Collaborative Creations: Brandy Souza & Lawton Design Studio

This article was featured in the Fall 2009 issue of Kitchen Views Magazine.

This wet bar features Greenfield cabinets with the Ashford doorstyle finished in Bisque; the mahogany countertop was custom-made.

Long before the first power saw is plugged in to begin most major kitchen renovations, a critical team has to come together — the designer, who will plan how the new kitchen will look and work, and the architect, whose job at minimum is to handle underlying structural issues.

When the two work together especially well, the benefit to the homeowner can be tremendous.

Architect Mark Lawton and designer Kyra Lawton of Lawton Design Studio relax in South Dartmouth.

Such is often the case with Brandy Souza, manager of the Kitchen Views showroom in New Bedford, MA and an expert in kitchen design, and Kyra and Mark Lawton, a husband-and-wife architecture/design team in South Dartmouth (LawtonDesignStudio.com). For three years, Brandy and Kyra Lawton in particular have combined forces on a variety of projects both in and out of the kitchen. Where one’s work ends and the other’s begins can be tough to sort out, but the results often are stunning.

Brandy Souza, Assistant General Manager of Kitchen Views

Brandy Souza, Assistant General Manager of Kitchen Views

“We always come up with a fresh idea for each new project,” says Brandy. “We want to take a design as far as we possibly can and we don’t want it to look like anyone else’s.”

For the homeowner, that usually means a room or rooms that look like no others.

The effectiveness of the partnership is all the more surprising because their styles are considerably different.

“Kyra’s very contemporary,” says Brandy. “And I’m more traditional.”

“We challenge each other. We respect each other’s choices,” Kyra says.

Because Kyra also is a designer, Brandy’s job many times is to bring to the conversation up-to-the minute knowledge of what myriad suppliers are offering. If a new countertop is hitting the market, Brandy knows about it.

One recent project showed how unique their work can be.

This three story tower, designed by architect Mark Lawton, was added to an existing summer retreat.

The trio collaborated on the interiors of a three-story tower designed by Mark Lawton that was added to an existing home on the South Coast of Massachusetts. The master suite is on the first floor, a game and media room on the second, and on the third floor a wet bar/lounge sits high among the oak and birch trees.

“It’s our favorite room,” Mark said, referring to it as a “sky room.”

While the Lawtons did much of the design work, Brandy was intimately involved throughout the process.

Dynasty cabinetry was selected for this country kitchen in Wellesley, another team effort by Souza and the Lawtons.

“She would help us visualize things and make it all more real,” Mark said.

Kyra said she and Brandy work so well together in part because they get along so well.

A dramatic two-sink vanity featuring painted inset cabinetry by Greenfield provides ample storage in the master bath. Matching panels on the Jacuzzi along with the built-ins at each end complete the elegant design.

“We would be friends even if we didn’t work together. I trust her,” Kyra said. “She goes the extra mile the way I go the extra mile.” And so they do, from one project to another, from the Boston suburbs to the shores of Rhode Island.

Read more Kitchen Views Magazine articles at kitchenviews.com/magazine.

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