This spring, construction will wrap on Fireproof, the Short North's newest luxury rental option. Designing the spaces within the historic building was a challenge suited for interior designer John Wilson.
This spring, construction will wrap on Fireproof, the Short North's newest luxury rental option. Designing the spaces within the historic building-originally erected in 1909 as the headquarters for Fireproof Warehouse and Storage-was a challenge suited for interior designer John Wilson.
"I've been in town long enough to have fallen in love with that building-and not in love with the empty lot next door-so working on that has been very exciting," says Wilson, who's worked in Columbus for 25 years and opened his own practice, CRI Interiors, in 1997.
Wilson was recruited for the project by his client, Jeff Meacham, vice president and partner for Elford Development Ltd., the company behind the Fireproof's transformation from old-fashioned warehouse to 56-unit apartment complex.
"I was working for Jeff and Kim Meacham, who were combining two units at The Hub to create one large penthouse," Wilson says. "It's always a challenge when you're dealing with new construction, because my intent is always to give something historical flavor. That doesn't mean it has to look old. It just needs to look like it's been there for a bit."
Wilson gave the Meachams' home a look and feel reminiscent of what you'd find in a New York brownstone, choosing materials and colors that give the home a lived-in flavor. "It was interesting to me to be able to take the fifth story of a new building in the Short North-which scares me, because where's our history?-and make it look cool. And we did," he says.
"Jeff and I got along really well," Wilson continues, "so he brought me on board to do the Fireproof." Residents of the new complex will see Wilson's trademark-a reverence for history paired with contemporary styles-throughout the apartments, common area and lobby.
Wilson and his team of two take on a variety of projects each year ("We've done like 42 dentists' offices, and I'm not sure what that's about," he says with a laugh), which keeps the designer inspired.
"We don't have a typical client, and that's the fun thing about me and about us," he says. "We have clients for whom we design the entire house, and we have clients for whom we pick out a sofa. I'm never not geeked out about a project."