This Spring marked a significant milestone for us. After nearly two years of dreaming and designing, the renovation work on our fire station was finally completed. Every morning as I settle into my new office for the day I can’t help but think, it was so worth the wait.
In case you’re new around here, in 2017 we purchased an abandoned fire station in our very own neighborhood. We were anxious to move into a bigger office and eagerly looking for something nearby—but along the way… we discovered more than we ever thought possible. This building sat vacant for years, empty and unused. As designers, we tend to see spaces through the lens of their potential, and this old fire station caught our eye and our vision.
After the adrenaline, excitement and initial design plans were in place, the nitty gritty work involved new architectural plans and an extensive remodel. The only thing to be sure of in a remodel is that surprises will punctuate the process at every turn. Oh, and that things will take a bit longer than you expect (or a lot longer!). Even as seasoned designers and having been involved in many a remodel project, our own major project was a chance to experience the emotions that our clients typically do. As experts and with the A-team in our corner we learned that we are not immune to the sometimes painful ebb and flow of a construction project.
When it came time to choose the finishes and sort out the design details of the space, we drew on our experience as designers in choosing from our most valued vendors. After all, we wanted the building to stand as a testament to future clients of how impactful quality craftmanship is when paired with good design. We were unbelievably honored to partner with some of the most prestigously revered vendors in the industry in the design and execution of the Urban Fire House. Our partners on this project generously collaborated in executing our designs for the space. We are honored to introduce them as our collaborators on The Urban Fire House and stand behind them as trustworthy resources for any design project.
Anyone will tell you that once the drywall is up in your construction project, things start to feel real. I disagree. I think the reality of your new space starts to settle in as the all transforming first coast of paint goes up. A construction zone becomes something else entirely when the walls are primed and painted. Farrow & Ball is the most luxurious paint in the industry, and for good reason. Their pigmentation is rich, their finish options are unmatched and their color choices set the trends for the rest of the paint world. We were thrilled to paint every exterior and interior wall in their product and truly stand behind it as the premeire option for paint. Our exterior walls are painted in Off Black‚—the perfect shade of black with just the right amount of depth, while our interior walls are All White—a pure white that accentuates the natural light and soaring ceilings of the fire station.
We are incredibly blessed to work with other local businesses on our design projects and Burlington Design Gallery in Irving, TX has become a go-to for us. When we have a client in the middle of a remodel, we send them there to see tile, plumbing fixtures, flooring and appliances all in one place. It’s a great resource for our clients and, as we found during this renovation, a great resource for us too! Burlington Design Gallery did all the wide plank white oak flooring (one of my obsessions in life btw) throughout our stairs, conference room and loft space as well as my private office. We also used Burlington for tile in our bathroom walls and floor. The beautiful, white oak flooring installed throughout these spaces is the perfect compliment to the restored concrete flooring in the rest of the space. The tile options in the bathroom capture a look that’s clean, simple and elevated.
Speaking of tile, we knew we wanted the backsplash in the kitchen to be something special. We’ve followed the work of Zia Tile out of LA and obsessed over the unique, hand-crafted quality of their work for ages. We were so thrilled to work with them on this project and use their 4″x4″ Casablanca White tile in the kitchen. The soft taupe shade, subtle glaze and variation from tile to tile lends the perfect dose of interesting texture in our otherwise neutral and minimalist kitchen.
When it came to countertops, we knew immediately we wanted to use quartz for durability and practicality, especially considering the Fire House will function as a commercial space. Without hesitation we knew Cambria was just right not only for their selection and customer service, but the ease in making selections and ordering. We used their Bentley slab for the countertops in our loft office space. The bold black and charcoal veins bring a dramatic, organic contrast to the black cabinetry in the kitchenette and the white oak island that stores our finish samples. We used the White Cliff slab countertop in the kitchen. It acts as the neutral counterpart to the white oak cabinetry. Not often in design does a beautiful aesthetic intersect with the practical choice, but this was absolutely the case with our Cambria Quartz. Oh and did I mention they offer a lifetime warranty on their products?? :))
From the beginning, we envisioned the Fire Station as an event venue and office spaces. While working on the electrical plan for the building, we realized events call for sophisticated audio visual systems. Tetra Audio Visual supplied LED lighting and an audio visual system for use throughout the building, including a hidden roll down projector screen. Guests love to try and spot it—its not easy! We’re so proud to boast these accommodations for future weddings, corporate events and parties that will appreciate its use.
