A Small Brooklyn Loft Blends Postmodernism, Custom Furniture, and Nods to the ’70s and ’80s Beautifully

published Apr 29, 2021

A Small Brooklyn Loft Blends Postmodernism, Custom Furniture, and Nods to the ’70s and ’80s Beautifully

published Apr 29, 2021
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Home Type
Bedrooms
Square feet
800
Sq ft
800
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Name: Antonio Monserrat and kitty, Oslo
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Size: 800 square feet
Type of Home: Loft
Years lived in: 1 year, owned

When Antonio Monserrat, the founder of Monserrat Studio, first started looking for a place in Brooklyn, he found many of the apartments to be “cookie cutter” and already renovated, meaning there was no room for him to add his own stamp on the space. But then, he came across this 800-square-foot loft with high ceilings and lots of charm and history.

“Because of their history and former use, lofts tend to have ‘good bones’ and in general offer opportunity to make a design statement and create a unique interior,” Antonio explains. “For me it was a space to explore my design language. Lofts don’t usually have architectural detailing, instead it is the space, materials, high ceilings, and large windows that give the design cues.”

Antonio says that the building his loft is located in was built in the 1900s and was used as a bakery. With 12-foot ceilings, large windows, and original exposed timber beams and columns (that you can see old oil stains and nails and screws in), it’s the perfect backdrop for Antonio’s modern style, much of which was custom designed and built by himself. It’s what he calls a playful and intimate sanctuary. “Apart from the layout of the apartment, by designing and building a number of my own pieces, I have created a space no one else has, which ties with the nature of the building being individual,” he writes. “The result is a space that feels simple and minimal, although each piece made is carefully crafted.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style/ Inspiration/ Favorite Element:  

  • Where I was born — The Mediterranean.
  • Colors — Pastel colors give a sense of peacefulness and warmth
  • Lifestyle — Relaxing, comfortable, beautiful, reflecting the beauty and grace of the Mediterranean. Mediterranean design is simple and elegant, with classy curves bringing a romantic feel.
  • Strong geometric forms and simple lines. The transition from straight line to curves.
  • Timelessly stylish ’70s and ’80s furniture, Catalan modernism, and postmodern design details.
  • What I learned from Zaha Hadid and the composition of space
  • Something in me that I always try to follow is to stay curious

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it?  

  • The existing brick walls defined the space and I had to work around those structural walls
  • I opened up the bedroom into a one-room studio bringing natural light into all spaces.
  • I brought the soft southern Mediterranean colors and mixed it with the rough, raw, and dark original ceiling wood work. The rugged surface from the timber ceiling contrasts with the smooth pastel-colored walls.
  • Maximized light
  • Explored and researched the design language through smaller scale objects –  e.g. prototyped chairs. I like to explore through making. For me the process is more important than the final product. I see these chairs as temporary architectures that helped me explore the idea of the journey in the apartment.
  • I’m very hands on and like to research through making
  • I painted the brick walls to tone down the rustic feeling of the standardized loft warehouse apartment; I wanted something chic.
  • I wanted a direct connection between the kitchen and the living area. When friends are around they can relax in the living area while I am preparing food at the same time
  • With limited space I had to take practical decisions, however I didn’t want to compromise on the design so I had to find  ways to integrate things like storage in a nice and discreet way.
  • Having said all this, I like my designs to live through constant additions and new variations. To be permanent is contrary to existence; things are forever changing.

Proudest DIYs:

  • Four chairs (very soon going into production)
  • Towel rail
  • Dining table (and Oslo’s dining table)
  • Cat shelves
  • Two large paintings in the bedroom (white-ish)
  • One painting above the bed (square on wood base)

Biggest Indulgence: Custom building most of the apartment

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? First Chair by Michele de Lucchi and LC7 chairs designed by Charlotte Perriand and part of the LC collection by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand.

Resources

I collect furniture, however I had to be selective for the limited space and chose the following:

LIGHTS

  • Entrance two wall lamps — Fog and Morup, Danish. Bought 10 years ago
  • Entrance chandelier — Light purple Vintage Tronchi Murano Glass Chandelier 1970s, Italian. Inherited from family.
  • 2 lights above dining table — Piet Hein for LYFA, Denmark 1965. Inherited.
  • Ceiling chandelier in living room — Glass Rod Chandelier from Lightolier. Bought in an antique store in New York.
  • Standing black lamp in living room — Lucite Optique Floor Lamps from the ’80s . Bought at an antique store.
  • Two wall bedroom chrome orbit lamps — By Robert Sonneman 1960s. One inherited and the other bought at Home Union | Vintage Furniture in Brooklyn.
  • Two bathroom lights — Wave Light by Peill & Putzler. Bought when I lived in Germany.

SEATING

  • Dining chairs — Le Corbusier, Perriand, Jeanneret ‘LC7’ Chair for Cassina, 1970s. Bought when I lived in London.
  • Bathroom stool — Polo Stools by Anna Castelli Ferrieri for Kartell. Bought at Birite, Brooklyn vintage store.
  • First Chairs by Michele de Lucchi for Memphis — Bought at Birite, Brooklyn vintage store.
  • Velvet Togo Lounge Chair by Michel Ducaroy — Bought at Ligne Roset NY.
  • Sofa Prado Ligne Roset Christian Werner — Bought at Ligne Roset NY.

SIDE TABLES

  • Eileen Gray Pair of E-1027 Side Tables, Glass and Tubular Steel, circa 1970 — From Etsy

ART AND ACCESSORIES

  • Above sofa — Hisashi Otsuka Japanese Artist
  • Bedroom window side paintings — Hand painted, bought in India.
  • Bathroom paintings — Two Japanese screen prints from early 1900s.
  • Sculpture bust — By Piñol from Palma de Mallorca bought directly from sculptor
  • Paul Mayen Habitat Planter with castors — Home Union | Vintage Furniture in Brooklyn.
  • Other metallic planters (no castors) — Found on Wayfair
  • Rug — IKEA
  • Entrance mirror — 1974 Carvers Guild mirror in plexi and glass. Bought at Home Union.

SMALL STORAGE ITEMS

  • Two Kartell Componibili drums by Anna Castelli Ferrieri — Bought at Birite, Brooklyn vintage store.
  • Bedroom yellow drawers by Simon Fussell for Kartell — Bought at Birite, Brooklyn vintage store.

BATHROOM TOWEL HOOKS

  • 1970s Guzzini Coat Hooks — Bought at Birite

BOOKSHELF

  • Dumbo bookends — Tortuga
  • Photography books — “The Americans” by Robert Frank; “The Suffering of Light” by Alex Webb; “Wall” by Josef Koudelka; Jeanloup Sieff
  • Architecture books — “Genius Loci: Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture” by Christian Norberg-Schulz; “Atmospheres: Architectural Environments, Surrounding Objects” by Peter Zumthor; “The Poetics of Space” by Gaston Bachelard; “Flesh: Architectural Probes” by Ricardo Scofidio
  • Other books — “Incerto: Fooled by Randomness, The Black Swan, The Bed of Procrustes, Antifragile” by Nassim Taleb

Thanks Antonio!

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.