Spears Building Loft

New York, NY
2019 [under construction]

Located adjacent to the High Line in the Spears Building, this loft renovation blends industrial warehouse materials with contemporary details resulting in an open space for living and entertaining. The homeowners were looking for a larger space to accommodate their growing family while preserving the loft-like character of the space. Our studio paid homage to the historical fabric of the building while introducing features that make the space feel more like a home.

Built in 1880, the building was constructed by Kinney Brothers which operated a cigarette packing factory in the building, followed by a furniture warehouse owned by Spears & Co., before being converted into a residential condominium in 1996. Signs of these original tenants can be seen in the original graffiti that covers the building exterior as seen from the High Line. We were interested in preserving this palimpsest of histories through our design.

The project brief called for both additions and subtractions to improve the overall layout of the space. In addition to renovating the existing living area, kitchen and master suite, a separate hallway leading to two new bedrooms and a secondary bathroom were added. Extraneous millwork and partitions were removed to help open each room and improve the flow between them. Particularly in the living room, removing an existing dropped ceiling and built-out walls revealed the original heavy timber structure while also simplifying the layout of the space.

In addition to keeping the original finishes of the space, we carefully selected a palette of materials to compliment the original character of the warehouse. Existing walnut cabinets were ebonized black in contrast to new bleached walnut flooring; while honed black, beige and white marble was introduced in the bathrooms and kitchens to add color against the existing red brick masonry walls. A centerpiece of the design was to keep the existing wood-burning fireplace and re-clad the hearth with a concrete plaster surround and bench, a nod to the original poured concrete floors of the warehouse. The owners took care in selecting furnishings that preserve the industrial-like quality of the space and are also soft and comfortable.