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Peeling Back the Layers

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Featured Company: Joshua Shockley Interior Design - Location: Providence, Rhode Island - Project Type: Residence - Project Name: Private Residence

Photos by Desdemona Burgin Photography,

By Margaret Poe

White laminate and endless gypsum— that’s what Joshua Shockley found when he first entered this Providence, Rhode Island, condo last renovated in the late ’80s. But once he scratched the surface, the 750-square-foot space revealed its true potential. The condo, nestled into a century-old building, boasted brick walls, great light, and a logical floor plan. “I wanted to build on these features in ways that complemented a modern urban lifestyle in a vibrant downtown environment,” he says. With that, Shockley was off and running.

The kitchen posed a key challenge. Burrowed into a triangular space and set off by a two-seat bar, it lacked storage, counter space and felt cramped. Shockley raised the upper cabinets 24 inches and added open shelves to store glasses and plates, which peek out with pops of color. The counters are made of reclaimed pine, and a waterfall edge separates the kitchen from the rest of the space. Shockley says that the edge offers the illusion of separation—without the isolation that might ensue.

Modern design can feel cold, Shockley observes, an effect that he counters by using wooden accents throughout the space. In the bedroom, a rustic headboard is set off by simple, stark lights suspended by a wire. The white base of the dining-room table is topped with wood too, creating a commanding focal point in a neutral room adorned with clean white columns and mouldings.

Shockley’s favorite part of the finished design? The creative use of organic materials. “The sealed-wood backsplash, live-edge headboard, and the exposed brick,” he says, “all contribute to a sense of pared-down sophistication.”

Made in Harmony

The working relationship between wallcovering specialist Tiffany Adams, owner of Creative Walls by Tiffany (who worked on the walls of this residence), and designer Joshua Shockley is one of respect and professionalism. “There’s a mutual trust, which is great,” Adams says. “You have to have that when working on such high-end projects.” After more than eight projects together, Adams loves Shockley’s flexibility and says that the two have shared a harmonious relationship from the beginning.

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