The Hamilton

They say ‘life is bigger than your apartment’. This was the driving force behind designing The Hamilton – a 500k square foot mixed-use development on the Community College of Philadelphia’s campus and burgeoning Museum District neighborhood. Inspired by the growing trend toward living more sensibly, developer Radnor Property Group, teamed MSD alongside MYArchitecture, to prove that The Hamilton’s generous social spaces are all the living room you need.

Built from the ground up, the industrial interior pays homage to the site’s original operation as the Baldwin Locomotive factory and inspired us to collaborate with numerous local artisans in achieving a high level of customization through natural materials and eclectic furnishings. This luxury amenity space literally has a social space for every personality type. Whether you crave interaction and desire to catch a movie or shoot a game of pool with friends, prefer to work el fresco beside the open garage door in the company of others, or hole up in a study pod for solidarity, this space has you covered.


Built to cater to University City’s booming ‘eds and meds’ market, this 175,000 square foot mixed use property is comprised of commercial spaces on both the ground and roof top levels with one and two bedroom residential apartments in-between. We were called upon by the developer, Radnor Property Group, to work alongside Erdy McHenry Architecture in the selection of architectural materials as well as outfitting the amenity spaces. This included the building’s lobby, reception and leasing offices, as well as the club’s game room, lounge, kitchenette and roof top terrace with a panoramic view of the Philadelphia skyline. It was important that the spaces be bright and airy (again, the view!), but still comfortable and warm, inviting tenants to use them as extensions of their homes. The mix of furnishings, fabrics, accessories and materials used here are a diverse and dynamic mix of industrial, Scandinavian and contemporary styles speaking to a wide range of personalities.

Two Liberty

When these Brooklyn transplants relocated from a townhouse to a condo high in the sky, they reached out to MSD to outfit their new space on the 49th floor of an iconic Philadelphia building. Of course, the view is the star here, so custom millwork and a mix of custom and classic furnishings were all kept at window sill height or below. Custom motorized shades were a necessary addition, kept nondescript as they are the same colors as the rooms they occupy. Speaking of color, everything was kept light, save for the custom dark walnut millwork in the library, where a beloved vintage lighted sign was incorporated into the design.

251 Dekalb

Game room? Check. Coffee bar? Check. Contemporary art gallery? Check. Recent trends in residential multi-family design have been taking cues from the high-end hospitality industry. Case in point, this project, which though it could be a boutique hotel, consists of five residential apartment buildings on 26 acres in King of Prussia, PA. After a complete architectural revamp to the existing site by Varenhorst, Michael Shannon Designs was called upon to appoint the interiors of the public spaces.


The minimalism of the architectural choices is mirrored by the classic silhouettes of the furniture selections, while bold pops of color and pattern were inspired by Takashi Murakami and the like, whose works are displayed throughout the separate buildings in varied media. One structure even features a curated, rotating gallery. It was important for MSD to maintain the clean, bright, open feel of the overall property, but bring a sense of human scale (and fun!) to each individual space.

The Foundry Lofts

MSD was brought on to design the interior amenity spaces of a newly constructed residential apartment building in Ann Arbor, near the University of Michigan. We were inspired by the existing industrial aesthetic of the space, but of course added touches of whimsy, color and humor to appeal to college students and young professionals alike. (Did you see those chairs made of recycled street signs?!)

Some highlights of the spaces designed include the first floor, equipped with a custom ping pong table, a shuffleboard table and a modern pool table with a custom chandelier above. Lounge seating areas throughout liken the space to a boutique hotel, while the materials and fabrics utilized warm up the otherwise raw surroundings.

On the second floor, a collaborative work space is outfitted with custom benches and banquettes with built-in power, cushioned in classic, playful fabrics. Custom tables and wall murals help to inspire interaction and creativity. The use of contemporary art prints and color blocking continues in the indoor-outdoor third floor spa lounge, the perfect extension of the adjacent roof deck and hot tub.

Bella Vista Residence

This Philadelphia row home may seem typical from the outside—a 12’ wide brick-and-mortar building with one just like it on either side—but open the front door and it’s anything but. Gracefully refined and dignified, this space exudes sophistication yet has an atmosphere as welcoming as the homeowners themselves. The finishes throughout define elegance in our dictionary: rosewood millwork, silk wrapped walls, hand-blocked linen drapery and custom blown glass light fixtures. Inspiration for the palette and overall aesthetic was drawn from many of the clients’ existing pieces of art. Some new additions were added along the way – as Michael will tell you, when it comes to art you can never have too much!

Queen Village Bathroom

A classic 1,000 square foot South Philadelphia row home gets a spacious contemporary bathroom renovation. The new scheme of custom walnut millwork, white solid surface and black accents was inspired by the existing black and white checkerboard floor, which was about the only thing we preserved! The space was expertly reconfigured to span the width of the home and allow for a large shower and maximum functionality. Also among the additions: two separate vanities flanking a large window with a sill perfect for displaying some cherished collected art. Reflective mirror-mounted sconces over each sink add some sparkle to complete this bright, handsome and unexpected space.

Rittenhouse Home

After living in their completely renovated brownstone for years, a couple had a desire for a bit more living space. MSD, along with In House Studio Architecture and Hanson General Contracting achieved this by breaking through the exterior of the home and stealing space from the existing backyard garden. Once this was completed, then came the real fun! Custom millwork was designed to fulfill all of our clients’ requirements: a place for the tv, fireplace and dry bar. Storage concealed behind back painted glass hides stemware, hidden refrigeration lives below the bar and the surface the TV is mounted on rotates outward to allow access to TV equipment behind. Walls and an adjacent staircase were clad in the same rift-cut oak as the millwork to tie the room together. The clients’ existing furnishings have just the soft yet sophisticated look needed to juxtapose the crisp, clean lines of the new millwork perfectly. Truly a place for everything.

Bella Vista Kitchen

When returning clients wanted to update the kitchen in their recently renovated row home, they knew just who to call. MSD worked with the clients to transform the space into the jewel box of their home. Being avid cooks, it was imperative that form follow function. Custom millwork allowed for every square inch of cabinetry to store even the silliest of gadgets – pun intended: a deep set window sill was transformed into a pull out spice rack, as just one example. The warm, sophisticated space is anchored by a combination of metals and woods, as well as laminate, porcelain, and solid surface. An industrial, sculptural ceiling pendant and bronze dipped wall sconces are the finishing touches, plus they illuminate the path to the back garden, home to a koi pond. Form and function indeed!

Pocono Manor Home

These clients had an eye for potential when they bought this 1913 Arts and Crafts style home back in 2000. The interior was dated and it lacked the charm and detail it deserved, but in came MSD to help realize its splendor. The kitchen was first to receive a facelift – a complete transformation which included quartz countertops, top of the line appliances, and shaker style cabinets. The breakfast area features a custom banquette that can easily accommodate this family of five, while the low back cushions provide unobstructed views of the property beyond. Coffered ceilings were added to enhance period charm and provided the opportunity for a splash of color, an accent carried throughout the home. Custom millwork in the family room was designed to respect the existing architecture yet add functionality to the space.