Designer Gin Braverman gives a mortuary a stylish upgrade – House Beautiful | NutSocia

Gin Braverman never thought she would decorate a morgue. As the founder and director of her eponymous design firm, Braverman has a portfolio full of well-appointed restaurants, vibrant storefronts, and gorgeous boutique hotels — not funeral homes. But when a mutual friend recommended the Texas-based designer redesign Broussard’s Mortuary — a 133-year-old family business just outside of Houston — Braverman felt the partnership was “organic.”

“I’m a big fan of Six feet under‘ Braverman admits. “I was really intrigued by the idea of ​​pulling back the curtain on the industry and approaching it from a different, user-centric angle.”

Morgues have been open since the 18thth Century-they provide a convenient place for embalming and storing corpses outside of a family’s living room-but they’re not exactly set as a design goal. With many morgues stuck in the past with heavy curtains, crystal chandeliers, and dated details, Braverman wanted to create a stylish space that didn’t overlook Broussard’s mission.

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“We wanted it to have life without having too much excitement,” she says. “We didn’t want to force cheerfulness, but we wanted a touch of elegance and respect for the use of space. People deserve to be celebrated in style.”

Though Braverman retained the original layout of the 2,500-square-foot workspace, she beautified the morgue with uplifting accents. New millwork added some warmth to the walls, while floral wall coverings added more visual allure to the property. “We wanted to avoid mirrors, as many visitors do [in mourning], and wallpaper has translated this classic language in a more modern way,” says Braverman. “We changed the wallpaper from room to room, but it still had a consistent finish.” Contemporary accessories and custom-made furniture complete the space without making it look like “a modern furniture showroom.”

Although the end product is well-suited for a morgue, Braverman points out that the overall atmosphere could fit in a number of rooms. The key, she says, is to keep the design approach as natural as possible. “I think it’s really important not to rush it and [spend time] Collect things that mean something to you,” Braverman recommends. “I think it shows when you try too hard, and a space can feel remote.” After all, when it comes to celebrating life, the most important thing is to surround yourself with pieces you really love .

Read on for an intimate tour of Braverman’s morgue makeover:

reception area

Entrance reception

Courtesy of the Gin Design Group

Because the reception area is the first space guests see after parking their car, Braverman wanted the space to act as a visual exhalation. “We didn’t want it to feel like a reception desk where you check in for an appointment,” says the designer. “We wanted to add some character with the wood paneling, desk and decor so everything could be filled in consistently.” Although millwork was not part of the project’s original plans, Braverman says her clients appreciate the instant charm it created. were excited.

Art: Wayfair Accesories: CB2, Anthropologie and Wayfair Shelves: Individually by GEWL chairs: Individually by GEWL Writing desk: Individually by GEWL.

arrangement room


Courtesy of the Gin Design Group

When designing the arrangement room, Braverman wanted the space to feel “dark yet uplifting.” Simply put, “We wanted it to feel very comfortable. If you work in a furniture office, you probably don’t think about the furniture; However, we wanted to feel like you were wrapped in a big hug.” Braverman immediately felt those warm, welcoming feelings with this whimsical wallpaper pattern from Scalamandré, which inspired her to paint the embellishments a matching red. “

background: Scalamandre follower: Regina Andreas wall lamps: Ballard table: Custom by GEWL chairs: Custom by GEWL.

viewing space

visiting room

Courtesy of the Gin Design Group

Depending on the size of the services, a set of dividing doors in the middle could transform the auditorium into one larger room or two smaller areas. The task, Braverman says, was to make sure the space looked its best in both configurations. “We wanted to keep a lot of neutral colors in this area because it’s so big and we need a lot of flexibility,” she says. To complement the warm sophistication of the taupe walls and textured black-and-white furniture, Braverman chose wallpaper with touches of iridescence. “It gave the room an air of elegance and sophistication,” she shares.

Background: MDC Interior Solutions carpet: Modern carpets Art: perigold wall lamps: Ballard

Lamp: CB2 sideboard: Custom by GEWL coffee table: Custom by GEWL chair: Custom by GEWL sofa: Custom by GEWL.



Courtesy of the Gin Design Group

Since the lounge is usually filled with flowers during a service, Braverman paid homage to the room’s purpose with floral wallpaper. “Although it has a somewhat lively pattern and detailed milling work, overall it creates a neutral background,” she says. “[The floral print] seems to fit the funeral theme.”

To bridge the gap between old and new, Braverman used custom furniture from their sister brand GEWL. “We wanted it to feel more curated than something you would see in a home decor store,” she says. “These pieces have character, but you don’t have to think too much about them other than to appreciate their comfort and texture.”

background: Scalamandre carpet: tact lamp: anthropology art: A royal alley tables: Custom by GEWL chairs: Custom by GEWL sofa: Custom by GEWL.

chapel foyer

Chapel foyer

Courtesy of the Gin Design Group

Although Braverman lined most of the rooms with wallpaper, she reserved some spaces for strategically placed art. Granted, finding the right pieces for a morgue is a big challenge; However, Braverman focused on the ordinary and the expected. “The goal was to select artworks that really felt like they belonged without drawing anyone’s attention,” she shares. “We didn’t want anything to compete with memorabilia or whatever the attendees would bring into the room.” Here, an abstract artwork is anchored to a woven bench in case guests are moments away from the chapel.

Art: perigold Bank: Custom by GEWL.



Courtesy of the Gin Design Group

For many, stepping into a morgue can feel like an overwhelming, emotional roller coaster, so it was important to create small moments of comfort throughout the room. The toilet turned out to be the perfect opportunity. “The toilet is where you might be alone for a moment, so we wanted it to feel as quiet and gentle as possible,” she says. As with many rooms in the morgue, the design direction was set by the choice of wallpaper, subdued floral patterns in a soothing purple hue. The greyish-green tiles stylishly rounded off the look and provided an equally relaxing vibe without being too outlandish.

background: showroom for supplies lamp: anthropology.

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