January 4, 2021

5 Design Risks That Paid Off Big Time

Let’s take a little walk down memory lane, as I share some of my boldest design choices.

When I’m designing a space, often the biggest impact comes from items that are custom-made. Needing to solve a problem naturally leads to creative forward thinking. It usually means extra work and brainpower, but it’s worth it to create a one-of-a-kind element that stops people in their tracks. However, customization isn’t the only way to have a great effect. Sometimes, it’s just about selecting a striking paint color in an unexpected finish or using a familiar product in an exceptional way. Here are some of my favorite examples:

This show-stopping chandelier. 

Our clients strongly desired something that would make an impact in their double-story foyer. We all fell in love with this chandelier. However, the curved ceiling made it a challenge, so we helped design a custom canopy that would follow the curve. Installation was a lengthy and nerve-wracking process that included scaffolding (yikes!) but the final result ended up being one of the coolest details we’ve ever created. It’s truly like a 3D sculpture suspended from the ceiling.

A mirrored wall treatment. 

When one of our clients requested a mirrored wall to reflect their home’s water views, we started brainstorming ways we could give it a fresh twist. We decided to use modular pieces of cut glass in different finishes to turn it into an art installation. We worked with a glass company to bring our vision to life. The end product is totally unique and lends a ton of visual interest to the space. It fulfilled our client’s wish and gave us a fun opportunity to use our imaginations.

A jewel box home office. 

Not everyone will be on board with this much purple, but opting for an adventurous color in an unexpected place is a wonderful way to make a big impact. This dazzling cubbyhole doubles as a home office and overflow storage space. So often, small spaces like these are nondescript, but when bathed in a daring color and high gloss finish, it can become a design statement.

Making a statement in a kitchen. 

We’ve learned that we establish a great deal of trust when working with our clients. This means, when they approach us with additional projects, we all feel comfortable pushing a little bit outside the box. This particular client knew she didn’t want a white kitchen in their new home, so we experimented with different colors and finishes before landing on this pretty jade for the cabinetry. The color is soothing, yet stunning, and pairs well with a variety of wood, stone, and metallic finishes. We also decided to bring the tile all the way up to the ceiling. It makes such an alluring focal statement and highlights the interesting roofline.

This bold lobby. 

When designing for hotels, I’m often given the opportunity to push the design envelope. People want an experience that’s different than home. I once had a hotel client confess to me that whenever we’re doing our design presentation, there’s always one element he can’t quite wrap his head around. Again and again, that ends up being his favorite feature when we’re done. This particular hotel was an adapted reuse project, meaning we had to work with a lot of inherited architecture. We wanted something really captivating in the lobby, but also needed to design around a firewall. Instead of fighting it or ignoring it, we designed a custom mural that stems from the firewall. The space’s high ceilings bring the eye upward, while an unexpected yet durable floor tile draws you into the space. The finished lobby is engaging and highly functional.

These eye-catching elements may not be the ideal fit for your style and lifestyle, but they all show how being a bit brave can take a space from well-done to wow! The next time you are stuck with a design challenge, reframe it as a moment to strike out in an exciting direction.

Until next time.

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