Contemporary Design Meets
A century-old building steps up to Raleigh’s cosmopolitan future.
Text and Photography by Mick Schulte
After a drastic transformation from an unused storage space to a contemporary design studio, Roux MacNeill Studio opened its new offices in the summer of 2017—but that was only the beginning.
Owners Robert MacNeill and Brittany Roux had fallen in love with the Hargett Street property while searching through Craigslist ads in the spring of 2017. Despite the bare-bone pictures in the advertisement, they knew the space had potential. “We were immediately taken with the building’s charm—especially the gold elevators in the lobby,” Roux says. “And we love the vibrant energy the downtown Raleigh scene has to offer, so we went for it.”
Originally, Roux MacNeill occupied one room on the third floor—a workspace designed to feature the natural light flowing in from a large window overlooking Hargett Street. But soon after they moved in, their team grew—along with their library of resources, including truckloads of fabric swatches and mood boards. To accommodate the growth, the studio acquired the room adjacent in 2018 and dubbed it “The Library.”
In designing both rooms, the Roux MacNeill team pulled inspiration from the original 1913 building, which was used for a bank and offices. “During our renovation, we found an original door inside one of the walls, and were able to reuse it to enclose our storage closet,” says MacNeill. The team also revived the original moldings below the ceiling and painted the wood floors white rather than refinishing them.
The two designers approached the space as they do all their projects—leveraging their respective strengths and backgrounds. MacNeill has a degree in architecture, while Roux earned hers in interior design. “Rob and I bring a unique perspective to our projects, and we believe collaboration produces the best results,” Roux says.
The new room serves as a casual meeting space for Roux MacNeill and design clients. “We wanted to reimagine the space to feel more like a residence than an office,” says MacNeill. Inspired by the drapery fabric, the team found a steely blue and canary yellow for their color scheme. “We were convinced these colors were the statement we needed to create a comfortable living room that fosters creative thinking and helps our clients see how we approach residential design,” Roux explains.
Beyond creative thinking, the space evokes nostalgia for a time when Raleigh was just a glimmer of the increasingly metropolitan city it’s becoming today. MacNeill and Roux hope to build upon the Triangle’s growth and modern tastes. “Raleigh is an exciting place to live and work, and is becoming more cosmopolitan every day,” MacNeill adds. “Like many of our clients, we are transplants from the North, and we’re enthusiastic about creating the feeling of home for others who make the move here.”