The Acclaimed Brooklyn Design Firm Moving to Hudson

Plus, WORKSTEAD debuts a new lighting line.

In 2015, the Brooklyn design studio WORKSTEAD designed lighting and beds for a unique redo of the 40-year-old Warren Motel (which was previously a movie house from 1928–1958, before becoming a motel) on Warren Street in Hudson. The finished product: the elegant boutique hotel, Rivertown Lodge.

Four years later, WORKSTEAD has opened a new design studio/showroom within walking distance of Rivertown Lodge.

Robert Highsmith, his wife, Stefanie Brechbuehler, and Ryan Mahoney founded WORKSTEAD in Brooklyn 10 years ago. Their work — which includes The Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg and The Dewberry Charleston — has been featured in The New York Times Style Magazine, Architectural Digest, and Dwell, among many other publications.

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“Our hotels are special to us, because the public can see what we do,” Highsmith says.

“We’re focusing on the product side, and the interior design side. Now we have a platform to engage our customers.”

WORKSTEAD has set up shop in an 1880s-era Hudson home.

The Hudson studio is inside an 1880s-era home originally owned by Cornelius H. Evans, a brewer and businessman who served two terms as the city’s mayor. Its original architectural details are beautifully intact, and provide the perfect backdrop for WORKSTEAD’s products.

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In addition to the stunning design, what makes the products unique is that — unlike most lighting options that are “Look, but do not touch” — these beg to be manipulated.

The latest products — the Chamber lamp, sconce, and chandelier — are striking in their simplicity: a metal shroud in a variety of color choices, covering a simple, soft-white bulb. But adjust the mechanism next to the shroud, and it raises or lowers to allow more or less light to escape.

“Our lighting is analog; we like people to touch it,” Highsmith says with a smile.

WORKSTEAD’s design portfolio now includes 24 light fixtures and (equally minimalist) furniture pieces. Growth was organic and natural: Mahoney now manages the Brooklyn studio, while Highsmith anchors Hudson (Brechbuehler will follow once the busy-ness eases of mothering twin girls who were born in November).  

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