Little Hall – Renovation complete!

Constructed in 1915 as the University’s first stand-alone gymnasium, Little Hall was named in honor of William “Bill” Gray Little, who is credited with introducing football at the University of Alabama. In 1967, Little Hall became home for the School of Social Work and remains so today as they prepare to celebrate 50 years in the building! Recent renovations to Little Hall started in 2015 and Kristie Brown was assigned as the project’s interior designer. Kristie worked hand in hand with Dean Vandiver and her team to accommodate all of the programming requirements while highlighting Little Halls’ classical style with elegant wainscoting and elongated arched openings.

The North facing façade is complemented by beautiful terrazzo floor patterns meant to draw visitors through the first-floor space and connect them to the South vestibule where Hall of Fame honorees flank the corridor walls in custom cabinets. The cabinets were designed by Kristie and are a highlight of the corridor. Additionally, the newly added third floor hosts a breath-taking event/reception space with exposed structure framed by large arched windows located on the North and South exterior walls. Once finished, Dean Vandiver noted that the new floor patterns are unique and dynamic, as are UA students!

Congratulations to Kristie on a job well done!!


Furnishings and Design Year End Deadlines

It’s that time of year again and the end of the fiscal year is approaching quickly. With the implementation of Concur during FY17, all purchase orders must now be issued, not just submitted, prior to September 30, 2017. This is a change from previous years so please make a note of this difference and help us communicate this update to any stakeholders in your work area. In order to allow enough time to fully design the furniture within the requested space, all Design Request Forms (DRFs) that are year-end specific must be submitted to the F&D office no later than end of business day, August 15, 2017.

In chronological order, the deadlines are as follows:

  • August 15: Design Request Forms are due

  • September 25: Purchase order requests are due to purchasing

  • September 30: Purchase orders must be issued

Please understand that these deadlines are in place to ensure that proper time and attention can be given to each and every space on campus. F&D strives to provide excellent customer service throughout the year, and especially at year end as everyone is trying to finish up their year-end projects. Please help us help you and plan accordingly so we can all have a successful year end closeout!

Did you know?

  • Leaning forward 30 degrees in your office chair to get closer to the computer screen puts 3-4 times more strain on your back.
  • A simple tennis ball can help you correct your posture and help release contracted muscles and tissues.
  • In a properly adjusted office chair, the arm supports should allow your elbows to rest at 90 degrees.
  • This and more helpful office chair info can be found at: Spine Health: Office Chair Set Up.

Stump the New Guy!

Furnishings and Design would like to welcome its newest team member, the Manager of Business Processes, Dan Genest. Dan comes to UA following a career in the Air Force where he held positions in financial services, budgeting and cost estimating.

As business process manager, Dan’s duties encompass all financial and support functions to include accounting, auditing and inventory management. So as Dan gets up to speed in his new role, the F&D staff would like to challenge you to try to stump the new guy! Send Dan any and all questions you’ve ever had about F&D but just never got around to asking. Ever wonder how we assign interior designers to each specific project? How the chair lab works? How many upholstery jobs F&D completes each year? You ask the question and Dan will find the answer. Feel free to call Dan at 348-0879 to introduce yourself and ask him your question, or email it to

How can I be sure my DRF was submitted correctly?

Several months ago, we initiated the use of the electronic Design Request Form (DRF). When you submit the electronic form, you will be directed to a new screen confirming your submission. You should also receive an email from Onbase ( confirming your submission and with a link to your submitted form. Our office receives the DRF upon submission and it is added to an online queue of projects to be assigned. Based staffing availability, your department will be contacted soon after the DRF has been submitted. If ever you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 348-6508.

Furniture Lead Times

The University of Alabama is happy to have a contract with approximately 165 commercial furniture manufacturers sold through 33 certified dealers. This contract, authored by our partners in Procurement Services, allows us to provide a variety of options to our University clients that fit a wide range of needs, budgets and purposes. Commercial furniture is made to specification based on client need; because of that, it takes anywhere from six to eight weeks for pieces to be manufactured. Then, per the terms of our contract, a certified vendor delivers and installs the furniture on location. That means it can take anywhere from eight to ten weeks from date of purchase for furniture to be installed here on campus. Because of this lead time, it is important to plan ahead – especially when there is a firm deadline.

