Jennie Bishop, Principal Designer at Studio Gild, shared a fun fact about the “before” state of this Tribeca home: “It was formerly a live/work space that housed a creative agency run by a couple who lived in the back. The former homeowners’ office space was raised up 4 feet on a platform so that they literally oversaw their staff.”
Present day, it’s a private home of an attorney who wanted to pay homage to the architectural roots—it was built in 1865 and located in one of the landmarked Woods Mercantile buildings on White Street. “He’s an art collector who is passionate about authenticity and craftsmanship in design. This is our fifth project together,” Jennie shares. “For the first several projects, he was a bachelor. He started dating someone from New York in 2017 and they recently married in Colorado. While she didn’t get too involved in this project, she let him do his thing and she’s quite happy with the outcome.”
First things first, they had to remove the “viewing” platform to take full advantage of the 14-foot ceilings, allowing ample light to flood in and highlight the client’s impressive contemporary art collection. For his wish to have solid craftsmanship and history in the space, Studio Gild designed a custom entry credenza with Chicago’s Lagomorph Design and Connecticut-based leather artist Casey Gunschel. “The backstory of the credenza stems from a tornado in Moore, Oklahoma near Oklahoma City [the client is originally from Oklahoma]. We started with a graphical chart of the topographical destruction in the area and abstracted it horizontally across the front of the cabinet tooled into the leather,” Jennie explains. “For anyone else, the artwork is just an interesting graphic design. But for those who know, they know this custom work of art in leather, elm wood and heavily distressed oak represents the path of destruction of this storm.”
The rest of the home is warm, slightly industrial, authentically modern, with an eclectic mix of newly fabricated furniture with touches of 20th Century antiques. In each room, authenticity of materials is paramount—leather, bronze, solid woods, natural stones all show off Studio Gild’s signature design slant.
Working in an urban environment always has its challenges. In this case, they had to be mindful of the downstairs neighbor, who had just completed a substantial futuristic renovation. “We chose to raise the floors 10 inches in the primary bedroom suite, purely for aesthetic reasons,” Jennie says. “Having shallow steps leading up to the bedroom felt unexpected and luxurious in a downtown Manhattan loft. And it didn’t hinder the feeling of the soaring ceilings one bit. The other benefit of this plane change was that any plumbing shifts could happen inside the unit, avoiding the need to come through the ceiling of the neighbor’s condo below.”
It was a two-year project from purchase to installation. “The client is not one to waste words, so when you receive ‘I like it,’ you know you have succeeded,” the designer concludes with a smile.