We have been working with Darren and Julie for over five years. Our first project was the main bathroom in our previous home. Their redesign was arguably what sold the house. It was honestly the most beautiful room in the house.
Our new home is a mid-century ranch, which is a departure from the typical colonials of Maplewood and South Orange. They have helped to update it in a way that is authentic to the time period without being kitschy.
Julie and Darren truly embody every business superlative: skilled and experienced professionals; honest and transparent in their process and billing; responsive and reliable. Their respective talents complement each other.
Above all though, they're just fun to work with. They're genuine, relatable, funny and kind. Once you begin a project with them you will feel an immediate connection. We have, which is why Idea Space has remained and will continue to be our only architecture and design firm choice.
-Mary Beth and Bill Zurat
South Orange, NJ
I have been working with Darren China since 2012 on two residential and one commercial projects. I am the owner of a Law firm in NYC and I have never worked with anyone law-related or outside the law that is more reliable and responsive than Darren.
The first project we hired Darren for was to reconfigure a loft apartment in the financial district of Manhattan into a space usable for a family. Then, as our family grew, we hired Darren to combine apartment units. He successfully configured a plan to combine two adjacent units. He worked with our contractor and an expediter at the Department of Buildings as well as our building's residential manager to quickly get us DOB approval for our unique construction plans. We now live in an incredible apartment in the financial district in Manhattan and are loving the layout that Darren created.
Darren is meticulous. He oversaw our construction team to make sure every detail was taken care of. Darren suggested weekly meetings with the team to make sure we were all on the same page and to develop the apartment to our highest expectations. Darren also brought in his wife Julie China, an interior designer, to help us visualize our furniture layout and to add decorative details such as blinds for our kids rooms. The China's also assisted us with new light fixtures and hardware. They even thought of automatic toilet flushers which were instrumental in facilitating toilet training! Because they have a young family of their own they were very knowledgeable in making the apartment kid-friendly.
Now as our third project, the China's are gut renovating my husband Craig Roberts' dental office in Manhattan's Washington Square Park. Their style choices have been right in line with what they learned to be our design aesthetic. We cannot more highly recommend Darren and Julie China.
Ilissa Brownstein, Esq
Suites 813 & 814
New York, N.Y. 10006
Thank you for doing such a wonderful job designing and managing the renovation of our new apartment. We are not only thrilled with the results, but also with the process. Your professionalism, integrity, attention to detail and reliability were evident every step along the way… from coming up with the initial design, to preparing thorough and detailed drawings, to helping us to select materials and a contractor, to assisting us through the Co-Op Board and Department of Buildings approval process, to suggesting ways to minimize costs while still maintaining the integrity of our ideas, right down to the last item on the punch list! You were there every step along the way. One hears so many horror stories about architects, but we are happy to say that we had a completely different (i.e. positive) experience. Your detailed drawings, down to every last electrical outlet, enabled the contractor to give us a realistic cost estimate, and most importantly, stay within budget during the construction phase. We also really appreciated your reliability… when you told us that you would get something done by a certain deadline, you always came through, never excuses! Already, countless friends, neighbors and relatives have visited us and admired your work. We were so pleased with the job you did that we have already referred you to two of our friends (as you know), and would be happy to serve as a reference for any future clients.
Once again, it was a real pleasure working with you.
Plaza Street F2
As a practicing chiropractor in Manhattan I wanted to build out a signature office in the financial district that would represent my staff in the best possible light. After meeting Darren China of Idea Space Architecture + Design I was struck by his dedication and the manner in which he presented himself and his company. Never having worked with an architect on a commercial property before, he guided me through the design process and was there to make sure that the contractors did exactly what I wanted them to do as was laid out in the plans. Darren was always open to discussion about the final product and I must say that I am very pleased with the results right down to the color scheme and furnishings. My office is an efficient and aesthetically beautiful place where patients enjoy coming to for health care. I intend to utilize Idea Space Architecture + Design for all of my future architectural needs and am currently in the process of redesigning my office in Brooklyn with Darren.
Dr. Sean Cotter
Liberty Wellness & Chiro
30 Wall Street, Suite 500
New York, NY 10005
My husband and I had never used a design team before, but when we decided to transform our attic into a bedroom and get help redesigning an existing bedroom into an office we knew just who to call. I reached out to Idea Space because I knew Julie and Darren personally and was impressed with their taste and down-to-earth attitude -- qualities that made them so lovely to work with throughout the entire process!
The couple immediately presented us with some creative ideas and shepherded us through the design process without being pushy. They were also respectful of staying on-budget, repeatedly suggesting items in a range of prices. They also worked well with the general contractor we chose and had worked with in the past.
I truly felt they wanted us to be happy with the choices we made throughout the project and with our experience working with them. Now, every time we walk into our new bedroom we smile - and love showing it off to friends.
Kathy Ehrich Dowd
My vision was to create an environment at my early childhood center by eliminating the look and feel of an institution. I was thrilled when Julie and Darren recreated my Center to feel like a "second home" for the families and children.
