Interiors: High-Rise Eastern Elegance
by kathleen nicholson webber
photography by halkin photography llc
Beyond the great room lies the kitchen, where under-cabinet fixtures were installed to add glow to the room.
While many know Meg Rodgers for her much-lauded work on 20 restaurants and hospitality projects in and around Philadelphia, she is just as admired for her residential portfolio that exhibits both depth and imagination. Rodgers is drawn to these projects for the simplest of reasons. “I am a problem solver,” says the former woodworker. “When I was in art design school, many of my friends wanted their furniture designs to be represented by a gallery. I wanted to go out and find someone who needed a chair.” Today there are plenty of clients here—as well as places as far-flung as the Caribbean—who line up for Rodgers’s designs.
|The great room’s built-in (background) was custom designed in Macassar ebony wood.|
Two years ago, one such client, a music journalist, was looking for a place in Philadelphia. Rodgers began vetting the most desirable neighborhoods and soon found a threebedroom corner unit with tall ceilings and enviable views of Rittenhouse Square, a modern space at a choice Center City high-rise with amenities like a pool, parking, and a pet-friendly atmosphere. The renovation and decoration of the home just won her team at Marguerite Rodgers Interior Design the International Interior Design Association’s Best Interior Award for 2011.
It has been more than three decades now that Rodgers has been making headlines for her work. Her latest roster of projects reflects her diversity: With work completed on furnishings for the Morse and Ezra Stiles Colleges at Yale University, originally designed by Eero Saarinen, Rodgers is also finishing the interior of a 130-seat restaurant for the Kimmel Center, slated to open next September and for which her husband’s firm, Kieran Timberlake, is the architect. Rodgers’s latest award-winning project displays all of her signature touches—her work is dramatic and yet livable.
What the client asked for was a home that was comfortable, warm, and inviting, so Rodgers started with rich woods for many surfaces. “He shared my passion for wood,” she says. A Macassar ebony was chosen for a living room built-in, designed and fabricated by Contemporary Artisans Cabinetry. She also darkened the pre-existing cherrywood floors. “I often use dark floors because it grounds everything,” she says. Atop them sit upholstered furniture, coffee tables, and end tables that she designed. Of note is a corner table with a shagreen top. “I like designing furniture because I like to be part of the process,” she says. “I don’t just want to sketch something. I like going into a shop and saying, ‘Let’s make this a little higher or lower or change the leg length.’”