Blakely 2.0 is almost complete! We have certainly come a long way since we started our expansion back in January. Though we still have a few loose ends to tie up, I wanted to share our progress with you so far, with some before, during, and (almost) after photos. We’re going for progress, not perfection. 😉
Each area of the expansion had to accomplish certain goals, which I’ll go into in more detail below, but the overarching goal of the expansion was to accommodate the growing design business and our other ventures, such as product development and e-commerce.
As you can see from the space plan above, we just about doubled our square footage by expanding to the unit next door (shown in pink).
It’s worth mentioning that we planned this expansion before the onset of COVID-19. Like many of our client projects, items that we ordered for the expansion became backordered or temporarily unavailable, so we’ve had to adjust accordingly. Luckily, we’ve never shied away from a challenge, so this was just one more to take on!
Months later, it’s finally starting to feel more like a studio again and less like a construction zone. But let me start at the beginning… come on in!
The Blakely Design Studio
Studio Renovation Goals
With our growing team, we decided to reconfigure the design studio to accommodate a few new workstations. Fortunately, a majority of the construction was done while our team was working from home, so there were fewer distractions and it was somewhat a blessing in disguise. Now that we’re back in the office, our new work stations are perfect for social distancing and having room to spread out and get creative.
If you’ve been with us from the very beginning, you’ll remember this blog post I shared with you about the Blakely team and our 2017 office remodel, seen above. Though our team has grown since then (by nearly double!), we hadn’t expanded our office to match… until now.
These two walls frame what will be new offices for our Procurement Coordinator, Meridith’s and myself.
Doorways into the new design library and back warehouse space.
When it comes to living vibrantly, we certainly practice what we preach! Our beloved blue wall remains but has been transformed with a doorway to the new design library. Take a few more steps in and you’ll find an expansion favorite: our logo wall painted in Firecracker by Sherwin Williams. This area boasts enough space for the designer’s table and marketing desk.
Beyond the slate grey wall you’ll find the procurement office, a.k.a. The Command Center for Meridith. Her office needed enough storage and workspace for all of the paperwork pertaining to our projects. Let’s just say it’s hard to see that countertop now that we’re settled in!
No interior design office would be complete without some fabulous Schumacher wallpaper, am I right?
The photo on the left shows my new office, which is still a work in progress. When creating the space plan for the expansion, it was important for me (as the Principal) to have a large enough space to host private meetings, have more storage, and improve the functionality of the existing space. The tall windows with natural sunlight are an added bonus! Becky, our Design Director, moved into my previous office (right).
The Blakely Design Library
Design Library Renovation Goals
By having access to fabrics and materials at our fingertips, we end up saving time and money for our clients and the business (win, win!). Additionally, we wanted to have a dedicated workspace for sourcing for our projects, and a spacious area to present our selections during client meetings. We also just can’t seem to stop our addiction to collecting vibrant fabrics!
Although our previous design library served its purpose of housing vibrant wallpaper, fabric, paint decks and client binders, there just wasn’t enough space to contain our growing collection of samples.
Our new design library required just a bit of construction to open up our existing office to the new warehouse space. Once the construction was complete, we focused on building out the shelves and cupboards that would line the walls and house fabric samples, fabric books, and client binders. IKEA cabinetry was the best solution for what we needed. This, of course, required a bit of patience from our team as we assembled countless pieces! (Throw in trying to place a massive IKEA order during a pandemic and you’ll finish the day with a couple glasses of wine).
And how about that crisp black and white floor design executed Prime Painting Services? Superb!
As we continued to build shelves, we also began to fill the walls with hanging fabric samples by color, performance, and brand. Millwork detail finishes the grandeur of the doorway, and our 8′ French doors were installed and painted.
By expanding into the space next door, we were able to design a library that was separate from the work zone. As with the rest of the expansion, we’re not quiiite done in here yet, but it looks incredible so far! It’s been functional for our needs for our current projects, and it’s provided us with the opportunity to showcase our extensive collection of samples.
Honestly, this space is at least twice the size of our previous design library, and I can’t believe how full it is already!
The Blakely Warehouse
Warehouse Expansion Goals
Prior to this expansion, we had an existing back room, but we were quickly outgrowing it. As we added to our inventory of products for clients, pop-up shops and our e-commerce site, the shelf space started dwindling.
Although we use a warehouse to store the larger pieces for our clients, we receive most of the lighting and smaller items here at the studio, which made it imperative that we create a new, organized system. We also didn’t have a central receiving and shipping location, so that was essential to work into the space plan.
Our location in a mill building has provided us with many opportunities to customize our studio, and luckily the space next door became available at the right time. This space shown above became our warehouse storage space and part of our new design library. It was formerly a kid’s daycare, so it needed a BIG transformation to make it Blakely approved. We’re all about color, but not these colors… yikes!
After the walls went up to frame the design library and the remaining open warehouse space, the floors were painted in a sleek black epoxy for durability and style.
Warehouse move-in day consisted of moving boxes, bins, and accessories from our previous small back room, assembling shelves, and much, much more.
We certainly earned a glass of socially distant Prosecco that day!
Our shelves are stocked with colorful accessories, just waiting to be placed in their forever homes. We were able to use the warehouse space for our pop-up sale last month, and it went so smoothly and beautifully. I’ll spare you the photos of the rest of the warehouse because… well… let’s just say it’s organized chaos at the moment. But at least it’s no longer violet and dandelion yellow!
As with any project, we still have some punch list items to complete:
- Hardware for the design library
- Design library organization & hanging the design boards
- More warehouse & inventory organization
- A new, functional desk for yours truly
- Wallpaper installation in our second bathroom and in Becky’s office
That said, we are sooo close and can’t wait to share FINAL photos with you soon. Stay tuned, and if you’re itching to get on our books, I invite you to do it now — we are filling up fast!
If you’re not quite sure yet, our Interior Design Project Planner can help you make the best decision for you and give you a good foundation for working successfully with a designer. Go scoop it up!