In the spring of 2015, we found ourselves facing many of the same growth related challenges that our clients encounter. Having outgrown our basement startup offices, we were in search of a new space that epitomized the unique design that we bring to all of our clients’ projects. As architects, we sell the “quality of space”, and finding a space that supported that message was critical to the future success of our company. When the opportunity arose to renovate a 1920’s storefront on Wauwatosa’s popular North Avenue, we jumped at it.
Formerly a tanning salon, the building had been carved up into a messy array of confined rooms and dark hallways. Step one in the project was to remove all of these interior non-loadbearing walls and create an open, free flowing, sense of space. The loadbearing wall down the center of the building helped provide a division between the studio workspace, and the more public reception, conference, and kitchenette rooms. To diminish the visual impact of the wall bifurcating the space, we wrapped the conference room in warm walnut panels and battens.
Throughout the interior, we seized every opportunity to create thoughtful design solutions through local, handcrafted elements such as light fixtures, shelving, sliding doors, and furniture. These features utilized actual materials (wood, glass, steel, and plaster) rather than pre-manufactured products. Money was spent on local craftsmen using readily available materials rather than relying on mass produced products that so often dominate office interiors. The result is a rich, warm interior that glows when viewed from the street on a cold winter night.