Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Modern Surf Bar

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Modern Surfbar in the Hamptons

The goal of this project was to create a modern take on an age-old look. There are surf bars in every beach community around the world: usually cobbled-together bungalows made from various pieces, parts and elements–some reclaimed from the ocean, some from the surrounding communities. Typically, surf bars are decorated with surf boards and old posters and an occasional surf casting rod nestled in weathered wood and faded paint. A place to gather with friends and meet local expats, have a shot of tequila and learn about the best local surfing, hiking and fishing spots.

Modern, contemporary, interior design, surf bar,restaurant,new york long island hamptons design build

The design directive for the surf bar was to incorporate as much of those elements into 60’s modern decor as possible in order to create a space that would be hip and casual, comfortable and cutting edge.

I grew up on the beach. Some of the things that I remember most when I think of the countless hours I spent walking as a kid were the rough slats of beach fences used to keep the dunes from eroding, with the beach grass behind them. The colors that stuck out in my mind were the dramatic blue greens of a  stormy sea, as well as the intense oranges of a sun low on the horizon.

The use of risers and partitions can help to define a space by giving some areas a more intimate and dramatic feel. My memory of the beach fences became the inspiration for this bar’s partitions. We used soft pine that we sandblasted and white washed with brushed stainless for the negative spaces. The addition of a custom layout of 3form Varia with bear grass completed our vision.

Rather than go with the obvious choice of having surfboards hanging everywhere, we decided to take a more subtle approach and used the surfboard-shaped ellipse as our inspiration. The bar back was as unique as it was beautiful, incorporating the grass element from our partition design as well as the ellipse. The front of the bar used the same weathered wood as our partitions, creating an effect that played loosely on the image of beach grass rising from behind a fence. The bar top was made of stainless steel. The interior had multiple sweeping-style ellipses creating a modern take on shapes at home in 60’s contemporary interiors by masters of the psychedelic era such as Verner Panton.

For the chairs, we chose an Italian design. The tables were a brushed chrome tulip base with a black honed slat top. The artwork on the walls were beach scenes from the turn of the century to present. I chose to do them all monochromatic, in a color reminiscent of a burning orange sun. The walls were the blue-green hue of the north Atlantic. The lighting was recessed, and we chose an eyeball trim. The photos were spotted as were the tables, to create a dramatic nighttime effect. A pair of chandeliers made out of 8″ globes that dropped as they spiraled 360 degrees set off the center of the dining area.

I love doing interior design work, and it was a pleasure to be able to work on such an exciting project. This design build was one of my favorite projects to date.

 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Motorcycle tail piece

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GL 1000 carbon fiber cafe tail piece

This is a custom tail piece we’ve been working on for a GL1000. I carved it out of foam, John then spent days covering it with bondo and smoothing it to perfection. The next step is to make a mold, so we can cast it in carbon fiber.

GL 1000 carbon fiber cafe tail piece

Friday, January 17, 2014

Ulla Darni’s Spider Chandelier

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I had an idea for landscape lighting…little spiders with glass abdomens that lit up….I know this is definitely not for everyone, some might say a little too Halloween, but that’s what makes the world go around, different strokes and all.

I had been working for the artist Ulla Darni and her partner Lawry for some time. Their house had burned down and they were rebuilding. To call what they were building a fabulous house would do it no justice, it was nothing less then an incredible museum to house Ulla’s stunning art work, as well as an extensive collection of art she had assembled throughout her lifetime.

Lawry is a glass artist and had some large, beautiful globes he had made for a job that never got used. We were sitting in their living room discussing what to do for the chandelier. The room had 30′ ceilings  and purple Venetian plaster on the walls. All of Ulla’s designs are as strong as her dynamic personality, and whatever the chandelier was going to be needed to be substantial enough not to get lost in the room. I figured, “what the hell”.  and pitched them the idea of a huge spider hanging from a big web.  I said we could use the biggest globe as the abdomen of the spider, and the remaining globes as hanging egg sacks. They are into Native American culture and said, “Oh Grandmother Spider weaves the web of the world!” They loved it!

One of the challenges was to get the spider to balance in the position I wanted it to; I couldn’t exactly weld close to the globe, but needed the globe to be considered in the weight of the counter balance. Since it was a one of a kind piece,  I felt a  little tense having it around the steel and concrete in the studio.

