HOMEKIN x ABE – Customizing a Commercial Space


If you’re at all familiar with the world of luxury vehicles, you will know that it isn’t all that different from interior design. Like the spaces we work on, a lot of thought goes into the design of these cars. The curvature of the body, the particular pigment of the paint, and the suppleness of the leather interiors are all carefully curated to create a specific feeling and experience for the driver. At Auto Bath Elite, the team goes a step further by focusing on luxury vehicles’ care, protection and customization. So when they approached us to help them tell this story through the design of their new office space and client lounge, we were thrilled at the prospect of a new challenge!

ABE Co-Founder & KIP Founder Natalie Marshall with Natasha Penzo.

If you’ve been following along, you will know that the bulk of our design work is for residential spaces. In fact, the co-founders of ABE are previous clients! We had the privilege of working with Ali & Natalie on their Rosedale home, a project which has since been featured on our blog and socials, as well as various news outlets. Their office space and client lounge, however, required an entirely different approach and mindset. When designing for a commercial space, functionality and durability cannot be sacrificed. This is not the place to use delicate designer fabrics so it’s a matter of injecting personality, meeting objectives and telling a story through design but with pieces and materials that are built to last and can withstand commercial wear.

From an aesthetic perspective, the mission was to create a space that drew inspiration from the automotive world and also spoke to the luxury of the vehicles and lifestyle of the ABE clientele. ABE prides itself in offering exceptional service so they needed a client lounge that reflected this and offered an elevated experience. In our initial discussions with Ali and Natalie, we talked a lot about the hospitality industry and together honed in on an aesthetic that pulls from various modern luxury hotel designs. The space needed to be warm and inviting but we also felt it would add personality and charm to sprinkle in subtle nods to the industry’s past, present, and future throughout the design scheme.

The lounge was our primary focus, as this is a client-facing space and often the first point of contact when a client walks in. We went with a Benjamin Moore charcoal hue paint to bring sophisticated warmth. Then, to define the area, we used an area rug of a similar tone. Sculptural velvet armchairs surround a black marble-top coffee table along with the supple chocolate brown channelled-leather sofa. With black powder-coated end tables and table lamps, the space feels masculine yet inviting to all. Here, clients can comfortably enjoy refreshments while waiting for their vehicles. 

Meanwhile, over in the kitchen, we opted for a houndstooth wallpaper. Although checkered racing flags inspired this bold choice, we didn’t want the space to feel themed in a cheesy way. The houndstooth pattern is a more elevated version of its cousin the checker print but still does the job of lending a subtle nod to the racing world. 

When our team spotted a Ferrari racing hood upon one of our early site visits, we were inspired. We made the decision to make this unique item the centrepiece of the lunch room by mounting it on the wall. Against the Black Beauty paint it pops and complements the black wood dining table surrounded by blue channelled-leather dining chairs.

Although the workstations and board room generally are not client-facing spaces, we wanted to continue with the aesthetic flow in order to create an inspiring workspace for the ABE team. Framed black and white photos of vehicles throughout the space showcase some of the team’s favourite brands and model years, while sleek standing desks paired with chrome and leather office chairs offer functional style. Matte black powder-coated pieces bring masculinity to the room while off-white drapery featuring a black border softens the space and adds an heir of sophistication.

Looking to customize your commercial space? Simply send us your inspiration photos, location, and budget and we will take care of the rest! We help to make your vision a reality so that you can focus on your number one priority, your business. 

To learn more, schedule a call with us today!