Modern History

When then-newlyweds Spence and Renata Patterson purchased a century-old house in Chevy Chase, Maryland, in 2009, they planned to update the kitchen and move right in. But the project soon spiraled into something much bigger. By the time the couple took up residence two years later, they had renovated and outfitted the entire place. Through it all, their mantra remained constant: “Respect the bones of the house.”
“The home has this big wraparound porch and great street presence,” explains Renata. “We couldn’t see ourselves walking into super-contemporary spaces.”
Instead, they envisioned an old house “jazzed up a bit,” as Spence says. Modern, but respectful.
The dwelling’s past certainly warrants the tribute. In the late 1800s, DC developer Harry Martin bought land bordering Cummings Farm, the last working farm in Chevy Chase, and began selling lots. The Pattersons’ abode, built in 1916, is one of the originals in the community now known as the Village of Martin’s Additions.
A 1997 remodel by previous owners preserved the farmhouse-style exterior and, through a three-story addition, increased the size to 4,200 square feet. But inside, it left a legacy of chopped-up spaces and dated features. The Pattersons brought together architect Mark Giarraputo and builder Patrick Keating to reconfigure and rejuvenate the interiors while preserving the home’s architectural lineage.
Except for a small mudroom added onto the back, the project stayed within the home’s existing parameters. The design team knocked out walls to improve the flow and open up the kitchen; added and replaced windows; and relocated the great room’s fireplace to an interior wall to capture the backyard view. The kitchen and all five bathrooms underwent total transformations. And crisp architectural elements, such as new ceiling treatments in the dining and great rooms, now reinforce a modern sensibility.
The homeowners, who both work for the federal government, reached their project-management limit about six months into the design-build process. “There’s an overwhelming number of decisions you have to make,” reveals Renata. “We hit the point where we couldn’t do it anymore. It was a full-time job.”
So they approached designer Mike Johnson, formerly of DC-based Lori Graham Design + Home. One meeting convinced them to bring Johnson on board. “Mike walked around and said, ‘We could do this and we could do that.’ It terrified me, but I kind of liked it, too,” admits Renata.
Johnson helped them choose materials, finishes and fixtures that, he explains, “appreciate the older house.” The kitchen redesign, for example, features time-honored marble countertops on the two islands and hand-scraped, wide-plank oak flooring. Stacked stone replaced overpowering river rock when the fireplace shifted to its new position in the great room.
Before the dust cleared, Johnson began an interior-design plan “to play up the home’s character but reflect an updated feel,” he says. Sophisticated hues went a long way toward creating the desired look. “We suggested a neutral palette,” he continues. “The gray tones work well with the materials used in the house. The only color is from art and fabrics.”
Indeed, vibrant artwork—including a Teo González abstract commissioned for the dining room—is sprinkled throughout the house. Andy Warhol lithographs from his “Endangered Species” series hang in the repurposed living room, now a cozy, grasscloth-clad library off the foyer. “They’re perfect on the dark grasscloth,” explains Johnson. “Additional color in the room would fight with them.”
Creating an environment for guests was paramount, as friends and family visit often. “We didn’t want a cold, sterile house,” says Renata. “We like to have people over and didn’t want them to feel like they couldn’t sit down.”
Johnson’s design scheme is approachable, yet dramatic. The foyer combines a playful, geometric rug with glamorous, glass-bauble lighting. A spirited interpretation of a classic wing chair invigorates the adjoining dining room, while a shimmery, Capiz-shell pendant offsets relaxed furniture in the main gathering area. But the most dramatic space by far is the upstairs master bedroom, where the designer challenged his clients’ comfort zone with bold moves, such as marrying two fabrics on an upholstered settee. The new suite wasn’t ready when the couple moved in, so they slept in converted-attic guest quarters on the third floor for the first six months.
For the Pattersons, the long wait paid off. “We were on vacation when Mike installed the master bedroom,” recalls Spence. “The coolest part of the entire process for me was walking into that room. It looked so spectacular. I thought, ‘Okay, six months of living on the top floor? Totally worth it.’”
Writer Catherine Funkhouser is based in Arlington, Virginia. Kevin Allen is a photographer in Washington, DC.
ARCHITECTURE: MARK GIARRAPUTO, Studio Z Design Concepts, Bethesda, Maryland. INTERIOR DESIGN: MIKE JOHNSON, Lori Graham Design + Home, Washington, DC. BUILDER: PATRICK KEATING, PKK Builders, Garrett Park, Maryland.