The whole piece ended up measuring about 12 feet in diameter. The spider was a mixture of steel, stainless steel, and bronze. I have to say it was pretty impressive once it was installed.  It takes a special room to handle such a strong piece, and the space that Ulla created couldn’t have suited it better.

It was a true honor to work for someone that has such a vision and to contribute to what will surely end up a museum on the Hudson Valley tour along with Fredrick Church’s Olana.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

An Interesting Twist on a Central Stringer in Greenwich CT

Tags: , , , , , Greenwich, Connecticut modern railings, contemporary,rods brushed stainless, hidden fasteners,drifted posts,white oak,center stringer,floating treads

This was a renovation of a house with a beautiful view of the Long Island Sound in Greenwich, CT. The architects were R.S Granoff, I like working with this firm; they are creative and excellent at what they do. Since we are often asked to weigh in on the best way to bring the stairs to fruition it helps to have architects that understand structure, and are open to the ideas of their fabricators. In this instance we were adapting a design that the client had found on the internet and we all played well together to bring the client’s vision to life.

Sub-contractors are directly impacted by the decisions made by the general contractor. Fortunately, on this job, we were paired with an exceptionally competent contractor: Lo Parco Associates of Greenwich. I can’t say enough about what a pleasure they were to work with.  Their standards were high, the quality of work was excellent and the site was neat and orderly.

As metal fabricators, we do a lot of central stringer stairs.  They are light of structure so they appear to float, they don’t need any specific engineering as far as the architecture is concerned, and can usually be installed in an existing home with a minimal amount of change to the actual structure. That being said, we thrive on taking on new projects and being challenged by things we haven’t done before.. This central stringer was top shelf.  It had the added sculptural twist of a more elaborate tread pan which is the structure that actually supports, or in some cases becomes the treads.

The railing had round posts that were drifted through the tread so that they look clean with no visible mounting plates.  We used round stock for the handrail and the horizontal rods were 1/2” solid. The material was 304 stainless with a brushed finish. We matched the paint on the stringer to the wall color. The wood was white oak.

The size and the weight of these stairs made the installation a bit of a challenge. With the aid of two electric winches we were able to pull the stairs into position, setting them from the top down. Somehow it seemed that the whole crew had gathered around with their I-Phones to video the stairs getting set into place. I sweated and prayed that our rigging was in order, and hoped that Steve Morris Designs wouldn’t end up going viral with a video of 1000 pound staircase falling two stories and crashing through a finished tile floor! Thanks to some great teamwork, everything came into place without a hitch.We’re proud to be able to add the finished project to our portfolio.

We thoroughly enjoyed the clients.  They were a pleasure to have on site, and the team they assembled was top notch.

 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Stainless Steel Arch Floor Lamp

Stainless Steel Arch Floor Lamp

This light was borne out of burning the midnight oil.  It could have been the full moon, too much coffee or just too much thinking about things that you can’t do anything about in the middle of the night, but I found myself in the studio at midnight and had a rough prototype worked out by 5 am. This contemporary floor lamp has a light in the base as well as the top. The whole floor lamp is made of brushed 304 stainless steel with a white mica as the translucent material.  The white mica is visible through the cut outs, creating an image reminiscent of  water.  This beautiful free standing floor lamp would be at home in a variety of interior design styles, from deco, to the mid-century modern style of the 60’s and 70’s  right up to the clean simple look that’s come to define today’s modern interiors. It stands about 6′ tall and is available in a limited edition.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Joe’s Standing Desk

Tags: , , , , , , , , , adjustable standing desk with black glass top and silver stainless steel legs

It seems the current trend among health enthusiasts (especially those that find themselves tethered to a desk) is to work standing up. Health studies have shown that the more time a person spends sitting every day, the more likely he or she is to suffer from heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and even early death, even if the person is active when they’re not sitting! Working at a custom standing desk can help to lessen the risks to your health.

Since I find my self standing 90% of my day, standing desks were a trend that had managed to stay completely off my radar–that is, until I was approached by Dr. Joseph Raffaele to build him a desk that would allow him to sit while seeing patients and stand when he wasn’t. It’s not surprising that Dr. Raffaele would be current on how to maintain optimum health, considering he is one of the founding members of Physioage: a medical group dedicated to helping individuals maintain optimum health well into old age.

desk01

The desk needed to raise and lower from 29 inches to 50 inches, and with the help of linear actuators we were able to design a system that would allow us to do just that. The challenge was to house them in an aesthetically pleasing modern desk that would be the focal point of Dr. Raffaele’s new office at 30 Central Park South in Manhattan. After working with Joseph to design a desk that complimented his new space we were ready to start fabrication. The desk consisted of brushed stainless steel hollow formed legs, pierced steel with an automotive finish, and glass. When we delivered the desk to the new Physioage offices, Dr Raffaele said it felt like the time he got his first BMW, as this was truly the BMW of desks. The Doctor was happy with the form, function,and quality of craftsmanship on this truly unique modern desk.

