Photographs by Thomas Loof/Art Department
When artist Melissa Marks and interface designer Vicente Caride bought their 1,500-square-foot flower-district home in 1994, its open floor plan felt exciting and luxurious and freeing. But fifteen years and one energetic child later, renovate-or-move time was clearly upon them. “Archie was really too old not to have a door,” Marks says of her now-10-year-old son. Well, Archie got a door, but the renovation also brought him something straight out of a toy-store fantasy: a wall and staircase made completely of Legos. Working with Suzan Wines, co-founder of I-Beam Design, Marks dreamed up the concept based on both Archie’s love for the bricks and her own affection for geometric, abstract design and Lego-like colors, which carries through the rest of the apartment. To install the wall, they enlisted Sean Kenney, one of only five people in the country licensed by the Lego company to undertake projects as ambitious as, say, a four-foot, 13,000-piece replica of the Empire State Building. In the end, the building process took Kenney and his two assistants two weeks of fourteen-hour days to complete. The staircase, however, is still something of a work-in-progress, as Archie and his playdates are always adding their own structures to it. The enclosure of Archie’s space also served the purpose of creating a more defined dining area, while the angular transom windows between them keep the apartment from feeling chopped up. Elsewhere, the goal was to make the living space, which is also Marks’s studio, more efficiently serve its dual purpose. Contractor Jim Norberg Jr. of Conelle Construction installed three 500-pound sliding doors to conceal Marks’s art supplies and desk when she’s not in work mode.