Rachael H Grochowski is an award-winning architect and designer, as well as the founder and principal of New Jersey-based RHG Architecture + Design. Named one of the Top 25 Women Entrepreneurs in New Jersey, Racheal’s work spans both commercial and residential projects all over the US. Operating with a dedicated commitment to sustainability, her work has won her awards by the Urban Land Institute and Rachael and has been awarded Gold and Silver LEED certifications. Find out more about Rachael and her work in this week’s Designer Friday.
The Arts and Crafts style wooden panels surrounding the back wall and fireplace give this room a classic feel, complemented by bright white window-pane doors.
Andrew Joseph: Describe your design style as if you were explaining it to someone who cannot see.
Rachael H Grochowski: I hope someone who cannot see can feel my design. My style is about creating space to dwell in the present moment, not just to see but feel the beauty. By using solids and voids, I create a flow that feels easeful. I focus on our connection to nature through the senses by integrating texture like natural fiber fabrics and textured woods; integrating aroma through candles, oils, and flowers; balancing color by limiting the palette to make a space easily understood, and adding sound when possible.
AJ: What is something you hope to see trending in design in the future?
RHG: I would like design trends to assist people to lead easeful lives. This could simply be through organization, creating better flow, comfortable and accessible furniture, and a connection to the outdoors. These elements can help people feel comfortable in the stillness that eventually leads to truth, joy, and gratitude.
AJ: If you could live in any home in a movie or television series, what would it be?
RHG: I love this question. In grad school, we used to grab a beer in the bar after the studio and sketch floor plans of TV shows. I’ve always loved sketching “The Brady Bunch” because it is classic midcentury modern, and it stumped some of my friends! Of course, there are way cooler TV show homes, but this one holds a fond memory.
A simple living room, punctuated by the strong diagonal of the staircase railing and seemingly sunken living space gives this room a dynamic dimension. A small gallery wall of artworks hangs over the honey-colored wooden console.
AJ: What would you like to be remembered for?
RHG: I first wanted to break the question into my ego response and my spiritual response. However, what I want to be remembered for isn’t really me; it’s the lineage that goes along with life. What I mean by that is the people who experience the spaces I have created will have memories of their own lives in those spaces and how the space affected the experience. This includes the spaces I have created for my own family for us to live our lives and my clients and those who use the public spaces I have created.
AJ: What’s something you always travel with?
RHG: I always travel with crystals. When I pack, I often grab whatever is near and put them in my suitcase, not realizing why I might have chosen a specific one. Many times on my travels, I have given away the crystals. I get the urge to talk to someone specific. It could be rose quartz to someone grieving, amethyst to someone who seems anxious, or quartz to encourage positive energy.
AJ: What would your dream project or dream client be right now?
RHG: A dream project would be a wellness retreat. Interestingly, my graduate school thesis was a wellness retreat; it’s a career-long goal!
In this office reception area, the large pink desk, sat against floor-to-ceiling windows, immediately draws you into the room. The slatted lighting fixtures offer an architectural play with the industrial ceiling.
AJ: A book that everyone should read?
RHG: There are so many books I think everyone should read. The book I most often recommend is “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. The four agreements are ‘Be impeccable with your word,’ ‘Don’t take anything personally,’ ‘Don’t make assumptions,’ and ‘Always do your best.’ As a business owner, a service provider, a friend, a parent, a family member, I find these agreements to be the foundation of wellness and professionalism. They aren’t always easy to live by, and reading about what this means in day-to-day life helps me stay balanced.
AJ: Which room in the house do you find yourself working from the most? Why? How does this inform your thoughts about architecture?
RHG: I live in a contemporary house with an open plan, a lot of angles, and a vaulted shed roof ceiling. I often sit in the kitchen, which looks across the main part of the house and out a glass wall to a view of the NYC skyline. It reminds me of the power of the built environment, which also engages me in nature through the surrounding treetops. When I look up, I notice how the shapes come together and complement in shadow and light. I recently renovated my kitchen with black stained oak cabinetry, a large-scale black limestone tile backsplash, and a bleached oak island. I work on a beautiful black and rust marble counter, which reminds me of all the strength of nature creating such beauty.
About the Designer | Rachael H. Grochowski is an award-winning architect and designer and a seeker of truth in all things – especially in herself.
Since she founded her Montclair, NJ-based firm, RHG Architecture +Design in 2003, Rachael’s personal and professional mission has been to help people create spaces that are authentically theirs. For Rachael, design is a journey and a collaboration; she guides others towards environments that make them feel grounded in their histories and inspired to grow into their futures.
Rachael’s diverse body of work spans both residential and commercial projects throughout the US. She’s been recognized by the Urban Land Institute for sustainable development and has been awarded Gold and Silver LEED certifications for her work. In 2019, Rachael was named one of the Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneurs in NJ.
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