The Insider: Hip, Casual Decor Cozies Up Williamsburg Industrial Loft with Soaring Ceilings

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With concrete floors (still paint-spattered), soulful brick walls and 21-foot-high ceilings, character was a given in this bi-level loft, which was used as artists’ workspace before being renovated in an early wave of condo conversions. Before that, it was a shoe polish factory.

“The space speaks for itself,” said designer Jae Joo, whose clients, a well-traveled international couple, made contact with her through Homepolish, a six-year-old Manhattan-based service that matches homeowners with selected interior designers. “We worked with what we had architecturally.”

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Joo’s clients wanted to incorporate art and accessories from their travels, but otherwise needed to furnish from scratch. They also needed help figuring out how to deal with the loft’s immense height. (Hint: it involved scaffolding.) “They came from a Tribeca apartment and the scale of their furniture was not going to work here,” the designer said.

The loft was basically “in livable shape” when Joo came on the scene, with a better-than-decent kitchen and bath. In addition to shepherding her clients through the purchase and placement of furnishings and accessories, Joo said, “I helped with creating a second bedroom and a wall of bookshelves, and curated the art display,” all in just a couple of months.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Jae Joo Williamsburg

The homeowners’ framed art and photography, collected over time, is arranged salon-style on the building’s chalky brick wall.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Jae Joo Williamsburg

The steel-and-rope Flag Halyard chair and ottoman were designed by Danish master Hans Wegner in 1950.

The surfboard is a quirky personal touch; the potted tree adds a welcome organic note.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Jae Joo Williamsburg

A custom-made concrete slab sits atop a base purchased from Restoration Hardware to form a dining table, with chairs sourced from Design Within Reach.

The bar cabinet is a restored vintage item.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Jae Joo Williamsburg

A massive sectional sofa from Homenature anchors the main living space.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Jae Joo Williamsburg

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Jae Joo Williamsburg

The oak credenza underneath the open shelves was designed by Jae Joo and custom-made. The shelves and frame, made of metal pipe, were fabricated by Brooklyn Bookcasing (now known as Rift Cabinetry).

The colorful display of objects is intended to draw the eye upward.

Installing the towering wall of shelves was a major achievement. The scaffolding used to hang them “just fit into the elevator,” Joo said, “and drilling into those brick walls is no joke.”

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Jae Joo Williamsburg

The kitchen cabinetry and appliances were existing.

Joo created the bar stools by matching vintage bases with new custom-made tops.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Jae Joo Williamsburg

Metal shelving that happened to fit perfectly in the available space was found at ABC Home.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Jae Joo Williamsburg

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Jae Joo Williamsburg

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Jae Joo Williamsburg

The Aviator Wing desk tucked under the stairs, inspired by WWII fighter planes, came from Restoration Hardware.

The desk chair is a product of the Spanish company Stua.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Jae Joo Williamsburg

The guest room has a “strong Moroccan theme,” Joo said, with textiles from various online vendors to soften the room’s exposed raw materials.

Interior Design Ideas Brooklyn Jae Joo Williamsburg

The lofted master bedroom, with a bed from Restoration Hardware, is open to the space below.

[Photos by Julia Robbs via Homepolish]

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 morning.

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

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