The Process — Creating an Executive Suite



Many times I have been presented with complicated design objectives for unusual or challenging spaces. These are the projects I welcome, and that test my creativity and problem solving skills. This is the point when the design process itself becomes the most critical element to ensuring a positive end result.

As an example, I will describe for you the complete process by which I took an idea, or in this case a homeowner's dream, and how I brought it full circle. The idea was to convert an under utilized second floor of a barn style garage into a fully functional detached home office. It was also important to the client that the barn be restored to a rustic aesthetic and provide a special place in which to enjoy the company of family and friends.

Research and Conceptualization

The process begins with a tour of the under utilized space and to hear first hand from each member of the family what aspirations he/she has for the room. Although the primary use of this office was intended for my male client, I made sure to include his wife and two children in the process. It is an interesting exercise to explore the potential for a space with 4 individual users.

I then took photos and proper measurements of the space which was cluttered and confused. The client had clearly attempted to use the space as an office, but the room lacked organization, proper furnishings, lighting, and character. But there was clear potential. Most people are adversely affected by a disorganized workplace, and so we needed to remedy this situation. These images and dimensions would later help me during the process to redefine the room with a functional space plan.

taking pictures of the space is crucial to understanding the design challenge.
Design and Planning

I decided to compartmentalize the single floor space into three areas. The room is not very large, so to accomplish the design objectives of the family, I had to prioritize the goals and identify what made most sense. It was extremely challenging, but my aggressive plan defined the new space with a combination of functions. It would soon host an executive workstation, conference room/play area and casual lounge seating. It was at this point that I presented the plan to the client as “The Executive Suite.”

We established a date to hold a presentation meeting. I sat down with my client and his wife. I drafted three floor plans with varying furniture assortments and material recommendations. There were a couple of existing conditions that I wanted to maintain and needed to clarify. For example, a working cast iron stove is a wonderful design element that would not only add character, but would aid in heating the space and creating ambiance. For budgetary reasons, we needed to discuss these elements in more detail during this same meeting. It was at this time that we reached consensus on which floor plan maximized the space and best met the original goals of the family. It was an exciting moment to have a clear direction. There was some skepticism with the plan since it was a very aggressive approach to the room. But we were all very pleased to move forward and anxious to see it come to fruition.

drawing the room layout is an important step in the process.
The Room Is Complete

The process by which you achieve design is just as important as the design itself. I take great care with each project. Sharing with you the various steps in the process further demonstrates for you how I approach design and the way I work with my clients. It is an honor to work with good people and each job deserves thoughtful design.

drawing the room layout is an important step in the process.