Interiorssneak peeks

A Cool, Calm and Coastal Historic Home

by Annie Werbler

Hawaii native Andrew Mau accepts that this historic Warren, RI apartment is a temporary stop on a much longer journey. What brings him to town is a one-year stint with local maker O&G Studio, where Andrew is collaborating on a new collection that will soon debut at ICFF in New York. For eight months now, the prolific furniture and product designer, creative director, and consultant (among other things) has nested in a 650-square-foot rental that occupies half the second floor of the 1809 Federal-style Samuel Randall House. The place is so legit it even has a dedicated website.

Andrew and his girlfriend, the quilter Meg Callahan, had previously taken a yearlong roadtrip with stretches in Oklahoma, San Francisco, and Hawaii. Even with so much experience setting up temporary dwellings, the concept of a longer short-term stay still posed a challenge to the designer. He needed to avoid any redundant purchases, as he maintains a storage unit full of “good stuff” elsewhere, though Meg brought some of it to her new spot in Seattle. In a residence without an expiration date, Andrew tends to rearrange, collect, and sell items often as his personal tastes evolve, and he enjoys experimenting with arrangements of objects in space. However, in the Warren apartment, Andrew had to be more strategic, and relied on lots of thrifting, IKEA for bedding, and borrowed items from friends. His employers even hooked him up with some choice sample pieces.

Living in an older home of this caliber has its obvious charms, but also poses its own set of obstacles: Andrew had to work around the relatively fewer number of outlets, the slanted floors, and old plumbing in the building. However, as someone who makes things for a living might know best, “Generally speaking, things that don’t work can often be fixed.” Everything, that is, except the old toilet in a “Harry Potter” bathroom under the staircase. “It flushes what seems like 45 gallons of water with a success rate of 40%.” This is a small price to pay when a 360º lookout room sits atop the house, from where you have an uninterrupted view of the coves and bays nearby. Additionally, Andrew appreciates the mission of the Warren Preservation Society, which is the town’s nonprofit historic conservancy that acts as his landlord. “It’s a beautiful project, and I’m so lucky to have been able to support it. It’s a magical house,” he shares, similarities to fictional wizard’s residences notwithstanding. –Annie

Photography by Andrew Mau, except where noted.

 