Ok! Let’s talk about one of my favorite places in the building: the kitchen. We needed a showroom quality kitchen, but with the all the comforts of home. We were not interested in creating a commercial feel, but rather a warm and welcoming space where stopping to have a cup of coffee or pop an afternoon bag of popcorn was a treat. We did it, but not without the help of Monogram and their beautiful appliances. We can proudly attest to the quality and luxury feel of this brand. We expected to have a showroom-quality kitchen in our office but working with Monogram took it to a whole new level. We have been blown away by the aesthetic, functionality and customer service associated with Monogram. Our kitchen includes the Column Fridge & Freezer, the Advantium Oven, the range & vent hood, the dishwasher and (arguably my favorite), ice maker. Being able to showcase these pieces for everyone that comes through our building is an honor. They’re as easy and enjoyable to use as they are beautiful. Best of all, they are made to look at-home in a designer kitchen! We chose options compatible with integrated cabinetry, meaning they came ready for cabinetry panels to fit seamlessly over them, disguising them as part of the kitchen. The overall effect is one that appears clean, simple and modern.
The construction phase of renovation seemed to last years. As designers, we were so excited when it finally came time to furnish the space! We are so grateful to have partnered with Room & Board for this phase of our project. From the beginning, we planned to make the Fire Station a multi-purpose building with private co-working offices available to rent to small businesses and entrepreneurs. We were so excited to be able to offer these chic, modern spaces to our community and you can imagine our emotion when we realized they would be outfitted in equally modern and chic furniture. Room & Board’s pieces helped in creating our dream office space, with each one having a classic Parson’s Desk, Safi Rug and Plimode Chair. The conference room features a striking set of Hoop Chairs around a custom white oak table with a Crescent Bar Cart to aid with samples in client presentations. My office features a gorgeous Ellis Desk in maple—one of my favorite pieces in the building. Our loft, which officially houses our design team and sample library, is sporting the Span Sofa and Lars Leather Lounge Chair. Each piece has inpecable design, quality and manages to be simultaneously beautiful, comfortable and functional.
Seeing all of the design elements we had planned come into place was a dream come true. Visiting the Fire Station each day as we got closer and closer to moving in was a test of patience! I especially loved seeing the details that made it feel personal. Just like any project, it wasn’t until the art was on the walls that I felt like the space was finished. In this case, we were proud to partner with a independent artist and have the chance to promote her work. Claire Gowdy of Claire Gowdy Art painted custom canvas pieces now on display in our offices and conference room. Commisioning custom art can make such a profound impact in elevating a space. All of Claire’s pieces accomplish this. Even a small, simple office can be made to feel like a unique workplace that inspires creativity and comfort when it’s outfitted with custom artwork on the walls.
Finally, having never been my own client for a commercial project like this, I couldn’t help but geek out over all of the details. Everything we brought into the building, down to even the smallest details, felt like a chance to make a statement and establish our brand. It’s been a delight to explore new and interesting vendors as we’ve looked to nail every last detail. A new favorite, Yamakazi Home, was the perfect solution to bathroom tissue storage and a minimalist coat rack. The design details are impeccable and the nod to Scandinavian design warms my minimalist-loving heart. Another one of our favorite resources for unique home accessories is George & Willy The Fire Station features their Studio Roller, the perfect piece to help an office function – it doesn’t hurt that it’s equally eye-catching and adorable.
Watching the revival and restoration of this building over the past few years has been an emotional process. So much goes into making a space beautiful and inspiring, especially when you’re starting from something so far from it. Now that we’ve moved in, I can’t help but marvel at how every element of the design has come together to create something even better than I imagined. One thing I certainly never imagined was that we would find so many outstanding vendors as equally as excited by this project as we were. I’m so proud of having given new life to something old and ugly and look forward to the ways this building will serve our company and our community in the years to come. Now come book your event with us, we would LOVE to have you! Here’s a taste of what we’ve hosted so far…