AN INSIDE LOOK INTO THE WORLD OF INTERIOR DESIGN AND DECORATING IN THE HAMPTONS
BY JENNIFER MABLEY AND AUSTIN HANDLER OF MABLEY HANDLER INTERIOR DESIGN

Friday, February 19, 2010

Design Studio Reno, Part 2: The Details

Yesterday's post probably satisfied most people's curiosity about our design studio renovation. But then there are the people that have to know every detail...We get E-mails from people all the time who have seen our projects that have been published, or from our website, and they just have to know what wallpaper we used in that bedroom, of where we found those lamps. They have to know every paint color, as if their life depended on it. If any of that sounds familiar, then this one's for you! We've got the details behind the details, and if we left anything out, just ask.


Upholstered Linen Walls

We've already been asked a dozen or so times what color we painted behind our desk areas...And the answer is, it's not paint. The light beige walls above the desks and throughout the rest of the studio are Benjamin Moore OC-48 Hazy Skies, but the blue areas on the wall directly behind each of our desks (and in between the windows at Jennifer's desk) are linen-upholstered panels of Homasote. Homasote is a similar product to Sheetrock, although the main difference is that the interior of a Sheetrock board is gypsum plaster (a dry powder base mixed with water), and the interior of a Homasote board has s a cellulose base (recycled paper mixed with glue, similar to paper-mâché). Both are used in drywall construction and, of the two, Sheetrock is by far the more popular. However, because Homasote is essentially paper-based at the core, it tends to be slightly more porous, and better suited to use as a memo board, as we are using it (we chose to have it upholstered, but Homasote can simply be put up as is, then painted, and used that way...And when it gets too many pushpin holes, you can just throw a fresh coat of paint on it, and it looks brand new.

The panels were upholstered by Enzo Valfrè, a charming Italian man from Sag Harbor (by way of Rome). Enzo has an upholstery workroom and a line of home furnishings called the Verduno Collection, and he does the majority of our custom pillows, drapes and bench cushions.


Custom Cabinets and Desktops
The major change to our work space was the creation of the U-shaped custom built-in desks, cabinets and drawers. The impetus for this renovation was that we literally had no more room to store design resources and client files, so any re-design was going to involve the addition of significant quantities of storage options. We worked on the design for over a year, and in the end, it was built pretty much exactly to our design (we had to add some additional support on the sides and under the desks due to the long spans of desk area) . Oh, and detail alert: The color of the cabinets is Benjamin Moore OC-130 Cloud White.

The entire custom-built desk system was built and installed by Peter Zambuto and Scott Tufarella of Finished Touch Carpentry in Shirley, NY. We have been working with Finished Touch for about six years, and they have done work for most of our clients as well as our own house and design studio. And after the great job that they did here, we plan to work with them for a long time to come.


Inset Glass Workspace
We knew that we might be getting ourselves into trouble with white-painted desktops in our workspace...Even though we used Benjamin Moore Regal semi-gloss paint, which wipes clean very easily, we knew that we were going to have to deal with scuffing at some point. In order to keep our working area free of scuffs and scratches, dings and dangs, we decided during the design phase that we would incorporate the use of glass at each of our desk areas so that our day-to-day usage wouldn't prematurely damage our beautiful new white desks.

Although you would think that glass is 100% clear, the standard soda-lime glass that is most commonly available actually has a greenish tint to it due to iron oxide impurities. We wanted a white glass that would blend in with the desktops and transition nicely between the wood. After some research, we discovered a product called Spandrel Glass (sometimes also called Architect's Glass). Spandrel Glass is a normal glass sheet that has a layer of an ultra-fine colored ceramic dust called 'frit' applied to the back of the glass with a heat process that permanently fuses it with the glass sheet. The end result is a piece of colored glass that is now stronger than standard glass (due to the heating process and ceramic backing), thus making it the perfect choice to use at our desks. We ordered 4 pieces of White Spandrel glass 40" wide by 28" deep from Hampton Glass, and then Peter and Scott from Finished Touch notched out the tops of the desks and inset the glass panels so that they would sit flush.


Brushed Nickel Cabinet Pulls
For our cabinets and drawers, we had originally wanted to use a recessed leather-wrapped cabinet pull that we found from an English hardware manufacturer called Turnstyle Designs. But as beautiful as they were, the cabinet pulls in their stocked colors were over £100 each (yes, 100 pounds stirling). So that would be over $150 per pull, and considering that we needed 26 of them, and that we wanted them in white (which isn't a stocked color, and would therefore incur a special order up-charge), it's safe to say to that put them a bit beyond our budget!

Our continued research led us to a similar product from Atlas Homewares called the Zanzibar pull. The Zanzibar was definitely more reasonably-priced (around $27 per pull), but they only came in brown and black leather, and the leather wasn't recessed as it was on the Turnstyle Design pulls. At that point, we felt that we were so far away from the level of detail that we were originally looking for, that we decided to start over. And while we were on the Atlas Housewares website, we came across the Sutton Place pull, which we loved, and came in at around $20 per pull. We ordered them in brushed nickel, and that gave us an idea to add one last detail....


Stainless Steel Toe Kicks
Although this may get overlooked by most people, one of our favorite details is the recessed stainless steel toe kicks under the cabinet drawer banks. Normally cabinet toe kicks are painted the same trim color as the cabinets, but we thought that using stainless steel would tie in perfectly with the hardware, and give the cabinets a crisp, more transitional look.

For such a distinct look, the installation was fairly simple: Peter and Scott took measurements of the toe kick, ordered sheets of stainless steel custom cut to size, and then applied them to the face of the existing wood kicks with an adhesive.

So that's it...More details than most people could ever possibly want! Thanks for reading, and for those rare few that still might have questions about any of the details, feel free to ask.

19 comments:

  1. Thank you for leaving me a lovely comment and letting me know it was your gorgeous place!! So beautiful. I love what you have done with your office renovation - I am sure you are going to enjoy this space immensely. Look forward to seeing more of your work! Ax

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  2. First of all, I laughed out loud when I scrolled down to your "before" photos. Not at you guys, but at myself, because I can relate SO WELL to your project, and they remind me so much of our workspace here. Love the stainless steel toe-kicks. Very sophisticated and practical. Also, the back painted glass desk tops are a brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing. Your space is just lovely!

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  3. Oliveaux: No worries, thank you!
    Sara: Thanks...We look back at those "before" photos, and we can't believe how we worked for so long in such (semi)organized chaos! We look forward to checking out your design workspace one day when we're down your way :)

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  4. The before shots look like my offica at the moment!! The after shots are beautiful and reflect your style. I am sure you will love having clients in there now.
    Ness xx

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  5. ok this white sends me over the edge...i'm your newest follower

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  6. I love the look of the upholstered linen - and that shade! It's so soft and subtle. Not quite grey, but close. The nickel plate is a perfect compliment.

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  7. Ness, believe me, we were almost too embarrassed to include the before shots! But even now, after a few days, the piles return...What can you do, we're our work has us in a constant state of flux.
    Beachhouse & Sanity Fair, thanks for finding us :) We're following you now too, very exciting!

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  13. Awesome stuff. I like it very much. Cabinet you showed on this post is really good one this is what I want to implement in my home. I’m looking forward to see the next interesting post from your end.

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