Saturday, February 18, 2012

Its Reveal Time: A Home Office

Style at Home March 2012,  Photo: Donna Griffith

This home office was part of a whole home renovation project I designed and project managed back in 2008-09 for my sister-in-law Kara.  It seems like an eternity ago since the construction was completed and she moved in, but its taken a couple of years to turn it into a 'home' with furnishings and artwork. While the entire home, including a gorgeous rooftop deck, were photographed by Style at Home Magazine last year for upcoming issues, I was so thrilled to open up the current issue and see her home office featured in the Organizing Workspaces story "Hard at Work". 

The office occupies one of the 3 bedrooms in a multi-level, mid-town condo and was chosen as the office over the other spare bedroom for its eastern exposure with bright  morning sunlight - she's an early bird! I added a new frosted glass panel door to the room so when she has out of town guests (frequent occurance) she can close the office door for privacy and sunlight can still filter into the hallway.

Style at Home March 2012, Photo: Donna Griffith

The antique ash barnboard floors and hide carpet are a nod to Kara's past, having grown-up on a farm she has a strong affection for all things country - a photo of her childhood prize winning pig has a special place on her desktop, complete with ribbon!  I prefer modern furniture or contemporary spaces when paired with a little bit of rustic or 'country' element, and this room does just that.  The random width floor boards were finished on site and received a low sheen clear coat to showcase the wood's natural character with all its knots, nail holes and bug tracks.  With a wall of shelving fitted with woven storage boxes, a full height filing cabinet and double closet with essential organizers (not seen in photos) so the office provides loads of storage and an expansive work surface for the high volume of paper work that's handled here. 

Its no co-incidence the office is filled with lots of orange accents, its one of the corporate colours of the company Kara works for so she's has been using orange for work related accessories for over 10 years.  Its a colour I've always associated with her  - she always has something on her or in her bag that's orange.

Thank you Margot, Jessica, Donna and the rest of the Style at Home team for your beautiful work on this feature!  I am a devoted fan of the magazine and I'm honoured that you chose to include this space on your pages.

: )

A few more After Photos..

Below are a few more after photos not from the magazine shoot but from my portfolio files that give you a glimpses of some other details in the office.

On the wall opposite the desk, a row of modern wall clocks have their orange hands set to the various time zones of family and friends around the world, including one for Kara's Muskoka cottage, permanently set to 'bar's open'.   She's a whiz at board games, this metal ledge holds letters from a vintage family scrabble set which spell out the city name for each clock.

One of my favorite items in the room is Kara's very first childhood desk - it occupies a special place in the corner beside her 'adult desk' and I've used it to stack magazines and hold book bags.   I love the visual tale of these two desks side by side,,,its a testament to the power of learning and dreaming big.  They truly represent the past and present of this successful woman's journey of accomplishments.

Artwork by:  Alanna Cavanagh

I have admired the whimsical illustrations of Toronto artist Alanna Cavanagh for some time, so I was really excited when one day Kara sent me photos of several pieces she had brought home from a gallery to try and decide which to buy and where it could go.  I thought their vintage inspired take on typography and fashion were a perfect fit for her office.  I loved each one of them, and so did Kara which made the decision easy - she kept them all.  That was a couple of years ago, and today I can tell you she loves these pieces as much now (if not more) as the day she brought them home.   

I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of this home on the pages of Style at Home coming up soon!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

NYC Reno: The Family Plan

I started working on this renovation project in New York City last June, the scope of work was extensive as it involved converting 3 adjoining apartments into one single family residence. (Check out some of the before photos and my introduction of this project here.)  At the very onset of a project I usually formulate a vision for the bones of the space very quickly.  In this case, my clients who are parents to three young kids were in synch with this vision, represented in the collage above.   Timeless elements like natural wood and marble, fresh white walls with panel molding for classic character, fixtures with clean simple lines and vintage patina - would become the backdrop for this family's busy city life in the Upper East Side for the next 20 years or more.  It reflects their affection for tradition but will exude a young and modern edge, just like them!