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Quiet Refuge

A light snow covered a wooded Great Falls, Virginia, property in a lacy veil as a couple pulled into the driveway. On a whim, they’d followed “open house” signs here after going for brunch nearby. Having relocated from Chicago the previous year, they’d spent 18 months living in a DC apartment while looking for the perfect home.
Their hopes plummeted when they glimpsed the dark and dated 1950s rambler for sale. But the real estate agent on site convinced them it was worth a look inside, where they were greeted by a stunning view of the four-acre lot through a wall of windows in the open living/dining room. Looking past the saffron-colored walls, oddly placed chair rails and swag, they agreed the house had potential.
“We literally walked into a 1950s time capsule,” the husband recalls. “But it was solidly built and hadn’t been altered in any way.”
Taken by the house’s clean lines, simple layout and generous glass exposures, the couple bought the property in 2014 and hired interior designer Barbara Hawthorn to bring it into the 21st century. She embarked on a comprehensive, five-month makeover that would strip the interiors down to the studs, replace the original floors and windows, upgrade the electrical and lighting systems and overhaul the outdated kitchen and baths.
Hawthorn also redefined the interior architecture, removing moldings and wainscoting and concealing brick walls. “When I start a project, I can see ‘beyond.’ I look at the bones, I look at the structure, I look at the flow of a space and I get rid of all of the static,” she says.
The couple envisioned their new home as a soothing escape where they could recharge and unwind. “Their lifestyles are so busy, they realized they wanted a more bucolic setting, a retreat where they can really relax,” the designer explains.
To create this environment, she focused on a soft, neutral color palette; richly textured fabrics and floor coverings; and organic materials that would blend in with the natural surroundings. In the living room, a wall of tiles by Porcelanosa, billowing Stroheim drapes and fabric depicting gingko leaves on new lounge chairs convey minimal, understated elegance. Serene blues impart a sense of calm in the master bedroom, from the grasscloth wallcovering to the damask bedding and luxurious drapes.
One of Hawthorn’s greatest hurdles was finding a way to meld the aesthetic her clients wanted with the pieces they each brought from their disparate collections. Married just three years ago, the homeowners both travel extensively. The husband, who spent decades in the diplomatic corps, has amassed a vast collection of Asian art and antiques. The wife, who grew up in Europe, has inherited a number of family heirlooms and antiques. “Making the antiques come together and live compatibly was a challenge,” Hawthorn relates.
Throughout the home, the designer expertly bridged the gap between styles. The squared-off, geometrical chairs in the living room stand up well to antique Korean chests flanking the fireplace. A pair of chairs and an antique desk from the wife’s collection introduce feminine lines in the bedroom, offsetting a modern armoire of Hawthorn’s design. “As far as my pieces go,” says the wife, “they were really important to me. They soften the Asian influences.”
Where possible, Hawthorn repurposed her clients’ furnishings and art, including a Japanese screen that she mounted on the living room wall and customized to conceal a TV. “To me,” says the designer, “what people have in their collections is what makes a house feel like home.”
On the lower level, she created an office for the husband with custom bookshelves to accommodate his impressive library. He also has room to display many of the mementoes he’s collected abroad. Three guest bedrooms, a new guest bathroom and a powder room welcome visitors in style.
When the couple travels these days, they can’t wait to return to their new “getaway” in Great Falls. “We just want to come home and ‘be,’” says the wife. “This is our haven, our retirement home and our vacation home—all in one.”
Kenneth M. Wyner is a Takoma Park, Maryland, photographer.
INTERIOR DESIGN: BARBARA HAWTHORN, Barbara Hawthorn Interiors, McLean, Virginia. RENOVATION CONTRACTOR: ROB LOAR, Loar Home Improvement, Mount Airy, Maryland.

