Sara Jazayeri on her Ultra-Flexible Yonkers Home Project

August 11, 2021 | Residential Projects

Sara Jazayeri took on what she thought would be a simple dining room renovation and ended up redesigning an entire Yonkers home, complete with transforming furniture and a treehouse. We interviewed her about the experience.

The Ella & Louis from Resource converts into two twin beds — or one oversized queen bed. The Ella & Louis from Resource converts into two twin beds — or one oversized queen bed.

Who owns this house? Tell us a little about the family.

The homeowners are very family-oriented. Their adult children have young kids of their own, and the grandchildren and extended family members come to visit almost every weekend. I love the energy in their house — it’s a place that the whole family loves coming back to. Everything in this home was designed with this in mind so that you can actually live there and not feel like you are in a museum.

Tell us how the project started — and what it turned into.

Sara Jazayeri in her Yonkers clients’ dining room.

I was hired to redo their dining room. I had some plans ready, but they called me before our first meeting and said they also have a small bedroom that their sister uses when she visits. She stays with them just about every weekend. And their in-laws come over often and stay overnight.

I went to see the room; it was small and chaotic, everything was all over the place. It was on the main floor, connected to a bathroom, and there was a small window. I saw the potential in the space even though it was tiny. I promised I could do a great job with it; at that moment I was thinking of Resource Furniture. I showed them the possibilities of what we could do with Resource — and I showed them how, with some touches by local artists who could work on the lighting fixtures and other details, we could make a space so special that their guests would never want to leave.

So that’s how the project started: first with those two rooms, then it expanded to the living room, family room, and the rest of the first-floor bedrooms. Then we moved onto the second floor and now I am working on their basement!

 

This project is a good example of what happens when you have great chemistry between a designer, a contractor, and the client: magic happens.

The “Ella & Louis” Room

This bedroom was super challenging. The room was meant for their daughter, a student who is out of the house but who comes home often. They wanted to have that room for her to come home to and keep her stuff, but on many weekends other siblings will visit with their families and use that space as well. The family is Jewish; some couples have to sleep in separate beds for religious reasons. Other times, friends or other family members will stay and want to sleep in one shared bed.

I was designing this versatile bed in my mind — I had it drawn out and everything! Then I realized someone else had already come up with it: Resource’s solution is phenomenal. I was able to go to the showroom and work out custom details — like adding bookshelves next to the bed — to make this room super versatile. This space is now the daughter’s room, her visiting siblings’ room, a guest room, a space to study, a TV room, and a second-floor lounge area. It has many, many functions.

What was your favorite element of this project?

There were so many because of the clients! They are amazing people, I really love and respect them and that brings out my creativity.

But I have to say my favorite room in this home is the laundry room. It was just a tiny space, used mostly for storage. The homeowners like to jog and this was the room they would go right after a run to put their clothes straight into the washer. I showed them what we could do using Resource Furniture and they loved it! Now, it doesn’t feel like a laundry room at all. They have a hidden ironing board and a Piano wall organizer for drying their gym clothes. I didn’t want clothes to be hanging all over the place, so I thought why not have something very chic and Italian where you can hang your clothes?

A Penelope Sofa wall bed on one end of a small utility room...

.. and a Piano wall organizer on the other.

Tell us about the treehouse!

When I started researching the project, I learned that the family originally built this treehouse for their children. Now that their kids are all grown up, it’s open for all the neighborhood kids to come and play in. I thought, oh God, I want to be around people who do that! Even if I don’t get the job, I want to be friends with these people. So that was the first sparkle of this project for me — that treehouse.

We had to do some repairs and I had to bring in a structural engineer to make sure it was safe and stable. There were monkey bars and other elements that needed to be fortified and we added even more fun features. Now there are three levels to the main treehouse and a zipline between the two treehouse structures. If it had a bathroom, you could live in there!

Sara shows off the renovated treehouse and the zip line from the main building to the secondary structure.

Any final thoughts you can share?

If you are lucky to find someone you want to work with on your renovation or interior design project, they are going to introduce you to companies and brands you would have never thought to work with. Resource Furniture is a familiar name in this household now. We used Resource products in several of the room and are now furnishing the basement with Resource Furniture.

This project is a good example of what happens when you have great chemistry between a designer, a contractor, and the client: magic happens. Beautiful projects are not an accident; they’re the result of collaboration and a lot of hard work. If you can get through all the challenges — COVID, material delays, all of that — and at the end of the day your client still smiles, that means you did something right!

Sara Jazayeri is the founder and principal of the New York-based architecture and interior design firm, Studio 360. To see more of her work visit her website or follow her on Instagram.