These Last Few Layers


In any interior design project, (residential or commercial), once the bones are set and the envelope is more fully developed its usually time to add the last few layers to complete the desired look and feel.

In the case of the 3 businesses featured in this article… Mackesy Smye, Hanleys - The Ballroom, and Made for you by Madeleine, there was a concerted effort by the owners to place themselves into the position of client, shopper, customer, while considering these final design décor elements.  “How do I want to feel when I enter this place,” was the shared question asked.

Within the walls of Mackesy Smye clients visiting their lawyers feel the strength and rich history of the firm.  They feel emotionally supported referenced by stone and steel. They feel comforted and occasionally distracted by the wonderful abstract artwork of Peter Kirkland and other local Hamilton artists. They sense the seriousness of mind but wont feel misunderstood due to the very humanness of this firm which has specialized in supporting those who have been injured for decades.

In Ancaster there exists an old stone building that houses the boutique ladies store called Hanleys which offers it’s shoppers the most current fashion, shoe wear, and accessories in a sophisticated and friendly environment.   Hanleys added an additional space once a dance hall to their fashion business this past few years and named it “ The Ballroom”.  This secondary space allows for fashion and shoe sales, shopping parties and special events. 

Upon entering this space one can almost imagine the dances held decades and decades ago in this very space. 

The natural light pours in from all sides and illuminates the vaulted domed ceiling.  Much of the original charm remains but what is most important is the feeling of openness this space provides to its dedicated shoppers. The final layering was completed with a restrained eye.  One feels quite comfortable, celebrated, and special while hunting for bargains in this lovely place.

In the core of the city amidst the artist’s studios, galleries, and condo conversions, there exists the sweetest of bakeries called “Made for you by Madeleine.”  Here is where the owner named Joy delivers just that (Joy) to her customers.  The palette is bright and clean and has a wonderful quirkiness to it, which was the intent.  People linger in the tiny front area, tasting their purchases.  They are are aware of the in-store milling, and pounding and rolling taking place behind the magical 10 foot high striped curtain.  Always hoping for a peek into the inner workings of this busy bakery. 

These 3 businesses could not be more different.  The needs that consumers have met in these very different places could not be more diverse. It is noted however, that one feels as if they themselves were strongly considered and even consulted when adding these last few layers. 

Written by: Charles MacIntosh of BRANCH Design

Photography: Sarah Janes  

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