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Campus View Develops Studio Apartment Concept

Campus View Develops Studio Apartment Concept

Campus View, a major player in student housing in Allendale, MI, wanted to create a different housing option for the student who wants a private personal space but still needs to be connected to a community. They own the building formerly housing “Brian’s Books” near Pierce Road and 48th Street just south of the Grand Valley State University Campus. They decided to turn this 20-year-old retail space into View Point, with 24 small studio apartments, an open lounge area, a common kitchen, an exercise room, and a laundry room.

They called in TJA Architects and r.o.i. Design to help them conceive and execute a plan to create View Point. We developed a hipster design criterion, while still providing top-notch amenities.

Keeping the basic architecture of the building, we had to conceive an exterior finish that would separate it from its former retail storefront look. One of the main front gables was minimized and the face of the building was sided in three different colors of metal panel to create random vertical stripes. We highlighted the entrances with a dramatic asymmetrical face of dark siding contrasted with warm wood planking around the entry doors.

These design criteria resulted in some fun details in the interior common areas:

  • Oversized, 24-inch tall apartment numbers stenciled on the walls
  • Funky wicker woven corridor light fixtures
  • Planked and octagonal modular carpet patterns in random patterns
  • Custom canvas art using iconic Grand Valley State University names and places
  • Found and repurposed items for decor

View Point offers its residents a well-appointed one-room apartment with a full bathroom. Each unit includes a small kitchenette area with solid surface countertops, study area, sitting area with a wall-mounted TV, and a bed with trundle storage. Just outside each unit is a lounge area with seating, a huge TV, and a spacious common kitchen with an 18-foot island and personal storage for each resident.

For more about View Point, please visit campusviewhousing.com.

West Michigan Dermatology Opens New Office in Grandville

West Michigan Dermatology Opens New Office in Grandville

West Michigan Dermatology Opens New Office in Grandville

What was once the Kobe Japanese Steakhouse at 3434 Rivertown Point Court in Grandville, is now the new home of West Michigan Dermatology.  The 13,000-square-foot space underwent a huge transformation from restaurant to medical office facility that includes a private waiting area for their patients, a MOHS surgical center, a skin revitalizing center, modern exam rooms, and administrative space. First Companies, the contractor, also added additional square footage to the building to accommodate a pathology lab, a call center, surgical open office space, and a break room.

Architect Jon Blair, from R2Design, created an exterior design that included a complete facelift; adding stone, wood pergola, wood brackets, and metal awnings. First Companies, Jon Blair, and r.o.i. Design also created the Holland office for West Michigan Dermatology earlier this year and joined up again to create this beautiful space.

Customer care is at the forefront for West Michigan Dermatology, so the customer greeting and check-in spaces were scrutinized. The waiting areas are generous and in clear view of the reception area. The inspiration for the design came from a lakefront cottage, where the colors are calming and natural; a palette of blue, aqua, gray, cream and white.

All photographs courtesy: First Companies, Inc.

A couple of favorite details include:

  • The lobby carpet, whose pattern is a reminiscence of the water to sand patterns you see at the beach.
  • The entry faux skylight that filters the light from the “tower” into the space.
  • The beams and millwork details at entry and reception.
  • The wall covering in the Skin Revitalizing waiting room.
  • The MOHS waiting room seating collection.

On this project, we also designed a custom desk for the open office surgical team that has two heights and offers a convenient way for the providers to work with the medical team.

For more information on West Michigan Dermatology Grandville and the services they offer, visit their website.

Mill Steel Moves Corporate Office

Mill Steel Moves Corporate Office

Mill Steel Moves Corporate Office

Congratulations to Mill Steel Company on the opening of their new headquarters on Lucerne Drive in Grand Rapids. 

This 30-year-old brick building exterior was modernized with new paint and metal siding, roof dormers, canopies and railings, decorative light fixtures and new signage. r.o.i. Design could be seen with large finish samples walking around in the snow and rain last year, working with Mill Steel imagining all of the finish changes.

This project began with r.o.i Design managing a programming step, interviewing a variety of people from Mill Steel and creating bubble plans for Dixon Architecture to use in creating the floor plan. The plan included private offices and meeting rooms, but proportionately much more open office, collaborative and shared spaces. There are a café and a breakroom, as well as a patio and fire pit. Staff have plenty of breakout areas for private conversations or just to get away.    

Mill Steel wanted the space to be engaging and represent their personalities; they liked clean lines and assured us they weren’t afraid of color. The interior was completely demolished and remodeled – most new walls have glass doors and windows that open up all the rooms to the natural light. r.o.i. Design worked closely with contractors on the lighting and ceiling plans to make sure the space was well lit and energized. The color scheme included their brand blue color but overall was kept neutral, light and bright.

Some of our favorite interior design features include:

  • Ametal paneled wall in the lobby
  • A “Live Wall” in the breakroom
  • Pivot doors from the breakroom to the training room
  • A custom twenty-one-foot boardroom table
  • Painted wall graphics
  • Floors with interesting carpet and luxury vinyl tile patterns throughout the office.

Thank you to Dixon Architecture and Dykhouse Construction for partnering with us on this great project.

Mill Steel is one of the largest steel service centers in the nation.  They specialize in flat-rolled carbon steel for various markets including automotive, appliance, construction, HVAC, and agriculture. Their 32,000 sq. ft. facility is a two-story building with walkouts on both levels and conveniently located to highways.

For more information on Mill Steel, visit their website.