Families that currently tour my facility, have noted the look and feel has been one of the determining factors in enrolling their child(ren). Albeit, the creative look and feel created by the China's has had a significant impact in enrollment.
What I appreciated the most about working with Julie and Darren China was the fact that they delivered the expected results and then some.
Simply, their work is second to none.
Dana Kearney, Owner
Village Babies Development Center
South Orange, NJ
In the time that I have known and worked with Darren China from Idea Space Architecture and Design, he has consistently been professional and thorough in all of his work. This was my first time undergoing any type of renovation and I don’t think it could have been any easier thanks to Darren’s help. The most important aspect that Darren brought to my project was his commitment to maintaining my design vision and his diligence in making sure the contractors remained on track. I always felt that Darren had my best interests in mind and would always give me honest feedback. I was able to trust Darren and that was the most important thing for me. I was able to count on Darren when I needed things to get done. Darren was adamant about making sure the project was completed as planned even up to the final day and final detail.
I am extremely happy with the work that Idea Space did for me and I would absolutely recommend Idea Space and Darren to anyone I know looking to do construction. My apartment is better than I expected and I look forward to working with Darren on future projects.
New York, NY
I knew when I met you and gave you this job I was doing the right thing for myself and my family. I just wanted to take the opportunity to say that your work as evidenced by these drawings is exemplary. I look forward to any contribution I can possibly make to the success of your career now or in the future.
497 Broome Street Realty, LLC
Darren China designed a partition to create a second bedroom in our apartment. He carefully considered the general requirements and idea we had for the project and then presented us with several schematic drawings. His designs creatively addressed the utilitarian and aesthetic aspects of the room division. He researched the period of architecture and design of our building, explored and priced a variety of panels, materials, and hardware, and couldn’t have been more helpful with answering questions throughout the planning process. Our experience working with Darren has been completely positive and we would recommend him without reservation.
Plaza Street E8
Thank you for doing such a wonderful job designing and managing our project. Thanks to your planning and supervision, the work was done well, thoroughly, on schedule, and on budget. We wholeheartedly agree with all of the testimonials from your other clients, and we look forward both to serving as references for potential clients and to spread the word about your excellent work among friends and acquaintances.
Ron Adelman and Irene Koch
Prospect Park West
We retained the services of Idea Space Architecture + Design as we purchased an old Victorian house in a landmark district. The project involved the installation of a new heating, A/C system with multiple zones. The electrical wiring and water piping within the whole house was also to be replaced. In addition, the whole basement was completely redesigned and furnished. Darren China also designed a new butler’s kitchen, the built in shelving within the library and a few pieces of custom furniture including an entertainment unit, and shoe console. Darren’s services also included the design, purchase and procurement of each piece of furniture for our living room.
Since the house is really old, it's a big challenge to fit in all the modern infrastructure with updated technology without a major demolition while keeping as much as possible the existing design. Darren, with his creativity and professional talents, was able to overcome all the expected and unexpected issues for us throughout the whole project which spanned over 6 months. He worked very closely with our contractors and engineers, and kept us informed at all times regarding the progress and various issues as they arose.
It strikes us that Darren is very professional and persistent in ensuring that the contractors' work is done according to plan and the design. Obviously, given the age of our house, some unexpected issues arose which forced us to change the original design. However, Darren would be very patient in explaining the issues to us. He worked very diligently to assess and evaluate the situation collectively with my wife and me to come up with a solution that is satisfactory to us all. Darren does not cut corners nor compromise easily with contractors. I believe that's the most comforting aspect about working with Darren, that I could truly trust him.
The renovation of our home was a great learning experience while enjoyable with Darren guiding us along. I will definitely use him again if I have another project.
Thank you so much for assisting us in the renovation of our home. The results are spectacular! It was a pleasure working with you and Isolde, You are both very competent and resourceful.
We appreciate the care you took in executing the drawings and supervising the work. We are sure that the completed project reflects not only the competence of the contractor, but your attention to detail.
We are especially pleased with your selection of colors, materials and hardware. You saved us a great deal of time (and possibly money) in doing the leg work. Everything is beautiful and top quality. We are sure that we will enjoy it for years to come.
We appreciate the fact that you were always available and responded very quickly to any questions and concerns. Your commitment to your work is evidenced in the finished product. Please feel free to have any prospective clients call us for a recommendation.
Darren and Julie were the perfect partners for our first ever foray into home improvement, and we didn't start small! Through their meticulous design process and project management, we transformed over 500 square feet of kitchen and powder room drab into something stunning and perfectly functional for our family's needs.
Our home was built in 1904, so we knew there would be all kinds of surprises in terms of opening walls and ensuring that the engineering was sound. Idea Space was on top of all of this. From their careful shepherding of the bidding process to our weekly construction meetings, we never had to worry that a detail was being overlooked.
Julie's help in refining our aesthetic was critical to the outcome of the project. As we moved from a simple "white kitchen" idea into a space with much richer colors, patterns and textures, we became more and more excited about the unique space we were creating.
We highly recommend Idea Space Architecture + Design!
Sally and Michael Unsworth
South Orange, NJ