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Hidden Gem

If ever Cinderella came back as a house, this enchanting beauty would be it. Once upon a time, not long ago, this same dwelling sat on the market looking drab and dreary in DC’s Forest Hills neighborhood. No one recognized its potential—that is, until Ann Roddy and Jill Johnson came along. They realized it would take all the powers of their longstanding interior designer, Nestor Santa-Cruz, to bring the home’s charms to light.
“It was truly hideous before,” Roddy says bluntly of the outmoded 1950s split-level they first encountered. Still, it held some appeal. “We were looking for a more open floor plan and fewer stairs than in our Colonial house. And from the description, it sounded like a lot of space.” The large, finished basement promised an extensive play zone for their three children, ages 10 to 13. Having worked with Santa-Cruz on two earlier houses, they were ready to consider another renovation. “We thought that with Nestor’s help, we could definitely turn it around,” explains Roddy, the founder and director of an elementary school chorus program.
Enter Santa-Cruz, as if packing a magic wand. “I walked though the space and knew what needed to be done,” he remembers. “We would not need to move anything major. All the assets were there.”
Within three months, the family moved in. The original floor plan remained. Yet throughout, a serene sense of comfort and elegance had emerged.
“It’s always a balance between visual and physical comfort; though, I admit, often the visual part wins,” says Santa-Cruz, who heads his own interior design firm. With a master’s degree in architecture, three decades as an interior designer and a lifetime studying design history, he is recognized for his ability to align classic principles and contemporary design. “Every building has assets and negatives,” he says. “If the assets are not very good, we need to turn them around.”
His solution seemed simple: Enlarge all windows and doorways to open up the house to light and nature. Gone were the small, awkward aluminum windows and shutters dotting the red-brick façade. In their place, large wood-casement and nearly full-height windows bathe the house in light. Interior doorways were raised, widened and in some cases moved, creating symmetry and stunning vistas through the main living spaces and accentuating the high ceilings on the main floor.
“This is a modern house from the ’50s,” explains the designer. “But before, it was just a series of rooms—not successful as a modern house where the rooms flow and open up. Now that’s possible, while still keeping the concept of individual, separate rooms.”
The dining room also changed dramatically. Once “dark, claustrophobic and sad,” Santa-Cruz recalls, it is now an inviting space at the center of an enfilade sweeping from the living room in the front to a screened porch and garden in back.The year-round porch and an adjoining pantry are the only additions to the home’s footprint.
In the dining room, Santa-Cruz blended casual and formal elements with unexpected touches. Philippe Starck Ghost chairs mingle with Directoire-style seating covered in luxurious velvet. Overhead, a Mondrian-esque ceiling treatment accents the architecture—a custom touch that required only a can of Benjamin Moore gold paint. Paintings of nude figures, two by sisters Cynthia and Leslie Packard, are grouped on the wall in an unconventional placement. “Even though the female form might be considered more appropriate in a bedroom or private quarters,” notes Santa-Cruz, “I thought ‘these women’ would be spectators, like the classical female figures in Salvador Dalí’s Surreal and enigmatic landscapes.”
The owners are delighted with the transformation. Roddy, who calls the living room “a special jewel,” observes, “The light is magnificent there and on the whole first floor.”
They are also pleased that Santa-Cruz was able to slip their existing furnishings into new positions. “We used everything we had,” cheerfully reports Johnson, a retired nonprofit director.
Trust between the designer and his clients helped foretell the happy ending. When Roddy first requested built-in bookcases in the living room, Santa-Cruz hesitated. He wanted to preserve the few remaining walls for art, yet he relented. “Now it’s cozier,” he concedes. “I’ve learned you have to listen, and it will make the project better.”
Similarly, it took some convincing when the designer recommended bleaching oak floors to brighten the house. “We’ve always had ebony floors and adored them,” says Johnson. “But Nestor was right. His ideas really stand the test of time.”
Even though the project is complete, the designer returns regularly as a friend. “When I’m in this house, I think I’m on vacation in L.A. or the Hamptons,” he beams. “It has urbanity and casualness, and a connection to the exterior. It’s also a Washington house that respects its locale.” Reflecting on the transformative magic of renovation, he continues, “Is this a small house, or is it big? It fools you. This isn’t about size. You don’t need to tear down a house and build a big house. This is about how character can be achieved without destruction.”
Writer Tina Coplan is based in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Photographer Angie Seckinger splits her time between Potomac, Maryland, and Spain.
INTERIOR DESIGN: Nestor Santa-Cruz, NCIDQ, IIDA, LEED AP, Nestor Santa-Cruz Decoration, Washington, DC.
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Shift uses “barcode-like” wall cabinet to transform Amsterdam townhouse

Rotterdam studio Shift has used a 14-metre multifunctional cabinet wall to give a "loft-like" openness to the ground floor of a historic townhouse in Amsterdam (+ slideshow).

Open House, situated in the city's Indies neighbourhood, was transformed by eliminating the entrance hall and placing all functional elements into the piece of furniture that runs along one wall of the ground floor.

