Saturday, October 24, 2015

What's Happening?!

There are lots of exciting things happening for us here at Mowery Marsh Architects!

This weekend the house we have been documenting on the blog will be on the Hoboken House Tour.  I'll be there to answer any questions about the home... and renovation in general.  Joanne Laurie the owner and designer for the interior decor will be there too.  So get on the tour tomorrow and stop by to say HI!  More info and photos at

Yes, that's us on the poster! 

Also, the house was recently featured on Rue Magazine where you can hear more about our work through a Q & A.  

Another project of ours is just starting construction but already creating a buzz thanks to an article on  Jersey Digs.   They plan to do a series of posts following the progress of what could be the first Passive House in Jersey City!

Also this month, the book The New Small House hits Amazon or better yet... your local bookstore!  Our own home is featured along with a bunch of other houses that all demonstrate how to get the most out of a modest sized spaces.  Lots of great tips!

It's been an exciting 2015 but we've got more in the pipeline!  Lots of great projects to come, so keep coming back to see what we are up to ;)   

Friday, July 17, 2015

Hoboken Brownstone- Interiors

Time to wrap up this brownstone series that I started talking about in 2012!  Where does the time go?  We had new shots taken recently that capture the spaces beautifully so I thought it would be a nice way to share some final thoughts on the interiors.  In our practice, we draw no line between the architecture and the interior design.  They need to work together for the spaces to be successful.  So let's go through each room and make note of some elements demonstrating the integration... 

Here in the Living Room, architectural elements add texture to the space.  For example, the custom shutters painted in a contrasting black draw your eye to the gracefully arched front windows framed in substantial trim work.  And a wall of cabinetry integrated with the fireplace offers a focal wall in the room as you enter and also provides shelf space to give warmth by displaying familial pieces.  This ceiling fixture is all the more lovely because the ceiling is framed by generous crown molding that is free of any soffits! 

Blackstock Photography 

We like to create transitional spaces.  Between the Living Room and the Dining Room, we do this by flanking the opening on one side with lit artwork and the other side with a tall built-in bookcase.  We bring the ceiling down a bit, bring the walls in, and provide more detail with lighting and millwork to reduce the scale and provide focus to the furniture elements. These architectural moves provide a sense of procession through the spaces while still being open and spacious.  Historic homes often do this, but newer renovations often blow out everything to create an 'open plan' because we think it will make spaces feel bigger. It typically has the opposite affect as the entire room can be experienced in one glance. 

Blackstock Photography 

Don't forget your ceiling!    In the Kitchen, we needed to incorporate a structural beam so we layered deeper trimmed beams with low profile smaller panels. The crown on the cabinetry is continuous with the beam molding so the cabinetry feels like part of the architecture rather than additive.  The center beam here was faked to give less importance to the necessary structural beam next to the door.  It also gave us a nice place to feature the pendant lights.

Elliott Kaufman Photography

Here a floating 'hutch' feels like a grand piece of furniture with rooms tucked behind that are still part of the space but hidden away.  The pantry to the left has closed cabinetry within view so it stays neat and tidy when the floor to ceiling pocket door is open. 

Blackstock Photography

Here we see what's around the corner to the right, a desk space that keeps the laptop, papers, and daily reminders hidden from view.

Personal customized touches can make a house feel more like a home.   At the request of the homeowner, we incorporated a built-in doll house at the end of the island for her daughter to play while she worked in the kitchen.  We made it look like a typical Hoboken brownstone!  Inside there are standard adjustable shelves so these doors could be swapped out in the future for general storage. 

Blackstock Photography

Don't be scared to try something that will make your interiors more unique.  The owner chose a circle door style which became a strong design feature throughout the house.  We suggested a flat panel with a low profile molding so the detail has an understated appearance.  Also the decision to paint them black also gave the circle feature a more subtle affect.  The high gloss finish is important as the black could potentially deaden the lightness of the space, but in this case it shimmers.

When it comes to furniture, size does matter!  At the Master Bedroom, we see an example of how properly sized furnishings is so important.  Here petite side tables allow for a king size bed and generous artwork which become the focus of the room. Wall mount light fixtures keep the small tables clear for personal items. We often help with sizing of furniture... and in this case the home owner's furnishing selections had a big impact on the spatial quality of each room.

Blackstock Photography

Here's another transition found between the Master Bedroom and Master Bathroom that keeps the spaces open to one another while still providing delineation.  Mirrors at the bathroom and closet doors add to the feeling of openness.  Pocket doors are tucked away to still allow privacy when needed in the en suite.

Blackstock Photography

Well placed skylights can add dimension.   Here we located them in each shower of a Jack & Jill set up. They flood the space with light and make simple white subway tile gleam.

We all want generous storage, so each child's bedroom comes with an adjacent room for storage & play.  Floor to ceiling cabinetry keeps the clutter tucked away and makes good use of these tall spaces while bringing down the scale.

Having the crown molding continue across the cabinetry creates a more built-in appearance and provides a clean rectilinear ceiling to feature each ceiling light fixture.  

 Blackstock Photography

The homeowner chose complementary rich colors for each child's room,  giving them a unique personality and aesthetic.  

Blackstock Photography

We always work closely with the client so the architecture and interiors are integrated with every detail.   In this case, working with Joanne was such pleasure, as she has a great sense of style and vision.  While she had studied as an interior designer, up until this renovation she had limited her design skills to her own properties and only helped a few lucky friends on their projects.  She has now expanded her reach, having started her own design business under the name J Laurie Designs.  We are happy to spread the word as she is quite a find here in Hoboken!  

Blackstock Photography

J Laurie Designs specializes in mixing high-end designer and custom pieces with more affordable mainstream retail and vintage items.  With a number of items often coming from flea markets or antique stores.  As demonstrated in her own home, the finished result is the creation of beautiful yet livable interiors that are attainable by a broader group.  

Blackstock Photography

So that's it!  We've followed this renovation from initial planning to final interiors.  Did we miss anything... of course!   That's why I hope to keep blogging.    Next up... windows?