Custom Built Ins Part II

With residential and commercial projects it’s important to decide from the beginning
if custom built ins will be a part of the design. By factoring in the size, scale, colors, location and finish (s) of a built in within the framework of the overall design, the shelving will fit seamlessly into the design. Since built ins can take up a substantial portion of a space, deciding on the right combination of materials and finishes which match the flooring or perhaps an accent color will tie the room together. If the built in is an afterthought long after the design is complete, it may be more challenging to match existing colors or move walls if necessary.

In the first example there are two different matching wood grains in the wall shelving unit which match the side tables next to the banquette. The shelf exteriors have a slightly smoother grain and the backsplash and undersides of the shelves incorporate a more visible wood grain. This subtle variation in addition to the medium color tone which matches the flooring and textiles offer balance to the space. The very large and long shelves do not overwhelm the space either by being a single finish or too dark/light. In the second example the designer mixed the natural wood shelves alongside a granite exterior fireplace in the living room. In the second example the shelves also match the wood flooring and the base is designed as almost an extension of the wood flooring. The gold backsplash accent creates the feeling more of a piece of furniture that of a shelving unit.

It should be noted that all three of these custom built ins are recessed which can offer more flexibility for integrating larger or more unusual designs.

custom built in

custom built in

custom built in

By |2019-05-29T18:57:38-04:00December 16th, 2013|Living room, Materials & Finishes, Office|

Commercial Spa

We are currently working on a commercial spa that will feature a line of beauty products as well as be a center for dermatology related procedures. In developing the design concept for this project and collaborating with the physicians, the essential components will focus be a contemporary style with natural hues and textures such as white oak, concrete, clear resin and white corian. The accent color will be aqua which is the principal color in the product branding.

Medical facilities can often feel sterile and cold while spas can sometimes feel too casual. For this spa the most critical element will be lighting and textures. The spa will feature indirect cove lighting in the front desk, reception and product display areas. It will serve as both ambient and accent lighting and will offer flexibility for luminescence. Cove lighting provides even, warm lighting and can be customized to fit almost any room size/ shape.

Commercial spaces tend to require a different set of considerations from residential projects including functionality, durability, psychology, and code for the components selected.

Here are some inspiration images we put together for the preliminary design.




By |2019-06-11T16:53:50-04:00November 26th, 2013|Lighting, Materials & Finishes, Retail|

Adding warmth to interiors

Some industrial and residential developments feature natural concrete as an existing component of the design with floors, walls or support structures left exposed. Depending on the amount of exposed concrete it can be a challenge to bring warmth into the space. The first space by Dutch architect Nicolas Schuybroek features a home in Cap d’Antibes, a resort town in Southeastern France. The space features reclaimed wood on a custom coffee table and also as part of the accent wall. The Prouve dining chairs adorn a custom concrete dining table and the sofa is most likely by B&B Italia or Poala Buffa. The gunmetal finish black door hardware matches the existing window frame and is further tied together with the floor lamp and prouvet chairs.

With the amount of concrete it was essential that Schuybroek incorporate components that had warm hues such as off white and brown to offset the gray. To achieve the harmonious look of the ceiling, walls and build in unit it’s possible a form of concrete plaster was used. Plaster can be applied over bricks, cinder block or concrete foundations. It can drastically change the look and feel of existing concrete with a variety of textures, colors and molds, and be used virtually anywhere in a space including bathrooms and kitchens. The third image is a space designed by Jenny Dyer and also features a concrete accent wall. The natural colors on the lounge chairs, side table, rug and lamp are also effective in
bringing in warmth.



By |2019-06-03T15:26:30-04:00August 15th, 2013|Ideas, Materials & Finishes|

Stone in bathrooms

Choosing stone for your countertop, sink, wall tiles or floor in the your bathroom is a great alternative to tile.  Stone tends to be easy to take care of, durable and there is a wide variety of options and finishes.  The most widely used finishes are polished (high gloss), honed (smooth with squared edges) and distressed (aged look).

The principal non-marble stone types include limestone, slate, granite, sandstone and soapstone, travertine and onyx.  Often the granite choice can depend on  a wide variety of factors including which bathroom (is it heavily used or just a half bath?), budget, weight (some residences will require support beneath the bathroom to accommodate a large amount of stone), and the combination of other bathroom design elements.  Stone offers a great deal of flexibility mixing and matching with wood, glass and even other types of stone.  For flooring high gloss stones such as marble will stain easily and also be slippery.

Studio Sofield

Chadbourne + Doss

Vlassa Kverhulst

natural stone bathroom - Armani Hotel

By |2019-06-05T18:09:56-04:00April 12th, 2013|Bathroom, Ideas, Materials & Finishes|

Luxurious throw blankets

Accessories, artwork, drapes and rugs are all essential to making an interior feel complete, warm and lived in.  A critical component to the budget process is to make sure enough funds are allocated to personalizing a space.  Often there are unseen expenses that arise during a renovation, redesign or new construction project such as plumbing, electricity or any number of tasks a contractor must complete.  Here are some real fur throw options we considered for a project. The prices start at $2500 and up depending on the size and the type of fur for authentic throws.

chelsea_townhouse- luxurious throw blanket

luxurious throw blankets 4

luxurious throw blankets 1

luxurious throw blankets 2


Following up on an earlier article on designing with blacks or dark grays, another option is to limit the darker colors to just the flooring and/or accent pieces. Accent walls are also a possibility but it really depends on the layout of the room, the direction of the natural light and the function of the wall in question. Dark accent walls are particularly effective in workstation areas because they limit the reflectivity of a lighter wall color when staring at a computer for extended periods of time.

The downside to dark wood floors is that they need to be cleaned frequently. A cerused finish on dark flooring is a great option if you are concerned about maintenence. If you have existing wood floors and do not have the budget to purchase new flooring, they can always be sanded and refinished in a darker color which will completely transform the look of the space.dark wood floors _ cerused oak

dark wood floors _ living room

black wood floors_ kitchen

dark wood floors _ study & kitchen

By |2019-06-09T13:45:08-04:00February 20th, 2013|Dining room, Entry, Floor covering, Kitchen, Materials & Finishes|


These hand woven metal textiles are can be used for wall upholstery, lampshades, room dividers and window treatments.  The color in these fabrics is derived from enameled copper, normally used in jewelry making, as well as dyed silicone. Their beauty is in how they change in appearance according to the light and colors in a space.

metallic fabric - lampshades walll upholstery

metallic fabric - wall upholstery room dividers

metallic fabric - drapes

metallic fabric - wall upholstery lampshades

By |2019-06-11T17:00:51-04:00February 16th, 2013|Contemporary, Materials & Finishes|
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