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There was architectural character aplenty in the Dumbo loft a couple with two small children had just purchased. The three-bedroom unit, in an old Brillo pad factory converted to residential lofts a few years back, came complete with extremely high ceilings, tall wood columns and a wall of multi-paned windows that reflected the building’s industrial past.
“We were lucky enough to inherit original beams and brick, which made the project exciting,” said Susana Simonpietri, founder of Chango & Co., the 12-year-old Brooklyn-based design firm whose portfolio includes Brooklyn brownstones, Hudson Valley farmhouses and from-the-ground-up new construction on Long Island’s East End (they also have a home goods store at 226 Grand Street in Williamsburg).
Chango & Co. spiffed up and decorated the space to suit the needs and desires of the new homeowners. “The clients had been fans of our work and wanted the space to feel like our past projects — intimate, cozy and kid-friendly. They wanted a warm, inviting and versatile setting for hosting friends and family, with room for the kids to play and grow comfortably,” Simonpietri said.
The biggest challenge was taming the soaring ceilings and wide-open space, but the loft also needed injections of both light and warmth. Dark, unpainted brick walls dominated, and the kitchen, laden with white lacquer cabinetry and stainless steel, looked chilly and dated.
A top-to-bottom whitewashing brightened the space immeasurably. Then Chango & Co. swapped the kitchen’s materials palette for textured, cerused oak and honed white stone to warm things up. They also rethought functionality. There was no dedicated dining area, for instance, so they built in a wide banquette to define a dining nook next to the kitchen.
All the furniture is new and spec’d by Chango & Co. “We used light tones and plush, comfortable furnishings,” Simonpietri said, “and took advantage of the ceiling height with hanging swings and large-scale artwork.”
The living room, which overlooks a planted terrace, centers on a sectional sofa from Restoration Hardware, along with a pair of lounge chairs from Desiron, side tables from Haute Living and a custom carpet from Stark.
A rattan pendant light from Palecek hangs above an Eero Saarinen dining table from Design Within Reach, ringed by Hans Wegner’s classic mid-century Wishbone chairs.
Chip leather barstools from BluDot and Konos pendants from Circa complete the kitchen facelift.
A play area at one end of the living room has a pair of sheepskin-covered hanging swing chairs, just for fun.
A functional landing spot near the loft’s entry features a vintage console table found on 1stdibs.com and a mirror from Restoration Hardware.
A four-poster dominates the master bedroom.
Special features in the boy’s room include a four-poster bed from Restoration Hardware and Feather wallpaper from Serena & Lily.
The baby’s crib came from Serena & Lily, with a swivel chair and Plume pendant light from Restoration Hardware.
The ‘before’ photos, seen below, are proof of the dramatic transformation.
[Photos by Sarah Elliott]
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The Insider is Brownstoner’s weekly in-depth look at a noteworthy interior design/renovation project, by design journalist Cara Greenberg. Find it here every Thursday morning.