Every space has a story.
And for the Murphy & Dittenhafer Interiors team led by Frank Dittenhafer FAIA, LEED AP, and Debra Miller-Schober, CID, IIDA, their job is to uncover that story.
They’re architects and interior designers but also anthropologists and archaeologists – first listening to what their clients hope to achieve for a particular space, then digging for the unique or historic elements of that space and finally revealing opportunities to celebrate those elements while also allowing the space to evolve to fit their client’s needs.
“We’re known for taking that information and transforming it into a very functional but very inspiring interior design that exceeds their expectations – and doing it within budget,” Frank said.
Celebrating two decades of design
While Murphy & Dittenhafer’s interior design department has been transforming interior spaces for decades, the expansion and relocation of the design department from the Hotel Codorus to “c o d” in June spurred the firm to officially launch and brand M&D Interiors.
“c o d” has not only given the design team more space to meet and collaborate with clients and share samples of materials, but the storefront also offers them more public exposure and the opportunity to highlight the products of some of the vendors they work with.
Over the years, the interiors department has tackled (and often been recognized with design awards for) a wide variety of projects for a wide range of clients, including:
· urban lofts;
· single-family homes;
· colleges and universities;
· performing arts centers;
· and more.
“We’ve been doing all this great work and never have really promoted it to the degree that we should,” Frank says.
Thoughtful collaboration has been key to success
At the heart of Murphy & Dittenhafer Interiors are Frank and Deb, who have been working together for nearly 20 years. While they don’t always initially see eye-to-eye on every design decision, they both understand that there isn’t always one correct solution for any given interiors challenge – and acknowledge the significant value of exchanging multiple design ideas and approaches early in the process.
“Sometimes it’s a situation where we can finish each other’s sentence,” Frank says. “We collaborate well together and have very honest discussions and productive investigations about the design direction of a project.”
Their collaboration has given birth to an abundance of spaces in York, Central Pennsylvania, Baltimore, Maryland and beyond that they’re proud of. Ask Frank for just one in York, and just like a parent refuses to play favorites among their children, Frank rattles off several.
· He’s excited about the interiors and public spaces in the two Codo projects on North George Street;
· the way they repurposed the original bones of the building that houses Marketview Arts on West Philadelphia into an interesting mix of old and new;
· the thoughtful design and timelessness of offices for Wagman Construction and Dentsply;
· and the way they recently transformed an empty 3,000 square-foot-plus space at HACC’s York campus into a place student’s can gather in and enjoy.
“We’ve been told that people enjoy spending time in what we design,” Frank said. “We think that’s the highest compliment and measure of success.”
And designing these great spaces is more than just about picking paint colors, Frank added.
Murphy & Dittenhafer Interiors do everything from programming – where information about the client’s needs is collected and analyzed to determine the nature of the problem – to test fits to helping select lighting, flooring, wall finishes, loose furnishings, workstations and more.
Sometimes they do all these tasks for a client; sometimes they work ala carte – maybe helping pick out new carpet or offering ideas on how to better utilize a particular room.
Meeting long-term needs
No matter what they’re tackling, the M&D Interior design team tries to ensure the space can evolve with the client’s needs over time.
“We’re not creating something that can’t change, can’t adapt, can’t respond to needs,” Frank said.
Whether they’re harnessing great natural light for a reimagined office space or highlighting unique architectural detail in a historic building, the interiors team at Murphy & Dittenhafer will continue to tell stories using structures as their medium.