Part of Rep. Aaron Schock's (R-Ill.) new office in the Rayburn Office Building, which was inspired in part by the PBS show "Downton Abbey." Photographed on Jan. 30, on Capitol Hill. (Ben Terris/The Washington Post)
Part of Rep. Aaron Schock’s (R-Ill.) new office in the Rayburn Office Building, which was inspired in part by the PBS show “Downton Abbey.” Photographed on Jan. 30, on Capitol Hill. (Ben Terris/The Washington Post)

Interior design and its role in politics showed up in this week’s issue of The New Yorker. Former Secretary of State and current 2016 Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently opened her campaign headquarters in Brooklyn Heights, New York. Between this location choice and Clinton’s apparent need to makeover her image in order to better relate to the American people, many have begun to speculate on what kind of vibe we’ll find in her offices.

Brooklyn Heights isn’t exactly the trendiest corner of NYC. In fact, as Emma Allen writes, the neighborhood is more of a “no man’s land… Locals refer to Brooklyn Heights as ‘America’s First Suburb.'”

“I think she’s not likely to furnish [her campaign HQ] with a host of bearded men, vintage chesterfield sofas, and fridges full of Brooklyn Lager,” David Alhadeff, the founder of the Williamsburg boutique the Future Perfect, said. “I don’t think she’ll be dumpster diving for her office chairs.”

Allen’s “Hillaryburg” piece goes on to consider several recent examples of politicians making head-scratching design choices in their offices:

Clinton could hardly do worse than the de Blasios, who, last summer, replaced antiques in Gracie Mansion on which Mayor Michael Bloomberg had spent several million dollars with sixty-five thousand dollars’ worth of free furniture from West Elm: dusty-blue sectionals, furry throw pillows. A Times Op-Ed called the decision “unseemly.” The First Family defended the choice by pointing out that West Elm had started in Brooklyn, like them…

Also to avoid: emulating Illinois Republican congressman Aaron Schock, whose decorator kitted out  his office to evoke “Downtown Abbey,” with crimson walls, gold sconces, and clumps of pheasant feathers, at a cost of forty thousand tax-payer dollars.

“In political culture, design is not a priority,” said Martin Finio, an architect who, with his wife, revamped the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Podcast Love: The Entrepreneur Architect

2015Since 12:01 a.m. on Thursday morning, some of us have resolved to run a 5K by Easter, or to hike a few of Colorado’s famous “Fourteeners,” or to try every brewpub in Portland before 2015 is out. Some have decided to spend more quality time with our families, or learn how to use a food processor, or solve the NYT Sunday crossword at least once without help. These are all excellent personal goals for the new year. In case you’re looking for similar inspiration for New Year’s Resolutions for your business, we thought we’d point you to Mark LePage’s The Entrepreneur Architect Podcast.

The following is an excerpt from the blog post accompanying a recent episode titled Top 10 Ways Architects Can Earn More Money:

“As a requirement for licensure, registered architects are responsible for the health, safety and welfare of every occupant in every project we design. Like any small business, architects must pay the typical operating expenses required to remain buoyant, such as utilities, professional service fees, consultants’ fees, insurances and several other overhead expenditures. But wait… for architects, there’s more. To protect us from the liabilities inherent in our responsibilities as licensed professionals, most architects also purchase an additional Professional Liability insurance policy costing several thousand dollars each year.

“Then, there’s that little thing called profit.  Every business, including architecture firms (yes, its true!), must earn a profit. It’s one of the rules to “the game”. In order to continue pursuing our success as architects, we must not only cover our expenses and take home a salary, we must make enough to reinvest into the business.

“Most sole proprietors and small firms I know, struggle to meet the minimum requirements of operation. Forget about profit.

“Simply stated… Architects just don’t make enough money.

“On this episode of The Entrepreneur Architect Podcast, I am sharing my top 10 ways architects can earn more money.”

New year; new bottom line. We hope this resource helps you in your endeavors this year. All the best to our readers in 2015!

About the Podcaster:

Mark R. LePage, AIA, a licensed architect in the State of New York, is the Partner in Charge of Operations at Fivecat Studio Architecture, a leading residential architecture firm located in Westchester County, New York (about 40 minutes north of New York City). Mark and his wife, architect Annmarie McCarthy, launched Fivecat Studio in 1999 at the age of 29 with no money and no clients. Together they have grown the regional firm to a staff of six, managing projects worth more than $10 million. Mark is the founder of Entrepreneur Architect, this online education resource inspiring architects to build better businesses. He launched the blog in 2007 as a personal project to document ideas for business success. In 2012, Mark relaunched Entrepreneur Architect at EntreArchitect.com and introduced the The Entrepreneur Architect Podcast. Working to become an influential force in the profession, Mark’s mission is to teach sole proprietors, small firm architects and students the importance of business success in the profession of architecture.