sneak peek: ltl architects + ashley & christine

grace and i discovered city owl at the brooklyn flea where were completely captivated by ashley de vries and jim collier’s booth. when ashley told us about this project that she recently completed with interior designer christine dalsass, whose work is characterized by her use of organic texture, fauna and all things vintage, we just had to have a peek. this space houses the offices of the open planning project (topp) – a nonprofit founded by mark gorton, which develops tech tools for mapping and geospacial applications – topp also does advocacy work related to bicycle, pedestrian and mass transit issues. the building is a LEED gold building and ltl architects designed the space to be as eco-friendly as possible. ashley and christine were charged with warming it up! and they certainly did so – with the help of lots of vintage! {thanks ltl architects, ashley, christine and all the folks at topp!} -amy a.

[photo above: We used a globe/mapping theme throughout the office, since it relates so closely to Topp‘s work. Almost all of the globes we used are vintage and each one is different. There are about 500 globes in the office, and we are always buying more! The lockers are old choir boy lockers from Get Back.]

[photo above: TOPP employees eat lunch together every day, so we needed a lot of lunch seating. We found this great trestle table at Interieurs.]

[photo above: We wanted to make a dramatic statement in the reception area and set the tone for the industrial but cozy feel that defines the office. The old industrial railroad cart coffee table from Interieurs was a great find.]

[photo above: LTL Architects developed the brilliant idea of a wall that is the street grid of Manhattan with a green wall for Central Park. Parker Interior Plantscapes chose plantings that reflect the landscape of Central Park, with low dense plantings for the meadows and taller tree-like plantings for the wooded areas.]

CLICK HERE for more of the TOPP office!

[photo above: We wanted an atypical reception desk. This rolltop steel desk from Get Back was perfect for reception – tall enough to give the receptionist privacy but with much more character than the average desk.]

[photo above: People at Topp like to work in areas other than their desks so we provided a lot of casual seating. The vintage subway scroll in the background is one of several in the office.]

[photo above: We looked for ways to make typical office functions (which are usually unattractive and messy) fun and aesthetically pleasing. The mail sorter, from Get Back, is a great looking vintage piece, but also very functional]

[photo above: The main conference room has a live edge trestle table from Trailer Park. We mixed a lot of natural elements in with the industrial pieces to bring a warm feel to the conference rooms, since people sometimes spend hours at a time in those rooms.]

[photo above: The penthouse at Topp serves as a lunchroom and event space, so it needed to be very flexible. Almost everything is on casters so the room can be rearranged quickly. We had Trailer Park make the farm tables and add phenolic resin casters that we found from an industrial supplier]

[photo above: The mirror is made from a foundry mold and the sconces are vintage o.c. white factory fixtures. We used foundry molds all over the office as decorative items, and I became obsessed with them in the process. City Owl now has a huge collection!]

[photo above: TOPP cooks together every Friday, so a functional kitchen was much more important than in the average office. We pieced together this kitchen island from various elements at Get Back – they assembled it for us and put it on a new butcher block. It’s a great work space and can be moved around for events.]

Katie Stephenson

This is the coolest feature ever. That island, the sconces, the mail sorter, the light fixtures, the light fixtures, the light fixtures!


Wow. I love the look, but Get Back is making a killing!! The furniture is beautiful, but its cheaper to go on a field trip to the abandoned industrial sections of st. louis and detroit to find such things. From anywhere in the world. I think a table similar to the coffee table on their website goes for $12,500. Clearly not for the plebeian!


Wow! I love the manhattan map wall and the focus on food in the work place. They cook together.. that’s so cool!


I forgot to mention that I am profoundly jealous, and hope one day I work for a company that is so considerate of how their employees like to work and does it with style!


The use of maps for wall decor is really presented in a fresh way for this project. Very unique, I love it!



Wow! What a great work environment! Would love to work there not to mention I’d like to have some of the furniture and design ideas fitted for my home


Might be my favorite feature ever. The prices at Get Back make me feel ever so much better about the industrial stuff I’ve found for my home, much to the horror of my mother.


This office is stunning and completely timeless! The table and the pendants in the main conference room are absolutely gorgeous.