I would like to thank Joseph for the giving us the opportunity to create this amazing piece of functional art. It was a fun project and we are proud of the results.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cable Railings in Amagansett

Round posts, exterior, brushed finish, 316 stainless, cable rail, inset posts, amagansett, ny ,hamptons

I don’t think that I’ve ever had the pleasure of working in a more beautiful spot than Donna’s house on the bay in Amagansett, NY. There were three large decks, two of which were a stone’s throw from the water, and we did the installation of the modern railings while experiencing some of the most gorgeous August weather available in the Hamptons. Because of the view, the goal was to keep the railings as light as possible.

We used a 3D modeling program to render different designs, after a somewhat lengthy design session with Donna. She is a designer herself with a strong aesthetic sense and some definite ideas about what works for her and what doesn’t. She has excellent taste, her house is exquisite, and her designs are well-executed down to the very last detail. Even though I’m an artist myself, I consider it my job to listen to the needs of my clients and bring their vision to life. I will certainly offer up my opinion, but I don’t push my own agenda. I followed Donna’s lead and was able to help her realize the railing design that she had in her head.

We opted for 1 ¼” round verticals, 1” high by 2” wide top rail, and 1/8” cable. Normally we set the height at 36”, but Donna wanted to be able to easily lean on the railings, so the height was set at 42”, with a railing height of 36” going up the stairs so to meet NYS code without a secondary handrail. The verticals were sunken into the rim joist (sometimes called a band joist: http://www.bestdecksite.com/introPlanPg1.htm) so that there were no visible fasteners, and in order to do this the rim joist and the stair stringers needed to be doubled up. The finish was brushed, and the cables that we used for the railing showed no hardware.

Round posts, exterior, brushed finish, 316 stainless, cable rail, inset posts, amagansett, ny ,hamptons

One of the problems we had was how to get a hole into the deck that would be perfectly square to the deck from every angle. Since the hole we were drilling for the 1 1/4” post was exactly the size of the post, there was no opportunity to shim it into level. We took an old drill press and adapted it to be able to use it on site to drill the holes by removing the drill press table, and altering the base. We moved it from hole to hole, a laborious process considering it weighed over 100lbs. There were over 70 holes to drill, making it a two-person, two-step process. First we drilled through the mahogany decking with a forstner bit, and then we drilled down into the framing with a nail-eating bit, with one person to place and steady the drill press and one person to drill and change the bits. Needless to say after a whole day of carrying the drill press to and fro, I had no problem skipping my daily workouts.

The entire drilling process lasted 4 long days. The August sun was in its full glory, and my fair-skinned co-worker John was looking rather lobster-like after a few days. Donna kept us hydrated and happy with an assortment of delightful icy confections.  The design was well executed and exceeded all of her expectations—it was light and clean, playing a superlative roll as supporting cast to the gorgeous view of the bay in Amagansett. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amagansett,_New_York)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kathy’s Large Bronze Birds

While I do love a great staircase project that falls in line with my passion for architecture, sculpting allows me to get back into doing studio work. I started out as an artist making jewelry, and while I still go out on every installation, my time as of late is primarily spent doing design work and sales. It seems that most of my more artistic projects are commissioned by artists themselves; Kathy is a real artist’s artist. I have the utmost respect for her and her creative abilities. Check out her web site at http://kathyruttenberg.com/.

The goal was to make large birds loosely modeled after magpies that would be mounted on the roof of her Woodstock estate. As with almost all art work, there is the issue of proportion—whether you are intentionally changing it for visual impact as in the case of Cubism or trying to get it exact as in Realism. This has nothing to do with overall size, rather how the proportions within the piece relate to one another. Since I wasn’t going for the large head/small body look with this project, I took the proportions from a real magpie. In this case I used a photo, but the real thing is always the best. Figuring out proportions is really nothing more than setting a scale to the photo or actual piece. For instance, if the bird has a 6” body and a 2” head, those proportions would stay the same no matter how large it gets—12 to 4, 18 to 6—you would assign a relative number to each part of the bird: beak length and circumference, head, eyes, body, legs and so on.

