Location: Ditmas Park, Brooklyn NY
Type: Residential interior design/build
Size: 500-sf renovation
Team: Michael Lillard with Steven B Boling (builder)
Program: Playroom and bedroom with maximized storage, folding work tables and sleeping loft, and play area convertible to guest bedroom
Photography: Steven B Boling
The LO Residence playroom/bedroom was conceived as a treehouse-like backyard fortress. The clients wanted a lively environment, one that would appeal to their two young sons now and as they grew older. Each aspect of the design was detailed as a kit-of-parts (set of building blocks), exposing functional components, material layers, joints and hardware. This method made it both easier to build in the shop plus visually engage the children in the construction process. The clarity and expressiveness of traditional Japanese woodworking, such as Kaidan Dansu step chests, Tansu mobile storage cabinets, and Shoji Screen room dividers, informed the design process.
The choice of construction grade lumber and hardware, instead of finish lumber/hardware, not only lent itself well to the aesthetic goals, but made it easier to more cost-effectively realize the functional goals. The natural color of the lumber also works seamlessly with the existing parquet wood flooring. The sliding room dividers are made of stacked storage compartments, the cabinet doors covered in various usable surfaces: dry erase, cork, and chalkboards. Two compartment doors fold down to become tables, one in the play area for games/arts/crafts and one under the sleeping loft for homework. The stairs too are built with stacked storage boxes, accessible from three sides. The prefabrication of components limited client inconvenience, reducing site time and construction debris while further increasing savings.