Vintage Vibe: Office space spiffed up with blast from the past

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By Jeanine Matlow
Legal News

When Kristina G. Barsch moved her law firm into a larger space complete with conference rooms, she no longer had the need to meet with clients in her office. So, she decided to “push the envelope” with the décor and have a little fun in the process.

Barsch, who lives in Ferndale with her husband and specializes in estate planning, elder law, probate and special needs planning, had worked with Dan Davis, interior designer and owner of Dan Davis Design in Ferndale, on other projects, so she turned to him to inject her office with some unexpected touches.

“I’m a big Beatles fan,” says Barsch, principal member of The Law Offices of Kristina G. Barsch in Sterling Heights. “Music is a very big part of my life.”

So, she thought that album covers instead of artwork could liven up her workspace.

Barsch, a University of Detroit Mercy School of Law graduate, already owned some traditional wooden furniture, so a large lateral filing cabinet was custom-made to match. A photo of a vintage car abandoned in the woods was enlarged to better suit the space. The image, which was taken in an area of the U.P. near where she grew up, adds to the sense of calm.

“You can just look at the car in the woods and not hear the noise,” Barsch says. “The image evoked the same kind of feeling as some of the classic rock albums in her collection.”

When Barsch first mentioned the Beatles, Davis knew just what to do. He had recently been introduced to a fabulous new Lee Jofa fabric at an event at the Michigan Design Center in Troy.

“The Beatles fabric stuck in my head and everyone was talking about it, but I heard over and over the same comment, ‘It’s wonderful, but who would you use it for?’ I knew she would love it when she mentioned the albums,” Davis says.

Davis dared to take the fabric a step further.

“I really wanted to use it in a contemporary way mixing it with fun patterns and to have it be even more of a surprise by using it on some vintage wingback chairs,” says the designer, whose upholsterer finished the job flawlessly.

Accessories, such as vases and a bowl pressed from an old vinyl record, play off the colors of the fabrics.

Today, the space gets rave reviews, and Barsch proves that fun design and productivity can go hand in hand.

“I’m here every day. I have a place that makes me happy. When the chairs arrived, they made me smile,” she says. “I love Dan. He helps at our house as well, with interior design and landscaping. The way he approaches a project is really unique. He comes up with things that I would never think of.” 

“I went to him with an idea and it all sort of just came together. He took it to a whole new level and made it spectacular for me,” Barsch says. “It makes it easier to work the longer hours and adds a sense of calm to my day. Even when everything is stressful, my office has become an oasis.” 

Though he tackles many residential projects, Davis is known for his creative take on commercial spaces. Professionals turn to him when they don’t want business as usual, he says.

“Just because it’s a commercial space doesn’t mean it has to look like one,” he says. “My client wanted to make her office more fun with some twists and turns on the traditional.”

“We spend so much time at work,” Davis concludes. “Why wouldn’t you want to make it more fun and more relaxing?”

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