Author, Author pix
For two married writers, David Hu designed a New York loft that balances color and pattern, openness and privacy.
Raul Barreneche -- Interior Design, 7/1/2006 12:00:00 AM
Jean-Marie Massaud's chair sits beneath the living area's HDTV projection; the equipment is concealed in a column between the windows.
Inserts of edge-lit acrylic punctuate each screen's lacquered surface.
A wool-covered chair sits near the living area's acrylic on canvas by Jim Oliveira.
Framed above the Zodiaq-topped credenza is wrapping paper for Swell, the brand Rosenzweig developed with fashion designer Cynthia Rowley.
The couple share the office's Ferruccio Laviani table.
Marin's dislike of metal meant that existing bronze door handles had to be powder-coated; Arne Jacobsen's sink and shower fittings already came that way.
In the master bedroom, damask-patterned paper covers one wall, while corduroy by fashion designer Kenzo upholsters the TV niche.
The bedroom's Massaud chair, Eva Zeisel table, and acrylic chandelier are visible from the living area.
The cover of the Swell book, coauthored by Rosenzweig and Rowley, inspired the tile pattern in the bathroom used by the couple's son.
Stephen Sprouse's polyester upholsters the kitchen's built-in banquette.
A lacquered panel slides down to close the kitchen's pass-through.
Philippe Starck designed the Mademoiselle chair in the entry.
|Rick Marin has a no-metal policy. So when the time came to renovate and expand his family's New York apartment, he was adamant. "No steel surfaces," he proclaimed. "I don't want to live in a hair salon."
The author of Cad: Confessions of a Toxic Bachelor, Marin was divorced when he moved into the loft—and turned it into a Toxic Bachelor Pad with chocolate-brown Formica counters and red Pirelli rubber flooring.
Eight years later, he married Ilene Rosenzweig, a style editor he met while she was at Allure. She arrived at her new home, she remembers, with "two suitcases and a lot to learn. I loved Rick's aesthetic, and I was very happy to live with it."
Gradually, however, she made a few changes. "I'm not a warm, fuzzy person, but the loft was a bit cold," she admits. She replaced a corporate-looking sofa with a more domestically detailed piece and injected whimsical touches such as a flokati rug in the living room and a cozy chocolate, red, pink, and orange color-block cashmere blanket in the bedroom. "Collaborating," Marin says, "our style became more pop."
Flash forward five years. The couple, expecting their first child, bought the apartment next door and hired David Hu Architect to join the two spaces into a 2,000-square-foot family-friendly loft with a playful, futuristic sensibility. "Pop 2010," Marin calls it. And it's not unlike the candy-colored look Rosenzweig developed with fashion designer Cynthia Rowley for Swell, a manners-minded design and lifestyle handbook that grew into a line of bed linens and accessories for Target.
"I got the confidence to do bright colors from Ilene. Now we turn up our noses at brown," says Marin—who's partial to red Adidas sneakers, too.
Nevertheless, the kitchen's red rubber flooring had to go. The rest of the loft still had its original inch-wide maple planks, which had long ago disappeared from the apartment next door, and matching them wasn't easy. "Because the floorboards were not high-quality, the contractor had to go out of his way to find lower-grade maple," David Hu explains. The effort paid off: It's almost impossible to tell the difference between old and new.
In both apartments, Hu replaced the original steel-framed casement windows. "There was a frame right at eye level, interrupting the view," he says. Now there's mullionless glass and an unobstructed vista embracing Madison Square Park and the Empire State Building.
The living area, with its 11-foot-4-inch ceiling, splits the loft in two. On one side, Hu grouped the master suite and the office where the husband-wife writers work on TV and movie scripts together. The other side comprises an eat-in kitchen as well as two bedrooms and a bathroom for the couple's 2-year-old son and his nanny. Hu maintained great sight lines from one end of the apartment to the other. If you're standing in the kitchen, you can see all the way through to the master bedroom.
As with any loft, maintaining openness while creating privacy was a delicate balancing act. Add an active toddler to the mix, and things become even more challenging. "Whenever people try to contain kids' mess, it's a disaster," Rosenzweig says. "Our loft is chic enough for parents, but it still reflects the reality that we're always playing with our kid."
Hu's solution was to demarcate the living area with four curved screens. The one between the living area and the entry is stationary; three others, which close off the office, are sliders. Each lacquered surface is interrupted by rectangular cutouts filled with edge-lit acrylic panels. Viewed straight on, they're transparent; from an angle, they brighten with lines of purple, red, and orange.
Marin and Rosenzweig picked the retro-Victorian wallpaper and the colorful furniture that brings the white-painted loft to life: a wool-upholstered swivel chair, a fiberglass cocktail table, a leather-covered sofa accented with an acrylic base and flower-power pillows. The floral corduroy covering a wall of the master bedroom is by Kenzo. Stephen Sprouse designed the flaming yellow, orange, and pink upholstery on the banquette in the kitchen.
Even kitchen appliances had to adhere to Marin's anti-metal policy. As for the grilles associated with air-conditioning, Hu substituted long horizontal slits in the drywall near the ceiling. Existing bronze door handles were powder-coated in Pantone-matched bright blue and safety orange. Then there are the Arne Jacobsen sink and shower fittings, usually found in chromed brass or stainless steel. Hu chose colorful powder-coated versions instead. The alternative sure seems swell.