Introducing: The Firmdale Project

I recently started work on the Firmdale Project, a master bedroom makeover in a Boston townhouse. My lovely clients, a married couple with two adult children, have not updated their bedroom in decades. In fact, they purchased their Depression-era bedroom set in 1980 and have been using it ever since. Both husband and wife are practicing lawyers with little time to focus on home improvement, and the accumulated clutter of many years has taken over their small bedroom. They are more than ready for a bedroom refresh! 

Firmdale Project This Way Home Before Bedroom Bed 1930s Bedroom Set

Let’s start by taking a look at the bedroom on Day One. A three-piece 1930s bedroom set, which consists of a double bed and two dressers, is the room’s foundation. The set is in adequate condition, aside from a broken post on the footboard; but ultimately, after 35 years with this furniture, my clients are eager for a new look, and they would like to upgrade from a double- to a queen-sized bed. 

Firmdale Project This Way Home Before Bedroom Bed 1930s Bedroom Set Dresser Bureau Mirrored Wall Cramped Small

This cramped corner caught my attention. There isn’t enough room for a nightstand, so the bedside lamp is relegated to the dresser. The dresser drawers hit the side of the bed when opened completely, and the frameless mirrored wall makes the room look dated.

Firmdale Project This Way Home Before Bedroom Big Wide Windows

This big set of windows, which measures over 12 feet in length, is one of the room’s best features. The existing paper accordion shades are functional– if a bit worse for wear– but they do nothing to highlight or enhance the windows.

Firmdale Project This Way Home Before Bedroom Messy Chaotic Home Office Desk Open Bookshelves Bookshelf

Opposite the windows, this work area is not functioning well for my clients. They rarely use the desk, so it has simply become a catchall for paperwork and clutter. These jampacked
bookshelves overwhelm the room. Being able to see every book, binder, and personal memento is visual overload and gives the room a feeling of disarray.

These 3D models give an overview of the room’s layout. The space measures roughly 12′ x 20′ in total.

Firmdale Project This Way Home Before Bedroom 3D Model Firmdale Project This Way Home Before Bedroom 3D Model

My clients want their new bedroom to feel fresh and restful. They gravitate towards transitional designs, which blend traditional and contemporary styles. They prefer a soothing color palette, but they like the look of mixing and layering patterns.

Improving functionality is key with this redesign. Right now, the room is trying to serve as a bedroom, closet, office, and library all at once; and the room suffers from trying to do too much. Our main goals will be to reestablish the space’s primary identity as a bedroom and to eliminate all non-essential functionalities.

Stay tuned for a reveal of our design strategy for this charming bedroom. It promises to be a major transformation!

I recently started work on the Firmdale Project, a master bedroom makeover in a Boston townhouse. My lovely clients, a m...

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Shopping Guide: Chicago

Willis Tower Illustration Chicago Shopping Guide Antiques Vintage Architectural Salvage

Forget Oprah, deep dish pizza, and the Cubs. Chicago is all about architectural salvage.

When buildings are dismantled or renovated, architectural artifacts– like corbels, doors and fireplace mantels– are often removed in tact and sold to salvage shops. These upcycled gems can be incorporated into remodels and new constructions or restorations of historic structures.

It’s no surprise that a city like Chicago, with world class architecture, would also have outstanding architectural salvage. So when I took a recent trip to Chicago, I made sure to visit the top rated salvage stores in the city. 

Architectural Artifacts, 4325 N. Ravenswood, is housed in a remarkable 80,000-square-foot showroom. The inventory is vast and eclectic; they carry everything from theater seats to gargoyles, religious artifacts to neon signs. Architectural Artifacts is an incredible resource for one-of-a-kind items and special statement pieces. My favorite finds included a 19th-century blue and white Delft tile mosaic, which depicts Frans Hals’ Married Couple in a Garden, and a gorgeous French art deco wet bar with mint green and chrome accents.

Architectural Artifacts Salvage Chicago Atrium Event Venue Shopping Guide Interior

The open central atrium of Architectural Artifacts. 

Architectural Artifacts Salvage Chicago Event Venue Shopping Guide Interior Front Entryway Barber Poll Clock Delft Tile Mural

The front entryway of the store features industrial cabinets, a barber pole, and oversized clock faces. 

Architectural Artifacts Salvage Chicago Delft Tile Mural 19th Century Frans Hals Married Couple in a Garden Blue and White

I adore this 19th-century blue and white Delft tile mural depicting Frans Hals’ Married Couple in a Garden

Architectural Artifacts Salvage Chicago Industrial Cabinet Theater Seats Green

Industrial metal multi-drawer cabinets sit next to a row of forest green theater seats. 

Architectural Artifacts Salvage Chicago Eagle Gargoyle Slot Machine

An eagle gargoyle and 25 cent slot machine. 

Architectural Artifacts Salvage Chicago French Art Deco Wet Bar Mint Green Turquoise Blue Chrome Geometric

French art deco wet bar with mint green and chrome accents. 

 

Salvage One, 1840 W. Hubbard, has four floors of inventory. In addition to the typical architectural artifacts, like clawfoot tubs and columns, Salvage One also boasts a great selection of mid-century modern furniture and accessories. Both Salvage One and Architectural Artifacts pull double duty as event venues as well.

Architectural Salvage One Doric Columns Vintage Antique Leaded Glass Window Fireplace Mantel Stone Chandelier

Doric columns, a stone fireplace surround, leaded glass window, and chandeliers on display at Salvage One. 

Architectural Salvage One Johnny Carson Poster Cardboard Pinball Machine Arcade Game Vintage Car Antique

A cardboard image of Johnny Carson hangs out next to arcade games and a vintage car.  

Architectural Salvage One Mid Century Modern Bar Blue Chrome Retro Vintage

A large scale blue mid-century bar with chrome accents. 

Architectural Salvage One Clawfoot Tubs Tub Mid Century Modern Dining Table Chairs Set Antique Vintage

Salvage One carries both architectural artifacts, like clawfoot tubs, as well as furniture, like this mid-century dining set. 

Architectural Salvage One Industrial Light Fixtures

Industrial light fixtures.

 

Architectural Salvage One Vintage Antique Channel Letters Metal

A smattering of vintage metal channel letters. 

 

Architectural Salvage One Antique Mailboxes Set Mid Century Modern Chair Chairs Sofa Sofas Couch Couches Vintage Antique

Left: Mid-century modern chairs and sofas. Right: an antique set of mailboxes. 

Urban Remains, 1850 W. Grand Avenue, specializes in industrial finds, like metal chairs, lockers, pulleys, cabinets, and light fixtures. The store carries many strange and beautiful manufacturing artifacts, like industrial molds and antique tools. The Urban Remains website has a comprehensive catalogue of inventory, so it’s a great resource for online shopping as well.

Architectural Salvage Urban Remains Industrial Lockers Metal Vintage Antique Chicago Architectural Salvage Urban Remains Industrial Lockers Metal Vintage Antique Chicago Architectural Salvage Urban Remains Industrial Lockers Metal Vintage Antique Chicago Architectural Salvage Urban Remains Industrial Lockers Metal Vintage Antique Chicago Architectural Salvage Urban Remains Industrial Lockers Metal Chicago Architectural Salvage Urban Remains Industrial Lockers Metal Vintage Antique

Forget Oprah, deep dish pizza, and the Cubs. Chicago is all about architectural salvage. When buildings are dismantled o...

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