Laura Casale and Amy Urban are a double threat when it comes to design and architecture. Both women are accomplished and multi-talented.
Casale is a third-generation designer with a passion for historic architecture and decades of experience in interior design, interior decoration, architecture and landscape design. Twenty six years ago she started her own full service architectural studio, Manhasset based Laura Casale Architecture, specializing in residential architecture.
Urban has a degree in civil engineering and a master’s in architecture. She has worked on many notable large residential and commercial projects in Manhattan and the tri state area. In 2008, Urban opened Amy Urban Architecture located on the Gold Coast. Five years ago, both women joined forces to collaborate on new projects and enhance client services.
“For all of our projects, we design the architecture and the interiors,” says Casale. “We coordinate all purchasing and do all the project management. It is a project in its entirety. We coordinate it all. At the end of the day, that is how a project should be run.”
One standout project that went over seamlessly, explains the design duo, was a Sands Point property purchased by a young couple with five-year-old twin girls. The family moved from their two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan to the newly renovated house.
Casale and Urban transformed the existing ranch, built in 1971, that was dark and small
for a family of four into a light filled, spacious and inviting space. Using their expertise, both women demolished nearly 60 percent of the home in order to start the renovation process on close to 5,000 square feet.
“We were able to come in and reconfigure the first floor by relocating the kitchen and creating a nanny suite and guest suite and rearranging the living space,” says Urban.
On the second floor, what was once a porch became a spacious master bedroom suite with private bathroom. The library became an office and two bedrooms were created so each girl had their own room. A second story was added to the home, which brought the property to an entirely different level.
“Adding the second-floor addition allowed us to have water views of Long Island Sound,” says Casale.
“It was a unique challenge and opportunity taking a non-descript building, adding to it and really capturing what hadn’t been there for the 40 -year life of the house.”
Another unique aspect of the project was designing the project in two phases, explains Urban. At the time of construction, the couple, she says, was not sure if they were going to expand their family. A phase one was created and phase two was a larger extension of the home if they need it.
“We were able to design the home with future growth in mind, but we executed for phase one, which can be lived in forever if they decided not to move forward on phase two,” says Urban.
The home that sits on two acres was clearly a labor of love for both designers/architects.
“The fact that we are women architects and interior designers and mothers allows us to look very realistically at how you can keep your house kid friendly and beautiful at the same time,” says Casale.
The detail and workmanship throughout the home is timeless and the style is refined. Urban describes it as a “pared-down elegance.” Some of the design details include 10-foot French doors that Casale adds, “brings the outside inside.”
A ceiling to floor butler’s pantry that is all custom cabinetry, one of their specialities. A master bathroom that has a two-foot by three-foot marble tile gives the illusion of one monolithic slab and elegant thin white glass tile in the shower area. A honed limestone countertop that compliments the industrial style lanterns and subway tile in the kitchen and intersecting hallways located on the first floor adds architectural interest.
“We had to create an entrance into one room from three rooms,” says Casale. “This articulates the circulation and flow.”
The renovation from start to finish involved two months of working on the design and securing the permits. The remaining five and a half months was spent on construction. For both women, staying on budget and finishing on time has been one of the keys to their success. As well as keeping their clients happy.
“We really strive to stay on time and on budget,” says Casale. “It is in everyone’s best interest. Plus, when you are on time and on budget the client loves you and will
want you to do more projects.”
She laughs, “We want to be invited back.”