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Picture this: You’re house hunting and have toured so many listings that you see your real-estate agent more than your family. You’re exhausted. Feeling defeated. If the next one isn’t “the one,” you’re done. But you step inside, take a look around, and instantly know you’ve found home. Only thing is, there’s a floor-to-ceiling eyesore smack-dab in the middle of your would-be-perfect future. The worst thing about structural columns is the fact that they’re absolutely necessary, but with a dash of creativity (and a trustworthy contractor), these pillars don’t have to be a pain. Follow the lead of these renovators and learn how to embrace a little extra support. 

Create a Corner Island 

Philipp and Kit von Dalwig, the husband-and-wife team behind Von Dalwig Architecture, had two choices: Disguise the concrete post among drywall and popcorn ceilings or literally work around it. They knocked down the adjacent walls and surrounded the concrete post with a Pietra Cardosa countertop. With no sink or cooktop integrated within, it’s not your typical island, but the three sides offer plenty of space to gather, and the fourth serves up shelving for cookbooks and dishes.

Extend Your Open Shelving

The only thing standing in designer Heather Phillips Spaulding’s way of creating a cohesive, open flow in Bri Emery’s New York kitchen was a strange post that the countertop wrapped around. When she realized she couldn’t remove it, she built around it, covering it in the same Zia tile as the backsplash and creating open shelving that serves as a spice rack in the kitchen and display space in the nearby dining area. 

Tara Mangini and Percy Bright of Jersey Ice Cream Co. knew a column was going to interfere with the kitchen of this SoHo workspace, but that didn’t deter them. “We wanted to showcase it instead of boxing it up with some drywall,” Mangini says. They used it as an opportunity to create an open shelving moment that extends past the cabinets—and right through the pole. 

Bring Something to the Table

With only 870 square feet to work with in this Brooklyn waterfront loft, architecture and design studio JAM made every inch count—and that meant not having a free-floating dining table in the middle of the place. Instead, they built a green quartzite surface around a curved wall where a peninsula counter used to be. Because of its arrangement near the kitchen, the table can be used as both extra prep space or a spot to gather. 

Photography by Read McKendree

The steel support in this New York City loft was essential for holding up the timber beams overhead, but its placement in the open space between the living area and kitchen was less than ideal. The team at Studio Todd Raymond came up with the idea of turning it into the off-center base of what’s now the dining table. A fluted wood wrap and mounted sconce infuse mealtime with extra warmth in the industrial space.

Let It Shine

Renters are used to dealing with a number of issues, like the ubiquitous boob lighting and, in this case, an immovable column in a far corner. Queens-based designer Alvin Wayne made the most of the structural pillar (and solved the lighting issue) by mounting an articulating sconce halfway up. He finished the corner with a custom marble-topped table that perfectly fits around the curves.

Make It (Almost) Disappear

When Elina Mussakulova, cofounder of Sdelaemremont.kz Interior Bureau, proposed wrapping the structural eyesore in this Kazakhstan apartment in mirrors, her client shut it down. “She didn’t want her home to look like a restaurant,” says Mussakulova. To make the column as homey as possible, the designer used long strips of rectangular reflective panels on every side. The sculptural result looks more like it belongs in an art studio than at an eatery.