Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Final Project - Mixed Use Facility

Last week, I turned in my final school project for my last design class, Advanced Interior Design. 
The concept was to convert a historic school that had been unused for some time and create an environment where local residents could work, dwell, shop, dine, and socialize. My partner and I came up with a plan and design that provided businesses, retail spaces, dining, and an event space on the 1st floor and residential units on the 2nd floor. 

Y.E.Smith Building in Durham, NC

We wanted to keep the overall historic feel and overall base layout of the building so we choose to go with a French Industrial Style. Industrial style can seem a bit cold so the French style warmed it up and gave it a soft feminine touch. 

On the 1st floor we added a fine dining restaurant, a fast dining deli, coffee shop, wine store, florist, open business spaces, managers office, bathrooms, and an open event space leading into the atrium.

On the 2nd floor, we designed one and two bedroom apartments.

This was a board with some of our inspiration.

 The first floor program:
-4 Business spaces that can be upfitted for a dentist, hair salon, law office, etc.
-Public restrooms
-Trash/recycling chutes
-Open event space and small commercial kitchen
-Facility management office
-Coffee Shop (1,000-1,500 sqf) with counter for ordering and picking up, drink cases, refrigerated units, warming units, shelving for sellable items, seating for a minimum of 20 people, storage area, and ADA accessibility
-Fine Dining Restaurant (1,500-2,000 sqf) with hostess area, dining area, bar, commercial kitchen, storage, and ADA accessibility.
-Fast Dining Deli - dining area for seating, counter for ordering and picking up, commercial kitchen, deli cases, storage, ADA accessibility.
-Retail Spaces
Wine Store with cash counter, display shelves and tables, cooler, ADA accessibility
Florist with cash counter, display shelves and tables, display coolers, back room flower prep area, walk in cooler, ADA accessibility.

The second floor program:
One and two bedroom units, trash/recycling chute, laundry facility, community facility with small kitchen and exercise area.

Below is the space plan I came up with for the 2nd floor one bedroom units. My partner did the space plan for the two bedroom unit.
2nd floor residential one bedroom unit

We provided 15 sheets of plans drafted in Autocad.
Demolition plans for the 1st and 2nd floor, construction plans with enlarged details, enlarged plans of each residential unit, dining, deli, wine store, florist, coffee shop, lighting plans and finish plans.

We also provided finishes for all of the listed spaces above. Below is our presentation board that includes a rendered plan for each floor, two perspective renderings - one of the fine dining and one of the one bedroom unit, finish selections such as tile, cabinets, shelving, etc.

24x36 presentation board

Below you will find a presentation board with the lighting plans and selections. Most of our lighting selections came from  Shades of Light and Restoration Hardware.

24x36 presentation board

We kept the brick exposed on all the exterior walls and refinished the hardwood floors. 

Some of the finishes we selected for the residential units:
Stainless Trapezoid Hood and Stainless Appliances
Kholer Pull Down Faucet

white subway tile for 2nd floor residential units
4X8 4925K 07 335 Calcutta Marble by Wilsonart
Calcutta Marble for 2nd floor residential units
White cabinets for residential units
Some finishes and furniture we selected for the 1st floor:


Florist Cash Bar from etsy

Wine Store Cash Wrap Custom Made
Daltile Concrete Connection: Steel Structure 13" x 20" Porcelain Tile CN9113201P
Concrete Tile for counter tops in Deli and Coffee Shop
Calacatta Hexagon Tile for bar in fine dining

This is the rendered perspective of the 2nd floor residential unit,

Autocad drawing on the computer with lots of dimensions for the construction plans.

One of the many sheets of printed plans. 

I learned so much from doing this project. I loved that we were able to design both residential and commercial spaces. The most challenging part to me was learning about commercial kitchen design. Meredith was a fantastic partner and we worked very well together......and we got an A!

A big sigh of relief knowing that all of my design classes are complete!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Light It Up Baby - Pallet Wood Lantern

In my lighting class, my final project was to make a luminaire. My brother-n-law is very good at making things out of pallet wood so I thought why not make a pallet wood lantern. It would go great on the screened in porch of a beach or lake house or even on your front porch. It makes a great decorative porch light that can be used with or instead of your traditional overhead porch light. 

I sketched out and shared my idea with my brother-n-law, purchased the socket and lighting materials from Home Depot, and we went to work.

This is how it looked in the shop.

I added velum as a shade to cut down on the glare and added a piece of rope to the top. 


This image was taken at night and as you can see, it gives off plenty of light. 

We will be making more.......smaller ones, round ones, and ones that hang. If you are interested in having one of your own, contact me. 

You can find other great pallet creations here at designrulz 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Dining Room Lighting Tips

When lighting your dining room remember this....layer, layer, layer.

Layered lighting gives you the best balance of illumination. A dining room is not properly lit if the only light is coming from a chandelier over the table. If a chandelier is bright enough to illuminate the whole room, it will be too bright when eating. It is best however, to always start with a chandelier and then add accent lighting.
The right lighting makes your food look better as well as you and your guest. Who doesn't want to look more attractive, right? And with the right lighting, you can.

Here are some tips:

1. USE A DIMMER - Add a dimmer switch to your chandelier or pendant light.
3. ADD WALL SCONCES - They not only add decoration but they also add drama to the space.
4. ADD LAMPS - This adds more light and ambience to the space, while adding decoration.

Here are some examples of layered lighting:

Found on
Dining Room transitional dining room with layered lighting
Shirley Meisels 

I love the classic black/white/gray color scheme for the dining room. Holiday colors really pop against it. I just worry it might be too boring for the in-between times. Thoughts, pin-sters?
Found on

Charlie & Co. Design, Ltd

Remember to always let your light shine...just make sure you use my tips to ensure it is shinning at its best!

Much Love-