Just like anything else in New York City, is an incredibly complicated (and expensive) affair. So when you find a building you love, you stick to it like glue. Such was the case for a young couple—Naomi, her husband Zvi, and their dog, Dillon—who finally decided to move to a larger space after being in their apartment since 2011. That said, they didn't go very far. When a two-bedroom, two-bath loft space opened in their 1928 warehouse building in Brooklyn Heights, the couple jumped on the occasion.
Because Naomi and Zvi had such a short trek to move from one apartment to the next, it only made sense to repurpose many pieces from the old space into the new one. Still, they needed to fill the new apartment and ensure everything flowed together in the , so they called on the help of Emma Lesser, interior designer at , to help them pull everything together. We chatted with the designer about the project—this is how she made it work.
"The building was originally built as a warehouse in 1928 and still features oversize factory windows and extra-tall ceilings, which are beautiful but can quickly feel a little cold," explains Lesser. "We wanted to highlight all of these attributes but make the space feel homey, relaxing, and warm."
The designer had a long way to go to bring this large open space up to snuff: "Before Naomi moved into the apartment, there was a very wacky paint job—almost every wall was painted a different pastel color! We knew we wanted to stick with timeless neutrals to make the space feel relaxing, so we painted all of the walls in shades of gray or greige and focused on using different textures in the furniture, rather than different colors."
"In the living area we wanted everything to feel comfortable and relaxing, and so we used a lot of soft, light textiles," explains the designer. "We wanted it to be a place that was welcoming and inviting and that made sense with our bright, neutral palate. Naomi is obsessed with animals, and outside her living room window, there is an awesome view of a dog run. The living room accent chair is a swivel chair to give the option of enjoying the view. Of course, we also incorporated her love of animals into the design with the horse photograph and animal-themed coffee table books."
Because the client was bringing in many pieces from her previous apartment in the same building, Lesser had to find a way to tie them all together in the new open space: "One of the trickier aspects of this project was finding a rug that coordinated well with the sofa that Naomi brought from her previous apartment. In the new space the purple tones of her sofa looked a lot stronger, and we wanted to find a rug that neutralized the color. We looked at a lot of gray and silver options but found that they all made her sofa look extra purple in the lighting of the new space. The subtle blue undertones of the rug we finally landed on really helped us out here. Another thing I love about the rug is that it echoes the motif of the dining room chandelier, serving to delicately cross-pollinate the spaces."
Because the apartment is a loft, the designer had to work to make the various living spaces all flow together into one big open space: "It was all about balance—making the spaces feel distinct and interesting while still working together and complementing one another," says Lesser. "We kept the neutral color scheme throughout these different zones but subtly changed the textures in each space. The dining room is the most delicate feature of the space with its ornate chandelier, the glass dining table, and the glass candlestick holders. The reflective properties of these materials make this space feel distinctly special and jewel-like."
"The kitchen feels like the warmest zone because of the wood paneling," says Lesser. "For our purposes, this helped to ground the space. The simple glass lighting fixtures in the kitchen were sourced specifically to not compete with the feature dining light and to reintroduce the airy quality of our design concept into the kitchen. When the clients moved into the space, there was an oversize, linear, crystal fixture. We wanted to change this to something cleaner and less obtrusive so that the beautiful dining room chandelier could take the spotlight."
"Our goal in the bedroom design was to make it a softer and cozier extension of the living area," explains the designer. "The feature headboard wall and iron light fixtures feel warm and romantic. The texture of the accent wall and the oversize chunky knit throw both add warmth to the space while the light color palette and subtle metallic touches keep the space feeling fresh and new. The apartment gets the most incredible light and feels so airy. We added the wood wall in the bedroom because between the tall ceilings, enormous windows, and white lacquer furniture brought in from the client's previous apartment, we were concerned that it would start to feel cold and wanted to reintroduce some warmth.
After we were almost finished with the project, we felt that the bedroom was still missing a little something. At the last minute, we repurposed her old media stand as an end-of-bed bench and had a cushion custom made to top it off."
Next up: Check out this with a California edge.