Name: Christiane, Joshua, Isabelle, William and Jake (the 12 yr old lab)
Size: 3200 sqft. 3-bdrm condo
Years lived in: 2 years in the un-renovated space and 3 years in the renovated home
To see if it would show her blonde Labrador's hair, Christiane took a swatch of every contending fabric in her apartment's redesign, and rubbed it on her dog! This fact alone was enough to convince me of Christiane's infinite attention to detail. Owner and founder of Dwell Studio, Christiane has the patience, fortitude, style, and skill to take on over 3000 square feet of details with ease.
After two years of living in a space tailored more to an artist in the 1970's than to the needs of two entrepreneurs with kids, Christian and Joshua overhauled their apartment. The renovation took a year during which the family moved out. Working with an architect, Christiane chose to emulate the floorplans of her neighbors who had already renovated their spaces. The architects, sensitive to the building's origins as a printing press, found a chamfer in the original design blueprints and decided to introduce it into many facets of the apartment — the window sills, the fireplace, entryways, etc.
When the physical renovation was complete and it was time to furnish the apartment, Christiane envisioned a London townhouse. She quickly realized, however, that it made much more sense to embrace the space as a loft and "cherish this unique New York type [of housing]." Joshua has a background in general contracting and was able to use his connections to source materials directly and at a much cheaper price than the architects would have charged. Christiane and Joshua's innovative efforts to find everything themselves means that they were able to reduce the square foot cost of the renovation. For example, on a trip to Amsterdam, Christiane came across European oak salvaged from a Belgian factory. She decided to purchase the salvage company's entire lot and have it shipped to New York. After flooring the entire loft, there is still some left. It sits in their basement and is used for every Dwell Studio photo shoot.
With two kids, Christiane acknowledges that their space is "constantly evolving." While the apartment looks gorgeous, Christiane is still on the lookout for a couple of pieces that will complete the living room. She has purposely kept the space as open as possible. Citing decorator books as "too much," Christiane says that she "hates things overdone." Plus, this leaves a lot of room for the kids and dog to play and feel comfortable while doing so. While the space can seem intimidating in size alone, Christiane is adamant about incorporating whimsy throughout. For example, the loft's pervasive bird theme took root when Christiane and her kids discovered a pigeon and its nest just under the master bedroom window.
And as for the dog hair test... every fabric used in the main living space is within the beige/grey spectrum. Paw prints and shedding fur pose no threat to a designer on a mission!
Style: casual modern with luxe details
Inspiration: Flemish interiors, Axel Verdvoort and the building itself.
Favorite Element:: Open space &mdash great for running kids, huge forts and family living. A true luxury in NYC.
Biggest Challenge: Plumbing. With one plumbing riser – getting bathrooms was a challenge.
What Friends Say: It feels very calm and quiet here even though it's in the middle of Soho.
Biggest Embarrassment: Dog hair on all the couches. We have lint rollers on hand all the time. Don't wear black to my place!
Proudest DIY: The bird/tree mural in the playroom. I did it myself and Isabelle my daughter even glued some of the leaves.
Biggest Indulgence: Marble bathroom with heated floors and steam shower. A spa at home.
Best Advice: With kids, dogs etc – pick a color scheme that hides everything. My whole apartment is great beige for that reason. Yellow lab and dark floors = mess.
Dream Source: My reclaimed floors are from the most amazing source in Amsterdam. Timberland.com. Henk De Jong the owner is truly the philosopher of floors.
Sofa purchased and customized from Montauk sofa
Coffee table from Brimfield Antique Show
Sectional from De L'Espada
Armchairs, side tables, dining table, lamps, console from Clingancourt Flea Market (Paris)
Big armchair from Ochre
Carpets are silk with an alternating loop/pile and was custom made in Nepal
Chandelier from Ochre
Leather chair from Conran Shop
Imperial Danby marble from Vermont
Headboard custom made
Bedside Tables from Brimfield Antique Show
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