Now when I say large, I mean it. The largest bird was almost 7’ from beak to tail. This created some structural issues right off the bat. Since birds have really small legs in proportion to their bodies, this created an engineering problem: how could I keep the scale and proportion correct while making sure that the birds would be structurally strong enough to withstand the wind in a mountain environment? I solved the problem by building the feet and legs around a structural stainless steel frame that went from two bolting points in the bottom of the feet up through the legs, then continuing into the head and out to the tail; this created a perfect sub-structure for me to start building my bird armature. An armature is basically a wire frame that is the shape of what you’re sculpting; it’s kind of a 3d sketch. I made the armature out of different diameters of bronze welding rod by fusing it together with a tig welder. (Have a look at the theatrical you tube experience of “Happy Guy Welds”—actually this is what most welders look, like, but he could have hammed it up a bit for the camera.) I made the legs as strong as they could be while only taking small liberties with their proportions. I made them a bit bigger than they would be in real life, but since there haven’t been too many birds of this size since the Jurassic period I thought I could pull it off. The body had to be as light as possible. This was accomplished by making the feathers out of a really light gauge bronze. To make each one different, I cut them out free hand with the plasma cutter and embossed a feather pattern on each one with a crude homemade tool and a rubber hammer. You don’t know the true meaning of the word monotony until you cut and emboss thousands of feathers for weeks and subsequently weld each feather in place for another few weeks. This is a prime example of multiple Zen-like tasks being performed for the greater good of the hive—or in this case: the bird.

The finish is what I would refer to as a “process patina” meaning that the cutting, shaping, and welding created the patina. It’s a very organic way to approach patination; the birds have been allowed to continue to oxidize on their own accord.

The installation of the legendary large bird had to be done with the utmost caution and precision. Since the roof needed to be pierced, care had to be taken to assure that there were no leaks. As far as Zeus is concerned, the birds are nothing more than a target to throw lighting at, so they needed to be grounded. Here is a fun little link about lightning and mythology: http://www.2dog.com/cat/pg2.html.  Although the birds weren’t heavy for their size, they were quite cumbersome. Since they were mounted on the ridge of a roof with a 12 on 12 pitch, I decided to rent an Extenda Boom to facilitate the procedure. The mounts extending out of the feet went through the ridge cap and fastened to the ridge beam. It was hot outside, and inside the attic it was ridiculously hot—oh the sacrifices we make for art; I’m sure I lost 20 lbs and became quite ripe in the process.

Well there you have it—the tale of the large bronze birds. Thank you Kathy!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Modern fireplace doors

In New Paltz we did a job through Bialecki Architecture located in Gardiner. The house is a stunning contemporary with views of the Shawangunk mountain range. The massive fireplace has a beautiful stone hearth, surround, and lintel with stone from the Shawangunk ridge.

We had already done some exposed metal brackets for the rough hewn beams featured throughout the house, and the next project for us to tackle was a set of glass doors for the fireplace. From a design standpoint the doors added a modern element to the organic fireplace, as well as keeping the sparks and an occasional rolling log in the fireplace where they belong. They also helped to keep the house heat from escaping up the flue when the fireplace wasn’t in use.

Because of their draft, most fireplaces actually pull more heat out of the room than they add; while they are beautiful, from an ecological standpoint they are horribly inefficient. When not in use they can create a cold draft if they are not properly sealed, and air infiltration is one of the major culprits in an inefficient home. One energy efficient exception to the beautiful, but inefficient fireplace is the Rumford design.  It’s tall and shallow, so it throws more heat into the room than it removes. The design of the fire box and flue is very specific, and should only be built by a mason specializing in Rumford design. In my neck of the woods, that person is Russ McShea—an old school eccentric with a handlebar mustache who re-wrote NYS code for Rumford design. Russ loves Rumford fireplaces. He doesn’t seem to have a website, foiling my linking potential, but like I said—he is an old school eccentric. Here is his contact info:

Russell McShea Chimney
501 Manorville Rd.
Saugerties, NY 12477
518/678-3294

The Bialecki fireplace opening was roughly 7’w x 3’h, and the doors were divided up into four equal-sized panels with the two in the center opening to allow access to the fire box. When you are building doors of any type, the major hurdle is to keep them from racking and to keep them square. Since there were four panels with a 1/8” gap around the doors, this was a little tricky. The problem with building something in metal—especially stainless steel—is that when you heat it to weld it together, the heat causes expansion and contraction, which tends to leave you with something a little less than square when it cools. We solved that problem by making sure it couldn’t move as it was being welded. In this case, John built a jig that would hold the frame perfectly square while he was welding it. We tacked the piece together and then weld it in small increments, allowing each weld to cool while we moved on to a different part on the piece.

