Thriving Design Office in NoMad: Bachman Brown’s Savvy Approach

April 23, 2024
By Keith Dale Gordon

There is a design office in the flourishing neighborhood of NoMad that embodies creativity, perseverance, and a commitment to personalized interiors – Bachman Brown. Founded by Bachman Clem over 15 years ago, the firm has established itself as a distinctive presence in the design industry with an approach that prioritizes the unique needs and preferences of each client.

Design Office in NoMad
Bachman Clem in his Fifth Avenue Duplex Project. Photos: Ngoc Minh Ngo

A Design Philosophy Centered Around Clients’ Individuality

In an industry often characterized by signature styles, Bachman Brown’s approach to interior design is more personalized. Instead of imposing an identifiably signature aesthetic, Bachman Clem and his team delve deep into the psyche of each client. Every project is approached with fresh eyes, resulting in spaces that feel less designed and more authentically tailored to the individuals who inhabit them.

“We design for the client’s individuality,” Clem explains. “I prefer to dive into a client’s psyche. If it looks like it’s been designed by an interior designer, it’s not a success.” This commitment challenges the team to constantly reinvent their designs, embracing a range of styles including Mid-century, Minimalist, Arts & Crafts, and Traditional.

Design Office in NoMad
West Tenth Loft Project. Photo: Eric Petschek
Design Office in NoMad
Central Park West and Contemporary Family Loft. Photos: Eric Petschek

The Path to Success: Exploration, Experience, and Perseverance

Born and raised in Paris, Texas, Clem and his brother were encouraged by their parents to “explore above the Mason Dixon line.” Following their advice, his older brother became a painter in New York. Bachman Clem initially pursued studies in Art and Architectural History at Connecticut College, contemplating a career in architecture. However, it was his time working with Susan Butcher, whose architecture and design clients included The Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons hotels, that ignited his passion for interior design.

Subsequently, Bachman honed his talents under the mentorship of interior designer Amy Lau, who played a pivotal role in shaping his skills and business acumen. Armed with invaluable experience and a determination to run his own firm, Clem founded Bachman Brown in 2008, using his middle name, Brown, as opposed to his last. “Clem does not roll off the tongue quite as easily as Brown,” he explains with a smile.

Bachman Brown opened just five weeks before the economy took a dramatic downturn, which was a real test of his fortitude and endurance. “It’s a tough business – it’s a rollercoaster,” he acknowledges, recalling the sage advice of a fellow interior designer who encouraged him to ride the waves and navigate the highs and lows of the industry, something he has mastered with success.

Amidst the economic downturn, a shift occurred in consumer behavior, prompting a heightened scrutiny of expenditures. This necessitated a more strategic approach to tightening budgets. Clem describes himself as a “scrappy” interior designer. “I love a good flea market, yard sale, or antique fair,” he explains, reflecting on his penchant for resourcefulness and the thrill of uncovering hidden gems. Perusing the Chelsea Flea Market on 26th Street is an example of his enduring passion for discovering unique pieces that breathe life into his designs.

When asked what the contributing factors are to his ongoing success and continued growth, Clem responds without hesitation, “Perseverance. Definitely Perseverance.”

Design Office in NoMad
Left: Architect’s Penthouse. Photo: Eric Petschek Right: Mid-Century Greenwich Village Apartment. Photo: Mark Roskams

The Importance of Personal Interaction and a Physical Design Office Space

In an era dominated by remote work, Clem remains a staunch advocate for the physical workspace. Believing that true creativity and collaboration thrive best in person, he emphasizes the significance of face-to-face interaction in the design process.

“This is not a business where you work from home,” he asserts. “You can’t choose a color, texture, or finish online. Your interaction with furniture and movement through a space and workspace is key. Human interaction is vitally important.”

Design Office in NoMad
Bachman Brown’s Design Office in The St. James Building, NoMad. Photo: Alex Geana

Choosing a Design Office in NoMad for Creativity and Growth

For Clem, setting up his design office in NoMad was a deliberate choice fueled by a love for the neighborhood’s energy and its continuing evolution. The convenience of walking to work from his West Village apartment and the dynamic atmosphere were irresistible attractions, making it the ideal location for Bachman Brown’s headquarters. “I love walking to work – it is one of the greatest joys to walk to and from the office. NoMad is wonderful. I’ve watched it really change over the years. It keeps getting better and better.”

Benefits of Collaborative Relationships

Moreover, Bachman’s relationship with Kew Management, specifically in the historic Townsend and St. James buildings, provided not only the right kinds of distinctive office space with character, but also a supportive environment conducive to growth. Over the years, as Bachman Brown expanded its design office space in NoMad within Kew’s buildings several times, the firm experienced firsthand the benefits of collaborative relationships and attentive management. “Kew has been extremely supportive and helpful as we’ve grown and moved offices. We count ourselves lucky.”

Design Office in NoMad
Kew Management’s historic Townsend and St. James buildings.

Bachman Brown started in the Townsend at 1123 Broadway. Two years later, they moved to the St. James at 1133 Broadway, where they’ve been for the last 12 years. The firm’s first office space was small, accommodating Clem and one other employee. It was furnished with long bookcases for samples and two desks. “We couldn’t stand up at the same time,” he recalls with a laugh.

The firm’s next home was a 250 square foot space on the top floor of the St. James building. “It had insane views,” recalls Clem. “Looking south you could see the Statue of Liberty and the Hudson River.” With 15-foot-high ceilings and breathtaking views, the small office space in NoMad was impressive.

Bachman Brown continued to grow, adding three more staff members. “I decided I’d give the staff the nice desks and I’d make do a small vintage desk. Keep your employees happy and they’ll take better care of you in the long run,” he wisely advises.

Now, Bachman Brown has moved again into an even larger space on the 4th floor of the St. James building overlooking the Cathedral of St. Sava.

“I have a lot of friends in the buildings, and I’ve definitely developed relationships in the Townsend and the St. James,” says Clem. “There are so many creative here, including architects, designers, communications firms, among many other talents. Plus, there are reps for furniture, fabrics, and other resources. I have known Cannon at The Crave Collective for years – she’s a fabulous resource.”

Embracing Growth, New Horizons, and the Future

As Bachman Brown continues to thrive, Clem sets his sights on new horizons. With an lighting, outdoor furniture, and more, further expanding the firm’s creative pursuits.

In the everchanging world of interior design, Bachman Browns’ interior design office in NoMad is an example of the power of perseverance, creativity, and a steadfast commitment to excellence. With its personalized approach and attention to quality, the spaces Bachman Brown designs go beyond functionality and decor, becoming reflections of the individuals who inhabit them. Bachman Brown looks to the future, it continues to expand its impact on interior design, guided by a vision that is as timeless as it is visionary.