The space "opened up in the most radical way", Shift co-founder Harm Timmermans told Dezeen.

Extending the cabinet by three metres into the private garden allowed the architects the extra space they needed to accommodate all necessary functions.

"In the first designs we struggled with fitting all the serving functions – stair, toilet storage, kitchen etc – into this piece of furniture," Timmermans said. "The breakthrough came when we realised that the regulatory plan allowed us to extend the closet into the back garden by a maximum of three metres."

Related story: Ruud Visser Architects extends old Dutch townhouse by two metresThree blocks of juxtaposing materials were chosen to show the different functions, creating what Timmermans described as a barcode across the feature wall.

"We came up with the barcode idea of juxtaposing materials that react to the condition they are in – outside, kitchen-dining, living," he said. "To strengthen the idea of a barcode, we chose contrasting materials in colour, texture, material and reflectivity."

Warm plywood is used for the living, a pink laminate is located in the kitchen-dining area and a weather-resistant anodised aluminium clads the portion outside.

Within the dining section there is a recessed kitchen in black medium density fibreboard (MDF), providing a further contrast to the lighter-coloured materials.

Other utilities accommodated in the cabinet include a staircase leading to the upper levels, a TV and audio system, a toilet and garden storage.

It also provides a small porch to replace the original entrance hall, in what Timmermans describes as a "radical" move for a Dutch house.
Contrastingly, the two upper floors are divided up into individual closed spaces for four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a working space.

A first-floor balcony at the back of the property sits about the kitchen area and overlooks the metal-clad portion of the cabinet in the garden.
"The intention was to create a space that includes both sidewalk and garden with the living area," said Timmermans.

Similar urban renovation projects by the studio include replacing a load-bearing wall of a Rotterdam townhouse with a three-storey bookshelf and converting a suburban house into a dental surgery.
Photography by René de Wit.
Project credits:
Project Team: Harm Timmermans, Oana Rades, Thijs van Bijsterveldt and Pieter Heymans.
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Paul Crofts Studio creates Isomi showroom in former London print factory

Original features are paired with blackened steel in modular concrete furniture brand Isomi's first showroom, housed within a former print factory in London's Clerkenwell (+ slideshow).

To reflect the UK brand's greyscale aesthetic, Paul Crofts Studio opted for a minimal material palette with dark metal accents when designing the interior.

"The concept was to use a reduced material palette which reflects the brands concept of a single material per addition," Paul Crofts told Dezeen. "The choice of blackened steel was partly inspired by the Isomi brand palette which to date has all been in black and white."

The studio was keen to respect the existing warehouse building, and has reinstated original features such as a crane and double loading doors.

Related story: Paul Crofts Studio sinks seating areas into floor of London office"The building previously had a lift in the centre that was used for moving palettes of paper," said Crofts. "We essentially stripped it right back and inserted the essential exposed services whilst retaining the original character."

Visitors enter on the courtyard level, where they are offered an insight into the brand's design process and current direction at a working studio.
Upstairs, existing brick walls have been removed to enable natural light to flood the showroom. Additional furniture was purposefully omitted in order for focus to remain on the brand's core collection.

As well as heading up his eponymous studio, Paul Crofts is Isomi's design director and is responsible for the brand's product line.
"My ethos for the design work I do for Isomi is that the materials should be honest and natural," said Crofts. "By natural I mean used straight from the factory without secondary processes applied."

The move to extend the company's output into concrete came about when Crofts began exploring the possibilities of applying the material to furniture products.
"I've always been fascinated by the possibilities of concrete," said Crofts. "It is such a structural, pure material, and I wanted to bring its essential qualities to my work for Isomi."

The Concrete range includes three modular systems titled Chamfer, Volume and Lintel and launched during this year's London Design Festival – coinciding with the showroom opening.
Previously, Paul Crofts Studio submerged seating areas below the floor in a advertising agency Fold 7's office, and added screen-printed tables to a west London crêperie.
Photography is by Annabel Elston.
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Junya Ishigami creates nursery with cloud-shaped walls inside a high-rise block

Architect Junya Ishigami designed partitions with assorted curving shapes for the cloud-inspired interior of this nursery, located inside a high-rise in Atsugi, Japan (photos by Edmund Sumner + slideshow).

Ishigami – a Tokyo-based architect known for his minimal approach – sought to recreate the feeling of walking in the clouds with his design for the Cloud Garden day care and child support centre.

