Category Archives: Tips For Clients

Interior Design For Corporate Spaces

Storytelling has existed as a form of communication for thousands of years. It provided our ancestors with a way of transferring lore from one generation to the next. Our brains process information most effectively when it is linked with raw emotion, as in a story. You’ll never lick a spoon fresh out of the freezer or grab a hot baking sheet from the oven with an uncovered hand – because your parents told you the story of what would happen if you do.

Today businesses take a keen interest in their narratives, too. It’s not enough to simply list a mission statement and core values on a website. To give their messaging more resonance, companies are looking for ways to tell their stories that go beyond marketing and advertising. As an interior designer for corporate spaces, I’m often called upon to tell the story of a business through design. A perfect example of this is the law office of Gallet Dreyer & Berkey, LLP (GDB).

GBD hired my firm in to renovate their offices in New York City. Through clever interior design choices, we were able to create a narrative in design that tells the story of the firm in a way that is subtle, yet powerful. I’d like to share some highlights of this wonderful project with you:

Let’s Begin With the Elevator Foyer

Despite being widely regarded as one of NY’s top firms by Martindale-Hubbell®, GDB’s first objective was to make visitors feel comfortable the minute they step out of the elevator. That led us to choose welcoming wood paneling for the elevator foyer. The warmth and texture of the wood evokes a feeling of humanity and sincerity. The brushed stainless lettering was custom created to match the firm’s logo and articulates clarity and attention to detail. Two of the firm’s core values. The subtle two-toned marble flooring expresses nuances of understanding and trust.

Through the merging of wood, steel and stone GBD is telling their story to every visitor that steps out of the elevator: “We are rock solid, but we’re people, too. Here, you’ll find warmth, attention to detail, and stability all in one place.”

The Reception Area


To reflect the company’s mission of unyielding transparency, we installed transparent double-entry doors that separate the reception area from the “work area” of the office. Once inside the reception area, visitors are greeted by a clean-lined reception desk with a decorative textured glass art wall panel to reflect light, inspire movement, and create openness; staying true to the company’s story.

We love the firm’s art collection and our choice of neutral furniture and finishes makes it really pop. The furniture, despite being minimalist in style, was “tushy tested” by a group of attorneys and the trusted office manager to ensure just the right feel for their clients. Talk about R&D!

The Conference Room

The conference room is dominated by a custom-made gorgeous and impressively long conference table with a built-in integrated communications system for easy access. The lovely pattern in the wood surface defines individual seats and keeps the table from being overly intimidating. Totally in line with the GDB’s story.

With openness and transparency in mind, we created a central visual buffer in glass, which provides spaces for privacy while allowing light to filter through.

The three large bowl fixtures over the coffee table flood are not only striking but also provide a deeply comforting source of light. It’s a bright room, but not intimidating.

The carpet was selected for its supreme durability. A mélange of dark and light fibers will foil the detritus of even the longest meetings. The wall treatment in charcoal and natural linen is the perfect backdrop for more of the firm’s lively hand-selected artwork.

Interior design for corporate spaces provides the wonderful opportunity for us to play the role of storyteller as well as an artist. It is through our use of design as means of exciting the emotions of our clients that we have had the opportunity to create spaces that excite staff, clients and fellow designers alike.

Let’s create spaces like these together,

— Marilyn


Founded in 1982, Sygrove Associates Design Group is the premier New York interior design firm for lobby, hallway and common area installations at high-end cooperatives, condominiums and real estate developments. Our residential and commercial interior design is timeless, functional, durable and easy to maintain, and projects are consistently on time and budget. That’s no accident – our president and founder Marilyn Sygrove is as tough as you are when it comes to quality and aesthetics.

Working closely with boards, residents and other stakeholders to build consensus, all design, planning and installation activities from concept to punch list are directed by Marilyn personally. She listens carefully before ever putting pencil to paper to make sure your space is as functional as it is beautiful. For a consultation please contact Marilyn directly at: 212.757.0631 or [email protected]

5 Awesome Before-and-After Condo and Apartment Hallway Transformations

By the time a client reaches out to my firm, they’re more than ready for their building to have a facelift. We are lobby interior designers, yes, but some of our most interesting work is upstairs, in the hallways. In fact, condo and apartment hallway transformations are some of our most rewarding (and challenging) projects.

If you live in New York City, you’re more than aware that the majority of apartment building hallways are long, dark and gloomy. Even in some of the most iconic residential buildings, the hallways were an afterthought. My job is to bring light, warmth, and efficiency into those dark windowless corridors – and it’s not always an easy task.

