As often happens in New York, buildings are given new life and meaning as the years pass. This apartment, for example, on Franklin Street in Tribeca, was once a warehouse, rough around the edges, yet functional. Today, it serves as a home for a young family and a newborn – with exposed ceilings and worn brick as remnants of its past. “Luckily, the conversion wasn’t too heavy-handed and much of the historic character was maintained,” interior designer Kevin Dumais said.
The couple had purchased the 2,800 square-foot apartment and had lived in it for a year before starting renovations. Hiring Kevin for the interior design and Paul Portell for the architecture, they got started on creating their ideal space. “They loved the existing elements of the loft, the original exposed ceilings and brick envelope,” Kevin explained, “and wanted us to expand on these textures while making the space more functional.” The brick, for example, was kept as is but was painted in white to brighten up the space. Kevin selected light gray stained wide plank oak flooring from LV Wood to compliment yet play up the rough-hewn ceiling.
Despite the consensus to maintain the apartment’s original character, the designers did want to create special features within the home’s redesign: “We chose floor-to-ceiling ebony-stained wood walls in the entry with no windows,” he shared. “The goal was to create a moment of drama and disguise the miscellaneous closet doors, powder and laundry rooms. We balanced the dark walls with a bold Moroccan tile on the floor and Venetian plaster walls on the opposite side. It is dramatic and has the effect of making the open kitchen and loft feel brighter as you transition from the hall.”
On to the kitchen, a part of the home that previously felt like an “after-thought”, Kevin and Portell Architects reconfigured the space to make it a more central part of the living area. “We reorganized the space allowing for a galley kitchen with a large central island, and a built-in bar with additional storage to separate the public from private spaces of the loft,” he said. They selected shaker-style cabinetry painted in Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue with brass hardware and Calacatta marble countertops.
Separating the living area from the bedrooms are custom reeded glass doors that Kevin commissioned for the project. “This door system allows for total privacy while taking advantage of filtered light,” he explained. “To soften and romanticize the industrial interior architecture, we draped the glass wall on the inside of the master bedroom with a taupe linen sheer.” Another beautiful custom-designed element includes a jade green lacquered media cabinet with an aluminum base that divides the master bedroom into two areas: one for sleeping and the other for lounging.
In a little over a year the planning, designing, and construction of this historic loft was complete. “The clients saw their project throughout the renovations,” Kevin said, “but I asked them to stay away the last two weeks to give us time and space to complete the install and add the finishing layers. I don’t recall what they said when they saw their home, but I do remember tears, the happy kind.”