"I like to look at the clouds," explained Ishigami. "Clouds change their form at will, with a certain rationality. Moreover, they are all white and fluffy, having both a sense of unity and some consistency. And they are vast."
"I have been thinking recently about whether it is possible to think of architecture in such an atmosphere," he added.

The brief for the project was to transform the seventh floor of a 13-storey block originally built as offices.
The 2,200-square-metre space was formerly a cafeteria, so the mechanical and electrical services were all exposed overhead. There were also a series of bulky concrete columns dividing up the floor.

Ishigami felt that adding cloud-like forms would make the space appear more welcoming to children, while also referencing its elevated location.

Related story: Junya Ishigami and Tracey Emin design new public art for SydneyHe and his team designed a series of curved partitions, each one different, to slot between the existing columns. Archways are formed along the underside of these, creating routes between spaces, while openings higher up allow light to pass between rooms.

"We designed the entire space with gentleness as if drawing a sketch in the air, flexibly accepting the presence of unexpected beams and piping protruding out of the floor," explained Ishigami.
"Lightly dividing the space with the roundness of the soft cloud-shaped wall gives it the required functions and atmosphere, creating a playground at the same time."

As the cloud shapes run both across and along the space, various apertures overlap to create framed viewpoints at different points around the interior. Some of the walls also function as screens that conceal technical equipment.

"A mysterious space that changes itself depending on the location is created through the multilayered tangling of many architectural elements," said the architect.
"There are crevices that only children can pass through, and absent spaces that are considered large even for adults – it is a space that softly ties in various objects and scales."

The walls have a cement mortar finish, offering a warmer tone than the grey concrete of the exposed ceiling slab and columns, while the floor surface is wooden.

Junya Ishigami's best known projects include the Kait Workshop at the Kanagawa Institute of Technology and his Golden Lion-winning installation in the Japanese Pavilion at the 2010 Venice Architecture Biennale.
Current projects include a cloud-like building for Copenhagen harbour and a mountain-inspired ferry terminal for a Taiwanese island.
Photography is by Edmund Sumner.
Project credits:
Client: Atsugi CityDesign: Junya Ishigami + Associates – Junya Ishigami, Kei Sato, Taeko Abe, Shuma TeiStructure: Jun Sato Structural Engineers
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Aesop’s first store in São Paulo features pastel-toned flooring and raw concrete plinths

Paulo Mendes da Rocha and Metro Associated Architects teamed up to design Aesop's first outpost in Latin America store, pairing exposed concrete with handmade tiles (+ slideshow).

The interior of the Aesop store in São Paulo was designed in a collaborative effort between Brazilian architect and winner of both the Pritzker and Mies van der Rohe prizes Paulo Mendes da Rocha and local studio Metro Associated Architects.

A wavy concrete countertop used as a product-testing area wraps around a structural column in the centre of the shop, which is largely open plan aside from a small storeroom to the rear.

Related story: Dezeen's top 10 Aesop store designsThe polished concrete counter and three small concrete plinths contrast with the pale pastel-toned floor, which is made from encaustic tiles, produced by hand using different colours of clay. The tiles are more common in domestic spaces and are especially popular in Barcelona residences.

"The robust materials used in the store's construction are contrasted and complemented by handmade patterned cement tiles traditionally used for domestic flooring," said the architects.
"The materials chosen such as concrete, steel, glass and paint are common and frequently used in civil construction, but are given a unique and differentiated characteristic due to careful detailing and consequent demand for impeccable finishing in order to reach the desired results," they added.

The store sits on the corner of a block on Oscar Freire Street, a high-end shopping street named after the doctor responsible for developing the Brazilian city's first mortuary.
"The architectural concept was based on the desire to create an ample but simple setting, free of partitioning and offering total transparency to the street through large glass panes," said the team.

The brand's medicinal-style bottles are displayed on the three short cylindrical plinths in the front. The cast-concrete podiums are speckled by the air bubbles trapped during the casting process, giving them a rugged appearance.
Further products are lined up on shelving against a mirrored wall that helps to create the illusion of greater space.

Each of Aesop's stores feature individual interiors – Dennis Paphitis, founder of the skincare brand, told Dezeen "there's a direct correlation between interesting, captivating store spaces and customer traffic within a store."
Materials used are often indigenous to the region such as Kerstin Thompson Architects' perforated gum wood details for a store in Melbourne or make cultural references specific to the country as in the case of a branch in Stockholm inspired by the work of Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier.