A Cool, Calm and Coastal Historic Home on Design*Sponge
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The Samuel Randall House from across Baker Street. Warren, Rhode Island locals know it as "the house with the yellow door." It was built in 1809 in the Federal style, and was purchased in 1998 and subsequently restored by the Warren Preservation Society. Jonathan Glatt, the "G" in O&G Studio, played a part in the remodel when he built the entry door moldings. One interesting fact about this historic home is that the ceiling height of each floor decreases as you ascend.
A Cool, Calm and Coastal Historic Home on Design*Sponge
2/22
This stately wooden dresser in Andrew's bedroom was left behind by the previous tenant, who happens to be a friend. "It's not as new or as old as I'd like," he admits, "But it works for not having to buy one." He also enjoys how the dark blue wall color almost makes the hulking piece of furniture recede into the background. Sara Ossana, the "O" in O&G Studio, lent Andrew the colorful rug. He helped the company design the Point Judith Lamp. The antlers are a gift from his dad in Hawaii.
A Cool, Calm and Coastal Historic Home on Design*Sponge
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A view from the bedroom toward the house's main staircase, with the green sunroom to the left. Andrew explains that older homes in this area of Rhode Island have a door on almost every wall, which, he concludes, "is awesome for moving through spaces, but challenging when arranging furniture and decorating." He found the Turkish hammam towel at 8Knots on Shelter Island. A blue chair in the corner was the first prototype of a new O&G Studio collection piece debuting at ICFF next month. He says "the design has changed a bit." We'll be looking out for it!
A Cool, Calm and Coastal Historic Home on Design*Sponge
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"I bought the IKEA bedframe and cut off its wimpy headboard so I could use one of my three fireplaces instead. It's epic," Andrew declares. Blenda Montoro Miller, a photographer based on Kauai, shot the framed gardenias overhead. To the left of this arrangement is the Paniolo Mirror he designed for O&G Studio last year, and in its reflection, a different angle of the chair prototype. Andrew loves how the wall color keeps the room feeling bright during the day but cozy at night. "Dark, saturated colors are the way to go for that effect," he offers.
A Cool, Calm and Coastal Historic Home on Design*Sponge
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To the right of the bed sits a pair of sky blue tripod side tables, also by O&G Studio, and a three-dollar vintage desk lamp find. Andrew made the pillowcases from Hawaiian "classic reverse print aloha shirt-style" fabric. Bedding is by IKEA.
A Cool, Calm and Coastal Historic Home on Design*Sponge
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Andrew relaxes in this hammock often, even in the frigid New England winter. "I line it with my comforter and take snow-naps, watch shows, read, and escape the cold." The spacing of the door hinges ideally accommodates its span. "When I'm feeling a little homesick, I'll put on some Hawaiian music and pretend," he says.
A Cool, Calm and Coastal Historic Home on Design*Sponge
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Imagining sunning himself in his native lush, sunny Hawaii while at the Warren, RI apartment where he resides. "Wicker and foliage!," Andrew ponders. "What could be better?" Luckily for him, the outdoor activities he enjoys, like fishing, biking, and kayaking, are all within close range. Photo by Angel Tucker.
A Cool, Calm and Coastal Historic Home on Design*Sponge
8/22
Propping up the small potted plants is an antique ironing board Andrew got for six dollars. "It's all wood, so no horrid squeaking sounds," he says. Andrew acknowledges that "dark and tropical" is a personal theme for his year, and the Sherwin Williams Derbyshire wall color hits the spot. "My life goal is to live in some form of a greenhouse," he imagines.
A Cool, Calm and Coastal Historic Home on Design*Sponge
9/22
The designer, currently musing on French Post-Impressionist painters Paul Gaugin and Henri Rousseau, suspects that, "Deep down inside, I am some part savage." Andrew considers this jade vine from Logee's Plants in Connecticut, and admires how it sprawls, "caring little about the objects around it, and just needing to get closer to the sun," he remarks poetically. And then, "I really hope I don't kill it before it flowers."
A Cool, Calm and Coastal Historic Home on Design*Sponge
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A view from the front of the apartment to the kitchen in the way back. The floors, walls, door jambs, and ceilings all sag. "It's fine when you're living in it, but to take photos can be very disorienting." The open doorways provide a constant flow of air through the series of rooms. Andrew designated this his personal workspace due to the quality of its bright daylight.
A Cool, Calm and Coastal Historic Home on Design*Sponge
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Photo by Angel Tucker. "I need an open floor for my larger prints," Andrew says, "And working on larger lighting pieces, as well as Meg's shaved cowhide rugs." Depending on the projects at hand, the studio takes on a totally different look from week to week. The media console is by IKEA, and the hide is a MAU • CALLAHAN collaboration.
A Cool, Calm and Coastal Historic Home on Design*Sponge
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The second of three fireplaces. Andrew produces the hanging bubble prints and Shaka Bottle Openers. In the oil diffuser on the mantel is a geranium scent that he predicts "is going to be one of those trigger scents for this apartment when I get older."
A Cool, Calm and Coastal Historic Home on Design*Sponge
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A favorite combination of two objects in the space - a three-dollar brass sconce paired with a faceted mirror that was a housewarming gift from Jonathan Glatt, the "G" in O&G Studio. "It's so amazing to have friends that give nice gifts," Andrew says. "Really brightens any space."
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Andrew describes the glow from this sconce as "perfect," and he loves its simple elegance. "I aspire to design things that are beautiful in their form, but more importantly, beautiful in their utility. This sconce is one of those things."
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The kitchen features the third of three fireplaces. Andrew loves to cook, so he splurged on the IKEA island, which was the only "new" purchase in the apartment. "It makes things like rolling pie crust a lot more enjoyable," he says.
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Photo by Angel Tucker. Andrew describes the "white-on-white-on-gray" color palette of this kitchen wall as "perfection." His friend Emily Woratzeck did the white painting, as well as the gorilla. The porcupine man on fire is by a kid named Fin Glatt, who Andrew claims is "a five-year-old genius." The Le Creuset kettle was a steal at eight dollars. Of the little fishhook cactus on its white wicker stand, he says, "I crack myself up with that. Something about it is so strange and I love it."
A Cool, Calm and Coastal Historic Home on Design*Sponge
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Photo by Angel Tucker. This old, original built-in "only closes in the summer." The linoleum floor is easy to clean, but Andrew would love to see what the hardwoods underneath look like. The stools are O&G Studio Atlantic Barstools, and the cabinetry is painted Benjamin Moore Fieldstone Grey.
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The weapons (left to right): Chinese cleaver, 8" stainless pan, 12" non-stick pan, small generic lid, plastic cutting board. The items are shown hanging on copper pipes and brackets. "How luxe," jokes Andrew.
A Cool, Calm and Coastal Historic Home on Design*Sponge
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"My favorite thing about my home is the ocean air. Opening all the windows and letting the salty air rush through. Living on the water is just better." - Andrew Mau
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20/22
This bathroom is Andrew's second-favorite room in the apartment after the green sunroom. He loves the enameled cast iron clawfoot tub, the brass sink faucet, and the high-tank toilet. The frosted glass "so my neighbors don’t get a sneak peek in the shower. Best part is the water actually gets hot!" The dark wall is covered in Rustoleum Chalkboard Black.
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The door to Andrew's apartment with its handsome vinyl lettering. There are actually four total entrances to his unit - one from the studio, the kitchen, the bedroom, and this one, which leads into the green sunroom.
A Cool, Calm and Coastal Historic Home on Design*Sponge
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The floorplan of Andrew Mau's apartment at the Samuel Randall House.

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