what I do

what I do

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Getting back to life as usual

I don't know about you but I am having a hard time immersing myself into life as usual, and particularly the superficial side of design in light of the catastrophe happening in Japan right now. I felt I needed to just be quiet for a few days and reflect on what is going on over there. Unfortunately though, I am in the middle of some very large projects right now and am not able to take time off. Trust me, I do realize that what I do or don't do in my life does not change what is going on over there in any way. But I guess it just feels bad to go on with my normal routine when so many people are suffering, and even worse to be picking out pretty fabrics and new carpeting while across the ocean from me there are a half a million people without homes right now.

But one of the projects I am in the middle of though this week is a good project for me to focus on. It is a medical "clinic" devoted to children with autism, including three preschool classrooms. Working on this has been a nice change from my usual residential decorating projects. It also feels a little bit like 'full-circle' to me as my first career was in dentistry and I sometimes miss being in the 'medical' world and feeling like I was helping humanity in an important way.

Before photos

My goal with this office is to give the children, their parents, and the amazing doctors, therapists and teachers who are devoting their lives to these special children an environment that will feel warm and inviting and comfortable. I also want it to be a beautiful space that will feel more like a home than a medical clinic. Right now the space is one large room. It will be divided into 13 smaller rooms and a reception area. A kitchen will be added as well.

Before photos 

I have designed a few doctor's offices but nothing as large as this. It is always a challenge to begin a new project, especially one so large and this one is particularly challenging because there are things that need to be considered that I have not had to think about before. There will be two-way mirrors installed in some of the rooms which require darker paint colors in the hallway than I would normally consider. And I need to keep the colors and patterns calm in the treatment rooms. I also need to use flooring materials that are easy to clean or replace in case of 'accidents'.

These FLOR tiles will be perfect for a classroom rug 

During my first client meeting we discussed the proposed floor plan, some themes ideas she had for the preschool classrooms (marine) and selected flooring (maple).  As with any design project, I started with an inspiration piece. My client said that she wanted a modern office with an Asian feel, and that her favorite art was from the series Ashes and Snow. I wasn't familiar with the artwork she was referring to so that is where I started. 

Ashes and Snow

From there I began searching for ideas and found the decals that I had talked about in this post and decided that decals would be a unique and inexpensive way to bring in some additional art.  I narrowed down my search and during our second meeting we finalized our choice for the waiting room:

Single Stone Studios
I like the simplicity and the organic nature of it. It will go well with the inexpensive vinyl chairs and benches that will furnish the waiting room and will give a nice punch to one large wall for $145.

Trento Slipper Love Seat & Chair in Ivory Vinyl from CSN Stores
We decided on a marine theme for one of the classrooms and the other two will be a safari theme and a forest theme. Here are some of the decals we chose for the marine theme classroom and also other places in the office:

Studio jk via Etsy

Decal Delight via Etsy

via Etsy

There is still a lot of work to do but I am about 70% finished with the design phase. Most of the furniture is selected and all of the materials which will share more in another post. Finished photos will be a while as the construction phase has not yet begun. I am filled with gratitude to have the opportunity to be part of such a wonderful facility that will make it possible for children to get the help they need.


traci zeller designs said...

What a wonderful project to work on! It's delightful to be able to work for such a worthy organization. Can't wait to see how it turns out!

barb cabot said...

I love your thoughtful intro into this post. This current project you are working on is full of good energy towards something that will be so productive and helpful to children with special needs. Love your ideas and will look forward to the evolution of this space.

pve design said...

One Doctor that I see every year has one of the most thoughtfully designed spaces. I always admire how fresh everything looks. I wish more health offices had designs that were modern and stylish.
Cannot wait to see the progress! Love your ideas so far.

Luciane at HomeBunch.com said...


Thank you for explaining about this project. It's really exciting and I'd love to see it when it's ready. The more I know you, the more admire you.
Thanks for your comment today. I loved reading it.


Luciane at HomeBunch.com

Marianne said...

What an amazing project to work on! Looking forward to seeing how it comes together.