A Triangular Union Square Apartment Gets a Timeless Transformation

A historic New York City loft leans into its unique geometry with the help of Madera, a design and fabrication firm that specializes in working with wood.
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Occupying the full floor of a prominent Renaissance Revival–style building near Union Square, an apartment with a triangular footprint brimmed with potential, but struggled to live up to the building’s landmark status. Although the former garment building—designed in 1899 by architect Robert Maynicke—was architecturally exemplary, the apartment itself was in need of a redesign. 

Opportunity existed to flood the interior with light with the 14 double-hung windows that originally lined the apartment’s perimeter. To do so, however, walls and obstructions first had to be removed—a primary objective of the renovation spearheaded by Brooklyn architecture firm Worrell Yeung. Freeing the perimeter would allow the space to feel more open, functional, and flexible. 

The Worrell Yeung team turned to Madera to enhance the loft’s interesting geometry and historic character. Opting for a custom-finished northern white oak for the flooring, the architects used 12-inch-wide planks to help highlight and dramatize the scale of the apartment. 

After several design iterations, floors were installed on a bias, perpendicular to the perimeter, creating visually compelling moments where the geometries are reconciled at the entry and den.

Within a natural material palette of marble, brass, and plaster, wood proved to be the cornerstone of Worrell Yeung’s design. The studio was eager to source a product that would be neutral and soft with a textural grain expression that also wouldn’t compete visually with other materials in the space. From the Madera flooring, everything else followed. "That became the benchmark for other material decisions," says architect Max Worrell. "We like working from a library of classic, timeless materials to create something that is decidedly modern and new. These floors do that."

12-inch white oak floors help highlight and dramatize the scale of the apartment, along with a blocky marble island counter. 

The flooring installation exaggerates the loft’s unusual geometry, creating visually interesting moments where the white oak planks reach a terminus at the home’s entry.

Marble, wood, and plaster converge to create a timeless symphony of materials. "It was important that everything work together and not feel like too much wood or too dark," shares Worrell. 

Read more at dwell.com/madera.

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