Having worked in China previously on a western-themed resort community, Jackson Hole, I already had a feeling for how to work through the language barrier. When working on new construction in the States we’re able to focus on the details and oversee the implementation of our designs in person. When sending a design to China, you never know.
Choosing the materials is the fun part where we get to work out how the project is going to feel; what kind of vibe it’s going to give off. Our contact in Shanghai, Andy, provided us with photos of the bare bones of this large apartment building so that we could create a plan. Our job is to create an inviting apartment that will appeal to the expatriates, some of them from the States, who are living and working in Shanghai. This model unit needs to show the potential of the building and draw in new occupants. It really has to shine.
Using only these photos, AutoCAD plans, and a little help from our friend Andy, we were able to come up with a design theme: Post-Industrial Posh. Walnut flooring set in a chevron pattern, Carrara marble tile, black and white paint, exposed concrete and some painted brick round out our design board.
Because we cant be there in person, we decided to create a 67 page instruction manual for implementing our design. This may seem like overkill, but flying to Shanghai every time there is a question about flooring installation just isn’t an option. To get it just right, we have to be specific.
We started with the floor plan layout. This building has 4 apartments per floor, and 12 floors. We only have to design the model unit, which is on the southern corner of the fourth floor. The only obstacle at this point is working within the existing structure; the developer would like a three bedroom, two bathroom unit. Fitting all three bedrooms into this space while maneuvering around support beams, fire doors, and concrete columns, is a challenge, but nothing we cant handle.
We opted for an open-concept living space that takes advantage of that large wall of windows. Even though furniture wont be specified, the best way to get a feel for how the space works was to throw in some generic furniture outlines.
The ceilings in this unit are relatively high but there is a sprinkler system and concrete support beams are scattered throughout. To give the apartment a clean look while keeping our post-industrial theme alive, the solution is a dropped ceiling in some areas, and exposed beams in others. In the living room and bedrooms, the ceiling will be at it’s full height–about 11 feet–for the bathrooms, foyer, hallways, and above the closets we’ve decided to drop it down to 9 feet so that we can add recessed can lighting.
To make sure they understand the look we’re going for, we threw in this rendering(on the left), drawn on top of the actual photograph of the living area of the apartment. Once the brick is up and painted, they can install the custom cabinetry we designed for this space(right image): shelves on either side for coffee table books, and cabinets in the middle to hide your components and wiring. These cabinets will have the same finish as the kitchen–a medium-tone reclaimed look with satin black cup pulls.
The rooms that have raised ceilings still needed some lighting, so we added soffits with recessed cans. The lighting schedule is very simple for this apartment, with the most ornate fixture above the kitchen island. The bathrooms get a little extra love in the form of sconces around the mirrors.
Our in-house graphic renderer was able to put her new skills to the test with this project. Bathed head to toe in marble, we needed to show the tile layout for both the master bathroom and the second bathroom. Even though the images are just rough digital sketches of how the rooms will look, we feel they get the point across.
For the final renderings of this apartment, we opted to hire a professional to ensure that we can provide top-of-the line detailing with the representations of our design. Any point where the language barrier cant be broken down, these images have to pick up the slack and explain our intentions. We were so happy with how they turned out; they almost look like photographs! Hopefully, once the apartment is finished, our friend Andy will send us some pictures. For now, we just have to hope that they love our design as much as we do and can create this beautiful apartment.
In a previous post we showed you a behind the scenes look at this project. With two floors, a kitchen, fireplace, and lots of space for recreation, we had to come up with a plan to keep it consistent, while giving each space its own feel. The name of the apartment complex attached to this rec center is Park 16. We decided it would be fun to take that theme and run with it. Green walls, natural brown trim, and carpet tiles that resemble elevation lines on a map all came together to create the perfect backdrop for our rustic yet sophisticated space. For the fireplace we chose pebble tile for the bottom half, and this amazing cross-cut wooden square tile for the top half. A mosaic backsplash in the kitchen compliments the sage green cabinets perfectly.
The feature wall behind the kitchen cabinets was a custom design by Allison Smith. We specified each width of wood and were so happy to see it all come together! Good thing our measurements were spot on…
Heading up the stairs, we’ve created a great entertaining space with cafe tables, a pool table, a gigantic 90″ flat-screen, and plenty of room to romp around.
We had so much fun with this project: just before all of the furniture and accessories went in, the client came by to check it out and said, “Woah, that’s a lot of green.” With a little trust, we were able to move forward and bring in our rustic elements. Once it came together everyone agreed that the green was the perfect choice for this space. Elegant, rustic, and a bit like a walk in the park.
For more commercial projects, check out our photo gallery.
We just received some progress photos from a project near Seattle; the crew is finishing up a Rec Center for this large apartment complex. So exciting to see a plan come to life and we’ll be sure to post some sparkling after pictures as soon as it’s done. For now, here is a teaser showing the wall color, some flooring, and a feature wall designed by us.
This feature wall is a custom design by Allison Smith. We used varying widths of wood and stained them in Banyan Brown from Sherwin Williams to match the moulding and trim. Once this room is put together, it’s going to be amazing.
The feature wall is continued into a prep-kitchen. Those cabinets will be painted a soft olive green from Benjamin Moore, Olive Branch.
Above is a little peek into our design process. All of the materials for the Rec Center are displayed to make sure everything works together. The mosaic tile in the bottom right corner will be the backsplash for the kitchen. The countertops are a beautiful, creamy CaesarStone Quartz. With brushed nickel finishes, stainless steel appliances, and wood and stone accents, this kitchen is sophisticated and rugged.
Moving into the main lounge area, carpet tile is the perfect solution for a commercial space that is going to get a lot of foot traffic. We found this great tile that reminds me of elevation lines on a map. Adding to our rugged appeal, this room will feature a fireplace surround made of pebble mosaic.
The fireplace in progress:
From the floor to the mantle, and for the mantle itself, we’re using a natural pebble from OTM’s Bali Stone Collection. Above the mantle is this very unique wood tile. It’s cross cut white oak in two inch squares arranged in a mosaic. So pretty.
Furniture and lighting have been carefully selected to bring the space together. I especially love this coffee table with a pull-out tray in the center:
Stay tuned for the big reveal of this rustic space.