When mortgage specialist Scott Travelbea from Travelbea & Associates was looking for a new location for his growing team, he turned to Tamara Bush of Inhabit Design to help him with his vision. Scouting a new office for almost a year, Bush reports that the space would have to reflect the quality of Travelbea’s brand and provide the service and accessibility they had grown accustomed to at their previous location. With its open floor plan, polished concrete floors, high ceilings and an abundance of natural light, the former art gallery in the Aura building in Humboldt village proved to be the ideal location. Having worked with Brenric Construction before, Bush was confident project manager, Jeff Mitchelmore could see her vision to fruition.
The transformation required opening up the existing space, enclosing a storefront exit to allow room for two front offices and the construction of four soundproof offices with walls reaching the 14-foot ceilings for privacy. “When we saw Tamara’s attention to detail in her initial drawings, I immediately knew it was going to be a great project to work on,” says Mitchelmore.
Bordering on a blank slate, the former art gallery occupied an open plan and had some existing elements the team could work with. “It was important to create a space that was modern yet comfortable, that maximized the available natural light and allowed the flexibility to add new team members. Due to the nature of Travelbea’s work, we needed to create private offices for client consultation but we also wanted the space to feel bright and connected,” states Bush.
Bush chose a contemporary yet classic palette of charcoal grey, black and white with hints of gold in the signage and accents. Reserving bright colours for decor and artwork, Bush injected vibrant hues with abstract paintings byLauren Mycroft in each of the offices. Bush adds that “the open area for support staff is less private than other areas in the office and, because of the high ceilings, is subject to heightened noise levels. As an acoustic buffer, three-dimensional felt-covered panels sourced from 3Form were added for texture and visual interest.”
Capitalizing on the ceiling height, eight-foot windows and custom oak doors on all the private offices face the central shared space allowing natural light to permeate the entire office. Tom Dixon pendant lights at the front desk make a statement with a spun brass shade, patinated exterior and a hand-beaten interior.
“One of the things I loved about Tamara’s design was how she was able to craft a traditional office space with soundproofed private areas within an open concept,” says Mitchelmore. The Shaw weave accent carpet tile was chosen for its contemporary look and hardwearing durability. A leader in ergonomics, the Herman Miller Sayl chairoffers renowned engineering and design.
“It’s an advantage for builders to work with an interior designer with a clearly defined design concept so we understand the ultimate vision before we begin — the designer is thinking it through from conception to the final stage. Working with a hands-on, communicative designer like Tamara is a huge benefit; it means that we have instant answers when challenges arise,” adds Mitchelmore.
Sometimes it’s difficult for the client to foresee the big picture through the eyes of the designer but as Bush states, “that is where a strong client/designer relationship is key to realizing the outcome. I think Travelbea went from disbelief that we could make an office out of a former art gallery to “I can’t believe how amazing this space has turned out.”
- Design and Interiors: Tamara Bush of Inhabit Designs
- Build and Construction: Brenric Construction
- Sayl Chairs by Herman Miller and Desks: Monk Office Interiors
- Tom Dixon Lighting: Gabriel Ross
- Felt Tiles: 3Form
- Original Artwork: Lauren Mycroft
- Anglepoise desk lamp: Chester Fields
- Waiting Area Chairs: West Elm
- Carpet tile: Island Floor Centre
- Signage: Landmark Sign