My exterior looks cool and calm (unless you work with me then you know I’m kinda frazzled) and I down play the herculean tasks ahead when it comes to redesigning a house to suit an office with a team of 6-8 and then having to get out of a lease and move said office all the while working on client projects around the globe.
I set my office on fire last week.
Yes, you read that correctly. For our new digs, I’ve decided that I want to have a custom scent that filters through the HVAC system. I’ve begun the research on this which of course involves getting scents from different companies that work in this realm. The first company I received samples from was UHHHHMAZING. Air Aroma is fantastic truly and the scents they sent were killer. They also will work with us to develop a custom scent which is incroyable. Their prices though - a bit steep. As it happens, but SIL tagged me in a story in the Globe about how scents from Hotels have gone residential and people are looking to craft these for their homes. I’m ahead of the curve on this clearly. They recommended some other companies different to the two I already knew of so I sent out requests for samples and I received some. I know this is a long way around the park to get to the part about me setting fire to my office but trust me it’s essential. One company sent me their samples and to be honest, I couldn’t get them out of the building fast enough. GAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHRRRROOSSSSS. It was like Febreeze. I had a violent reaction to them. NASTY AS F*K. The next day though the smell was still lingering so I lit a candle. Asa brought me breakfast and a napkin but I have my door open to let in some fresh air and there was wind and the next thing I know my desk is on fire. I took the flaming napkin and put it on my plate but my papers on my desk were also on fire. I put those out and then poured water on the flaming napkin which was almost singing my eyebrows off the flame was so high. The expensive computer equipment and phone are fine. My nerves a bit fried like the papers.
That was a week ago. Yesterday, I felt safe enough to light a different candle in a more protected glass jar/holder thingee and it was all good. This morning I walked into my office and realized that I had left it burning ALL NIGHT LONG. Someone take away my matches. I’m distracted and stressed out. Our contractor was supposed to have started Monday and he delayed until next week - you know the week before we move in… last night I reached out to my cabinet maker because I’m not even sure our contractor will start next week and he’s going to save the day. Baseboard and casing need to happen. I’ve got electrical happening too next week. What I did realize yesterday though is that I don’t need the custom millwork cabinetry for my team’s workspace to be ready any time soon. Their desks now all fit. We can make due. Taking that pressure off of myself and re-prioritizing what we need to get done now is a relief to be honest. We will be taking an MHD Team Trip to Mexico in February - yes you read that correctly - we are adding an OLE to team building/retreat so I have time that the trades can work in the space without us and I’ll be in Japan for much of October as well so we can make it work. A lesson for anyone embarking on any kind of design/renovation - be realistic, don’t force something that isn’t going to fit to try and fit. Sheer will is great in some instances but in a design project with so many moving parts, sometimes you have to let the cards fall where they may and by relinquishing to the design gods - you will save yourself a lot of grief and allow good things to align in your favour.
But hide the matches and lighters - safety first.
I brought receipts.
So while I transition from level headed sane person into my full redhead self on the inside - I really try not to let people see me sweat, I wanted to talk about transition spaces in the new Brownstone. The house itself is about 13ft wide (making my own home two feet wider!). However, designed so very well it’s a serious of half stories so that each room takes up a floor and therefore has the full width of the house. Smart! The stairwell if you will, runs through the centre of the house - it also means we’ll get our steps in when we need to visit each office or the sample room which is at the top of the house.
For starters we have glass railings. If you know me, you know how much I kind of loathe these but I’m working with it. The bones of the house fall into the Modern Category because of the vertical nature of the house so I have to mix the traditional in to really say MEREDITH but I am embracing the more modern elements and including additional ones to boot. That boob light in there is going to go BUHHHBYE and this small room that faces west will be Asa’s office. We are going to be painting his office a deep rich Jade/Mallard green and accenting with Asian elements. We have a trip to Japan this fall and I expect that we will take photography to suit in a large format. I may have planned some of my Japan Itinerary around places I need to photograph. HA!
I also plan to call in a favour from one of my favourite people ever about our favourite world’s most comfortable leather chair to give Asa his own napping space. He is a legendary nap taker and having his own space to zone out is a must. I’m actually super excited about this hallway because it has height - plaster moulding happening - it has a sky light so it’s super bright. We are adding a sconce to the left of the door and then we are using bolection moulding to create an over door with panel to make the doors look taller than they are. We need to get a new wall vent below the frosted window that is in the ensuite - who does that?? GAWD.
This is the entrance to the sample room. We’ll be adding a wall sconce by Peter Bristol to the right of the entrance. We are removing all of the baseboards because Colonial baseboards with a shoe mould don’t really say MODERN and totally don’t work with the railings. I’m losing the brown on the railings and option most likely for black and the walls will be a warm white. We will be suspending the huge lantern that we have in our current office over our meeting table here. At 36” high the lantern will only fit here. So here it will live. Our longer term plans are to adorn the hallway walls in venetian plaster in a creamy tone.
Our inspiration board for the transition spaces. Replace all doors with slab front doors in a lacquer finish much like these ones by Jean Louis Deniot. We are adding plaster moulding on the top ceiling level but the foyer and work space stairwell walls will have the same panelling as the foyer. Only after we switch at my office will the plaster start. I’m leaning toward the black level hardware from Paris. The weird oval and gold leaf artwork is to be suspended by chains in the upper stairwell. The disc on the far left is actually our wall sconces. SUPER sexy.