Custom Furniture: A Feasible Delight

Custom Furniture: A Feasible Delight

Custom Furniture: A Feasible Delight

Can’t find the perfect board room table? Need a storage cabinet that looks like a piece of furniture versus a laminate box? Want a custom-sized sofa? Need to incorporate graphics into custom pieces? We can help.

r.o.i. Design grew out of the furniture industry and we continue to design custom furniture as part of our interior design services.

Ryan Bright, Creative Executive, has a degree in furniture design and met r.o.i. Design when he was a design intern for Widdicomb Furniture in 1999. Since joining r.o.i. Design he has designed many custom pieces for our customers.

Mary Witte, Owner and Creative Lead, owned a custom millwork company, Designers Workshop, which was purchased by Widdicomb Furniture. There she continued to design custom millwork and furniture and was acknowledged by the industry with an award from American Home for her designs.

Ronda Geyer, Procurement and Product Manager, coordinates our furniture vendors to make sure custom pieces are delivered and installed as designed.

We have maintained relationships with custom furniture makers and finishers that we met through our experience as furniture makers and still use today to fabricate custom pieces.

Some of our recent designs include:

From concept to installation, r.o.i. Design delivers custom furnishings fulfilling our promise to provide Budget, Brand, and Beauty.

CBD Consulting WOWS with New Teaching Labs!

CBD Consulting WOWS with New Teaching Labs!

Images ©First Companies

A technology consulting company focused on the classroom, Communications by Design (CBD) recently moved into their new offices on Sparks Drive in Grand Rapids. CBD Consulting provides solutions and services to help their clients create innovative, transformational learning environments that are supported and inspired by technology in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.

While their new office is the workplace for consultants, engineers, and administrators, it is also a laboratory, classroom, and learning lab for teachers. CBD asked that their offices reflect their technical style, so r.o.i. Design included several details using cable. They describe the training as taking the teacher on a journey, so using birch plywood, we created a row of columns leading the visitor from the entry to the classroom. They asked us to keep the design light and inviting, with flexible spaces for multiple uses.

Some of the architectural design features include polished concrete floors, open metal ceiling decks with organic ceiling clouds, and a partially-covered outdoor deck. Finishes include neutrals with pops of orange and green, clusters of small hanging lights create the illusion of one big light, and a custom designed community table which features a laminate wood top and u-shaped bases.

A big thank you to First Companies and Dixon Architecture for including us on this great project!


For more information about CBD Consulting, go to cbdconsulting.com.

Images ©First Companies
Images ©First Companies
Images ©First Companies
Images ©First Companies
Images ©First Companies
Images ©First Companies
Images ©First Companies
Planning Your Office for Business Traction

Planning Your Office for Business Traction

Break-out office space displayed at NeoCon 2019 in Chicago.

Maybe it’s because we attended NeoCon this month, or maybe because we have so many projects going on where we are being asked to help create the optimum plan, but we are amazed by the positive impact of programming.

r.o.i. Design subscribes to a process for office programming that requires teamwork. The architect and contractor have to be willing to take the time at the beginning of a project to engage the user with thoughtful questions, even before walls are drawn on a plan.

We like to meet with owners and stakeholders and set out a plan to have meetings, with all levels of employees, where we ask them questions about their perception of the structure of their company, how they work together, the constraints of their current office and their hopes and fears of the “new” space.

We are hearing from our customers the importance of meeting and collaborative spaces with a willingness to compromise on the personal space to get more “together” space.

The open office concept is tough and more and more companies are looking for ways to give staff visual and acoustic privacy without burying everyone in tall walls

We respond to the meetings with a summary and the beginning of a program. The program is a list of room names and areas along with some estimated square footage requirements.

It is easy to forget to include adequate storage or secondary hospitality areas for the quick cup of coffee or refreshing the water bottle. The program also includes the circulation space, which can be between 30 and 35% of the entire square footage needed. The smaller the space the larger the percentage.

Circulation space is typically where the non-planned meetings occur, so r.o.i. Design likes to design a little more room around some corridor intersections to encourage those conversations. Stair landing and coffee pots are also where productive exchanges happen “by chance”. This buffer square footage is typically eaten up over time by growth, and the cycle continues.

The written program calculates total square footage needed and from that build out budgets are imagined. Typically, at this point, the user looks at spaces and has the hard task of deciding between needs and wants, but more importantly trying to think about growth.

Office programming often includes a rough bubble plan to determine space layout, adjacency of departments, and circulation.

After a written program is approved, bubble plans are created. A bubble plan is the beginning of physical planning, no hard walls but just circles of areas proportionate to the program. This is where department and resource adjacencies are tested out for users review. Sometimes at this stage, there is a building footprint that has to be considered, and the bubble plan works within it to assist architecture in planning for entries, stairs, and windows.

Depending on the type of end user, management sometimes engages more of their staff in the process to review bubble plans and early plans to bring everyone along.

Planning for a new space is a huge management opportunity. Not only can managers find ways to recognize staff and address their workspace concerns, but they can also often engage them in performance improvement and branding ideas. Change is rough, but if more of the people who are going to be impacted by the change are involved at some level in planning, they are able to process for themselves what is expected of them and can contribute energies and ideas to make transitions easier.

It is at this point in the design that hard-line plans are created, walls, ceilings, etc. r.o.i. Design is sometimes introduced to a plan and project at this point, and in some cases, if there wasn’t programming completed initially, the process of interior design could trigger some plan changes. And no one likes going backwards in planning.

r.o.i. Design is involved in creating spaces, but in reality, we are creating business improvements through design, and programming is the first step to understanding what those improvements need to be.

r.o.i. Design President Mary Witte at NeoCon 2019.