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The most inspiring and welcoming homes have great design at their core. The way each piece in a space collaborates with the others is key to creating an overall sense of balance and harmony, because the style of a space impacts the way it makes you feel. Who wouldn’t want to come home to a space that not only serves their functional needs, but also calms and relaxes them from the moment they step inside?
No one knows this better than the people behind the products that make a space feel truly complete; these designers are on the front lines of trends and understand the balance between style and functionality. That’s the idea behind the ELEVATE Design Collective, a group of six home accent brands working together to lead, inspire and expand the possibilities of interior design. Schlage®, Delta®, Formica®, Hunter®, JELD-WEN®, and KitchenAid® all create products that make the fundamentals of everyday life easy – but they also demonstrate how accent pieces can be the centerpiece of a room, not just an afterthought. They believe that there’s simply no need to sacrifice the perfect style for great functionality – you can, and should, have both.
To showcase how accents could be larger statements at the core of a home’s design, product designers from each brand worked with interior designers Jennifer Wagner Schmidt and Mary Jo Peterson to redesign an urban loft space in SoHo, incorporating products that feature a custom color that the group created with the help of the Pantone® Color Institute.
This is the story behind six brands and two designers uniting in New York City’s premiere design destination, over a one-of-a-kind color called Single Malt.
How New York’s obsession with fashion and design created the perfect opportunity.
It was important that the space be in a chic, easily accessible location, with a residential feel. This led the group to an urban loft space in SoHo – a design and fashion destination in its own right. Jennifer Wagner Schmidt of JWS Interiors joined to unite the vision of the six product designers and create a cohesive overall design in the loft. Mary Jo Peterson of Mary Jo Peterson, Inc. offered in-depth knowledge of kitchen ergonomics and design to help the team maximize the space.
The first stop for the group was the Pantone Color Institute, where they worked together to create a color that never before existed in the world of ink on paper. This color would later be translated into a formula that could be applied to each limited edition single-run product they contributed to the loft.
How a brand new color was born.
Color plays a major role in design. The Pantone Color Institute is the leading authority on color trends and how color can drive the market in service and products. Their global expertise made them the best partner for what the ELEVATE Design Collective wanted to achieve. Here, the designers could collaborate, share experiences and forecast industry trends to collectively create their own custom color.
“Since I needed to pull the products together in the overall design of the loft, I presented ideas for the loft that would guide the designers to the best color spectrum to begin creating their own,” says interior designer Jennifer Schmidt. “I wanted to honor the essence and location of the space – an urban loft in New York – with clean lines and a Scandinavian feel.”
“They say the devil is in the details, and the accent pieces are really the details,” says designer Schmidt. “In this case, we did flip the process of design around by starting with those pieces, but regardless of what order the process goes in, the details in the design are essential to the project.”
Schlage’s Northbrook lever with Upland trim in Matte Black was edged in Single Malt, adding a surprising but reserved pop of color that added warmth to a piece inspired by clean lines and modern design. The JELD-WEN MODA Door Collection was featured throughout, with custom three-panel barn doors also edged in Single Malt to round out a polished and contemporary yet cozy feeling.
“The color accent on the hardware was amazing,” says kitchen design specialist Peterson. “It really raised the bar on what hardware could be style-wise, while resting on a solid foundation of durability and functionality that every product should have. The great thing about these details is that they are also very easy and affordable to change, so you can update easily and take advantage of all of the options.”
How functional accent pieces added unparalleled style.
The loft features expanses of white with lots of natural light and well-positioned pops of black, creating a comfortable yet slightly industrial feel appropriate to an urban loft space. This created the opportunity to use color to add warmth, complementing natural, organic pieces like indigenous woods. They wanted a color that felt natural and organic, but rich and bold enough to complement the Scandinavian design and still stand out as an accent in the space.
“Often with a space as industrial as a loft can be, it’s pretty typical to use clean, classic lines and finishes for the majority of the space, and then the color becomes critical,” says kitchen design specialist Mary Jo Peterson. “It’s how you dress it, how you finish the space.”
