[Jayne Wilson - McNeal & Friends]
Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by M.Schleif Photography and exterior photos by Brent Tabor
After you catch a glimpse inside the progressive concept design of The Bridges - Student Edition, you might just want to re-enroll in college. Just east of NDSU's campus, this student-focused property is attractive to all ages. Sleek architectural lines, Mid-century Modern decor, fine art, and endless amenities are just a few of the reasons why we're giving this project an A+. To walk us through the stunning common areas and shared living units, we met up with the site's lead interior designer, Jayne Wilson of McNeal & Friends and Owner Representative, Brent Tabor of PROffutt Limited Partnership. The two are part of a team that helped bring this design to the forefront, including BC Contracting, construction architecture by Meeks and Partners, and interior design architecture by BKV Group of Minneapolis, Minn.
When NDSU's Housing Department reached out for bids on how to best use the property east of campus, one student-focused concept stood out above the rest. PROffutt Limited Partnership had partnered with BKV Group of Minneapolis, Minn., to design a concept focused on exquisite common areas and study rooms with a unique shared living plan. This would allow residents to rent a room within a two, three or four bedroom unit and have all-inclusive access to a jaw-dropping number of amenities. To make sure every wall was Instagram-worthy, BKV Group came up with the interior architectural plan and design, partnering with Shelly Neal and Jayne Wilson of McNeal & Friends to collaborate on intelligent finishes and furnishings.
"The student housing concept won out on the idea that NDSU would not have to manage it," said Tabor. "So, a private company can build a community or apartment complex to house mostly students. We are student-driven, but open to the public as well."
All-Inclusive = Endless Amenities
Working off of BKV Group's initial spec plan, Wilson and Neal spent a year-and-a-half coordinating furnishings, fabric and art, giving each of the common areas and rooms a fresh, Mid-century mod vibe. The floor plan consists of four levels with a progressive interior and exterior plan, to make certain that their young and tech-savvy residents, never grow bored.
"Living here is all-inclusive, meaning, your surface parking, bike storage, garbage, sewer, water, electricity, cable and internet are all included," said Tabor. "It's a pet-friendly environment where residents have free use of the Cyber Cafe, fitness center, game room, party room, business center, common areas and study rooms." Right now, rent ranges from $625 to $705 per bedroom, depending on the number of rooms per unit. Underground parking and additional storage units are available for a small, monthly fee.
All units come fully-furnished and offer residents their own room with full, private bath and shared living space with roommates. Right now, The Bridges is home to a wealth of residents who happily lease by the bedroom, and get the run of state-of-the-art amenities, around every corner. Leases start in August, at the beginning of the school year, and end July 31st.
Inside the main entrance, BKV Group designed the entire theme and front desk area with collaboration from Wilson and Neal. Reclaimed cedar and fabricated metal by Hofer Signs are accented with one-of-a-kind artwork and furnishings made for durability and modern design. While wood concepts, granite, waterfall-edge countertops, cabinet color selections, and tile were a collaboration between BKV Group and McNeal & Friends, all of the interior furnishings and color choices were sourced from McNeal & Friends in Fargo.
"BKV had a plan in place for the shape of all of the furniture and fabrics, then we were able to take those ideas and change what we needed to fit the space," said Wilson.
Just past the main entrance, glass doors lead to the Cyber Cafe; the first of many stunning common areas made for relaxation, study and fun. To make sure the high-end design could withstand student culture and time, Wilson, along with BKV, opted for mainly stain-resistant, durable and commercial-grade fabrics. "We did a lot of textured, custom fabrics, with a mix of patterns and solid colors," said Wilson. "We worked with Audubon Upholstery to do all of the custom work throughout the building."
In the lounge areas, Wilson and Neal chose high-quality lines from Lee Industries, Four Hands, Nuevo, Noir, The Phillips Collection and Bobo Intriguing Objects. Based on the color tones BKV Group had in the original plan, the team honed in on a Mid-century Modern vibe with mod reds, chartreuse and turmeric tones, fused with more contemporary hues like gray and navy. Chrome and vintage brass metallics detail nailhead trim and statement pieces, while fabric textures create interest.
To accent the mod space, Wilson chose artwork from Leftbank, Wendover Art Group and more organic pieces by Kader Boly.
Centered under a suspended, maple wood, slat ceiling is the cafe's fully-equipped kitchen with quartz countertops, floating shelves and a penny tile backsplash.
A small study room is connected by glass barn doors and creates a transparent separation between the Cyber Cafe's second lounge area. "You'll see an abundance of study rooms throughout the common areas. The focus of The Bridges concept is to stay school-oriented and extend the campus life for residents," said Tabor.
Entering through massive, glass barn doors, a custom wallpaper mural leads the way to the residential zone and mail room. En route to the elevators, they've incorporated a small desk area with natural wood Four Hands stools. The design team had the extraordinary, hexagon light trio special-ordered from Italy.
In BKV Group's student-focused floorplan, the carpet plays a role in directing and protecting foot traffic. "The intent of transitional carpeting is student-driven," said Tabor. "A lot of kids are on their iPad, cell or carrying their laptop. Peripheral vision comes into play, so we change the carpet color to signify that they've entered a new zone and to look where they're going. So, as you transition into the study area, an exit, stairway or really any major area, it changes color."
