Ivonne's Gutsy Renovation

House Tour

Name: Ivonne Casas
Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Size: 1,800 square feet — now, 450 square feet
Years lived in: 13 years
Rent or Own: Rent

Ivonne's South Williamsburg loft lives in infamy. In 2008 the building was suddenly evacuated by the fire department citing "imminent danger" due to broken standpipes and a basement full of matzo wheat which could combust at any moment. Residents were displaced for almost 3 months, but the city quickly learned that you can’t keep a good artist down.

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The building fought back. And instead of the 11-stories turning to rubble, things were brought up to code. Ivonne lived at the building through the tumultuous time and we're glad she stayed. She occupied a huge 1,800 (felt like 2,500) square foot loft on the 10th floor. And unlike most New Yorkers, she realized she didn’t need all that space. So she turned her enormous loft into two smaller apartments. Ivonne lives happily ever after in the smaller of the two units and rents out the extra space to up and coming artists.

For the job, Ivonne enlisted the help of architect Skip Boling. And for a downsize, the results are larger than life. Ivonne's new space is modern and minimal while maintaining the integrity of the older building. Walk from the industrial cement bathroom (which has its own zip code) into a sleek, soft kitchen. White lacquer furniture is paired with metal, chipping windows. Even the use of space is stunning. Looking for the fridge? It's in the top right drawer under the kitchen counter.

To go from a wide-open loft to a studio with a wide-open feel is no easy feat. But then again, residents of 475 Kent are accustomed to taking on a challenge.

Note — The original loft is seen in photos 6-15, the renovations are 16-29.

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Apartment Therapy Survey

Our style: Eclectic, Modern, Minimal

Inspiration: Modern Architecture and Furniture Design.

Favorite Elements: The view and the bathroom.

Biggest Challenge: Keeping it all organized.

What Friends Say: They love it and are always asking for my advice and to help them with their apartments.

Biggest Embarrassment: Too much stuff! Currently doing a major clean-out. (The chaise lounge in the 6th photo and coffee table in the 7th photo are actually for sale. If interested you can contact Ivonne here.)

Biggest Indulgence: My new kitchen.

Best Advice: I always tell my friends that the most important thing is to be comfortable — even if you have to buy a recliner — if properly integrated it can all look cohesive. Also, as you get older it's all about dimmers and lower that lighting. I find that lighting is underused to create areas and spaces. Task and ambient lighting are very important to define the different areas and moods of a room. I love lighting and fixtures!

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Resources
The bed is by Nightwood and made green from recycled wood.

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Thanks, Ivonne!

Images: Laura Ocelli, Elizabeth Perrin, Geoff Bentz

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