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Cincinnati Design Project

Earlier this summer I headed to Cincinnati on a design project – a NY-based marketing agency was planning to host a pop-up office in downtown Cincinnati and had enlisted my services to design, style, and transform the raw studio into a fully-operational office space.  “Urban oasis” was the overarching theme for the space and to achieve this I knew it was essential that I go heavy…very heavy on the plants.

Lucky for me, Cincinnati has an amazing selection of local greenhouses that house the most fantastic plant varieties.  Just look at the array of plants onsite at Tropical Foliage Plants in Delhi Hills, a greenhouse-rich suburb of Cincinnati.

Cincy Design Plants Greenhouse PlantsColored Cactus

Getting to walk through the greenhouses at Tropical Foliage and pick out my plant selection for the space was definitely a highlight of my trip.  I could make a whole post with pictures I snapped that morning…but back to the project at hand.

Now, it’s one thing styling a raw space, but when that raw space is dilapidated and verrrry dirty…well, that’s a whole other beast.  Take a look at what the space looked like initially – if you look closely you can see cardboard-covered vents, some tacky paint, and the permanent but non-functional supplemental ac unit…pretty rough, eh?  Unbeknownst to me (until my arrival) the space hadn’t been used in years.  Needless to say, it required a lot of cleaning, dusting, washing, and painting before I could even start with the space.

Pre Design

Upon arrival, the walls were painted white, the outdated furniture and blinds were removed, and the space was thoroughly cleaned.  After a long two days of prep, the studio was ready for its new design.  Here’s a little look at the initial transition of the space.

Cincy Design 1

The space needed to be able to easily transform to accommodate a more typical meeting space during the days and an open lounge environment during the evenings, so the layout had to stay fairly open.  Lightweight tables that could be easily repositioned (and reconfigured) were added to the center of the room to host daytime meetings.  A lounge was added to the back of the room for smaller, more intimate group discussions and the back wall itself was turned into one large multi-functional chalkboard.

The client’s requested color palette was an orange, burnt yellow, and teal.  To balance these bold colors and compliment the abundance of plants that were going to go in the space, I went with a significantly neutral palette and added pops of color with the furniture.

Cincy Design 2

And as for the plants, there was a touch of green added to every corner of the space.  Plants were placed along windowsills, hanging plants secured to the ceiling, shelving was made to accommodate smaller potted plants, and large floor plants were added around the room.

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The bold colors were consistently balanced with neutral tones throughout the space – wooden tables were paired with bright yellow chairs, a jute rug was positioned beneath the teal sofa, and beautiful green plants were positioned into natural pots.  To resonate with the industrial feel of the loft space, a touch of metal was added  – metal pendant lamps were hung from the ceiling for supplemental lighting, stools were stacked alongside a wall to provide additional seating, and an industrial storage closet was added for safekeeping.

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As a final touch, I hand-painted and stenciled the client’s logo onto the center of the chalkboard wall to serve a backdrop for the lounge and to creatively incorporate a touch of branding into the space.

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And there you have it – weeks of work summed up into one post!  My 6-day stay left me with barely enough time to get everything done, so I didn’t have much time to get to explore Cincinnati on my own.  But from the time I did have, I fell in love – there is so much greatness going on in that city.  I don’t want to pick favorites – but if you happen to find yourself there, make sure to grab a meal and some coffee at Cheapside Cafe, stop by the immaculately curated Fern shop, take a visit to the City Flea, and if you have a few extra bucks to spend on a hotel, stay at the awesome hotel museum that is 21C. I look forward to being back in that city on my own time.  In fact, a return trip is already being planned!