The first home we toured was the work of architect Andrew Franz, who is known for his vibrant, nature-filled residences. The newly renovated apartment is situated inside one of Manhattan’s longest standing structures, a circa-1884 landmark building that was a former soap warehouse conceived by historic architect George B. DaCunha in the Romanesque Revival style. In this adaptive reuse project, Franz seamlessly balances old with new, retaining much of the building’s historic features, including its original 16-foot beam ceilings, brick walls, and heavy timber columns.
The pièce de résistance, however, is the botanic-filled inverted courtyard loft which rests beneath a 150-square-foot retractable skylight. With a single push of a button, the expansive skylight opens up to a lush rooftop retreat overlooking the Hudson River. Franz notes that the main inspiration for the design was simply “to bring nature indoors,” and it’s clear that he succeeded.
The remainder of the home incorporates mid-century antiques, handmade tile and lots of reclaimed wood, including an elegant stair railing and coffee tables formed from the timber of former elevators. Even with its towering ceilings, the beautiful combination of industrial materials, natural light and greenery successfully achieve a feeling of home sweet home (in fact, it wasn’t easy to leave).
Actress Alysia Reiner may play the head honcho at the prison of the Netflix series Orange is the New Black, but her real-life style could not be further from her television alter ego’s. Her airy, environmentally sensitive family home is the epitome of peace, love and serenity. Sustainable architectural firm MontesBuild, headed by architect Nicholas Moons, undertook the renovation of this historic Harlem building originally built 1909. The three-story structure was stripped completely down to its original brick walls and then restored employing ecologically-conscious methods. The home’s design boasts predominantly bamboo and natural slate flooring, natural light, reclaimed wood from the Hudson Company, and contemporary furnishings.
Kid-friendly features fill the second floor, including fully functioning playful chalkboard paint lining the backs of the staircase decorated with fun family notes. Spiritual details are peppered throughout the home, along with serene Buddhist artifacts and statues. The design’s innate peaceful message is uplifting and inspiring at every angle.
For a look at other Dwell on Design happenings, check out our inspiring roundup of last week’s design showcase.
Images via Dwell Magazine and Laura Mordas-Schenkein