If you’ve caught up on your Architectural Digest lately, you may already know that our Design Bar space has officially opened in Manhattan, New York. We’re SO excited to be able to help you achieve your dreams for your home, but this incredible space would not be possible without the help of some very close friends. Adam Meshberg, founder of Meshberg Group, has been friends with Kathy for years, and we’ve worked together on multiple Design Bar projects during its conceptual phase. Meshberg Group is an award-winning architecture and interior design firm specializing in interior design, new construction, and historic restoration, so they were an obvious choice when it came time to renovate our physical Design Bar space. Today we’re sharing a behind the scenes interview The Kuotes conducted with Kathy Kuo and Adam Meshberg, and we’re revealing some never before seen before-and-after photos. Enjoy!
The Kuotes: What were the goals and inspiration for the space?
Adam: So Kathy was looking at a quite a few spaces, and this one was easily the best match. It met all of the criteria, including it being close to her home in Harlem. It was also a large enough space to hold two separate spaces. I think that was a key requirement for the layout—having the showroom aspect with the office next-door to it. We also really liked the presence the space had on the corner of the block. This is important because it is a showroom; you want a Design Bar that people walk into, activating the corner of a neighborhood that’s on the up and up.
The Kuotes: This was a collaborative effort, so what elements did Meshberg Group work on?
Adam: We primarily worked on the architecture and the layout while Kathy and her Design Bar team handled most of the interior design. That said, we all worked directly on all of the elements. We did lots of versions trying to fit all the space requirements for the desks, the lighting, and the needs of the showroom. I think it was a pretty good collaborative process. We dealt with the city and the code aspects, stopped by the office at that time to see how the work flow went, figured out what kind of storage we needed. All of this helped inform the layout of the space.
We started by putting everything into the floor plans, and then we began with lighting and millwork, bathroom design, kitchen design and some of the showroom layout. It was really a collaborative process, especially for the materials and the interior design decisions. My office would present something, and we would get feedback and then we would suggest something different for another element, and we would go back and forth. I thought it was a relatively smooth process, and it was as many changes as I would have expected for a project of this scale.
The Kuotes: So what do you think is most important when you’re collaborating, especially when you’re on a project this big?
Adam: We don’t collaborate on this level with this many people—we generally are hired to design a space from top to bottom, but your office has designers, and you [Kathy] yourself are a designer. I knew going into this that this process would be different, and I was fine with it because I’ve known Kathy for a long time and we have a good relationship where I didn’t foresee any problems. Sometimes you can get into problems where there is a butting of heads on the aesthetics of things. I think Kathy and I both have different aesthetics, but we were able to merge the two to create something new and cool—old bones with newish and more detailed elements that reflect the products you [Kathy] sell.
Kathy: It’s interesting. I’ve known Adam for a gazillion years, and part of the reason why I thought to work with Adam is because he’s known for this Brooklyn loft feel. Also, just in terms of high residential, he’s got a really good following. He told me there’s a clear difference between a Brooklyn loft and a Soho loft, and what we were kind of going for was a polished mixture of the two. So it just works. There’s the exposed brick, but there are also several neo-classical elements involved too.
The Kuotes: Was there anything that you kind of went back and forth on?
Adam: The bathroom.
Kathy: Their bathroom was gorgeous, but then we made it more Neo-classical changing out the tiling to what we have now. We took everything a touch more traditional than Adam may have done it, and it’s basically because we have a more traditional customer. Our clients are in Chelsea or the Upper West Side mom, so it’s a different sensibility.
The Kuotes: Where there like any roadblocks or difficulties for the space? What was the most challenging aspect of designing the space?
Adam: The difficult part was trying to fit all of the desks on one side of the space to keep the other side open for the showroom.
Kathy: We’re actively hiring all the time as a growing company, and we have a bunch of people off site that I want to bring on site, so the concern was how do we lay this out in a way that we can fit in as many desks as possible.
Adam: We were hoping for 24 stations, and I think we ended up with around 18 or 20. Part of the idea was that people can sit at the table and sit at the island in the Design Bar space and work on a laptop.
The Kuotes: What was your favorite part of working together and working on the space?
Adam: For me, I just like working with Kathy and coming up here and seeing her business grow and being a part of watching a company move into a new space. It’s like when I get to watch a family move into a new apartment to start their next phase. It’s like the next phase of Kathy’s new venture. Design Bar is new in its concept, cool, and I think it’s going to be very successful.
Kathy: Well, thank you. I hope you’re gonna continue doing projects with us, because we have a lot of them. I think that’s my favorite part of working together. It’s knowing the work is going to be good and being able to look forward to future project together.