Team Lounge at Grand Rapids' Historic Octagon House | Day Session Diaries



We've got another fun DIAD project to show you! And this one is especially fun because it was for repeat clients at Connect Financial, a fantastic wealth management group local to Grand Rapids and Cadillac, Michigan.


About two years ago now, we helped their team tackel a major interior renovation of Grand Rapid's historic Octagon House, which is now their Grand Rapids office location, along with furnishing the main floor of their office.

Today we're talking about a very cool space on the second floor, which is soon to be their team lounge space!



The lounge is on the west side of the second floor and overlooks the front of the building. It's also fairly large, taking up about 1/3 - 1/2 of the entire second floor.


As you can see in the below layout, the room is an interesting shape—that's what happens when your building is an octagon! But it is largely symmetrical, and I think will make for a very aesthetic and collaborative space for the team.


The team's requirements were fairly simple:

  • Two Recliners

  • One Sofa

  • Side Tables

  • Area Rug to Tie Everything Together


Space Planning Strategy


Now, space planning is sort of my jam. Every designer has their "thing", and space planning is definitely up there for me :) So when I look at a large open room like this, I immediately think "zones":


How can I maximize the potential of this space without adding architecture, creating different "pockets" using furniture so that the team has options?

This also allows the room to be used by multiple people who may want to do something without disturbing someone else. Below you can see the layout I came up with, which includes three different "zones":


ZONE 1: Group Sitting Area


First, we have the main group sitting area, which accomplishes everything on their list: recliners, side tables, lamps, sofa, area rug, coffee tables. I also included a media sideboard with a frame tv on the top wall (technically the east wall) so that this space could be easily used for things like team presentations, team parties (thinking Super Bowl here!), or even just watching an episode of something between meetings.



ZONE 2: Solo Lounging Area


To the left (north) of this area, I created a small cozy solo lounging area with one larger arm chair, floor lamp, and and side table, which would all be anchored by a large piece of artwork on the wall behind.


Having a space like this is ideal because it lets others on the team know just via your location that you are looking for a solo break, vs. the more collaborative and conversational area in the center.



ZONE 3: Functional Work/Lunch Area


Lastly, to the far right, I created a little functional work/lunch area using a cafe table, dining chairs, and console, which would have a lamp on top, as well as a mirror hanging above. I liked the idea of breaking up this large wall, and also using the mirror to create some dimension and reflect the natural light from the windows on the opposite wall.


You'll also notice, if you look at the plan as a whole, that I've evenly distributed soft lighting via lamps throughout the entire space and at differing planes, which makes for a very balanced, cozy space, and also allows the team not to always have to rely on the overhead lights.



The Furniture Selections


Something that was a little trick for this space was that the only entry point to the upstairs is one VERY narrow staircase with an even narrower doorway to that staircase. The doorway measures just 26.5 inches across, so I knew finding an appropriately sized sofa would be my biggest challenge.


The sofa I found, while 30" tall with the back cushions, has a frame that is merely 24" all the way around, so it would be perfect for squeezing up that narrow staircase! I decided to give the team two options for the color of the sofa (darker grey and lighter beige), since some people prefer lighter or darker options depending on their preference.


Because the overall color palette was fairly neutral, I wanted to bring lots of different materials and textures: fabric, leather, canvas, marble, glass, and all different wood tones.


Quick Tip: When working with neutral palettes, varying your materials & textures help bring life and interest to your design ❤️


For the main sitting area, I chose two smaller scale recliners (remember, we have a very narrow doorway to get through!), with lighter wood frames, and an interesting channeled leather seat. Our side tables are glass top with a metal frame, and the nesting coffee tables brought in yet another texture with a faux shagreen surface and polished nickel base.



To tie the sitting area together, I chose a large textured grey rug with a subtle stripe (be sure to use a rug pad so it wont move!), and for accent lighting, I chose two concrete base lamps with large round bases.


Lastly, in the sitting area, I chose two oversized pieces of subtle artwork in a green tone. You'll notice all the artwork has greens, which is their company color, so I wanted to play with that while not being too overt.

Across from the sitting area I planned for a large wood media sideboard with The Frame TV by Samsung mounted above. We used The Frame TVs in several other locations in this office, and because they mount flush like a picture frame, they integrate beautifully into the space without feeling clunky or sticking out from the wall.


In the solo lounging area, I created a backdrop for the zone using a large green-toned landscape canvas (48 x 48, so it's quite large!), a larger upholstered arm chair in a dark grey, a funky geometric floor lamp with a dark metal base, and a round, light wood accent table—everything you need to get comfortable and read through the latest financial blog!


I wanted to bring in some variation with the lighting so that each lamp would sit on a different vertical plane:


When you are working with a large open space, it's a good idea to play with vertical space to create a little variety and give your eye someplace interesting to go.

In my final zone, I selected a metal frame cafe table with a round marble top to contrast all the angles in the space, and paired those with two channel back leather exposed frame dining chairs. I chose a darker, less saturated leather to contrast the recliners, as well as a darker wood on the frames.

For the opposite wall, I chose a metal framed console table with dark reclaimed wood, a grey ceramic table lamp with some interesting texture on the base, and to tie in with the nesting tables, I chose a polished nickel arched mirror to hang on the wall above.