WINTER PARK, NJ— Bruce and Shannan Goforth believe that the art of design should awaken one’s senses. Perhaps that’s no surprise, since both are artists at heart – and by trade. As co-owners of YAWN design studio, inc., they incorporate that belief into every aspect of their business.
“The name of our studio refers to the awakening of environments,” says Bruce Goforth. “Awakening the process can, in turn, awaken the senses. When this happens, people can appreciate, live fully in and really love their space. That’s the service we strive to provide for our clients.”
The service aspect is key to the firm’s success, with the pair committed to being directly involved with every detail of a project, from helping clients articulate and conceptualize their project, and designing the space to lining up contractors or managing job sites.
The design team is also very practical when it comes to budget. Both say they’ve seen first-hand the high prices people sometimes pay for work done by large, impersonal firms that often result in cookie-cutter designs. The pair prefers to approach their clients with a commitment to “draw every line of every design” and to take great care when spending their clients’ money.
Incorporating in 2003 as a licensed interior design firm, the Goforths established their design studio in their home. Currently, they complete 10 to 12 projects annually, doing space planning and interior detailing for kitchens, baths and other rooms, working for clients in the Florida area, and, more recently, in the Bahamas.
The Goforth’s art backgrounds were a key force in determining their paths. Both graduated from Florida State University with degrees in visual arts interior design. Bruce Goforth is also a painter, sculptor and landscape artist, all of which help him to design with the big picture in mind.
Additionally, his experience working for architects and interior designers taught him to translate his art skills into the home to create truly artistic designs.
Shannan Puschmann Goforth hails from a long line of artists and architects, and had been nurturing her love of art since childhood, she says. Prior to establishing YAWN, She worked for an architectural firm and managed the interior detailing department at the second largest residential interior design firm in the U.S. It was these experiences that allowed her to get up close and personal with architecture, construction and detailing processes, and learn the intricacies of the design process.
YAWN design studio, inc. works on a variety of projects, from new construction to remodels, including a large number of kitchen and bath projects. In fact, “we just started work on a project for a client in Delray Beach,” says Shannan Goforth.
“We’re helping him remodel five bathrooms prior to adding a 4,000-sq.-ft. addition.
“We really love to work on bathrooms,” she adds. “There are many opportunities to do unique details in small spaces and create big impact.”
They take special pride in a recent job where they helped a Florida couple preserve and expand their 1920s Craftsman-style home. The owners had been encouraged to raze the house, but they held firm to their dream of renovating the house and continued to search for the right designers to help them. YAWN helped to bring that dream to fruiton.
One of the key steps in the project was to design the old floorplan to flow into the new structure. The Goforths created a space plan with an open vestibule between the existing living room, new dining room and new kitchen. Because traffic flows through the kitchen to the new family room with its spacious lake views, the work triangle position was critical. It needed to allow for work space that would be isolated from the travel path, without losing the benefits of the view. The owners were thrilled with the end result, Shannon Goforth says.
The pair also redesigned the home’s master bath. The client had specified four points. They wanted a clawfoot tub, separate his-and-her vanities and access to the existing steam shower – and they wanted to locate all of this where the master bedroom closet was.
The Goforths located the tub in an area under a sloping roofline, and added storage cubbies along the back wall. The real puzzle, however, was designing the two vanities. “Her” vanity was straightforward, but “his” required some innovative plumbing. Below “his” vanity is the ceiling to a hidden stair leading down to the old kitchen. This space offered the solution. With a vessel sink, some creative millwork, two tall storage towers flanking a mirror and some unusual piping, the vanity works.
While some design firms focus on design to the exclusion of all else, the Goforths believe that true design is about the partnership as much as the artistry. As Shannan Goforth says: “We’re a service and we’re not prima donnas. We’re there to help our clients promote their lifestyles.”