sneak peek: uhuru design


u1.jpgtoday’s special tuesday sneak peek is into the home of bill hilgendorf and maria cristina rueda (and their cats, as you will see!) of the design + build furniture company uhuru design. their carroll gardens home is a wonderful collaboration showcasing many projects the two have worked on together. thanks to bill and maria for opening up their place for us! click here for more, full-sized images and here to see more of their work showcasing sustainable design. -anne

[Above: Convex spy mirror clock with clip art tiled Victorian frame.]

When we are not at the shop or cooking in the kitchen we spend most of our time working and hanging out here.

Our Cats, Athila and Miles on the Kittyloft that we built for them to exercise. It is carpeted so they can scratch to their hearts delight.

Marimekko textile, 1×3 bed steel frame, cotton webbing. Mug lamp with victorian ornament frame.

Checker floor, polka dot curtain and plants on windowsill.u6.jpg
Framed Bamboo forest photo mural. Bilge lounge chair made from recycled bourbon barrels and truck springs.

With 9 big windows there is no excuse not to have plants everywhere! Screen printed pillows with classic chair silhouettes our first venture in soft goods.

Using vertical space for storage. Recycled and re configured from our old apartment.


wow, i LOVE this — this sneak peek is really speaking to me right now. thank you for sharing!


beautiful. and wow, your kittens are disciplined. mine would have eaten all of those plants, climbed that kittyloft and jumped (or more likely fallen) off of it breaking everything that came in their way.


The bed, the giant framed mural, the kitty loft are just so inspired !! I’m in love.

The kitty loft is a great (and easy ?) DIY project ! If only I had a cat…


LOVE LOVE LOVE the kitty walk! I’ve been working on building something like this for our two cats. Can you tell me how it is attached it to the wall?

Liane Tyrrel

Is it crazy that I check in with design sponge throughout the day for the latest upload?? Love your blog and especially the sneak peeks. This one is a little quirky and bold with the giant artwork and wall collage. Wonderful! Now stop posting so many goodies so I can get some work done :)


I have to agree with everyone else about the Kittyloft. It’s not often you can find kitty scratchers/climbers that are modern and in good taste! The rest of the apartment is fabulous too!


Loora, you can make one for my cat. Just kidding… love it, though.


Just ship your dining table directly to my apt. I’ll send you the address.


Love the Kittyloft, if you could provide a DIY that would be amazing.


I have the marimekko birch tree fabric hanging on the wall by my bed too! I adore it.


Love the Marimekko fabric above the bed and WHERE can I get those screen printed pillows?!


I love those classic designer chair pillows! Where can I get them?!


That kitty is beyond cute! I wish mine would sit still for such a beautiful photo.
Of course, I love the kittyloft, but the Marimekko textile over the bed is gorgeous, too!


Argh.. i miss my cats!
i cant wait to go back home to them in melbourne in less than two months!
and when i move out again- i am definately building one of those runs- its amazing- your cat must love it!! And the large bamboo forest painting is rad!


Of all things… the bread box keeps getting my attention! I’ve been into a lot of antique stores looking for something original like that! Great space… love the foliage!!


I’ve just recently discovered this site, and have quickly become addicted. This particular article caught my eye, because of the blue rocking chair in the second photo. I happened to come across the exact same style of chair while driving through my neighborhood recently. Can anyone give me information on it? Did they customize theirs at all? Mine appears to have orginal finishes- varnished rockers, chrome legs and neutral fiberglass.


love the mirror, the painting over the bed, the overall creative feel (and kittyloft) of course if you have clumsy/mischeivous cats like kim you might have to build it differently, which is what i LOVE about doing it yourself ;o)


i love the polka dot shower curtain! where can i find one?
& the clip art mirror is amazing!!


Oh, I think this picture of the trees is so fabulous…the indoor outdoor thing. I love the frame and its fullness…
of course I also love the kitty.


Whee!!! The tiled paper “frame” for the mirror is the awesomest thing I’ve seen all week! That is sheer genius, and a fair amount of wit, too! I also love the gigantic photomural, and especially its frame. What a fun home!

Grace Light @ Poetic Home

Gorgeous home!!!! I love the whimsical elements and use of non-traditional objects..the stairs are fantastic, as are the dramatic proportions of the decor elements. I love it!

joan cairney

Can you tell me how you attached the kitty loft stair and the dimensions. It is too wonderful, plus YELLOW.
Thank you,


Muy lindo y agradable! El manejo del espacio, la selección de los objetos y el Verde presente me encantó.

Cecilia de Echeverri

Maria, que maravilla de apartamento, la envidia de mi marido y mia. Estamos felices con tus exitos. Besos Cecilia y Hernando Echeerri

Bill and Maria Cristina

Hey Everyone, Thanks for the great comments. As a designer there is nothing nicer than to hear that people appreciate your home. To answer some questions: The kitty loft is made from formaldehyde free MDF, and screwed and glued together painted and attached with small “L” brackets discretely placed below and above the sight line. It has adhesive felt pads on the stairs and it is carpeted on the strait sections. The stair treads are 6X8 and the height is 7″. You can get everything for the kitty loft at lowes or home depot. The pillows we will have up for sale on in the next few months, when we launch the e-commerce site. I can’t remember where the shower curtain is from, but I think it is Johnathan Adler.
Thanks again for all the positive feedback.
Bill and Cristina


Can you please share how you repurposed those stunning vertical cabinets? Amazing, I could use those in every room!!

Su prima Nancy

Wow! Que impressive! And to think the last time I saw you was in Colombia eating empanadas with Marcella and Mimea. What an honor to be related to someone with such good, no fantastic taste. Michael and I just took the second floor off of our cottage in Gloucester and are reconstructing for a little more space and better designed space. No cats but a dog, Jack, who already has determined a certain window to be his silla del rey. Felicidades! La familia should be so proud.


Wow! So many design articles with photos look too showcase-y to be LIVE-ABLE. Yours, however, looks as though to say, “Come in and enjoy our space as much as we do!” Bravo on your colors and light! And who took the marvelous photographs?

Diana and Henry Kwant/cousins in Florida

What a dynamite place, very clever, I love the barrel chair and the bamboo painting would love both for my home. Glad everything is going well in NYC we will look you up when we come visit. Love The Kwants your cousins from Florida P.S. Love the Kitty loft very very unique. Where are the boxers???


I love the Cat Ramp! have you ever given instructions on here on how to build one? My cats would be so happy.