The "cube" houses a spacious walk-in closet below and office space for both of us above. In addition, on the outside we built cabinets that house all my props and production tools, a digital movie projector (for movie nights), and TV and stereo equipment. Wanting to preserve as much of the building's integrity as we could, we converted the original dumbwaiter (on the left, next to the lightbox) into a bar. The lightbox was an unused doorway.
Name: Kristin & Gadge
Location: Greenwich Village, NYC
In 2002 my husband (a photographer) and I (an event designer) managed to find a disaster of a commercial rental space. (We had previously renovated a space in Chelsea, a loft in a wig factory that also housed a bordello.) It is an 1870’s parlor floor of a townhouse in Greenwich Village, an odd space indeed, but that's what made it so challenging and eventually wonderful. But it was truly a disaster! Debris was piled nearly to the top of the 13' + ceilings and we couldn't even see the windows. There was no electric or plumbing to speak of. We saw only those 13' ceilings and signed on immediately.
We had to cram two people, two businesses and two lives into this space and still maintain a clean, modern, residential feel (and our sanity). Our basic idea was to "hide" everything for the businesses and even personal belongings so that when I design, for example, I can feel like I'm working with a clean slate. (I was inspired by Georgia O'Keefe, who reportedly lived in Taos in pure white spaces so that she could see her colors more intensely.)
Our plan hinged on building an 8 x 12 central unit with a huge walk-in closet on the bottom and an office for two business above. I’ve included more details below.
Our budget was relatively small, especially since it was a rental. Our max was 15k. Almost all of our furniture has come either from my jobs or from flea markets and was bought for less than $100. My husband, Gadge, did a great deal of the construction work while I did all the painting, tiling and detail work. We estimate that our sweat equity saved us $50k!
Friends — who now ask us to design their spaces for them — always say our place is like a ship, with an incredible amount of storage that they never knew existed. They have fun finding all of the hidden cabinets and doors. They aren’t alone. For the last five years we’ve been occasionally renting out the space to production companies for both commercials (Head & Shoulders) and movies. The on-site Indian catering for The Namesake was amazing!
Thanks, Kristin & Gadge!
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