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November 13, 2013
Confronted with an historic loft in New York's SoHo district in need of an update, architects Bronwyn Breitner and Luigi Ciaccia executed a gut renovation to introduce more natural light throughout the interior while honoring the original character of the former industrial space. Though the loft was close to 2,300 square feet, the long and narrow footprint—23 feet by 100 feet—was a challenge. "By punching holes in walls and aligning site lines with the windows, we were able to create privacy to meet the clients' needs while also providing a sense of light and expansion from the common areas," says Breitner, co-founder of the firm 590BC. We detail the design moves in the following slideshow.
living room in loft renovation with brick walls and shag rug

The residence is located on Crosby Street, which is part of the landmarked SoHo Cast Iron Historic District. Once a manufacturing and industrial area then an artists' enclave, the neighborhood is now a retail hub. This particular loft used to be a light bulb factory, which informed the renovation's materiality. All of the natural light enters the apartment from the living room windows. 590BC worked with Tamara Eaton Design to furnish the interiors, which holds a mix of refined and rough-hewn pieces. A vintage Harry Bertoia chair holds court with a B&B Italia sofa, shag carpet by Shansom Rugs, steel side table from Global Views, and steel Arco coffee table from Room. Throw pillows upholstered in fabrics from Upstate, Maharam, and Romo add punches of color. Photo by Frank Oudeman.

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living room and dining room in new york loft renovation

The living room, dining area, and kitchen are connected, which helps light permeate the space. Photo by Frank Oudeman.

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modern dining room with brick wall

The brick wall adjacent to the custom dining table by Brooklyn-based Uhuru Design is original to the structure. 590BC and its team spent months trying to find the right translucency for the whitewash covering the brick. "We call it the 'selective loft' because of the contrast of the refined materials and cabinetry against the industrial materials of this former light bulb factory," says Breitner. Photo by Frank Oudeman.

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rustic metal console from restoration hardware in loft renovation

BDDW's Captain's mirror hangs above a Restoration Hardware console. Like the brick walls, the wood column is original to the structure. 590BC kept the surfaces white for a variety of reasons. "It allowed for the richness of the space's natural materials stand out," Breitner says. "The wide-plank oak flooring, exposed brick and metal, and even the view to the SoHo streetscape outside all pop against the white background of the walls. It also allowed the clients to bring in all kinds of artwork and play with color and texture." Photo by Frank Oudeman.

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modern kitchen with white cabinets

The residents love to entertain and cook, so 590BC worked to create a kitchen that was functional and aesthetically pleasing. "It is complex and considered down to the most minute detail, but still reads as simple and clean," Breitner says. Photo by Frank Oudeman.

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modern office with built-in shelving

590BC got creative with lighting solutions for the space. The firm advises varying the light sources and details to help make dimly lit spaces feel bright. In the office, linear LED fixtures housed within ceiling coves reflect light down the brick walls. Ceiling fixtures illuminate the space as does lighting installed under the built-in shelving. Photo by Frank Oudeman.

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modern bedroom

In the bedroom, an open closet with built-in shelving leads to the master bathroom. Thinking of all the loft's components as part of a whole was critical to the renovation. "The space is clean and simple, but that is only possible because of the attention paid to eliminating visual clutter that often comes from typical detailing," Breitner says. "The HVAC, floor outlets, door detailing, wall reveal base, recessed glazing channel, and radiator covers could look like clutter. We integrated it into the architecture." Photo by Frank Oudeman.

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modern bathroom with white tile

White Thassos floor and wall tile from thassos.com lines the bathroom surfaces. The vanity is custom, the sink and shower faucets are from Lacava, and the sink is Decolav. Photo by Frank Oudeman.

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floor plan for soho renovation

Breitner advises playing with proportion when renovating long, narrow interiors. "It's not always better to open the plan up as much as possible," she says. "We found that creating spaces of familiar proportions helped the space to feel less narrow and made the rooms feel more livable."

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living room in loft renovation with brick walls and shag rug

The residence is located on Crosby Street, which is part of the landmarked SoHo Cast Iron Historic District. Once a manufacturing and industrial area then an artists' enclave, the neighborhood is now a retail hub. This particular loft used to be a light bulb factory, which informed the renovation's materiality. All of the natural light enters the apartment from the living room windows. 590BC worked with Tamara Eaton Design to furnish the interiors, which holds a mix of refined and rough-hewn pieces. A vintage Harry Bertoia chair holds court with a B&B Italia sofa, shag carpet by Shansom Rugs, steel side table from Global Views, and steel Arco coffee table from Room. Throw pillows upholstered in fabrics from Upstate, Maharam, and Romo add punches of color. Photo by Frank Oudeman.

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