Dar gitane — “home” in Arabic plus “gypsy” in French — is both the name of Alina Preciado’s online home goods business and interior design practice, and also shorthand for her life story.
Born in California, Preciado took off for Europe at the earliest opportunity, studying architecture and design in Spain and woodworking in Denmark, where she learned “the culture of simplicity,” as she puts it. “There, even simple things are well thought-out, beautiful and functional.”
And she traveled the continents, collecting artisans’ contacts as she went. (She eventually got a Masters in Industrial Design from Brooklyn’s own Pratt Institute.)
About 15 years ago, Preciado rented a 2,000-square-foot loft near the Brooklyn Navy Yard, on the seventh floor of a poured concrete building originally used as a textile mill and then by the military during WWII. She put considerable energy into making the raw space habitable.
“Whatever is here, I’ve put in over the years,” she says, including plumbing, wiring, a bathroom with a claw-foot tub, and the unfitted, farmhouse-style kitchen. (more…)