Others have referred to the laboratory processes involved in the making of the products, like Ciguë's Nottingham store above a record shop featuring distillation apparatus.
The brand's UK headquarters recently moved into new premises in London – a former warehouse in Bloomsbury with a pared-back aesthetic. The work was carried out by Post-Office, the British studio who converted a doctors surgery into Dezeen's former offices in Stoke Newington, London.
Project credits:
Architects: Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Metro Associated ArchitectsProject team: Martin Corullon, Gustavo Cedroni, Helena Cavalheiro, Marina Ioshii, Rafael de Sousa, Marina Pereira, Isadora Schneider and Marina Cecchi
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Wall of hidden panels provides storage for renovated Tel Aviv apartment

Interior designer Maayan Zusman and architect Amir Navon designed bespoke carpentry with hidden storage space for a 60-year-old apartment in Tel Aviv.

To make the most of the Ein Gedi Street apartment's 55 square metres of space, the pair knocked through existing walls and used wood panels to divide the apartment into rooms.

Visitors enter into an open-plan kitchen, living and dining space, which is separated by a section of wooden panelling from the two bedrooms and bathroom – enclosed by a pair of parallel sliding doors. Herringbone parquet in the living area contrasts smooth cement flooring in the bedroom.

Related story: Studio 360 adds walls of modular shelving and storage to Slovenian apartmentA small work space with a desk and chair is set into a niche in the panelled wall, which also contains "hidden" cupboards. A series of round holes in the cupboard adjacent to the living area have been designed to release heat from electronic equipment stored there.

"The apartment is pretty small and every centimetre mattered," Zusman told Dezeen. "We wanted to provide as much storage space as possible and yet save the 10 centimetres width that a typical built wall would require."

"Secondly we aimed for an appearance that was different, more impressive and smooth, and we felt that carpentry would provide this," she added.

The pair made the most of the apartment's structural cement pillars – now hidden beneath panels and used to form shelving units.

A wall of storage also features in architects Pedro Varela and Renata Pinho's renovation of an apartment in Portugal, while Israeli architect Ranaan Stern also made the most of limited space, adapting a 15-square-metre room to create a studio with modular storage compartments.

Related story: Tel Aviv Penthouse by Pitsou Kedem features an infinity pool overlooking the cityAs well as walls, Zusman and Navon designed living room tables, shelves, a bed, and the kitchen island. "We were aiming for an interesting contrast of clean yet colourful, modern yet homey, tough yet soft," said Zusman.

Much of the furniture blends wood and metal, and the duo used found items – such as the green chairs on the balcony that had been thrown away by a neighbour.

Flashes of colour are spread across the apartment, from the blue-painted workspace niche, to the pink of the doorway interiors, and a pale green hanging storage panel in the bedroom.

"As the renovation took place in the summer, 10 minutes away from the beach, the summer colour vibes definitely influenced us but are anything but typical," Zusman added.

A sliding door also gives residents access to a balcony that stretches almost the entire length of the living space, and overlooks nearby greenery.

"Generally, despite the fact that the space is very small we wanted the apartment to feel large, spacious and airy," the designer said.
Photography is by Gidon Levin.
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Floating timber slabs create layered walls within New York shoe store by Jordana Maisie

Australian designer Jordana Maisie has created a Manhattan boutique for upscale shoe brand Feit that features asymmetrical display areas made of thin sheets of wood (+ slideshow).

The 420-square-foot (39 square metres) shoe store opened in New York's West Village neighbourhood in September.

The design aims to reflect the handcrafted quality of Feit's leather shoes and merge it with a modern and minimal aesthetic, said Maisie, who collaborated with the company's owners, Tull and Josh Price.

"The interior has a unique identity – prioritising process, craft and innovation, while pushing the tension between what is handmade and what is machine made," said Maisie, who is from Australia but now based in Brooklyn.

The shop "has a clean aesthetic featuring geometric shapes created by volume and void," she added.

The linear space features a labyrinthine composition of floor-to-ceiling wooden forms, with openings that provide sight lines between the interior and the street.

Related story: Sneakers are displayed on bleachers in Seattle boutique by Best Practice ArchitectureSimilar to the process of shaping leather, the design team used moulds to carve out display shelves from blocks of timber during the 3D-modelling stage.

