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Campus View Introduces Communal Living

Campus View Introduces Communal Living

ViewPoint 24 Concept Photo

At the Northeast corner of the Campus View community sits an empty retail building, the old Brian’s Books location. It is a cavernous, 9,250 square foot building that is not ideal for a retail store or restaurant venture due to the ebb and flow of a college town. Campus View was searching for a way to transform the space into residential housing. They asked r.o.i. Design to look at the building and come up with some ideas.

We landed on new housing approach that intertwines private rooms with community living.  The space was ideal to handle a 24-unit complex with a central shared area, complete with a communal kitchen, a lounge with a fireplace and large TV, exercise room, and on-site laundry. Each of the units has a complete bathroom with tub/shower and a small kitchenette with a sink, refrigerator, and microwave. The units will be fully furnished with a full-size bed, desk, wardrobe, dressers, and a loveseat. There will even be loft storage above the bathroom in each unit. Campus View has named the property View Point and has already leased several of these suites to students who are interested in the shared space with privacy concept.

For the redesign of the building, r.o.i. Design wanted to it to feel like a cool, urban, loft-like space. We call it “hipster-eclectic”, encompasses everything that is quirky, creative and bang on trend. Hipsters have wholeheartedly embraced a minimalist aesthetic that effortlessly mismatches several different trends and styles.

The exterior will get new metal siding, giving it a modern industrial look. The interiors will feature an eclectic mix of surfaces, exposed ductwork and pipes, and industrial light fixtures. Large factory-type wall stencils will identify room numbers.

Construction on the building should take place this spring and hopefully be open for students to move in this fall. Campus View will begin leasing the space as soon as possible. It will be exciting to see this inventive new living space take shape and add to the unique housing offerings at GVSU.

ViewPoint 24 – Concept Floor Plan
Creating RiverView Flats, a Lowell Condo Project

Creating RiverView Flats, a Lowell Condo Project

Artist Conceptual Rendering of a Unit Interior

Do you ever wonder how those cool loft-type condos suddenly seem to emerge as if they had always been there? The answer is they are the result of years of planning, a developer’s vision and commitment, a great piece of historic real estate, and a team that knows how to put it all together.

r.o.i. Design is lucky enough to be on one of these teams, and we are so excited to be part of making RiverView Flats in historic Lowell, Michigan a dream come true for 14 home owners.

Todd Schaal and Jerry Zandstra have come together as developers to create this opportunity. They want to create homes in the former “car barn” of Unity Middle School along the picturesque Flat River. This building is complete with vintage masonry, tall ceilings, and spectacular views.

r.o.i. Design takes on the roles of interior design and marketing, as we work to set the stage for some creative living.

For more about RiverView Flats, we have attached some of the marketing materials we have created that describes the look, the feel, the layouts, and finish options. Download them here:

Architect’s Exterior Elevation of RiverView Flats

And if you have more interest than just design and would like to learn more, contact Todd at todd@estesgroup.com or 616-822-6477. Their website is riverviewflats.com

Making It Home: The Common Areas of Apartment Developments

Making It Home: The Common Areas of Apartment Developments


Stuyvesant Apartments Library Lounge

Our friends Hooker DeJong Architects and Engineers have referred us for a variety of projects in hospitality in the past, including Double JJ Ranch and Resort and Meadow Brook Medical Care Facility. So when their apartment developer clients asked them if they knew anyone who could work with them to finish the design and decor in their common areas, we were pleased that they thought of us.  Projects of this caliber all have a requirement to offer a computer room, a community room, a laundry room, an exercise or activity room and a library. We have been very impressed with the facilities that we have been working with and are seeing these types of facilities being more and more interested in creating a community within their building.

Stuyvesant Apartments in Grand Rapids MI

Hooker DeJong and Wolverine Building Group.

Because of the historical nature of this project, it had the additional criteria of having historically-inspired decor. We were asked to use vintage photographs, which we researched through the collections at the Grand Rapids Public Library. Other decor consisted of a West Michigan theme, ranging from manufacturing to recreation.


Elevator Lobby Art of Belle Isle at St. George Tower

St. George Towers in Clinton Township, MI

Hooker DeJong and The Millennia Companies

This complete renovation is a wow! As we worked through selecting art and accessories, we sensed the pride the residents and the management had in this project. We enjoyed hearing comments from the residents who followed us around as we hung art and staged areas who looked over our shoulders and said, “I remember that place!” “That’s the Tech Center on Mound Rd? Sure looks different today!”


