are accompanied by a small keyplan to convey the location of view. The layout is simple and keeps the focus on the design elements. The presentation incorporates a consistent sheet title on top, with a project graphic/logo on the bottom –very simple and effective. The rendering is excellent (the model was built in SketchUp and rendered with SU Podium).

As I discuss in Interior Design Visual Presentation, the visual qualities of a presentation should reflect the state of the design at the time of presentation. This means in-process design presentations can have a sketchier feel and final presentations often have a greater sense of polish and finality. The audience and format of the presentation must also be identified to properly plan the presentation.

With the nature of the presentation identified, the graphics of the presentation can be honed. Here are things I consistently convey to students:

1 Some visual aspects of the project can be brought in via type, composition (layout) and images choices.

2 Create layout “thumbnails”, which are brainstorming sketches of possible sheet layouts (for each sheet). Aim for a consistent, simple, title block or icon that appears on each sheet. Attempt to align images and visual elements where possible (create consistent top and side borders (white space) on each sheet and align other elements when possible)

3 Keep things as simple as possible and focus on the design elements. Do not add extra elements to make things “interesting”.

4 Make project images as large as possible. When the presentation will be virtual or projected, use of traditional architectural scale is not possible so a graphic scaling element or elements can be used and images can be as large as possible.

5 When presenting virtually or via projection use a keyplan to orient viewers is necessary.


Design Futures

I’m at a loss to go into detail about the current world situation. It’s a very difficult time for so many people all over the word. Everything is different now.

Various design and business publications are putting forward information about how the designed environment may change moving forward. Here are some links to items that have been published recently:

Business Insider: Experts say the office as we knew it is gone

Contract Magazine: The Workplace is Dead…

Fast Company: From Officles to Giant Sneeze Guards

Modern Restaurant Management: What Does Social Distancing Mean for Social Businesses

USA CDC COVID-19 Outbreak Associated with Air Conditioning in Restaurant, Guangzhou, China 2020

And now for a way to stay motivated:

New York Times:

Artists Are Hunkered Down but Still Nurturing Their Inner Visions

Or maybe this bit of coloring from the National Trust for Historic Preservation will take your mind off of things:

15 Free Historical Coloring Books

I will keep on the lookout for more design related content for planning for the future.

Projects + Award = Rewarding

Recently I did some design consulting for friends as they renovated a wonderful historic building for use as a brew-pub. With my current full-time commitment to teaching I rarely have an opportunity to engage in many design projects. Luckily, my friends are the owners of  the building and the brewing operation and they are talented, creative people, who did not need much help from me, so,  I was able to offer suggestions and provide some space planning for the projects, which was a great fit for my crazy schedule.

One day the owners mentioned they needed a quick rendering for some stakeholders and I was very busy with some other work. I tried to render a SketchUp model I’d done for the project but it was slow going due to the vintage nature of the materials and I was running out of time. I decided to try taking a photograph and “Photoshopping it” creating a collage and placing a bar in the proposed location. I sort of drew the bar by taking a sample of the existing wall wainscoting using the Skew Tool in Photoshop  (we planned to re-used the wainscoting for the bar face so it was a reasonable choice).  I also used the same method to add a lighter wood top.

I decided to use this method to help decide if we should retain the finish of a wall that had many layers of paint and had developed a pretty great patina. The images below show the photograph I used and two versions of the quick rendering. At this time we were also reviewing whether to place chalkboard on the wall as shown in the images.



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I had been fooling around in SketchUp for two hours and was worried that by taking the time to aim for a realistic rendering done in SketchUp with a rendering plug-in, I would run out of time. In desperation, I just starting playing around with Photoshop and in 20 minutes (maybe less)  I had several options to show the owner and the quick nature of it worked just fine given where we were with the project.

Another rewarding thing occured recently: I was named to the Design Intelligence list of admired educators.

New Edition | What’s New?

Mitton_Cover Final IDVP5

I’m happy to say that the 5thedition of Interior Design Visual Presentation was officially published earlier this month (May, ’18). The publication is the culmination of two years of work and it is a wonderful feeling to have it published.

Occasionally people ask me why it is necessary to write new editions, and in my case the answer is that in terms of digital presentation things change dramatically over a 3-5 year period.

The first edition contained almost completely analog work: everything was done by hand –renderings, sample boards, models –everything. With subsequent editions, digitally generated items were included in ever increasing quantities. So, as I set out to work on the 5thedition, I had to decide if I should include analog work such as sketches, renderings, models, and sample boards created by hand. After giving it some thought, and talking to a number of designers, I decided this edition shouldinclude work done by hand particularly drawing and rendering because the ability to sketching continues to be a useful in design practice.

It is important to note that of all the analog skills, quick sketching rises to the top as the most important in daily practice. The ability to get an idea quickly out of one’s head and on to paper continues to be very important. This is true for idea generation (ideation) and for sharing with team members or clients. Quick marker rendering can make sketches more readable and therefore, quick rendering continues to be a useful skill.

Because I see the book as a broad overview of communication methods, I included significant instruction in hand drawing/sketching, rendering, model making and board construction. The book also includes digital means for creating drawings, sketches, models and boards because design practice makes use of these. In fact, digital modeling, rendering, fabrication, and 3D printing have altered design practice and skills in these areas are required for design graduates.

