Mention Dumbo and a loft-style pad in a converted industrial building comes readily to the property seeker’s mind. So it is with this place, a one-and-a-half-bedroom on the top floor of a former warehouse at 81 Washington Street, now home to 103 rental units, managed by the Dumbo real-estate powerhouse Two Trees.

The place has high ceilings and exposed wood beams, as you’d want in a loft-style unit. The living space is generously proportioned, and the open-plan kitchen is attractive, with dark wood cabinets and a granite-topped island. 


Everything ends up here eventually, but Made in Brooklyn is a column exploring native, born-and-bred borough creations.

55 Washington Street. Photo via the Etsy Blog

The cardboard box may not seem innovative in 2016, but in 1879 it was ahead of its time — and initially conceived as an accident, on the watch of one of Dumbo’s early business leaders and developers.


This two-bedroom, two-bath unit is part of the Kirkman Lofts, which launched in 2011 in a converted soap factory at 37 Bridge Street in Dumbo. It’s got a loft-like feel, with high, beamed ceilings and oversized windows that let in a ton of light and offer a sweeping vista (but don’t appear to offer a river view, though).

The master bedroom is 12 by 14 feet with an en suite bath; the other bedroom is modest, at just over 10 by 10 feet, but it’s got a pair of those oversized windows and a second exposure as well.


“I didn’t have to try too hard with this apartment,” said interior designer Sheena Murphy of Sheep + Stone about the 650-square-foot, one-bedroom rental that was her starter home when she and her husband moved to New York from the West Coast. “The view of the bridge is a showstopper, and there was nothing I could do to prevent that from happening, except close the drapes.”

The main challenge she faced was satisfying her own need for “layers and comfort” with her husband’s tendency toward minimalism. Murphy, originally from Hertfordshire, England, hews more traditional. “I love a collected-over-time feel,” she said. “I grew up in Victorian homes with lots of chintz and layering.” Her spouse, on the other hand “would have an entirely white box.”

This balancing act was accomplished primarily through use of neutrals — grays, beiges, black and white — for the furnishings, and a pared-down selection of accessories to bring in color and texture.