Wednesday, June 13, 2012

An office inspired by tennis, orange and alligators?

My client Al Saikali, sent me a text while I was still on maternity leave. He'd seen the office redesign I'd done for my longtime friend Marlon Hill of the law firm Delancyhill, and wanted a similar rescue.
This was in January. Even though I was back to work at the end of January, it would take us months to connect. He travels extensively, and I too had picked up a crushing travel schedule for the day job, and quite a few design projects. Never the twain shall meet? We finally connected in April and got down to business. He's an attorney and I admit, I sometimes get a tad nervous with my lawyer clients, er, for obvious reasons!
Any who, we finally met and he had some specific requests - must work in his orange framed artwork (University of Florida alums are insanely fanatic), his tennis racket (as are tennis aficionados), his other sports memorabilia which included a football signed my members of the winning 1996 UF championship team and some alligators (fake, of course). Much of the furniture had to remain. And since this is an office space, I couldn't change the flooring or wall color (though thank GOD I was allowed to paint one wall)

Here's what we started with:
Can you tell? Al's a tennis fanatic. Loves the sport. Seriously. Wait, what's that nearby? A sad and lonely refrigerator screaming, "Help me!"
Some more lonely sports photos (Yes, that's Tim Tebow) on a bland wall. 
Manly, manly office furniture, important lawyer type paperwork.....but I gotta tell ya, he's got quite the view of downtown Miami from that office...

Here's what Debbie and I cooked up on our Olio Board inspiration board, which went through a few revisions including, losing the fab chair. Ok, we got carried away by the UF colors and word to the wise, Flor tiles CANNOT be installed over carpet.
  Al and I then went shopping to check out the key pieces and we had a blast. I gotta say, he's a super, super fun guy. And he's single. Hint, hint to the ladies!
Finally, installation day. I thought this would be as quick as it gets, in and out, no fuss. Brace yourselves. This turned out to be an epic day of madness. To begin with, my painter/super skilled handyman/photographer, was an hour late. Sigh. Double sigh.
Then, despite what we thought was an airtight logistics plan with building security, the Saturday crew had no paperwork about my plans and so I was not to enter the building with my truckload of goodies.
Say what now? Ya gotta be kidding me right Mr. Security? (I must mention here, that my usual  charm fell flat with this crew. And trust me, I've charmed my way out of speeding tickets and that's no easy feat in the state of Florida).
Any who, Al's amazing assistant Ino, who had so kindly given up her Saturday to help us get into the building, had to carry the bags in all by herself. Translation: A LOT of trips to the 32nd floor and back. Thankfully she eventually got some help from the wonderful mail room assistant.  Oooh, there's more. There was some confusion with the paperwork from CB2 and you guessed it, our sofa and tables WOULD NOT be allowed into the building. The truck was here. With sofa. With table. With chairs. No. They CANNOT leave that truck and enter this building. I was devastated.....
Al, in NY for business and expecting a fully redesigned office upon his return, was let's just say, not too happy. Ok, ok, he was LIVID.
Not at my moi (whew), but at the Fort Knox level of security at the building. I mean jeez, it was only furniture.
So, once I no longer had any items with me, I was allowed to enter the building. You see, I'd now been deemed as harmless since I no longer had a West Elm bag. Yay! So we entered and got to work using what we had. It wasn't the glorious feeling of a full scale installation, but we'd managed to get a lot done.
A few days later, and with multiple emails back and forth between CB2 and the building, we were allowed to deliver the furnishings and complete the project.
Hats off to Al - who is also a fellow blogger I must add - Ino and everyone in the office who saw me so many times they probably believe I'm a new attorney. (Hehe. I was captain of my debate team and once considered law school).
And to all his colleagues who chimed in with their thoughts/critiques, sent their kudos and requested consultations for their own office makeovers. Hooray for us.
Here you have it. The office. Reinvented.

A smoky gray (by Martha Stewart no less) on this accent wall, balances out the bold oranges and helps to define the space. The sofa is long and slender and creates a great zone for meetings with clients and colleagues, and a fun place for Al to chill and unravel those legal briefs. P.S. You cannot believe what it to took to frame that autographed football. Kudos to the husband and wife team at Frame Art, who can customize anything in a day or two, a rarity for framework.

No need to obstruct this amazing view, so we kept a minimalist approach when dressing the window sill with some great finds from Z-Gallerie, Target and Home Depot

Al wanted a small area that could serve as a workspace/conference table and this round glass table from CB2 did just the trick. The chairs serve double duty and could be pulled up to his desk for meetings with clients as well. An avid coffee drinker, we defined the beverage area with a tray table filled with condiments. The wall is anchored by a video screen of the 2008 Wimbledon finals, which Al has in frequent rotation. The artwork is a nod to his specialty, data security.

That's all folks. One of my most challenging installations, but nothing a bottle of red wine, a rib-eye steak (bone-in of course) and play time with my 'lil munchkin couldn't cure. Holla back. Lemme know what ya think. 


  1. You did a fab job! And here in TN we have to work around Vols orange, so I can totally relate!

  2. Hey Kim,
    Loves that you understand the orange challenge - and I gotta tell ya, it's actually my favorite color. But I'm more on the burnt side of the orange fence. Thanks for stopping by and showing some love.


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