Client Spotlight: Spacecraft Design
For our most recent Client Spotlight blog, we spoke with someone a little bit different — a residential design client! Until now, our focus on the blog has been on commercial installations, but residential projects also represent a large portion of our work. It is great fun to contribute to the design of someone's home, and usually leaves us with a serious case of space envy. Speaking of space, Elaine Didyk is the founder and architect behind Spacecraft Design. We've worked with their design firm, supplying midcentury modern style light fixtures, for a few of their MCM renovations. Check out the first in our series on their work - a Q&A and photos from and A. Quincy Jones project!
This first residential project is the A. Quincy Jones Wurtele House from 1950, which was completed by Spacecraft in 2016. Hip Haven bullet lights were used both outside and inside the house, with yellow powder-coated lights marking its two entrances, and silver wall sconces inside. In some cases, like in the dining room for example, the intention was for the interior room to ‘slip’ outside, leading the designers to used wood, tile and Hip Haven lights that could be used on both interiors and exteriors alike.
Please, tell us a little bit about your company and your role within it.
Spacecraft design was started 17 years ago in New York City. We specialize in renovating and remodeling architecturally interesting homes in a way that creates a dialogue between the old and new, using both reclaimed and new materials and fixtures. We reconsider the home’s materials, spatial configuration, and storage with an eye to integrating modern technology and contemporary ideals about how people live in their homes with the beauty and soulfulness of the existing house that drew the owners to it in the first place. I am an architect by training, having received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in architecture, and have taught design as well as working in a variety of architectural offices in Canada, Europe, and the United States.
What would you say are the overarching design styles you’ve chosen to incorporate into these residential spaces?
We don’t think too much about what ‘style’ we are working in, we think more about responding to the existing architecture, the site, and the clients’ needs. Recently we have been doing a lot of work on midcentury houses here in Los Angeles, and as a result our interventions have been warm, modern, and playful. Which, to be honest, is probably true of most of our work.
What has been the main inspiration behind these designs?
We are inspired by the incredible history of residential architecture in Los Angeles, and have been lucky enough to work on houses designed by accomplished architects, which pushes us to really consider every detail we are adding or changing in these houses.
While designing the overall look and effect of these spaces, what have been the most important features?
Often we are working on homes that reflect an older, more modest approach to residential design: smaller rooms, fewer bathrooms, simple materials. It’s important to us to respect that scale and materiality while supporting a completely modern life within the house. We have redesigned interiors to double the available storage, found ways to add bay windows and built-in seating that allow for new views and ways of using a room, created ‘bedscapes' that incorporate playrooms, beds, bookshelves and desks, and integrated additions seamlessly into existing structures. Built-in storage systems and furniture have become a central feature in most of our projects, we love making efficient, comfortable, multi-purpose built-ins.
How did you initially come to hear of Hip Haven & what was it that drew you to incorporate Hip Haven’s retro-modern decor and lighting into your space?
For every project we research design- and era- specific materials and fixtures. Sometimes (especially with mid-century homes) things can get a little kitschy, but Hip Haven lights are both simple and timeless enough to work in a contemporary design, and familiar enough to work in an older home. Some of the houses we have worked on are registered monuments, and every design decision has to be considered and approved.What would you say you love most about these spaces, with the addition of Hip Haven’s products?
Hip Haven lights are sculptural and can add a much-needed splash of color, while also creating a warm, cozy interior.
What have you enjoyed most about working with Hip Haven?
The company is very responsive when we need to ask technical questions, and has been really quick to get us color samples when we need them.