Christine Dalsass

The light color woven chairs were from Dune Furniture in Tribeca, NYC. They are called the “Suzanna” The US/Mexico Map is actually a vintage immigration map from Sonrisa out in LA. Your best bet for vinate pull down maps is scouring eBay! That is where we ound some amazing maps.

Christine Dalsass

The darker woven lunch chairs are from Kenneth Cobonpue and are called “Lolita” They are made of woven polyethylene, aluminium and stainless steel and can be used outdoors as well. They come in a few colors and are stackable, which is a must for that many chairs.

Christine Dalsass

The light color woven chairs were from Dune Furniture in Tribeca, NYC. They are called the “Suzanna” The US/Mexico Map is actually a vintage immigration map from Sonrisa out in LA. Your best bet for vintage pull down maps is scouring eBay! That is where we found some amazing maps.


Nice to see Ashley and Christine getting so much praise for the awesome job they’ve done making our office an amazing place to spend most of our waking hours.


This is absolutely gorgeous. What a great place to work!
That railroad cart coffee table is a “must”, and those globes, and the dinning tables, and, and and….
Congratulations for this sneak peek!


I’m also so glad that Ashley and Christine are getting some recognition for this office. I work in the space every day and it is an absolute pleasure to come to work. Thoughtful design really does make a huge impact on your ability to concentrate, be productive and be in a good mood.

My favorite part of the space (and not pictured) are actually the bathrooms and small meeting rooms. The use of wallpaper in these spaces is lovely – and of course maps and bicycle-themed.


Looks like Christine covered the questions about sources… Stella: yes, Get Back is definitely expensive. We were lucky to have the budget to buy from them. They only carry the best of the best, restored to impeccable condition. And they are the nicest people ever, to boot!


What a wonderful place to work! How do you water the plants on the wall… spritz with a spray bottle?


What company makes the awesome globe light fixtures as seen in the first image?


I think this may be on of my favorite sneak peeks ever! It just feels so cozy. I love that roll top desk.


This is going to make going to the hideous building in which I work… so much harder tomorrow.


This is RIDICULOUSLY cool. If I ever get an office job…that office will have far too much to live up to.


i was working on chandeliers saw so many but find one of the best in this post. thanks for sharing them

Lisa Mackin

You’ve shown me a glimpse of heaven. You had me at the lockers – I’ve been on the hunt for old school lockers for years…and settled for an antique English wardrobe…with the intent of replacing them with lockers! I love the way they’re used as a room divide – gorgeous!


Looks like a beautiful, peaceful zen place to work. Wish I didn’t know it was a nonprofit…


I absolutely love that plant map. I’ve been trying to make my office room feel like the outdoors or have a strong outdoor theme, and I never thought of plants on the wall. I’d love to see how they keep the dirt up there, and what sort of plants they used. I’ve love to know how they did it.


Schda: The system used on the plant wall is called G Sky. It has a mat of moss sewn over the top to hold in the soil and plants, which was Parker Interior Plantscapes brilliant idea (often the soil and plants fall out of new green walls). There are prefab plant wall systems you can buy that cost a lot less than a custom built one like this.


From the Landlord’s perspective. Ashley’s and Christine’s design hit the mark, while retaining the character of a classic NY loft space.
Welcome to the building…

Tim Byrne, President of Get Back, Inc.

Ashley & Christine,
What a wonderful, warm and unique environment you have created for your company to work in. It certainly was a pleasure for me and all of us here at Get Back, Inc. to work with designers that are a passionate about these pieces as we are. Your keen eye and attention to detail has made a huge impression on this space. Congratulations to you both.

Francine gardner

So thrilled to see the finished space! They are such great clients to work with and we really enjoyed being part of their projects, the result is so cool…
Francine (Interieurs)


Where did you purchase the handsome armillary that sits on the coffee table in the reception area? I’ve been looking for one just like it for YEARS!


ashley: truly impressive. you will have good-fortune. you’re in there.
s brian adam.
i would be interested in doing a video of you and jim. if you wish send photos of the two of you. separate photos and one together.