Case Study – Commercial Project – Thesis Design

Case Study – Commercial Project – Thesis Design

Thesis Project:  Office Space Meets Universal Design – The Newmark Building, Salem, MA

Newmark Building Perspective Drawing – Second Floor


The culmination of my Master’s program was my design for a 13,000 square foot office space, for a software design company, reflecting Universal Design principles, as well as green design, an open plan and other considerations.


I used an existing building and office space in Salem, MA – The Newmark Building in downtown Salem; the second and third floors.


Newmark Building – Perspective Drawing – Second Floor Reception

Newmark Building Perspective Drawing – Third Floor Office

Newmark Building Perspective Drawing – Third Floor Kitchen-Eating Area

Below is a vintage exterior photo taken in the 1920’s, and a contemporary image follows, as well.












The existing space, as shown in a model that I made from foam core:


My final design drawings/presentation included the following:

Plan drawings:



Axonometric drawings:

Newmark Building – Second Floor Axon

Newmark Building – Second Floor Axon


Newmark Building – Third Floor Axon

Final Model:

Newmark Building Final Model – Second Floor and Facade


Newmark Building – Final Model – Third Floor

Newmark Building – Final Model – Third Floor – Side View

Case Study – Southern New Hampshire Living Room

Case Study – Southern New Hampshire Living Room

Project Description

For this living room project, the client expressed the desire keep the original footprint of the room, as well as traditional-looking wainscoting and the existing fireplace and surround, but to update the room, to create a contemporary feel for entertaining.  The house itself is a 1970’s rendition of a classic Cape style house, including a white marble fireplace surround, built from aged and new marble.  Thom Glynn of Eye Catching Designs and I collaborated on this project.

Our response to the challenge of creating a contemporary feel, while maintaining the traditional elements of room, was to focus on the dynamic contrast created by those traditional and contemporary elements, when placed together.  To that end, the contrasts included: a deep blue-green wall color, with bright white trim; collectible furniture that included a vintage 1960’s marble-topped coffee table, an early 1900’s side table, new unembellished upholstered sofa and lounge chair, as well as tufted armless lounge chairs.  Artwork was chosen with the same contrasts in mind, including a 1960’s original oil painting of the ocean over the fireplace, against more graphic pieces in the rest of the room.

Lighting is very important to both of us, so recessed ceiling fixtures and dimmers were added. Decorative lighting was chosen with the theme of dynamic contrasts in mind, as well, and the range included sconces with shades over the fireplace having a more traditional sensibility, to a Georg Kovacs chrome arced floor lamp, evoking the 1960’s.

Thom and I received the 2010 Living Spaces Award from the IFDA, New England Chapter, for this living room design.

Case Study: Western Massachusetts Bungalow

Case Study: Western Massachusetts Bungalow

Project Description – 1915 Arts and Crafts Bungalow Renovation – Western Massachusetts

The project:

This residential renovation project was completed in December of 2009.  It encompassed the entire three floors of a 4,500 square foot Arts and Crafts bungalow, built in 1915, sited on just over an acre in rural Western Massachusetts. In addition to the house, the site includes a detached two-car garage, with off-road parking for ten cars.  The house construction/renovation cost was approximately $450/s.f. The existing exterior footprint of the house was maintained, (with some minor door location changes and window location changes and additions) while all interior systems (plumbing, mechanical, electrical, etc.) and many of the interior finishes were removed, including plaster walls and ceilings, and replaced.

Energy efficient changes and the scope of the project:

Icynene insulation, new HVAC systems (including a Buderus gas condensing boiler), new Marvin windows, (replacing all existing windows, but replicating the original window design), Lutron-Homeworks Whole House lighting controls (including drapery/shade controls in most rooms), recessed and decorative light fixtures and low-flow toilets (as part of the updated whole-house plumbing), were among the updated features.

The basement was transformed from a largely utilitarian space into a lower level of living space with guest room, bath with shower, wine cellar, fitness room, and secondary kitchen/laundry/dog-wash area.  Hydronic radiant heating was installed on the lower level, as well as in the new first floor kitchen and all bathrooms.  The first floor kitchen was relocated and enlarged, while the iconic living room and dining room space with colonnade was maintained, but given a facelift.  The original first floor full bath was downsized to a more appropriate powder room for guests.  On the second floor, the space occupied by a small bedroom was used to create a master bath (with steam shower) as part of the master suite; the general layout of the second floor remained similar to its original look, but among other changes, closets were reconfigured and one of the three remaining bedrooms has become a home office, with gas fireplace.  Blocking was added to shower walls to allow for the future installation of grab bars.

The interior design specifics for the project:

Karen, as the designer of record for this project, was involved in all its phases; a collaborator in the original architectural design process with the builder, beginning with programming and throughout design development (the drawings were produced by the builder’s architectural designer).  Also working closely with the lighting designer to review lighting plans and choose decorative fixtures, selecting all finish materials and furnishings, provided product specifications and product and finish schedules as needed, developing furniture layouts and collaborating with the builder on all architectural details.  During the execution of the design/construction phase, working closely with the builder’s project manager and foreman, as the owner’s representative and providing additional project management expertise.

The client/owner’s goals for the renovation; the design challenge:   The client/owner expressed a desire for serenity, particularly when she was enjoying a quiet evening at home, and at the same time, she wanted the house to feel welcoming to friends and provide the right setting for lively charity events.

Our interpretation of the client’s goals, the design solution and the use of natural materials:

The house, itself, provided the solution; the clarity of line.

The living room and dining room demonstrated the clarity of line in their original architectural detail, including the fireplace and the structure of the colonnade. By using the repetition of this clean line (both straight and curved) throughout the house in the furnishings, finishes, recessed and decorative lighting and introducing and repeating architectural detail and custom cabinetry, where it had not been prior to the renovation, the space reveals harmony and rhythm.

The natural color palette expressed on the walls and through other finishes of browns, golds, greys, greens and reds, along with the variation in pattern subtlety, serves to emphasize a more soothing experience of the space, as in the master bedroom, or a more energetic one, as in the kitchen.  Wood, stone and marble flooring, marble and schist counter/vanity tops and wainscoting in bathrooms, Tibetan wool and silk area rugs, cotton, wool and silk fabrics for draperies and upholstery (also leather for the latter) were selected to maintain a connection to nature, not only through choice of color, but also through their “green” material content.

Additional Credit List:

Contractor/Builder/Architectural Design:

Wright Builders, Inc.
48 Bates Street
Northampton, MA 01060

Jonathan Wright, CEO
Nancy Schwartz, Architectural Designer

Lighting Design:

Nancy Goldstein Design, LLC
5 Rock Cliff Road
Marblehead, MA 01945

Nancy Goldstein, Principal Designer
Randy Glickman, Senior Associate

Kitchen Cabinets/Layout:

Classic Kitchens
1173 Bernardston Road
Greenfield, MA 01301

Erica Smith, CKD, CBD

Custom Window Treatments:

77 Walnut Street Unit 8
Peabody, MA 01960

Karen Gilman, Founder