Sunday, 20 April 2014 
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Be Original

Design Speak lets you in on a some industry lingo so that you will sound oh-so-smart. From abbreviations to acronyms to phrases to trendy words, we’ll do our best to cover it, and we’ll do it in language you’ll understand.

There are 603 entries in this glossary.
Search for glossary terms (regular expression allowed)
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Term Definition
key pattern

No, we’re not talking locks and escutcheons and such. We’re talking ornamentation, not functionality. You may have seen the phrases “Greek key” and “Chinese key,” and they’re all virtually synonymous. These are very structured, angular, symmetrical geometric designs held within a border or a band. Once you know what they are, you’ll start to see them everywhere: on buildings, furniture, fabrics, jewelry, accessories, etc. The idea of them is so old that they are the definition of “classic.”

See also: fret


(pronounced KEE-stohn)

There are million products and businesses with keystone in the title. Why? Because a keystone is an integral support piece in architecture, and that sounds dependable and solid. Yes, it’s that wedge-shaped slice at the top most part of an arch, which secures the other pieces so that they won’t collapse. Unfortunately, this doesn’t come close to explaining Keystone beer.

kilim rugs

(pronounced kee-LEEM ruhgz)

These traditional, handmade rugs are a subclass of the more general grouping commonly referred to as Oriental rugs. Different types of flatweaving techniques from Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, North Africa, Iran, China and Central Asia produce a textile without any pile. The overall designs are comprised of abstract symbols representing things like animals and fertility to natural elements. Not just for floors, the rich texture and striking patterns of kilim rugs work equally well as wall hangings.



(pronounced KLIHZ-mos)

You might not know this word, but you’ll recognize its “figure” as it is a classic one. This ancient (think 5th /4th century BC) form comes from the innovative Greeks. They designed an elegant, sensuous shape made up of a concave, shoulder-height top-rail (to follow the curvature of the back) and splayed sleekly saber-shaped legs (just try to say that five times fast), meaning that the front legs curve forwards and the back ones curve backwards. Though you’ve never seen an original (as they don’t exist), you’ve most likely seen it in late 18th/ early 19th century Greek Revival pieces: Duncan Phyfe, Empire, English Regency, and French Directoire.


(pronounced koo-TAH-nee)

The name of a type of Japanese porcelain ware first produced in the early- to mid-17th century in the Kaga domain of Japan, which is present day Ishikawa Prefecture. The Kutani style is celebrated for its use of bold designs in a variety of colors covering the greater part of the surface of each piece.


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Some News

Interiors & Sources, in collaboration with ICRAVE, announces the design challenge for the 2014 I Like Design internship contest. The winner will be awarded a paid internship at the firm for the summer of 2014 in its New York City headquarters and paid housing costs for the duration of the program. Submissions will be accepted up until midnight on March 10, 2014. GO HERE to find competition details and criteria.

Enough Said T-Shirts
Created by a couple of Milwaukee interior designers with a quirky sense of humor, a healthy dose of sarcasm and a heaping serving of caring. Check out Enough Said to find fun t-shirts with a message.

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