The existing property, a 1980’s spec-built house in a suburban Memphis neighborhood, was showing wear and was no longer meeting the functional or aesthetic demands of the family. After looking at other properties, the owners decided to stay and tailor the house to their specific needs. We prioritized five discrete rooms in the house to focus on: the Entry, Living Room, Kitchen, Master Bath, and the unfinished space above the attic, to be used as an informal lounge space.
These areas of focus are treated as insertions – distinct from the original house in materiality, functionality, and form. Beyond responding to the family’s functional needs, the renovations are designed to serve as a backdrop for the client’s world-class collection of art. Surfaces of dark walnut paneling act as a contrast to white ‘gallery’ walls, framing views of each piece and offering as much area for artwork as possible while preventing visual competition between pieces. The rich wood also visually connects the individual insertions as a cohesive counterpoint to the existing residence – acting as a material datum that runs through the house.
Because of its location upstairs and separation from the rest of the house, the design of the attic was able to take on a more active, unrestrained character. Custom built-in lounge furniture responds to and echoes the angles of the attic walls. Dark wood strips wrap the space, lending it an intimacy while recalling the materiality of the insertions below.