Living and Decorating on the Cheap in a Bushwick Loft


Here’s the story of five friends in their 20s who rented raw loft space in Bushwick for $4,500 a month and built it out themselves for $17,000. The group includes two architectural designers, an advertising executive and two fashion designers. The design star of the apartment is the kitchen with its pickled birch cabinets, concrete counters and dangling lights. The article claims, and we find this hard to believe, that the materials for the cabinets and counters cost only $400. If so, we’ve all got a lot to live up to in our own renovations. Click through to the story and slideshow to see lots of photos. (Above, a photo of one of the many factory buildings in Bushwick — not the one in the article — that have been converted into residential space.) We hope they have a ten-year lease.
Making Family Out of Friends [NY Times]
Photo by rutlo

6 Comment

  • So, is the space commercial or residential? And how does that affect the length of the lease they may have?

  • I don’t see any heating source except maybe the HVAC ducting – what do they do about winter with those drafty single pane windows? Not very energy efficient.
    While some of the photos look a little sterile and staged – not “lived in” – I like the design touches, though that place would be a cluttered pigsty within 5 minutes of me living there.

  • gee, i wonder what the c of o for this building is? bet it’s not legal for residential!

  • Almost all of the loft building in Bushwick are zoned for manufacturing. The owners have been converting them to varying degrees of finish for residential use. It is basically illegal to rent these as apartments but that does not stop landlords from adding baths (shower, no tub, I think) and kitchens (no stove, but with power for an electric range). Oddly, these tenants are now protected under NYS law and as long as the building complies with fire codes, there does not seem to be any effort by the City to evict tenants or prevent the owners from changing the use even thought the CofO remains manufacturing.

  • They did a beautiful job on the reno. Hope they have a ten-year lease too, or that the landlord gives them a price break for improving his property.

  • “We hope they have a ten-year lease.”

    More likely they’re aware of the situation joebushwick describes. They won’t have to go anywhere.