A Greenwich Village Loft Raised to New Heights
Clerestory windows and a library ladder bring new life to this loft’s compact footprint
“After” photos by Kate Glicksberg for Sweeten
- Homeowners: A Manhattan couple posted their loft renovation on Sweeten
- Where: Greenwich Village in New York City
- Primary renovation: Gut renovating an 850-square-foot loft condo to maximize 16-foot ceilings with storage, transoms, and a mezzanine
- Sweeten general contractor
- Sweeten’s role: Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and financial protection—at no cost to the homeowner.
Laying out the plan for high ceilings
The homeowners closed on an 850-square-foot loft apartment in a multi-building complex in Greenwich Village, just a short stroll from Washington Square Park. The building dated to 1890 and had formerly housed a cast-iron factory. The apartment itself benefited from the structure’s history with high 16-foot ceilings and original detailing. The interior finishes were outdated, however, since it had been decades since the last renovation.
They planned to convert the one-bedroom apartment into a two-bedroom while making full use of the ceiling height. A mezzanine level around much of the apartment would allow for storage and display of their art and decorative pieces.
The kitchen was tucked away in a dark corner of the loft, with dark wood cabinetry and black countertops adding to the gloom. It made more sense to swap the locations of the bathroom and the kitchen. This brought the kitchen closer to the the dining and living spaces. The bathroom itself needed a gut renovation. Its finish materials and all the wiring and plumbing were deteriorating.
Out with the debris, in with the light
As their Sweeten contractor began to demo the space, he unearthed…actual earth. The contractor found about eight inches of “some kind of dirt floor” beneath the flooring. He had to excavate it along with the rest of the demolition debris—a first for this seasoned contractor. He speculated it was perhaps due to the building’s past as a factory.
They worked to create a gallery-like space featuring bright white walls, highlighted with blackened steel accents. Keeping the finishes simple allowed the airiness of the space to shine.
A triumph of clerestory windows
Although there are now two bedrooms rather than one, the homeowners were able to preserve a sense of expansiveness by not taking the walls all the way up to the ceiling. Clear glass clerestory windows were installed in the bedrooms, as well as in the bathroom so that natural light could still shine in each part of the loft.
An integrated kitchen
Throughout the hallways, bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom, a steel rail was installed for a custom library ladder, to give access to the mezzanine areas. This unique system used brushed steel for the rail and brackets, and black-anodized aluminum for the portable ladder, to make it light enough to carry from room to room.
While the living room lost a few feet to create the second bedroom, it gained plenty of linear feet in book storage. Custom black steel bookcases run along the length of one wall. The contractor secured these shelves through to the studs as they were rebuilding the apartment, so they’ll be able to handle any load.
The living room space opens up to the dining nook, which also houses an upright piano. An adjacent gallery wall, decorated with black-framed art, provides visual interest along the interior wall. Recessed lighting and statement pendants support the minimalist aesthetic.
Extra storage for the bathroom
In the smaller bedroom next to the kitchen, they created a lofted sleeping area for guests with a simple mattress set-up, which is also accessible via the library ladder. The elevated sleeping loft allows the floor area of the room to be used by the homeowners as a closet and dressing area.
The bathroom received a similarly modern treatment with a deep soaking tub. A matte black towel hook and shower and sink fixtures create contrast, and match the overall black-and-white motif. Unusually, the homeowners were able to add storage above the shower area, also accessible with the portable library ladder. As with the overhead kitchen storage, the space above was built without shelves or compartments, to accommodate large or odd-shaped items.
The couple now has a beautiful home that handles their storage, showcases their art and treasures, lets in the light—and even lets them share their space with overnight guests.
KITCHEN RESOURCES: Custom cabinetry and hardware: Poggenpohl. Quartz countertops and backsplash: Silestone. Refrigerator, dishwasher, washer/dryer: Miele. Range: Bertazzoni. Ladder: Custom by contractor.
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