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Magnetic Walls, and Storage Made Sexy

When architects Hayes and James Slade of Slade Architecture renovated a three-story brownstone in Brooklyn for Ricky Kenig, the owner of the New York City's ubiquitous Ricky's NYC stores, and his three daughters, they took an atypical approach to storage: "rather than concealing, it reveals and celebrates," says James. To tie the three floors together, the architects devised a blackened steel wall that acts like a multi-story magnetic board, running from the parlor floor to the roof.

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"We wanted something that could tie the floors together vertically to emphasize the fact that the stair links family, kid's and father's floors," says James Slade. "The magnet wall is an armature for a very personal, changing element rather than something fixed that we install in the space."

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"Ricky, the client, spent a weekend installing the photos and the narrative flows from more inclusive photos of family and friends on the ground floor to more personal images of the girls and the father as you move into the more private floors in the house."

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The top floor is Kenig's 'bachelor pad,' with a home office, bedroom, bathroom, and a huge dressing area decked out with tons of Rakks clothing storage. Holding pride of place at the top of the stairs is a floor-to-ceiling 'shoe wall' displaying Kenig's extensive collection of rare sneakers.
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Says Slade: "Ricky is a retailer—he enjoys thinking about the display and celebration of merchandise—so we developed a house that was in line with his sensibilities. The storage becomes display. For example, when he asked us for a closet to hold his large collection of sneakers we came back with the idea of using the sneakers almost like a wallpaper on the exterior wall of his bedroom. The colors, textures and materials of the sneakers and clothing become part of the living environment."

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