I’m often inspired by the work of other professionals, and especially excited when that work echoes our own approach. Recently I saw this photo accompanying an article in the weekend Wall Street Journal about using thoughtful design to warm up a bland, sterile contemporary condo.
This room, designed by New York architect Andrew Franz, spoke to me because it captures not only our J. Schwartz Design philosophy but also draws upon design tools we regularly use in our own projects:
- Sculptural floating stairs – In an otherwise austere space, your staircase not only performs a practical function, but can also add an important visual statement. The staircase is a design element taking center stage, while allowing both light and views to pass through almost unabated. Here the staircase features massive floating treads of live-edged walnut, combined with delicate bronze cable. We can use a variety of woods and metals to achieve similar effects, as we’ve done with an airy, floating staircase in a southern Maine home renovation.
- Natural wood ceilings – Nothing warms up a contemporary space more than a blend of natural woods used in surprising ways. I love the rich tones and texture of the ceiling in this room; it really showcases the beautiful wood grain.
- Pops of color – We often work with clients to introduce a complementary splash of color amidst an otherwise neutral palette. The color can be hot—reds, oranges, pinks. Or it can be cool—blues and greens. An accent hue should sing like a soloist, always in synch with its surrounding chorus.
- A montage of textures, furniture styles and fabrics – The effortless way a variety of rugs, window treatments and furnishings grace this room is not easy to achieve. Our clients know it when they see it, but often need our help to get there. We work with clients to conduct a design dialogue that creates this kind of artful tapestry, reflecting your unique personal style.
This photo sparked my thinking about how these design approaches can combine to create rooms with personality and a home that pulses with warmth and life—transforming what often starts as a sterile, contemporary space. If you’re living in or considering purchasing or renovating a home that offers wonderful views and light but lacks visual interest and character, talk to us. Let’s work some magic together!