Residents enjoy a state-of-the-art fitness center with massive street views and an additional yoga studio. Before entering the studio, gym-goers can choose from 190 different workouts that will display on the flat screen TVs inside. If residents prefer to work out in the comfort of their home or another communal space, they can simply download the app on a computer or phone for access.
A playground like no other, The Bridges game room features gorgeous Lee Industries, Four Hands and Nuevo furnishings from McNeal & Friends, designing inviting environments to relax or play. BKV Group's collegiate concept makes sure every resident is having fun with simulated games, classic arcade, TV and a beautifully-designed fireplace lounge. Custom games like the smoked oak, leather and brass accented ping pong and foosball tables are bold statement pieces, alongside the custom pool table and shuffleboard from HotSpring Spas and Pool Tables2.
Traveling through the hallways and common areas, Wilson and Neal incorporated a thoughtful collection of art pieces, like the large-scale, primitive piece by artist, Kader Boly.
The Store that Doesn't Sleep
When residents need to stock up on supplies or grab a late-night snack, they can head to the game room's impressive vending machine. Unlike anything we've ever seen, this vending machine can hold everything from toiletry items to beverages and snacks, quick-grab meals like Hot Pockets, and basic items like milk and cereal. The students will also be able to buy eBooks or the Blue Books that they need for tests when they go to campus.
High-Style Room Rental
At The Bridges, residents can choose between a two, three or four bedroom, furnished unit. Simply rent the bedroom with private bath and walk-in closet, then share the common space. Bring a group of friends or fill out a Roommate Matching Form to get paired up with others based on class schedules, hobbies and school activities.
Desirae Putnam and Kendra Steffes of McNeal & Friends, staged the four-bedroom model unit for showing potential residents. All of the units are specially designed and accessorized by McNeal & Friends. "We wanted to give the rooms a cohesive look with the design of the building, but also give each room a different palette with a fun style," said Putnam. Bedrooms in the units also have the ability to allow for dual occupancy with the inclusion of bunk beds.
"It was important that we also show a gender-neutral space, so it would appeal to everyone," said Steffes. "Each unit comes fully-furnished, except for the linens." Moving in, residents will already have a decorated home with a full-size bed, desk, chair, sofa, TV and the basic furnishings. The kitchen comes complete with a pantry, stainless steel appliance package, undermount, stainless steel kitchen sink and quartz countertops. Every unit has an efficient front-loading washer and dryer with cross hallway access to additional storage, as well as on-floor trash disposal.
A Grade Above
On the second level, residents can use the large study room space with starlight glass whiteboard, or lounge on felted wool chairs under a pair of paintings from Leftbank Art. Inside the smaller study rooms, Wilson and Neal chose office-style furnishings from Hannaher's Workplace Interiors.
Social Media Savvy
When the design teams created this concept, they recognized the impact of social media, so creating picturesque opportunities as you see in this common area, is considered a necessity. Bold wallcoverings and hues, dramatic, drop lighting, rich accent walls and thought-provoking textures, do well to drive the building's design.
This common area features 21-foot ceilings, eight drop lights, and a reclaimed wood accent wall with a massive fireplace.
To add the finishing touches, Wilson chose clean lines and durable furnishings from Lee Industries and Nuevo. She also brought in the one-of-a-kind, live-edge, Chamcha table from The Phillips Collection, with custom fabrics and a wide variation of seating arrangements to best accommodate the residents.
Study in Style
On the third level, the second study room and common space feature a floor to ceiling campus view with laser-cut, laminate orbs, suspended at sky-scraping heights. In this room, Wilson chose pops of turmeric tones and calming neutrals with tribal, painted cloth art by Wendover Art Group. Five upholstered study cubbies create a quick hideaway and provide recharging stations for media and mind.
Inside each of the common areas, residents can nab a private study room designed to inspire with specially chosen artwork, caged lighting, mod chairs and sleek office furnishings from Hannaher's Workplace Interiors.
Brightening up the open-concept business center, the design team chose crisp, white quartz desk space and bold, Mid-century mod-patterned wallcovering. This is just another space included for residents, along with the on-site printer and an array of complimentary office supplies.
Protected from the wind, The Bridges outdoor courtyard is what college dreams are made of. Beautiful outdoor furniture from Homecrest rests on stamped concrete, with a mix of slate and cobblestone patterns. Etched pathways lead to outdoor kitchens with stone countertops, four grills and a pizza oven. Hang out at the fire table, one of two firepits, or try your skills at the on-site putting green. Since this is a pet-friendly property, they've even designed a grassy knoll and designated area for pets at play.
The team envisioned this to be an environment where residents could make the most of the grassy expanse, patios and courtyard amenities. With winter in full-swing, Tabor plans to create a skating rink within the courtyard. During warmer months, the area allows plenty of space to throw a football or frisbee around, throw bags or just hang out in one of the more communal, outdoor areas or firepits.
Wilson and Neal designed the exterior with 14 different types of product, using four colors of brick elements to emulate the timeless neighborhood and historic campus style. James Hardie lap siding, bronze windows and wood-look panels give the classic details a sleek and contemporary curb appeal.
The first floor on the North side of the property has just over 5,000 square feet, which will soon be home to a coffee shop and other small retailers. Tabor will be finalizing and announcing the retailers within the coming weeks.
Find the Finishes:
For more information, contact:
The Bridges - Student Edition
PROffutt Limited Partnership
McNeal & Friends
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