Interior Design Sketches-Retina Group in Mesa, AZ

I have been working on a total remodel of an Eye surgeons office in Mesa over the last several months.  Quite excited as the design is developing nicely and the colors/finishes/textures are going to be fantastic.  The waiting room desk was a challenge.  The client/Dr. wants a nice separation between the waiting room and office area.  The solution is custom sliding glass window system which will serve to create some privacy and also give the client the spa-like appearance she wants.  See sketch above! Some of the glass panels at the sliding windows will be frosted.  I am excited to see the final product!




Retina Rendering

The Retina Group- Sketch at Doctor’s Office Workstation

For the doctors private office the goal is to create a space that is somewhat flexible and open.  I designed an L-shaped workstation in order to keep the space open in the center of the room as much as possible.  The Doctor will have a small table in the center of the room for small meetings.  She likes wood furniture, but for her needs a wood-look plastic laminate is the answer.  See my rough sketch below and a photo of a similar workstation she liked.  So nice that the options keeping increasing so that we as designers can truly create a space that is specific to the needs of the user!


Later! Norma…

The Retina Group_Sketch at Doctors Office Workstation_Blog Post Photo

Remodel of the Glendale, AZ Civic Center – signage and carpet design package

We recently completed the partial remodel of the Glendale Civic Center.  The design services included custom carpet tile at the common areas and ballroom – the carpet manufacturer is Milliken which has great color options and a new signage program – Century Signs.  This provided a fresh look for the existing facility.  The Glendale Civic Center is a lovely facility which has large interior and exterior spaces which are available for corporate events, weddings, reunions and other functions.  Located about 20 minutes from downtown Phoenix with ample parking I was impressed with this gem when I was first approached by the city for assistance in improving their facilities.  









Hotel Design Review for Best Western-Quito, Ecuador

I am back from my trip to Quito, Ecuador where I evaluated a hotel for Best Western.  It was a short trip, but very memorable.  I was able to stand on the equator, the yellow line is the dividing line, “Mitad del  Mundo” (the middle of the world).  Smack dab in the center of the world.

What an experience.  The hotel that I visited is the only Best Western in Ecuador and located in the center of Quito.  Across the street from the hotel is the city’s largest shopping center, and the historic colonial district is not far away.  Quito is the highest capital city in the world, with a population of about 2.5 million.  When I arrived I was told that many experience some real issues due to the altitude.  Lucky for me, I felt fine.

The people I met with were lovely, and I was able to get some insight into the country and culture.  They use the US dollar for their currency, it is my guess that has really helped to stabilize the economy, etc.  The cost of living seems high, discussed some basic items with the locals as far as costs and for instance a head of lettuce runs about $3.00, homes average between 80K and 100K with pent houses in the center of town costing around $1,500.00 per month.  However, the average wage is $300.00 per month.  Autos are more expensive there it sounds like they run about $5K-$7K more than in Phoenix, and most don’t have the necessary safety features that are required here, i.e. airbags, etc.  Getting around town in a car involves some forethought.  Due to the city’s density , pollution, population – they have restrictions on dates/times of car travel based on license plate numbers.  They have a new airport, small by our standards but nice, which just opened about a week before my arrival, and is about an hour out of town.  I arrived late at night, and as we drove to the hotel – I saw many homes and businesses along the sides of the road.  Most looked more like shacks from my vantage point.  Almost no lights on, aside from the street lighting which was pretty intense.  Hardly any graffiti.

We arrived at the hotel – it is about 19 years old and has an old world design feel, which included ornate interiors and an extensive art collection in the lobby with impressive colonial style pieces. This is a city of such history and beauty.

The hotel is a nine story structure with incredible views of the city from each story. Soon a Sushi Bar will open on the 9th floor which will have stunning views as well.  I was shown such hospitality by the hotel and the manager and staff could not have been nicer.  I was given a private tour of the Equator which is located not far from the city and is situated in a park with museums, gift shops, restaurants, etc. where the art and culture of Ecuador can be enjoyed.  I was not familiar with the local art and artists.  I saw a small museum with the artwork of Oswaldo Gyayasamin, who I was told is the most famous of Ecuadorian artists – world renowned.  The museum was small, but I was quite enamored with his work.

