House Tour: Kimberly’s Homespun Landmark
Location: Greenwich Village, New York City
Size: 950 square feet mini-loft
Years lived in: 10 years
Kimberly — who you will remember from House Call: Kimberly’s Renovated Loft — is an architect who bought an apartment a decade ago in a gorgeous landmark cast-iron building. She lived in it as a grad student for a number of years, and then once she mustered the budget and courage to take it on, she transformed it into a shrine to her principles of professional practice…
After all those years of living in the apartment and thinking about it, Kimberly laid out the new design for her apartment in a month, and had it implemented in less than six months! And that includes dealing with a ‘take the money and run’ contractor. Her second choice contractor did a great job, installing details such as Kimberly’s custom designed and welded closet hinges, the illuminated wall of glass in front of the bathroom, and the uber tiled bathroom.
Almost every single element of the apartment was designed and/or built by Kimberly. Starting from scratch, she designed the entire layout — moving the original loft access point from a steep ladder by the door to elegant floating steps in the living room; she extended the bathroom into the main hallway to accommodate two bathing options neither of which is a bathtub; she created an off-kilter kitchen island as well as closet space along the hallway in response to the context of the unit within the building. Once the renovation was complete, Kimberly furnished her loft with furniture built for various grad school projects.
Kimberly’s design voice is heard loud and clear throughout her home, from the smallest detail, to the shape of the rooms, to the overall sense of space.
Inspiration: All the great modernist architects inspire me… this project was a combination of ideas that had been developing for years on previous loft and apartment renovations throughout Manhattan.
Favorite Element:: My bathroom — I love my soaking tub. By pushing out the bathroom wall just 8″ or so i was able to remove the conventional tub and get both a shower and the tub to fit. Both have benches in them. The Japanese soaking tub looks like it might not be comfortable with all the right angles but it is surprisingly so. You sit fully upright so it feels just like being in a hot tub without the bubbles.
Biggest Challenge: The location of the staircase… I chose to create an opening in the floor of the loft level and lose floor space in my bedroom rather than in my living area. I preferred to create enough room for my bed and desk, which was all I wanted upstairs, in order to make the downstairs feel much more open.
What Friends Say: They love the tub. I can’t tell you how many visitors have asked me if they could take a bath. It’s great during a party too — I fill it with water and float candles in it.
Biggest Embarrassment: Having my first contractor disappear with my deposit after demolishing my bathroom. I had to shower at the gym for a month while I waited for my new contractor to become available. As an architect, the experience afforded me a lot of sympathy for what my client’s go through.
Proudest DIY: Since I’m the architect, the whole apartment is really a DIY. It was nice to put my ideas into practice for myself for a change!
Biggest Indulgence: The Bisazza glass mosaic tiles in the bathroom. Not only is the tub, shower and custom sink tiled, but even the ceiling is tiled!
Best Advice:: Before you do a renovation, take time to mentally prepare yourself and know what you are getting into. People aren’t kidding when they say it will take twice as long and cost twice as much than originally anticipated!!
Dream Source: I love Holly Hunt. Christian Liagre’s furniture is just gorgeous. I wish I could afford even one piece!