Sculptural Loft Renovation Mixes Past And Present

Located in Manhattan, New York, the Chinatown loft has been here since the 1980s. A few years ago, the whole loft was renovated by Buro, a research and idea driven architectural practice led by Koray Duman.

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The team completed the renovation in 2010 and the major changes that have been made brought the project the best of the year award for residential spaces the next year. The 750 square foot space situated on the corner of the 5th floor was completely restructured.

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Originally, this was a three-bedroom apartment but not all the rooms received sufficient sunlight so the overall impression was that of a dark and uninviting space. The renovation transformed it into a one-bedroom loft with 1.5 bathrooms.

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By getting rid of the individual rooms, the architect opened up the space allowing light to travel through and to illuminate all the areas like it should. But the interior still needed to be organized in a way and the solution found was to build a sculptural wall.

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This wall has a wavy design and it integrates the laundry area, the powder room and lots of built-in storage. It has a bold, lime-green finish which allows it to stand out and become the focal point for the entire loft.

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Although several major changes were made during the renovation, the team also tried to preserve bits of history and to integrate them into the new design. As a result, the apartment features whitewashed exposed brick walls and even some of the original vintage wallpaper in the kitchen.These elements contrast with the new additions, the modern furniture and the minimalist designs. A very nice balance is created and, instead of feeling stuffy and cold, the apartment has a fresh and vibrant ambiance.

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The oak flooring links all the different spaces, creating a cohesive look while also adding some warmth to the various areas, a welcomed detail given the array of materials, textures and finishes used throughout.


The choice of furniture is interesting. For example, the main living space features two sofas with sculptural bases and white seats. The two complement each other perfectly and, when pushed together, they fit like two pieces of a puzzle and form a bed. Though most of the furniture is white, bits of colors are spread throughout the apartment. A yellow chair in a corner, a fresh flower vase on the coffee table, a blue lounger across the room and it all connects beautifully.

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Integrated into a large wall unit is a work station. It has a shelf desk and three more shelves for storage which let the whitewashed brick become visible.

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The kitchen features a combination of white, green and steel. Even though it’s not particularly spacious, the minimalist design, clean and simple lines and versatility of the décor balance out everything else. The entrance into the powder room is from the kitchen. In here, the architect used bas-relief honeycomb tiles to add texture to the walls and visual interest to the small space. The sink and two mirrors and positioned in the corner.

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The loft overlooks the Sarah Rosevelt Park and the views are beautiful, especially from the bedroom. It has two windows of different dimensions, both facing the same panorama. The same exposed brick walls complement the space, bringing history to life in a modern setting.

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The room is decorated with lemon-yellow accents which complement the white walls and grey details, keeping the décor simple and bright. A single small nightstand undulates on the wall featuring a sleek design.

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The master bathroom is a glass enclosure in the same room. The walls and floor are covered with small, white, square tiles and a double sink vanity is mounted on the wall with three two rectangular mirror positioned on either side of a built-in niche with glass shelves.

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