The 'Before' Plan

The existing three apartments had tiny enclosed kitchens and equally small bathrooms.  The biggest challenge in redesigning this space, aside from ALL the structural elements that couldnt' be moved, were the rules of the building.  It seemed the more layouts we came up with, the more the rules changed.  No problem.  I can design around anything - I was coming up with new layouts as fast as they were coming up with more rules.  : ) After weeks of marathon space planning the conclusion was -  NO kitchen or bathroom could extend beyond their existing footprint, NO plumbing drains or appliance locations could be moved, AND no additional bathrooms could be added.  Uh huh.  Did you look at the existing plan?  Soooo, Carol, good luck getting that dream kitchen into a closet, scrap the luxurious Master ensuite with double vanity, and forget about the convenient new powder room off the foyer.  : /  Discouraged yet?  My clients were.

I"m not gonna lie,,,the decisions from the Board were crushing to the homeowners.  As more and more restrictions were placed on them, they doubted whether this space could ever come close to suiting their needs no matter how extensively it was renovated.  Thoughts of scrapping the entire reno entered their minds,,,,,, until they found this plan in their inbox. 

The Proposed Plan

At first glance this plan may not look super impressive, but this really was a triumphant success. We have a 'spacious' open concept kitchen!!! A decision was made early on that the kitchen in the middle Apt. B would be the new kitchen, and the main entry would be thru Apt. C, this allowed for a split bedroom plan.  All good, except the kitchen in Apt. B had a column in the middle of it and no where to put a fridge if we took down the walls.  (It was so space challenged the existing kitchen only had an 18"wide dishwasher.)  

Two key elements allowed this plan to happen,,,,,,,#1 we were permitted to move the washer/dryer out of the kitchen to a closet within the footprint of the main bathroom, and #2, even more crucial - under counter refrigeration!!! I've been using under counter refrigeration for about 10 years and it's been the 'hidden' key to many successful kitchen redesigns.  I was able to place 3 fridge drawers and 1 freezer drawer in the peninsula, equivelant to a standard fridge.  All plumbing and appliances remained within the footprint of the original kitchen = Board approved!  The compromise as you can see, the column is still there and it falls right in the middle of the peninsula - but that's one small compromise in exchange for this expanded family style kitchen.

When my clients received this plan the single sentence response I received by email was "you are my hero"!  An exaggeration, a wee bit ; ) yes, but I was thrilled they liked it.  They loved it.  For me it was so satisfying to know I was able to help turn this space into everything they had hoped it could be instead of it becoming their biggest disappointment.  That's the value of design.    

Custom Details & Elevations

This plan indicates where all the custom built-ins and custom details will be located and identifies all the new interior doors.  Well planned built-ins and well appointed doors will take advantage of every square inch and integrate awkwardly placed obstacles into useable space. 

What I love most about this new layout;  the open concept kitchen lets mom interact with the kids and benefits from the natural daylight, the dining table can extend into the living room when needed, the master gets a luxuriously large dressing room and the kids have a separate lounge area, in fact the entire kids 'wing' can be closed off from the main living areas whenever the parents chose.  To make the most of a tiny master ensuite I created a spacious vanity area outside of the bathroom which will be finished in the same materials as the bathroom so it all reads as one larger space.  There's a lot of great features packed into this 2200 sf home.  A 4+ bdrm, 3 bath plan - in manhattan,,pretty sweet.

Preliminary Furniture Plan

This is how this new family apartment will be used.  To help clients visualize if the proposed layout will meet their particular requirements I draw up a general furniture plan so they can see if that king size bed will fit or how many dinner guests they'll be able to seat.  The furniture is generic and except for sizes, the pieces are not specific unless the homeowners have existing items that must be used.  Otherise I create a generic layout like this which then becomes the basis for the electrical and lighting location plans.

Each of the kids rooms will have built-in desks with storage and the Den will do double duty as a home office and guest bedroom, we'll be creating some open niches and shelves into the dividing wall in the Den but unfortunately it can't be moved. 

 All of the Interior Design plans were completed last September and construction started on site about 4 weeks ago.  Currently I'm finalizing the paint and wallpaper specs (yes there will be some colour and pattern!) and dealing with the daily issues and changes that come up.  That's the nature of a renovation,,,,expect the design plans to go thru a round of changes after demolition is completed.

Like the change to this small hall closet that apparantly will be even smaller due to the unexpected size of the column. yikes.  That's the contractor, with a set of my drawings, explaining to the homeowner why this framing is not jiving with my plans...  

I'll take you thru the design plans for the kitchen and the individual bathrooms in future posts. 

All images, drawings and photos are the property of Carol Reed Interior Design Inc. and may not be reproduced.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...