The primary goals for this ex-industrial loft apartment were to replace the worn-out functional elements like the kitchen and bathroom while restoring cherished historical elements like the undulating plaster ceiling and cast iron column. The unique plaster ceiling was restored wherever it was exposed, and the cast iron column and window wall were stripped and clear-coated. In addition, the interior brick walls were stripped, repainted and finished with a clear masonry sealant, and the maple block floors were patched and refinished.
The new work was conceived as a zone of contemporary residential functions inserted into this restored industrial shell. At the main living space, this insertion is manifested as a delicate, glowing, finely detailed wall of cabinetry and Venetian plaster that contrasts with the rugged industrial components of the perimeter. This new component incorporates all the necessities – appliances, equipment, storage, lighting, and HVAC – while also establishing a division between the public and private zones of the loft.
All images shown are by Christopher Weil
In addition to housing all the functional requirements of the apartment, the new central element serves a visual mediator between the industrial character of the space and the owners' significant antiques and other traditional furnishings. The subtle detailing and recessed paneling of the built-in cabinetry, as well as the dark cherry material, establish a dialogue between the large-scale architecture and the small-scale furnishings.
The "light boxes" above the cabinetry elements satisfy the owners' desire to avoid visible light fixtures wherever possible while providing good general illumination. This central cabinetry element also houses a substantial audio-visual system including a concealed video projector that projects onto a motorized screen that drops out of the soffit in front of the window wall.
As an open design, the kitchen had to be visually integrated with the overall aesthetic vision for the apartment without sacrificing any functions of a chef's kitchen. The wall cabinets integrate seamlessly with the light boxes above. The lighting of the rice paper glass fronts is uniform throughout such that the cabinet contents are only faintly silhouetted.
The kitchen includes a built-in ventilation hood and a four-hundred bottle wine cooler, as well as all the customary commercial-type appliances. The shimmering stainless steel backsplash tiles help to visually integrate these appliances into the architecture, but the small scale of the tiles produces a soft, almost "textile" quality. The cabinet and paneling details are consistent throughout the apartment, and the exotic green marble relates to the adjacent "wasabi green" Venetian plaster.
The spacious five-fixture primary bath was designed to provide a restful retreat from the urban scene. It incorporates a large soaking tub, a steam shower, and a generously scaled vanity. The gently veined white and grey marble has a calming effect, while the dark cherry finish used at the vanity provides a visual link to the rest of the apartment.
The spacious five-fixture primary bath was designed to provide a restful retreat from the urban scene. It incorporates a large soaking tub, a steam shower, and a generously scaled vanity. The gently veined white and grey marble has a calming effect, while the dark cherry finish used at the vanity provides a visual link to rest of the apartment.
Another quiet retreat at the back of the building, the bedroom incorporates the same details and materials as the rest of the apartment. The "Delft blue" walls provide a soothing background for more of the owners' antique furnishings.