Use of virtual reality, laser cutters/engravers, 3D printers and highly realistic digital rendering are all commonplace and therefore their inclusion is necessary.

This edition has a continued focus on SketchUp used for modeling and rendering due to its universal use and reasonable learning curve. I also continued coverage of Photoshop in rendering for the same reasons. SketchUp is covered in greater detail than the previous edition and some new Photoshop techniques are also covered. There is also information about how to prepare various files for use in 3D printing and virtual reality.

I continue to see this book as a broad overview of interior design visual communication –rather than a deep dive into any one area and hopefully, I have achieved that with the new edition. The instruction in “quick sketching” includes that done by hand and SketchUp, in the hopes of providing students and professionals the skills needed for quick “go to” communication techniques. This is done with the full knowledge that BIM related skills are also important for today’s designers –yet the addition of that content would make the book far too long and complicated.

My statement in the introduction to the 5thedition offers this:

“In completing this edition, I once again came to the the conclusion that while much has changed since the first edition—particularly related to digital technology. Many things have stayed the same particularly regarding the process of design and the complex, yet flexible ways of thinking required of a professional designer. This continues to be a profession populated by bright, creative individuals who are required to call upon a broad range of talents and skills in everyday practice. While technology has made many things easier –and faster– today’s designers are required to know more and to possess more skills than at any time previously. I hope this book will help today’s designers in their acquisition of some of the many skills required in current practice.”

Press release from my university regarding the publication.


Time Flies + Photoshop Rendering


It has been six months since my last post — I’ve been busy!

The summer months were spent working on the 5th edition of Interior Design Visual Presentation. I made the early September deadline and then went back for a busy fall semester at school. What a whirlwind!

Working on a new edition of the presentation book involves checking out what is going on in the design world; this means spending time visiting design firms and trying to catch up with current practice. I learn so much from doing this because my work as an instructor tends to keep me in the classroom and meetings for most of the school year –getting out there to see what is really going on is fascinating.

So what’s new? Mostly technology and speed. By this I mean that the big-picture process of design has not changed but the way that process is facilitated has evolved as technology has evolved. BIM, modeling and digital imagining software has changed professional practice and has led to expectations that projects move very quickly through design (and construction).

Most larger architecture and design studios are using Revit; AutoCAD is used in some firms along (with additional drawing/modeling software).  Many firms have moved away from physical presentation boards to digital presentations. 3D printing and digital fabrication have changed the way scale models are made. And, while Revit rendering is increasingly common, many firms supplement that with SketchUp and Photoshop rendering. Interstingly, some firms create fully detailed Revit models and export those into SketchUp to create quick color and detail studies. Similarly some firms use Photoshop to render images created in CAD/BIM software.

Several design firms I met with indicated that they find that the speed and ease of working with SketchUp and Photoshop renderings allows them to create multiple approaches for clients. Turning layers on and off in both SketchUp and Photoshop can be used to show clients varying options.

Examples of this are shown below with two floor finish options that can be displayed by toggling on/off the appropriate floor plan layers.



c07f018aOn the top is a floor plan option with the wood floor added as a pattern. The plan below has a different lighter wood floor visible. This was done by using an adjustment layer following the steps below and illustrated above

1 Go to the Layer (in the Layer Palette) that contains the material or color to be changed and make a selection by clicking on the black and white L­­ayer Mask.

2 Click on the Create a New Layer Icon and select “Hue/Saturation” from the drop down menu. The Hue/Saturation option brings up hue sliders that are used to change the hue (color).

With the new lighter floor hue selected the layer containing the darker floor can be turned off (click the eye icon to the left of the layer palette).

The 5th edition will focus on use of “Pattern Fills” to render in Photoshop rather than “Pasting-In” images. A Pattern Fill layer is created by clicking on the round “Create a New Fill or Adjustment Layer” icon and selecting “Pattern”. With Pattern selected for the new layer, the last Pattern created is automatically pasted into the selection. However, the lever to the right of the pattern icon (outlined in yellow) can be used to scroll to other patterns. Also a scale device in the pattern window allows for the pattern to be scaled prior to insertion. I like having the option of scaling the pattern here while rendering  -it is a quick, easy option.



I just returned from another trip to Chicago for NeoCon. For those not familiar,  NeoCon is a giant  trade event for commercial interior design.

Furniture, materials/finishes, fixtures  –all manner of items that exist within commercial space are displayed. Its great fun to see what and how manufacturers are focusing on for current and future products. The showroom design is always of interest to me.

Things I noticed this year:

  •   Felt, felt, felt. Lots and lots of felt. With a huge focus on acoustics. This includes modular block systems, woven screen-like walls, and screens (lots of beautiful screens). I also saw felt incorporated onto desk surfaces and in tiny little woven screens and baffles to put on top of desks.IMG_7608


  •    Huge back to the 1970’s vibe in color and materials. Very: macrame meets mod.


  • Modular seating systems with a casual vibe.


  • Enclosures of various types: felt/upholstered enclosures and pads around seating  and lots “rooms within a room” to create private zones and focus spaces. 




  • Modular banquette seating was also big.
  • Screens, many screens, many felt screens! And, metal, and acrylic and all manner of screens.IMG_7791img_7576.jpg

I made it to my favorite Chicago coffee shop every morning, which made the entire event better.

img_7543-e1497645766466.jpgSoon, I hope to tag all of these images with the manufacturer’s information but that will take awhile…need more coffee.