If your department is in need of new furniture, you can get the process started by filling out a Design Request Form.

Extending the Life of Your Furniture

The University Upholstery Shop is committed to bringing quality upholstery services to the University community. Each year, our three trained upholsterers reupholster over five hundred items for various University clients. We are able to work on almost any type of project – from weight room equipment to large sofas to office task chairs. The Upholstery Shop is able to help the University reduce overall costs by repairing old and worn furniture with new materials rather than purchasing completely new pieces. For instance, a brand new guest chair averages around $500 while materials to recover the same chair might cost an average of $125. If a piece of furniture is broken or damaged, we often work with Building Maintenance or the furniture manufacturer to repair or replace the broken parts. So, if your department has furniture that is past its prime, consider using the services of our talented upholsterers to bring the piece back to life.

Loveseat before and after

Click the photo for more before and after transformations.

AUID Conference 2016

The University of Alabama was recently represented at the Association of University Interior Designers (AUID) Annual Conference for the first time in several years. The goal of the conference is to bring together professional interior designers from colleges across the United States. These individuals design high-use spaces that must meet the needs of students, staff, and faculty, be aesthetically pleasing, and be easily maintained. This can be much harder than you would imagine!

Three UA interior designers attended the event and brought back with them not only new ideas, but also confidence in knowing that the guidance provided by our department is standard in most higher education settings. Michael Hand was awarded a 2nd Place for New Construction in the 2016 Design Competition for his work on North Lawn Hall. Please join us in congratulating Michael! In addition to that, they learned about the similarities and differences among the colleges in areas such as branding and advancing their core missions. As you can imagine, all colleges are looking to increase enrollment and retention of students. The design staff was able to see how this unified mission is accomplished in different ways, depending on the strengths of the college and requirements of prospective students in varying regions.

Updated Design Request Form

In an effort to make more efficient use of time and resources, we have converted our Design Request Form (DRF) to a fully electronic form. Printing, signing, scanning, emailing, faxing, and mailing are all things of the past when it comes to the DRF. Now you can fill the form out electronically and a copy will be sent to our design staff for quicker processing. The requesting department will also receive a confirmation via email to both the contact and department manager. By streamlining this process, we will be able to get to your project a little faster and have better tracking for incoming requests. Thanks for helping make this a smooth transition!

The Search for Knowledge

dscf1390When Michael Hand was given the task of creating a design for the interior spaces in the newly opened North Lawn Hall, he knew that he needed an eye-catching divider screen to define the tech lounge space but leave it open enough so students could see what was going on. He wanted it to be a unique statement piece, so he decided to design it himself. Hand researched what the building would mean to freshmen coming onto the campus of The University of Alabama and what they would gain from attending classes in the new building before settling on the theme of “knowledge.”

Next, he selected the material that would be used. Hand explains, “I knew the finished product would have to be constructed of something substantial…a material that would help convey my concept on the strength that knowledge is and what someone gains from knowledge at The University of Alabama.” Hand chose to collaborate with a local metal artist to create the wall in steel. It is constructed in 3 panels, each measuring 8 feet in length and standing 10 feet tall. Once it was all welded together, each panel was powder coated for a “baked on” finish that would be sure to last for many years to come. The final piece is attached to a metal i-beam installed above the ceiling for stability.

Hand’s comments on the finished product, “I am beyond pleased with the outcome of the knowledge wall and hope to create more installations like this on campus.” Michael Hand is a UA alumnus with a degree in interior design. He works in the Furnishings and Design department as an Interior Designer II.


The Search for Knowledge (Literally!)

Can you find the word “knowledge” hidden in the design?  Click the image for a larger view.

North Lawn Hall Knowledge Wall