In New York's trendy Dumbo neighborhood, with its cobblestone streets and the Brooklyn Bridge looming between buildings, this apartment in a former warehouse is pretty much the mental picture I conjure in my loft living fantasy.
Once inside, it's no less dreamy. Interior designer Crystal Sinclair was tasked with decorating the apartment, which has retained the industrial coffered ceilings and pillars.
Yes, there's wow factor in the mezzanine book nook, accessed by a ladder, but just as enthralling is the wall of glass and steel used to separate the main living space from the bedroom.
In theory, it's a beautiful way to live. Each space benefits from the full array of natural light on offer to the apartment, and by retaining the sightlines throughout the apartment, you lose none of the impressiveness that the proportions of this unit deliver.
'This space begged to be open with its high ceilings and windows,' Crystal tells us. 'To me, it only made sense. Keeping a space more open makes it feel grander, whereas a closed space feels homier.'
'But that's not to say that an open space can't feel cozy,' she adds. 'I wanted to keep the loft feel but add elements to make it feel warmer and more inviting.' And that was part of the challenge in re-designing this loft. How can a space this large and bright feel private and intimate when needed? And how, when you have such an open-concept home, can you hide the ugly, undesirable elements of a modern home?
Hugh Metcalf is Livingetc.com's deputy editor and an experienced homes and property journalist. He caught up with interior designer Crystal Sinclair to uncover the design secrets of making open concept living more beautiful.
Considering every angle
The use of a glass room divider instead of a solid partition wall is a defining design moment for this loft, but it's not without its drawbacks, too. Suddenly, the bedroom and living room are not only down a solid wall, another vista for each room was created for interior designer Crystal Sinclair (opens in new tab) to consider. Where a solid wall can hide a multitude of sins - the back of furniture, a mess of wires - this design hung on ensuring furniture looks good from every angle.
Yet, rather than view this as a challenge to overcome, Crystal embraced the opportunities it presented, such as with the headboard in the apartment's bedroom. 'We selected the arched headboard for a statement - but not just in the bedroom, in the living room as well,' she explains. 'It really softens the hard but beautiful metal and glass wall.'
Every angle has been considered in the living room, too, from the curved boucle sofa from Crate & Barrel to the unique TV stand idea. 'The easel was more of a solution than a statement piece,' Crystal explains. 'There really isn't a place for a media unit unless you back it up to the partition wall, but then you'd see the backside with all the cords on the bedroom side of the space. To us, the easel was the only thing that made perfect sense.'
The new cozy
This area also demonstrates how the designer tackled the secondary challenge of the space, making the industrial architecture and lofty proportions feel cozy. A new, more luxurious design language has been introduced into the space as a contrast to the urban nature of the apartment. 'It's all about texture, texture, texture,' Crystal says. 'The drapes, for example, really warmed up the space while adding a wow factor.'
Clever spatial tricks play with your sense of space when using this cozy living room, too. 'The oversized chandelier acts like a ceiling which makes the living space cozier,' Crystal tells us.
By making use of the vertical space, the loft doesn't feel too cavernous, while embracing warm textures and contrast when decorating with neutrals helps to provide some structure to the open concept kitchen-dining space. 'The neutrals in the public spaces contrast a bit more, whereas in the private space there's less contrast and more texture,' Crystal explains.
The kitchen island table was found on Chairish, and brings an interesting, worn texture to contrast against the luxurious marble used to clad the kitchen.
Boucle ball pillow, Lulu & Georgia (opens in new tab)
Designed by Sarah Samuel Sherman, finish off your boucle couch with these cushions for a contemporary look.
Each of the supporting columns in this loft apartment has been clad in terracotta tiles, making their presence a little more purposeful in the design, while introducing an extra texture. In the kitchen, this adds another dimension that allows for the cabinetry itself to be minimal - a simple, white slab door that defers to the more characterful elements of the space.
Hugh is the Deputy Editor of Livingetc.com. From working on a number of home, design and property publications and websites, including Grand Designs, ICON and specialist kitchen and bathroom magazines, Hugh has developed a passion for modern architecture, impactful interiors and green homes. Whether moonlighting as an interior decorator for private clients or renovating the Victorian terrace in Essex where he lives (DIYing as much of the work as possible), you’ll find that Hugh has an overarching fondness for luxurious minimalism, abstract shapes and all things beige. He’s just finished a kitchen and garden renovation, and has eyes set on a bathroom makeover for 2022.
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