The Insider: Williamsburg Loft Gets New Staircase, Glass-Walled Mezzanine and Wall of Books

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The transformation of this 1,400-square-foot loft in a 1980s factory conversion into a bespoke family home happened in stages. First, the homeowners hired Space Exploration, a Greenpoint-based architecture and design studio, to create a dramatically tall, wall-spanning bookcase for the main 18-1/2-foot-high living space.

When that proved a success, they asked the firm, which does both residential and commercial projects, to “go forward with the full monte,” said Kevin Greenberg, the Texas native who founded Space Exploration in 2008.

That involved two significant design moves: enlarging the existing open-plan mezzanine and subdividing it into two bedrooms contained by a new steel-and-glass wall, and replacing a prefab metal spiral stair with an elegantly proportioned switchback staircase.

Space Exploration also provided the kitchen with a new countertop and cabinets, remodeled a bathroom on the lower level, and overhauled the loft’s heating and air conditioning systems — “a challenge,” Greenberg said, “because it’s a big open space and it’s hard to get the environmental controls right.”

Furnishings, with an emphasis on vintage modern, are the homeowners’.

The general contractor was Tristan Warner Studios.

Brooklyn Interior Design: Williamsburg Loft Renovation by Space Exploration

The graceful staircase was crafted by Mitchell Dose, a Brooklyn-based metal fabricator. Its steel frame is topped with wood treads, ebonized to match existing flooring.

“We wanted a staircase with a generous landing, a place to pause and have a mid-level view of the space,” Greenberg said. For the railings, “We went through several iterations of design, some more ornate. In the end, we settled on a simple, slender, elegant design that would be a nice complement to the language of steel doors we were introducing on the mezzanine level.”

Brooklyn Interior Design: Williamsburg Loft Renovation by Space Exploration

Brooklyn Interior Design: Williamsburg Loft Renovation by Space Exploration

A marble-topped extension to an existing kitchen counter created a useful peninsula. New cabinet doors, painted Farrow and Ball Hague Blue, were added to existing cabinet structure. Oversized knobs, called “Dots,” are from the Scandinavian company Muuto.

Brooklyn Interior Design: Williamsburg Loft Renovation by Space Exploration

Brooklyn Interior Design: Williamsburg Loft Renovation by Space Exploration

Handmade clay tiles from Mosaic House clad the walls of the kitchen and adjacent dining area.

Brooklyn Interior Design: Williamsburg Loft Renovation by Space Exploration

Because there are windows only on one wall of the loft, Space Exploration designed a steel-and-glass system with operable clerestory lights for the two new bedrooms on the mezzanine (where there’s also a master bath that had been added in a prior renovation, and a new dressing room).

Brooklyn Interior Design: Williamsburg Loft Renovation by Space Exploration

The bookshelf wall was built by Sons & Co., a high-end Brooklyn-based millworking firm.

Brooklyn Interior Design: Williamsburg Loft Renovation by Space Exploration

Brooklyn Interior Design: Williamsburg Loft Renovation by Space Exploration

Brooklyn Interior Design: Williamsburg Loft Renovation by Space Exploration

Brooklyn Interior Design: Williamsburg Loft Renovation by Space Exploration

The steel-and-glass door and window system was built by metal fabricator Mitchell Dose. Curtains on an integrated rod allow for different levels of light filtration and privacy.

[Photos via One Fine Stay]

The Insider is Brownstoner’s weekly in-depth look at a notable interior design/renovation project, by design journalist Cara Greenberg. Find it here every Thursday at 11.

Got a project to propose for The Insider? Contact Cara at caramia447 [at] gmail [dot] com.

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