Sample House

Material Library

Long Island City, New York

Studio Visit

Tucked away in Long Island City is an unassuming but beautiful studio that Sample House runs out of. This brand new material library is a breath of fresh air, offering a community-first approach towards sourcing samples and providing design resources. Geared towards any and all design enthusiasts, Sample House delivers simplicity and ease both in their services and their workspace. We took a tour with founder Michael DeChillo about how this creative material library came to life and what one can expect from stepping inside this charming space.

What is your background and what inspired you to start Sample House?

Initially, I was introduced to a lot of the design world when I was hired during the early days of TRNK-NYC, I worked there as their intern and then Operational Manager. This experience provided important introductions to premier design brands that I truly respect like De La Espada, Flos & Nanimarquina. Eventually, I had the opportunity to join the incredible team at Workstead, where I was trusted to manage and improve their existing material library for the design team for the last two years.

While at Workstead, I was inspired to build a new and independently accessible material library for the NYC design community, which became Sample House.

What is the ethos behind Sample House? How is it different from other material libraries?

We are an independent material library dedicated to providing an inclusive and diverse range of materials to all design professionals. Our aim and format is to facilitate quick and effortless in-person material exploration without catering to any specific style or being limited to particular brands or vendor selections.

Unlike the majority of material libraries being private, we operate as a sort of gallery of beautiful materials, avoiding excessive use of contract quality materials or super synthetic options. Additionally, we prioritize sustainability by extending the shelf life of our materials through the reuse of samples, ensuring a dynamic and ever-evolving collection for our members.

What do you look for when curating new vendors and materials?

Sample House welcomes the classic and most trusted brands/finishes but we also strive to discover local talent deserving of the opportunity to be seen and considered for large-scale projects, as well as global vendors who meet the same quality criteria but are not often featured in stateside projects. We don’t adhere to strict guidelines, but we try to source vendors who implement the use of mostly raw, natural, or minimally processed materials, or utilize a hands-on creation approach.

Are there certain materials Sample House specializes in?

We primarily consider materials for high-end residential work, but we can cater to hospitality or development projects when required by our members. We work hard to ensure lasting trust and confidence for members and will always want to be by their side, no matter what their project requires.

What are your personal favorite materials Sample House carries?

Honestly, a favorite material depends on the space and application. At Sample House, all materials are favorites because they support and complement each other to create beautiful spaces and help designers bring their projects to life. At the same time and in no particular order we are currently big fans of working with vendors such as Lofa Ceramics, Emma Harling, Noreen Seabrook, New Format Studio, Ryan Chang, Spectrum Mirror, BDDW, Hudson Co., Ready-to-Hang, Studio Goux, Mock Studio, Minna and Ignorance is Bliss.

Do you have any materials you wish were utilized more? Any materials you predict will be popular in the coming years?

Europe is ahead on this compared to the states, but it would be nice to see more installations of wood flooring with curated widths and varying dimensions. You can get more from each tree with this process and add dynamic expressions throughout your space.

Could you describe the services Sample House provides? What should someone expect by becoming a member?

As an independent material library, we operate through a monthly membership priced at $195, plus $25 for each additional team member utilizing the library. Each member gains access to a trusted service that provides convenience and access to materials, whether existing or requested from elsewhere. A Sample House membership also includes material loans, a continually organized library for every appointment, duplicate requests if required, coordination and additional requests from material vendors, along with many other features listed on our website.

What projects are the best fit for your services? Who are your typical clients?

Currently our members are individual designers with a strong focus in high-end residential projects or small interior design firms that want to have the flexibility and accessibility of quickly discovering the best materials and finishes for their projects without worrying about the logistics of maintaining a personal material library.

Your space is beautiful! Do you plan to host any events in the future?

Thank you! Yes, we will also be increasing our event schedule over the next few months. Some upcoming events we have planned will include textile brands and furniture fabricators. We are also looking forward to a collaborative public event with Fabric & Steel sometime in mid-July.

What does the future of Sample House look like? What can we expect from you in 2024?

As Sample House grows and expands its credibility, we look forward to either acquiring a larger facility or establishing a secondary location in NYC. We also aim to include more architectural samples to further empower all design professionals within Sample House. Lastly, we are excited about the talented designers we will meet and have the honor of working with on their future projects.