In most of the older buildings, quick alterations were made over the years to accommodate changes in wiring and HVAC systems. This makes hallway design projects particularly interesting work for us because we can combine our design expertise, our technical chops, and clever problem-solving. When residents tell us they feel happy every time they get off the elevators, we know we’ve done our job well.

Here are 5 awesome before and after condo and apartment hallway transformations of which we are particularly proud:

1) From Stuffy To Sophisticated – 45 Sutton Place South




Before: Excessively patterned carpet, fussy traditional furniture, and green elevator doors made this hallway feel like an old-fashioned doctor’s office. The full wall of mirrors across from the elevators magnified that feeling, too. The residents wanted a fresh, new design that at the same time, celebrated the building’s 1958 architecture.

After: We chose to face the elevators in a soft, neutral cream and the walls in a soft copper hue. We replaced the wall of mirrors with a sophisticated round decorative mirror on each floor, not unlike what you would find in an original mid-century hallway. We paired elegant stone flooring with soft, luxurious carpet graced by a strong geometric element. This serves to break up the floor area and eliminate the long, windowless corridor affect. The crown molding draws your eye away from the electric and cable soffits and creates a cozy, homey feeling.

Finally, we did away with the fussy, old-fashioned furniture and instead placed a lovely settee across from the elevator. It’s clean lines dance well with the carpet. And, we sourced graceful, period-appropriate chandeliers, which cast a great deal of light thus eliminating the need for tables and lamps.


2) From Cold To Classy – 203 West 81st St.










Before: When I first laid eyes on this space I was overcome by turquoise! I do love turquoise but in this case, it’s more appropriate for a basement than a residential floor. The overly patterned carpet was a not very successful attempt at making the hallway a little more cheerful. Instead, it just felt claustrophobic.

After: To create an atmosphere of comfort and luxury, we chose a warm and inviting copper for the elevators. We simply adored the existing open staircase so we had the marble treads stripped and polished and let the original marble tell the story. The soft patterned carpet adds subtle interest and is designed to withstand decades of wear and tear and still look great. New lighting creates an open, airy effect. Quite a contrast from where we started, right?


3) From Suffocating To Spacious – 205 East 78th St.

Before: In many prewar buildings, the hallways feel narrow and suffocating, despite the fact that the apartments are often quite large. In addition to updating the walls and flooring, this extensive project also required us to find ways to hide electrical piping and create access panels for cable.

After: We were stuck with narrow hallways but we implemented clever design solutions that make them feel wider. By limiting the scheme to only three colors (chocolate, white and aqua) we were able to create an effect of spaciousness and a décor that is classic and modern at the same time. Our solutions for the electrical piping and cable panels are so integrated into the design that most people don’t even notice them.


4) From Dim To Distinctive – 411 East 53rd St.

Before: The residents of 411 E. 53rd were really tired of their wall of mirrors and bowl-shaped lighting fixtures. Their hallways always felt dim. The old nylon carpet, which was glued directly to the floor (without padding) was hard on the feet. This was not a happy space to come home to.

After: The pillbox-shaped ceiling fixtures (which we adore) cast lots of light, yet are so unobtrusive they’re barely noticeable. We covered the metal apartment doors with decorative casings, which eliminated the office-building mood. We chose luxurious wool/nylon carpeting from Ulster Carpets and used thick padding so residents can comfortably walk to the garbage room in their stocking feet. Hard flooring for the area right outside the elevators imparts the feeling of a foyer and adds to the coziness of the new design.


5) From Blah To Brilliant – Holland House

Before: The residents of Holland House were greeted every day by a long expanse of dull blue carpet which made the hallway feel like an endless road to nowhere.

After: This was modestly-budgeted compared to the majority of projects that come into our firm, but by implementing some simple design tricks we gave this hallway a new and fresh look. We used complimentary patterned carpet where the large carpet medallions in at the elevator landings evoke a foyer feeling the smaller pattern carries the design the same feeling down the hallway. We love the LED fixtures that cast soft, yet bright enough to read light. They look like they’ve always been there. The walls were carefully skimmed and we added wood cable molding for a finished effect. And (this part I particularly love) we repurposed all the old elevator dials – they are now directional signage on each floor!

When working on condo and apartment hallway transformations my team and I take the time to imagine how we want to feel when we step out of the elevator. It’s our goal to improve look, feel and efficiency and create an atmosphere of peace.

Stuck with dim, dingy, and less than welcoming hallways in your building? I would be happy to explore a condo and apartment hallway transformation with you. Please feel free to contact me directly for a consultation about your project.
— Marilyn
[email protected]

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