After the visit to the equator, we went to the Colonial part of town.  I was short on time so it was a car tour.  I did take a few photos along the way, and the architecture was amazing.  See photos below for some examples of the old town area.

We drove up to a mountain, Mirador de Panecillo.  The statue of the Virgin Mary stands on top overlooking the city.  Visible from most of the city, and based on a colonial statue of the Virgin of Quito, the 134 ½ foot tall aluminum monument was erected in 1976.

Had to take a flight back with a 7AM departure – way too early, but must say I will always remember this trip and the wonderful hospitality I encountered.

While reviewing the hotel  – I provided some ideas/sketches,  below I have shown a few of the ideas I had.

The exterior parking lot had a variety of plant types – not of a clear theme. As  seen below.  As a suggestion for providing a more upgraded consistent appearance I have shown below a suggested look for that area of planting.  Note: provide planting of varied heights, nicely trimmed with rock and other ground covering.

NM Interiors_Quito Ecuador 14_Planting for blog

In the lobby there are several seating areas with furniture which is identical in style and fabric.  It is necessary to replace the sofa with a fully upholstered sofa.  Ensure that the sofa incorporates the cream tones of the lobby as well as blue or green tones such as are provided in other areas of the hotel.  Provide side tables to coordinate with this arrangement.  A new large area rug which coordinates with the color scheme should be added as well.


NM Interiors_Quito Ecuador 15_sofa sketch for blog


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Art in Costa Rica

Lovely Art in Costa Rica.  The downtown area in San Jose had several museums, I was particularly taken with the sculptures and tile work! The existing interior walls were left to original condition in the museum shown below.  Lovely architectural textures with centuries of layers peeled away in spots. I was in San Jose on a South American design training session for Best Western International.


Best Western Irazu, San Jose, Costa Rica

Travel link to San Jose Costa Rica

Travel information on San Jose Costa Rica



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California College of the Arts Graduation

One of my former interns, Irina Murphy recently graduated from the California College of the Arts with a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design.  She was working on her associates degree in interior design when NM Interiors Group hired her as an intern. We were so fortunate to have her as an employee and feel even more so to have her as a friend.  I went to her senior fashion show/graduation event.  Below are pieces from her collection that were shown at the event!  So excited for Irina as she starts her career in NYC.  Can’t wait to visit her and see her progress.



Blog Post Fashion Show-1

Hotel Interior Design review of Best Western Premier – Monterrey, Mexico

Recently I was contacted by Best Western International and asked to provide Interior Design Evaluations of Premier hotels in Central and South America. Specifically to review a hotel in Monterrey, Mexico for hotel interior design. I just returned from my first property visit which was to Monterrey, Mexico.

It has been almost 20 years since I have been to Mexico. I am hispanic and bi-lingual, so this is a great opportunity to see other locales and practice my spanish. While at the hotel, which is located near the airport in Monterrey, I provided the hotel owners with solutions in order to comply with the Premier Guidelines and also provided sketches to assist in their modifications to the property. Shown below are a few examples.

Monterrey, the city was quite lovely.  Absolutely beautiful mountains with funky divets and contours surround the city. This is a very industrial city with lots of machiadores and a steel foundry. Heineken recently purchased the big local brewery.

The dichotomy between old and new is fascinating. I was on an expressway going to the downtown area.  The expressway and all the roads which are at a low elevation were totally under construction because they had a massive flood which tore thru the center of town. I saw an old Mexican style horse and buggy like straight out of an old movie walking on the side road.  And there are shacks lined up the edge of the expressway, which is actually a toll road, and beautiful hi-rises which are hotels. hospitals, offices with a very large cosmopolitan shopping center.  There are Starbucks, Best buy, Grainger and a host of other american businesses. The architecture that is for the mexican companies is fascinating, in some ways I think they are just not as restricted as we are, due to codes, and pre-conceptions, some interesting materials,, colors and more sculptural elements.

Original Hotel designs in Mexico




Later, Norma…

Hotel Design
Best Western Premier Exterior
Bar Area at Hotel
Bar Area at Hotel
Hotel Check in desk
Hotel Check in desk
Hotel Lobby Seating Area
Hotel Lobby Seating Area
Pool Area at Hotel
Pool Area at Hotel