12th Street Loft
No one puts at the top of their real estate wish list, a one hundred by fourteen foot loft. But that is exactly what Richard Friedman, a psychologist who writes a column for the New York Times and a pianist, and his partner ended up with. The two lived in half the space, fifty five feet of the final combined loft, for many years and when the unit across the hall became available, they decided to take on the challenge of combining the two units. Not a task for the faint of heart.
The couple also owns a weekend home in Ghent, New York, where we met for the first time among the weekender social world up the Hudson River from New York City. They were frequent guest at my own home which I designed and built with my partner. Our home is seventy five by sixteen feet. Richard loved our home and approach INC to do the renovation of their city loft because, he knew I “could handle the challenging proportions of their project” given the dimensions of my own home.
The building known as University Mews, East 12th Street, is located in the heart of Greenwich Village between University Place and Broadway. Built in 1900, originally as a factory the structure has lovely steel and brick vaulted ceilings that were left fully expressed in the renovation.
The challenging plan was tackled by zoning program across the plan with baths in a central core. To the north dressing, sleeping and working zones were layered toward the natural light. The kitchen dining and living areas were stacked toward the southern exposure.
Paint was used to “mark” or color block the core with a medium warm gray differentiating this volume from the shell with the outer continuous wall painted a light warm grey. The eastern wall was striped back to the structural brick and left exposed. Two new windows were added to the Southeastern corner of the loft to bring morning light into the living side of the loft.
The palette, drawn from the existing brick wall, of warm greys to deep reds and browns informed the selections of the natural materials like oak, walnut, mahogany, granite and slate. Tile selections were made to evoke both the humble historical industrial context of the building but also to suggest the couples travels in Southeast Asia and the middle-east.
The engravings in the salon were collected Rome and Naples over the years, many are 19th century, some earlier and nearly all are depictions of ancient Rome and Greece, with mythological/allegorical themes.