In working with Pantone, the color had to come from other objects that existed in the world – a specific item, a surface, or even something found in nature. Once the designers determined the spectrum of color they were after, they scavenged streets and shops throughout Manhattan to find just the right object and inspiration to bring back to Pantone.
The designers agreed on the color found on a men’s leather belt, which the color experts at Pantone then transformed into Single Malt. Next, the designers set out to apply this color to their respective accent pieces – the functional items no one can live without that ultimately turned the empty loft into a welcoming home that feels as beautiful as it looks: door locks, countertops, kitchen appliances, ceiling fans, doors, and faucets.
Ted Roberts, Schlage’s Industrial Design Manager, has always been interested in how the details impact the whole.
“You can sense when you’re in an environment that’s well designed. I think you can also sense an environment that isn’t very well-designed,” he says. “Sometimes it’s not obvious why, so I do like to get into the details of how designs work.”
The incorporation of Single Malt into the custom Bourbon Trail marble design of Formica’s 180fx® laminate countertop was another innovative yet subtle detail that added instant warmth and spark to the kitchen – coordinating flawlessly with the Single Malt medallions on the handle edges of KitchenAid’s suite of appliances in black stainless.
“Design for me has always been about the marriage between function and form,” says Scott Dannenfelser, Commercial Design Lead for Formica. “I always know I’ve got it right when those two things are balanced.” With the durable and highly functional surface Formica is famous for in a modern waterfall style that extends the countertop down the side of the island, this detail rides that balance effortlessly. Jessica McConnell, Senior Manager for Color, Finish and Material Design at KitchenAid, agrees.
“Design is not just aesthetics,” she says. “It’s also how something functions; it’s how it makes your life better.”
Delta’s Trinsic® Pro faucet in brushed steel with Touch20® Technology is also a prime example of form and function coming together in perfect balance. The faucet pulls out, with a sprayer option, making it one of the most convenient versions available. The design team at Delta also added the perfect touch – a Single Malt arm that holds the sprayer in place.
“Most of the time I’m looking for some little detail that’s going to lead me into a complete architecture,” says Judd Lord, Senior Director of Industrial Design for Delta Faucet Company. “A new spout, a new handle – in this case, a new accent color.”
“Industrial-style faucets designed by other companies are often very large, almost double the size of this Delta faucet,” says Peterson. “They are difficult to use in a real kitchen because they aren’t in good proportion to everything else. This faucet not only has the right look, but is also scaled down to an appropriate size to make it useful.”
A pair of Ronan ceiling fans by Hunter in the living room help efficiently cool the open, brightly lit space. The addition of a Single Malt cage around the lightbulb adds an industrial touch that carries through the common thread of color uniting the design.
“I love the idea that I’m creating something for a real person,” says Patrick O’Connell, Brand Design Director for Hunter Fan. “To design something that people need and make it a part of their home is exciting to me.” Schmidt also loved the accent added by the twin fans.
“The wire cage Hunter fan was certainly a stand-out in our Single Malt color,” she says. “We took a traditional product and highlighted that it’s not only functional, but very design-worthy in even the most urban space.”
After weeks of collaboration, countless meetings and emails, and the help of designers Schmidt and Peterson, these six product design teams came out the other side with a signature color, carefully designed products showcasing that color, and the satisfaction of having transformed a space dramatically to show that the role of accent pieces are pivotal in the overall design and feel of a home.
How an industrial urban loft became a warm, welcoming escape.
“That extra attention to the details creates a much more finished space,” says Peterson. “It’s the difference between a space that looks nice, and one you walk into and feel really comfortable and inspired by.”
The space was blessed with an abundance of natural light, enhanced by the use of white throughout. The look is grounded with black accents and natural textures, making it earthier and more inviting as a home that’s meant to not only look good but be lived in and enjoyed. Single Malt touches in the fans, and a corresponding color in the furniture and other small accents keeps the space unified and polished. Door hardware throughout the home featured Matte Black as the primary finish with Single Malt added to the edge to complement the design of the space and add an unexpected touch that completes the look.
Moving style forward.
And we know you do, too. Every detail in your home, from the perfect light fixture to an heirloom chest, works in tandem to tell your style story. Head over to our Style Selector to find the perfect door hardware to pull it all together.