The shelving components, made of Baltic birch plywood, were cut using a computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine. They were formed into modules and then delivered to the store.
"Each unique shape was CNC cut, hand sanded and assembled into modules offsite by the fabrication team, which enabled a complex build sequence to unroll on site," said Maisie.

Embedded within the wooden shelving units are white LEDs that brighten and dim in accordance with the seasons. Carefully placed mirrors help visually expand the room.

"Both the architectural and lighting design play with your perception of depth, as you try to distinguish where the boundaries within the space lie," said Maisie.
The design team has named the space Installation Two: Volume and Void.

This is Feit's second store in New York. The other, which opened in 2014 in Nolita, was also designed in collaboration with Maisie and features large slabs of natural wood.

Related story: 30,000 red shoelaces hang from the ceiling of Melbourne's Camper storeDescribed as an "innovator in the neo-luxury movement," Feit produces high-end boots, sneakers, and dress shoes for men and women, along with a small line of accessories. Its products are made of all-natural, non-synthetic materials.

Feit was founded by brothers Tull and Josh Price. Tull is known for starting the cult sneaker brand Royal Elastics, which he launched in 1996 and sold in 2002.

Maisie is an Australian installation artist who creates interactive and sculptural designs. Her work has been exhibited in galleries, museums and festivals throughout Australia, as well in select countries around the world. The Feit flagship store in Nolita was her first project in New York.
She currently is pursuing a master's degree in architecture and an MFA in lighting design at Parsons: The New School for Design.

Other recent shoe boutiques include an austere shop in Seattle by Best Practice Architecture, a children's shoe store in Barcelona by Nábito, and a pop-up shop for Camper in Germany by Diébédo Francis Kere.
Photography is by Naho Kubota.
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Post-Office creates “simple and elegant” UK headquarters for Aesop

Philippe Malouin's design studio Post-Office has used a minimal colour palette and custom-designed furniture to turn a London warehouse into the UK head office of skincare brand Aesop.

Located within a former manufacturing warehouse in Bloomsbury, the 232-square-metre space is split into two rooms – both with a pared-back look designed to respect the original building.
"The Aesop brief entailed reference images to various galleries with an emphasis on clean, simple lines and open space," London-based Malouin told Dezeen. "The idea was to keep the open spatial feel, highlighting the skylights and the historical features, whilst keeping with Aesop's art direction."

Aesop has collaborated with a score of different designers on studios for its store interiors around the world. In an interview with Dezeen, the brand's founder Dennis Paphitis explained that no two stores are of the same design.

Related story: Dezeen's top 10 Aesop store designsMalouin's team put their own spin on Aesop's style – building on the same aesthetic used for its earlier interior projects, including the conversion of an old photographic storage unit into an office, and turning a former doctor's surgery into Dezeen's previous workspace and watch store showroom.

"Key areas were highlighted within the space and they needed to fulfil the functional requirements appropriately without having an over-designed feel, which is usually our approach for any interior concept," said Malouin. "It was very important to us to incorporate all of the requirements without unneeded aesthetic artifice."
When Post-Office first arrived at the space all of the partitions had already been removed, so Malouin was keen to keep the space as open as possible.

"We proposed strong limitations on any structural changes to divide the space and essentially keep an open, fluid environment," he said.
Perpendicular planes of raw steel form a custom-designed reception desk, which sits in front of a shelving unit displaying a selection of Aesop's skin and haircare products in their distinctive brown bottles.

The space beyond is populated by three-metre-long tables – also bespoke for Aesop – which function as both standing work spaces and for hosting dinners.
"The main idea behind the design was to create simple, yet elegant custom items to respond to Aesop's UK head office's needs," said Malouin.

Accessed through a curtained hole in a wall, the second area is predominantly furnished with office desks and chairs.
Both rooms are lit naturally by angled skylights and feature sanded wooden floors throughout.

Two Domus Lounge Chairs by Finnish designer Ilmari Tapiovaara are tucked into a niche for one-on-one chats.
A partition of Georgian wired glass creates privacy for the dark blue-painted meeting room but allows employees to gauge its occupancy.

The glass wall hides a conference table by American Modernist designers Charles and Ray Eames with a custom dark green top, which is illuminated with Michael Anastassiades' conical String Lights.
"As far as furniture goes, we tend to only like certain items," Malouin said. "And these items were very much applicable to the Aesop scheme. Just as the material palette, we believe that the choices we made were simple and elegant."
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