How Cotting School partnered with Joyce Contract Interiors to refresh their current space with a clean and sharp look.

When Cotting School in Lexington, Massachusetts, needed to furnish a variety of new and existing spaces, they partnered with Joyce Contract Interiors (JCI) for the project. The school provides integrated educational services to students ages 3-22 with a range of learning, communication, physical, and medical challenges. Prioritizing an environment that encourages learning and growth and focused on the inclusion of all partners, including students, families, staff, public funding agencies, donors, and volunteers, Cotting School turned to JCI for help.


Phase 1: Beginning the Design Process

The reimagined areas in need of furnishing included multipurpose spaces, lounge areas, administrative offices, and classrooms. Working with the school’s facilities director, JCI began by reviewing base plans.

Phase 2: Exploring the Best Options

JCI focused on the school’s desired results: colorful and creative spaces that were both functional and comfortable. Numerous site visits and multiple calls and discussions helped finalize furniture and color choices.

Phase 3: Developing a Floor Plan

With the preferred furniture choices known, the JCI team created optimal layouts for each space. Working from Cotting School’s overall floor plan, JCI’s design and furniture professionals utilized their skills and experience to develop updated plans to redesign areas and position the furniture. For each floor plan, spaces were arranged to encourage collaboration, communication, and learning. Natural light and airflow considerations, as well as functional concerns about IT and power, were addressed.

Phase 4: Installation

JCI project-managed the successful delivery and installation of all of the furniture for the school spaces. Through constant communication with all of the parties involved, including manufacturers, shipping companies, installers, and the client, JCI oversaw the project and ensured its success. Projects often progress in phases, and the Cotting School project was no different. While the school underwent renovations, JCI worked with school representatives to order furniture in a time frame that would align with the completion of different construction phases.


The goal for the new library space was not what might be the general assumption: quiet space or carrels for individual study and reading. The Cotting School vision was an open, collaborative, and interactive area for brainstorming, team-bonding, and project-based work.

The Cotting School Library

The Cotting School Library

This goal was achieved with a serpentine open sofa and a break-out area, as well as a collaborative/interactive meeting area.

Climbing Wall
The climbing wall, a new addition to the building, provides a student-focused area that inspires physical activity, individual achievements, and teamwork. The lounge was designed as a collaborative viewing point for parents to observe their children and as a space for social interaction. The aspirations for this space were realized with circular lounge seating plus regular-height and café-height tables.

The Cotting School Climbing Wall

Climbing Wall Lounge
The school’s bowling alley/lounge space is an area for physical activity, bonding, team-building, and social exchanges. The design of the lounge area focused on social interaction. A break-out curved benching unit, matching chairs, and ottomans were used to create an open lounge area that inspires collaborations. Bold colors were chosen to bring life and energy to this area. The bowling alley was a brand-new addition to the school. Cotting School wanted the renovation project to include a newly created fun area where students could grow mentally and physically, enjoying themselves outside the classroom. JCI was tasked with providing furniture options that would allow parents and teachers to lounge comfortably while observing the students.

The Cotting School Climbing Wall Lounge
The Cotting School Climbing Wall Lounge

Classroom Tables and Office Desks
JCI also updated tables and desks in various classrooms, offices, and staff areas within Cotting School. This part of the project included updates to the medical clinic, physical/occupational therapy areas, and psychologist’s office. The goals were to create better-looking and more functional spaces for the school staff.

The Cotting School updates were completed on time and within budget. The resulting space has been well-received, and well-utilized, by the school’s student population and by the adults in the building.