2017 was filled with many blessings but the truth is, it was also filled with a significant amount of hardships for our company. Most of these hardships were centered around our office space.
Construction began in the adjacent lot to our office space Q3 of 2016 and there were continual accidents to our vehicles throughout the year. One of which involved a concrete block smashing a windshield! With the massive amount of rainfall we received in May paired with the crawl space under our building that beckoned rodents, we ended up with an infestation of fleas, keeping us out of our space for nearly two weeks. Then in early September IRMA came through our city and our building took on a significant amount of water resulting in the majority of our computers being drenched. I am so thankful for Ledia Karaj of Lighting Dyanmics, a vendor who urged us to put our computers on our desks just in case there was flooding. We then moved our whole office out and back in after the carpet was replaced.
Then, horror of horrors, less than a week after IRMA’s visit our office was completed flooded again by more torrential rain. We knew it was time to leave. Thankfully our landlord released us from our lease and the search for a new design studio began. We worked with Ernest Diaz of The Fitzgerald Group to start visiting spaces. Ernest had the patience and due diligence required to find our next home. As you can imagine, as a team of Interior Designers, we were pretty particular.
To determine what was most important, we relied on the data:
Security was a #1 priority followed by parking availability and then accessibility to the interstate. (I found this information out by sending an anonymous Google Form to my team. It is an excellent way to find out where people stand on subjects!)
We were torn between wanting an industrial warehouse space in the arts district and a small house that would give the boutique hands on approach that sets the JTI approach aside from other interior design companies. Proximity to downtown was key and we knew we enjoyed the accessibility of the 3rd Avenue and Andrew’s Avenue corridor to both the north and the south.
After visiting several spaces we found our new office design studio near Tap 42. We’ll still have the accessibility to 95 by easy access to Marina Mile, yet we’re close to many venues that we frequent for lunch and networking events.
The next challenge was filling the space. Our previous studio came furnished with work stations and a kitchenette so it was now time to find our own desks. Obviously, with our corporate interior design experience, we knew exactly what we wanted. We knew we needed white surfaces (easier to draw and read a set of plans) and we liked the industrial look of black bases. For health reasons we really wanted to have stand/sit desks. Did you that sitting is the new smoking? Sitting for eight-plus hours a day is wreaking havoc on our bodies. As always, the challenge came down to cost.
We worked with Randy Bierman of The Bierman Group and were able to secure eight stand/sit desks at a reasonable rate from AMQ. They have memory, are electric and offer the simple aesthetic we desired. Now after working with them for a week we are very pleased with our decision.
Next came storage options. We owned a lot of bookcases for our library but our previous office had many shelves that held our client binders, something we reference on a daily basis despite this very digital world. Great Openings offered the look we wanted paired with the function we needed at the right price.
IKEA filled in the additional gaps which in hindsight I will never do again, especially in the kitchen. If a potential client says they want an IKEA kitchen I might just run in the opposite direction. You get what you pay for, that is the honest truth.
Finishes were a tough decision for us since we have every commercial grade material manufacturer at our fingertips. We wanted to make sure and showcase an industry leader and a company that aligned with our values. The obvious selection for flooring was Interface as they push the envelope for interior design all while maintaining integrity with their approach to sustainability. Did you know they have a negative carbon footprint?! That is pretty incredible considering the volume of carpet and luxury vinyl tiles they produce. We went with a herringbone installation, mixing color, tones, and textures to showcase the material’s ability to transition without strips between different products. We have a “river” flowing through the main spine of our workspace that spreads slightly into the open work area and the private offices. The installation came out fantastic!
Please give us a head’s up next time you’re in our area. We would love to welcome you with a cup of coffee and a quick tour of our new space!