Lobby of Stuyvesant Apartments with Historic Photos of Site


The Design vs. the Budget

The Design vs. the Budget

avg-cost“Awwh… do we have to talk about the budget?”

Probably the most difficult thing for a recently graduated design student entering the workforce is the perceived limitation that a budget has on their design.  And it isn’t always just the young professional, sometimes the customer is deflated that initial planning has to start with a discussion on budgets. “We don’t want to limit your creativity” is the cry, “Can’t we just let you design and then price it all out?”

The answer is “of course”, but we caution that redesign also creates more design fees and in some cases an extended schedule. And always some disappointment.

So what is the r.o.i. Design solution to managing budget and creative expectations? We focus on the customer:

  • Overall, we are open and flexible about product selections, knowing that the budget isn’t completely known on start and change will be needed.
  • No design should be dependent on any one element; everything is replaceable.
  • We also remind ourselves continually that the perception of quality is a standard the customer sets, not the designer.
  • We are happy when our customer is happy.

Then we practice at least six budget disciplines when designing. They are: (more…)

r.o.i. Design and “Our” Architects

r.o.i. Design and “Our” Architects

r.o.i. Design has a very friendly relationship with and sincere respect for architectural design, although we are not architects. Some of us have had training in interior architecture, but mostly we are known for our creativity, our process and our desire to deliver a “return on investment”. We do help our customers procure the architectural services they need for their projects and can manage the process of delivering the design when it is appropriate.

CLICK HERE to see our services and all that we do.

We have designed commercial buildings, store facades, homes, and a variety of office and store remodels for contractors and business owners. In these cases, we hire architects to review our drawings, add code language and seal our drawings. Two small architectural firms with whom we have a long history of working together are Architectural Concepts (Ken Watkins) and TJA Architecture (Tim Allspach).

Most recently we assisted Gerrit’s Appliance with the planning of their Kentwood showroom, planned by fall of 2014 and Williams Kitchen and Bath with the planning of their new Plumbing Showroom. We also are working with developers of mixed used spaces helping them design (or redesign) their new spaces from buildings that were formerly commercial or industrial, turning them into retail and office spaces.

Modern home remodel we designed with Bruce Heys Builders

Modern home remodel we designed with Bruce Heys Builders

We also have designed homes under 3800 square feet working with builders. We are very proud of the home we designed for Bruce Heys Builders that converted a 70’s ranch to a modern home suitable for years to come.

If we were approached with a larger project, we would contact our friends at HDJ Architects (David Layman and Eric Maring). We have partnered with HDJ on the Double JJ Ranch and Golf Resort in Rothbury MI, a variety of Michigan credit unions and most recently Meadow Brook Medical Care Facility in Bellaire MI.

Meadow Brook Medical Care Facility, designed with HDJ Architects

Meadow Brook Medical Care Facility, designed with HDJ Architects

When churches call us, we prefer to partner with Elevate Studio (Steve Fridsma & Jim VanderMolen). Steve reminded us that when he was a student he attended an event that toured our company, Designers Workshop,  and we had our first professional project with him when he was with Progressive Architecture.

Welcome Center at Sojourn Resort in Gaylord

Welcome Center at Sojourn Lakeside Resort in Gaylord

There have been situations where a client comes to us to create a concept. They prefer to take the concept from us to a local architect in their region to create construction documents. This was the case for the Welcome Center at Sojourn Lakeside Resort in Gaylord for the Lambert Family.

Never before has architecture and interior design been as integrated as it is today in our society and industry. Our customers realize the value of bringing us in at the architectural conceptual stage as we identify, from the beginning, how people might interact with the space. Interior design and architecture impacts behavior and as spaces are imagined, we assist the design team in keeping the customer experience in mind.

Clutter: The Mess that Came to Stay

Clutter: The Mess that Came to Stay

Clutter is a nuisance, but in preparing to teach a course on decluttering for OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) at Aquinas College, Mary Witte quickly realized that clutter is more than just sorting things into pretty baskets.

Here is a link to the presentation. Clutter 

What creates clutter? There are typically events that kick off our bad habits (downsizing, retirement, loss of a family member, remodeling, hobbies, inheritance…) but the inability to deal with clutter may be more personal. We may be blind to clutter, the longer it is there, the more natural it becomes. We may call clutter by a different name like our to-do pile, or future project, or we just describe clutter is how we organize.

No matter your excuse, it is time to de-clutter! Get on it!

More information about OLLI here.