When it comes to hardware, the more custom the piece, the less likely you’ll find exactly what you need; it seems I’ll find something close, but not exactly right. This job was no exception; we used a standard cabinet door latch for the guts, but made our own knob and mounting system.

The installation was straightforward and overall fairly painless—well kind of. I did have to spend three hours grinding down high spots and squaring up the fireplace opening to insure the best possible fit. Anyway, no pain no gain, right?

If you find yourself in need of a NY architect, Matt Bialecki is quite creative.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Josh’s 72nd Street Apartment

Josh is partially responsible for this blog, so if you think someone needs to be reprimanded, he can take part of the heat. Otherwise I will make sure he basks in all the glory a successful blog has to offer. Josh called looking for stairs and a ladder (he was having a hard time finding the latter – ha ha) for the loft in his apartment in NYC; he will still swear that my ticket to financial freedom akin to Donald Trump will come from manufacturing a line of the “hard to find loft ladders.”

I will usually take on one or two projects a year where we do the whole project from soup to nuts.  That would include the interior design, as well as the carpentry and metal work. I worked for years in the building trades doing everything from framing to finish work and still get an occasional hankering to do some fine woodworking; it’s also a nice change of scenery from the studio. Josh’s apartment was about 800 square feet, and it needed a makeover badly. Oddly enough the kitchen and bathroom were recently re-modeled, and while they weren’t exactly what we might have done, it wasn’t in the budget to tear them apart.

The budget kept expanding—due in no part to yours truly—as we went along. Josh kept finding more things he wanted to do, so what I thought would be a 4 to 5 week job expanded into 3 months. The design changes included opening up the second floor bedroom to overlook the living room, changing the doors to pocket doors wherever it was possible, making a window seat looking out on to 72nd Street and a “loft chair” addition to an already existing loft that was open to the living area. Josh is an ER doctor, and it seemed he was looking to create as many womb-like hang out areas as possible, maybe to help counter the stresses of late nights in the ER? By the way Josh looks nothing like George Clooney; I do hear he can cut a rug like Frankie Manning though. Also included in the design changes was upgrading the electrical fixtures, installing new flooring and baseboard, repainting the whole apartment, creating some new storage areas, making a custom audio/video cabinet, as well as running a plethora of A/V cables. Josh’s brother is a bit of a techy and was advising him—or confusing him, I’m still not sure which—about what types of cables to run in the walls. Needless to say we ended up with a lot of extra cables both in the wall and in a box, so if you know anybody who needs a 45’ HDMI cable, call Josh. There was a point where I thought the best use for the cables would be to tie him up and put him out of his misery.

Once we started the demolition, we realized just how poorly some of the original work was constructed, making the task of leaving the details of the original apartment that we were hoping to salvage that much more difficult; things were literally falling apart that we were hoping to keep. Unless your job is large enough to have a garbage shoot attached to a window funneling into a dumpster bellow, the task of garbage removal is a !@*#!* pain in the derriere. You have to cut, crush, pummel, and break everything into bite-size pieces suitable to fit into contractor bags. The hallways of the building need runners put down, the elevator needs elevator pads, it’s illegal to put construction debris on the sidewalk for garbage removal (you can sneak in a few bags here and there), it’s illegal to remove it from the city in your own truck (I did it anyway), it’s illegal to park your truck just about anywhere for any length of time (I took the commercial plates of my truck which makes overnight parking possible, but creates a whole other set of problems)—basically anything that is easy where I live becomes something so painful that you have to ask yourself, why am I doing this?

Once we had the demolition done, the materials needed to be gotten onsite which is a logistical nightmare, given that there is no place to store them in an 800 square feet apartment. So unless your client’s neighbor doesn’t mind storing 500 square feet of flooring in their apartment, basically you need to bring in materials as you need them. If you don’t have enough materials to warrant removing a window, closing off the sidewalk, and getting a lift truck, you’re stuck trying to bring them in through the elevator or up the stairs. If it’s a building with a door man and porter, tip them well in addition to the super and anyone else that has the power to make you suffer; cash can buy friends.

