Project Review:
Workstead's Impeccable Small Apartment

JANUARY 11TH, 2018

This pied a terre, owned by Americans who have lived in London for 20 years, was stripped and renovated by Workstead -- the Brooklyn and Charleston design studio and lighting brand -- and resembles a Swiss army knife in terms of its utility and versatility.

"As long as we can keeps things simple, we can put our money into very special moments of millwork." - Ryan Mahoney

Ryan Mahoney, one of the three principals, tells us the apartment “is very small but they wanted it to be very functional, and the clients knew that spaces had to double up and to have multiple purposes. The husband loves to cook and wanted a real working kitchen that was highly tailored to him”-- all this while maximizing storage.

Kitchen with extended sideboard - Photograph by Matthew Williams

For Workstead, this kind of multi use problem solving is a specialty, and in almost all of their projects they use custom cabinetry and millwork to realize their solution.

Kitchen Cabinetry Detail - Photograph by Matthew Williams
Layered Cabinets - Photograph by Matthew Williams

“We love cabinetry and millwork. And for every project that we have the opportunity to design something special and custom for that specific project, that’s how we approach it. As long as we can keeps things simple as far as the interior shell, then we can put our money into very special moments of millwork. And that’s what everyone will focus on when they are in the space.”

"It’s supposed to be something that ages with you and that hopefully looks good as it ages." - Ryan Mahoney

In this apartment, the warm oiled red oak unifies all the spaces. An arm off the kitchen counter extends into the living room to provide extra prep cook space and its end, doubles as a desk. The living room is a lounge and a dining room. In the bedroom, the headboard extends past the bed to the walls and incorporates built in side tables. A custom dresser extends to the right and creates another desk.

Living space - Photograph by Matthew Williams

Workstead has collaborated with Brooklyn based cabinet maker Markus Bartenschlager since their earliest projects. “He’s a very talented guy and I just feel like we have kind of a shorthand with him, an understanding of what we want. We painstakingly do the drawings, but our knowledge only goes so far, and we’re very open to having a dialog with him about how to execute.”

Bedroom with side tables integrated into the headboard - Photograph by Matthew Williams
Bedroom cabinet - Photograph by Matthew Williams

Most notable is how sleekly everything fits together as there is no hardware on the cabinets and drawers. Instead they are tiered or stepped to create a pull at each intersection. Asked about wear on these pull surfaces, Mahoney replies, “we want for these things to be used; they’re not so precious that it’s like you’re living in a museum. It’s supposed to be something that ages with you and that hopefully looks good as it ages.”

Bedroom desk area - Photograph by Matthew Williams
Living room desk area - Photograph by Matthew Williams

Their collaboration over the years is a core feature of their business and design philosophy and the desire to create something custom -- whether cabinets or their own lighting line -- has earned them a niche but robust business.