During the pandemic, as many of you know, we moved TUCK from our old location on Prince William Street directly across the street and expanded into our two new commercial condos! However, it became clear to us almost immediately that we needed extra storage. Additionally, I was still in need of an office and our team had nowhere ‘decent’ to each their lunches. We found ourselves squirrelled away in small storage spaces or eating and working on the fly! Happily, our neighbour across the hallway, after much badgering from me over the years, relented and agreed to sell his commercial condo! Thanks Mike! And with that, Tuck now owns three commercial condo units on the main floor of the Old Post Office Building!
Of the newly purchased 1000 sq. ft. space, 75% of it is being used for storage, so we decided to push the boundaries on the remaining 25% and carve out a space to be transformed into a hybrid of my office and our general team headquarters. A place for us to meet, eat lunch, ‘occasional’ drinks, and a permanent location for me to work!
As you can see this boardroom has great potential. Beautiful windows offer views on what is arguably the most architecturally intact corner in the downtown core. What we mean by that is that all four buildings on the corner of Prince William & Princess are original to how they were built after the great fire in 1878.
However, in a 200 sq. ft. space, we knew that we’d have to be creative in how we made this space open, airy, and multifunctional.
The previous owner, for their purposes, placed large meeting chairs and an even larger boardroom table that left very little room for anything else! They chose to centre everything in the middle of the room and leave space to walk around the edges. As we don’t require a boardroom table in this traditional meeting sense, we decided to create ‘sections’ in the space instead, opening up the room to its full potential for how we would use it as a team.
When meeting as a team, we all agreed on one thing. We wanted our space to be as striking as it is functional. We really wanted to push our own boundaries and create a space that complemented our store and strived to make it as creative as the homes, restaurants, commercial spaces that we design for our clients. A place that would inspire our daily visitors to poke their heads in to take a peek! And after asking the team if they’d prefer bright and bold vs dark and moody, it was the latter hands down!
And with that, I knew what the room was going to become! I wanted to create a space that was an ode to my second favourite city in the world, Amsterdam! Amsterdam is the city I’ve travelled to more than any other city and has single-handedly been my biggest creative inspiration. (What’s my first fave? Saint John of course!)
This room, with all its large windows, screamed for a dramatic backdrop! We painted the entire space our go-to black, Twilight Zone – Benjamin Moore. The theme ‘Ode to Amsterdam’ was realized by incorporating distressed wooden pieces, keepsakes brought back from Holland, and commissioning Robert Moore to paint pastiches of Dutch portraits. Combining these elements with a restrained dark palette, furnishings from the Dutch collective, Moooi, and a few of our own pieces sold at Tuck, we’ve created a space in which we as a team gather for breaks, lunch, drinks, and generally a meeting space in which to relax. Oh – and I have an office! Score!
We ripped out the original sink/bar and replaced it with black laminate, sink, and faucet. With the craftsmanship of Christoph / CM Woodcraft, we created a ‘nook’ that reminded me of many of the bars in Amsterdam, chock full of glassware, brass knickknacks, delft, and of course, Genever! It also houses our coffee station – most importantly!
Many of the early primitive pieces in this room come from New Brunswick and auctions! The lunchroom table and my desk both come from early NB homes and were gifted to me by Peter Smit. The White Star trunk was a recent purchase through Liz Isaac & Citadel Gallery Auctions
One of the most exciting additions to the space came as a wonderful surprise. My friend Lauren’s father, Cyrll Galbraith, was a postal worker from 1969-2012 in Saint John. The story goes that about 10 years ago he heard another fellow postal worker had an antique mail sorter he wanted to throw out. Cyril went and retrieved it. In doing so, he found out that the postal worker’s dad, who was also a Canada Post employee and worker at Union Station, acquired it when the Canada Post trains stopped using railway to move mail and went on to planes and trucks in 1974. However, it’s believed that the actual piece was around 80 years old at that time. Cyril kindly has lent this to us indefinitely, as he believes it belongs back in the original Post Office! What a gift!
For several years now, I have been drooling over Heather Waugh Pitts stunning ceramics. I ordered ‘Nests’, this gorgeous grouping of ceramic plates hand formed in a wisteria nest! Adding these onto a metallic plinth makes my heart race! Check her art here.
Small details matter when a room is as multifunctional as this one. And, particularly with only 200 sq. ft., everything that is brought into the space needs to be cohesive. This means items like an office chair or a typical whiteboard have to blend in rather than stand out. In my daily work, I live off my whiteboard. When not being photographed for blogs, it is full of client names, projects, deadlines and in constant motion. Having a typical white one would have been blinding in such a dark interior.
Below are a few pics we snapped of décor and details within our room. These are probably my favourite moments that happen after the painting, electrical and furniture placement. As my mother used to say – titivating!
Our space is now filled with a mixture of antiques and tchotchkes that have personal meaning. The challenge is always keeping these items all in a compatible palette. What exactly does that mean? Well, you’ll notice the absence of bright colours. The absence of white in fact! We’ve curated woods, brass/ metallic finishes, dark and black monochromatic furnishings, textiles and patina textures.
So many pieces in this room have special meaning to me personally, particularly the taxidermy armadillo, chess pieces a 21 year old Robert fabricated when he was working as a machine fitters apprentice, and a recent addition, Ellen’s trumpet which she has kindly left on loan for an occasional after-work serenade!
But most importantly, our team loves being ensconced in a gorgeous room together throughout the workday, looking out on the corner of Princess and Prince William, out to a community and city we love deeply!
We hope you can drop in to see us at 115 Prince William Street!