In this particular building, the elevator was about 4’ x 5’ by about 90” H. There was no freight elevator, and the stairs were ridiculously cramped. We opted for the stairs to carry in the materials since nothing fit in the elevator, which meant I had to cut anything that measured 4’ x 8’, which is an industry standard, down to 4’ x 7’ in the basement (I made fast friends with the porter) so it would fit up the stairs. We needed a 10’ ladder to reach the top of the 13’ ceilings and had to drag it up the side of the building with ropes (luckily the apartment was only on the second floor), along with the baseboard and anything else that was longer than 9’. The best time to attempt this parlor trick was at 2:00 AM when the streets were quiet and there was the least possibility of dropping something on someone’s head.

Installing pocket doors from a construction standpoint is no big deal. It takes some time to make it look nice, but it’s not rocket science. However the door needs a place to be able to slide into, and since most electricians locate a switch on one side of the door (rightfully so), there is a 50% chance that electric will need to be moved—take into consideration Murphy’s law, and the chances rise to 100% that the electric is located on the side that you need to slide the door into. We did the doors trim-less with a half arch on top that created a neat-o guillotine effect as the door closes.

Creating the opening in the upstairs bedroom that allowed you to overlook the living area and interior windows to let light into a dark lower level bedroom found us needing to move more electric, as well as studs.

The doors and hardware for what came to be known as the focal wall were made in the studio from copper and stainless steel. The metals were grained, and the copper was lacquered and buffed to a mirror-like finish to keep it from oxidizing.

Since the windows were facing northwest, I suggested that we use maple for the flooring, to help keep the apartment as light as possible and to buck the trend of dark floors and dark furniture currently rampant in modern interiors. I designed the baseboard specifically for the apartment and had it made at Spiegel Woodworking, a local woodshop that does custom mill working.

The stairs had two engaged stringers (engaged stringers encompass the treads as opposed to supporting them from underneath). In this case, I designed the stringers to be as light as possible, modeling them on a Warren truss. We used 8/4 maple for the stair treads as well as the handrail. All the bends were done in stainless steel.

The loft ladder was designed to match the stairs, based on the Warren truss with the 8/4 maple for the steps and the handrail. We wanted the ladder to be comfortable for everyday use, which meant that it couldn’t be too steep. The problem is that this creates a certain amount of dead space under the ladder. In a bout of creative genius, I had the groundbreaking epiphany that building an integrated shelving unit into the ladder would create a unique space to showcase some of Josh’s artwork.

With the help of my friend, Chris Bernard at Metal Works Limited, we did some additional metal work in copper to tie in with the focal wall doors by the window seat and entertainment area. Chris has an incredibly clean sheet metal shop that’s actually kind of scary. He is a gifted technician with sheet metal and has a passion for Ducatis and sports cars. Chris loves to go fast. He also has a machine that makes louvers like you might see on the hood of a race car and was kind enough to use this machine to make our copper radiator cover.

We used a programmable light switch system that allows you to be able to create lighting scenes and bring them up with the touch of a button. Possible lighting scenarios could include: the first date; my apartment is messy, and I don’t want to see the mess; I slept all day and have a hangover. It’s lighting for all occasions at the touch of a button. This was a perfect example of me learning something from my clients, because my first reaction was: why do you need to remote control your light switches when they are never more than 15 feet away? Call me old fashion, but I’m used to actually having to walk to a light switch and create my own scene. Anyway it’s quite cool, easy to do, and a must have for any 21st century home.

With the renovation coming to an end it was time to start looking for light fixtures; under certain circumstances I might have made them, but we found some at Gracious Home located at 67th and Broadway that worked quite nicely. Gracious Home also has a great selection of hardware so we were able to find most of our door knobs, towel bars, etc. etc there; it made for one-stop shopping which was quite convenient, as well as having a friendly and helpful staff.

We used as much of Josh’s existing furniture as possible, but we were in need of some key pieces. Finally we were getting to go furniture shopping! I love looking at furniture! We settled on a grey-blue Mitchell Gold sectional to compliment the brown earth tones in the apartment. Josh picked out a very space-friendly bed from FLOU. Last but not least, we took a trip to Harry Zarin’sto find upholstery fabric for throw pillows—this place has an amazing selection of fabrics. I used my longtime friends Alfie and Suzy Darrow to make the pillows; Alfie is an excellent upholsterer and Suzy is an incredible seamstress.

This was a great job, and I made a good friend in the process. What more could you ask for?