An Ethereal New York City Loft With West Coast Light

Louetta R. Clark

It was the consummate New Yorker Walt Whitman who once wrote, “Keep your face to the sun—and shadows will fall behind you,” but anyone who’s lived in the dark, often view-deprived confines of a Manhattan apartment knows that’s easier said than done. So when one family discovered a pristine loft apartment with soaring ceilings and monumental windows in a historic 19th-century building in Tribeca, there was no question where the focus would land.

“When you walk off the elevator, you’re immediately hit with this diffused northern light, which is just spectacular,” says Los Angeles designer Kelly Bergin of the wall of expansive windows in a sitting area adjacent to the entrance. “The space feels very natural and soothing—and completely removed from the city. We knew right away that we wanted to maintain that sense of the ethereal.”

<div class="caption"> “We began with a blank slate and worked with what was there, adding millwork to visually and functionally define spaces within the main living area,” says Bergin. In the dining room, a custom table by <a href="http://patrickkeesey.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Patrick Keesey" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Patrick Keesey</a> is paired with chairs by Guillerme et Chambron and plaster pendants by <a href="https://www.roseuniacke.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Rose Uniacke" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Rose Uniacke</a>. The shelf ledges highlight art by Beverly Buchanan, Emily Sundblad, and Patricia Iglesias. </div>
“We began with a blank slate and worked with what was there, adding millwork to visually and functionally define spaces within the main living area,” says Bergin. In the dining room, a custom table by Patrick Keesey is paired with chairs by Guillerme et Chambron and plaster pendants by Rose Uniacke. The shelf ledges highlight art by Beverly Buchanan, Emily Sundblad, and Patricia Iglesias.

With nothing in the way of structural repairs to undertake, the first step was to create areas of purpose within the partition-free apartment while keeping the space open and bright. Bergin opted for room-defining millwork instead of walls, allowing sunlight to penetrate every corner of the property. In the dining area, a series of graduated ledges were installed to add texture to an otherwise blank wall and provide space for both family art and the homeowners’ vast collection (she is the deputy director of Dia Art Foundation), while a shelving unit in the library area establishes the feel of a cozy reading nook. The monochromatic cabinetry in the kitchen is designed to infuse what feels like a subtle, receding space with quiet definition. And Bergin added wood paneling in the entry to give it a formal yet understated sense of arrival. “Because that light is so soft and airy, we wanted to ground it with natural earthy elements like wood and leather to direct the flow.”

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To enhance the ethereal, nature-inspired aesthetic, Bergin embraced rounded shapes over angular designs, chose plush textiles that foster an overriding sense of comfort, and enveloped the rooms in a cloudlike palette to give the home the feel of a modern aerie. “We were going for a look that doesn’t sacrifice design but is also stealthily kid-friendly,” Bergin says. In the living room, a sinuous sofa by Vladimir Kagan sits opposite a pair of Theo Ruth chairs upholstered in a durable Kvadrat wool. The ombré-hued painting by Isabelle Cornaro that dominates the library echoes the glow throughout the space. “We love watching how the sunset painting on the wall changes with the light,” says the homeowner.

An Ethereal New York City Loft With West Coast Light

<div class="caption"> Los Angeles designer Kelly Bergin transformed a bright if blank Tribeca loft into an inviting family home filled with light and soft texture. A painting by French artist Isabelle Cornaro dominates the family library, where an <a href="https://www.restorationhardware.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:RH" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">RH</a> sofa, <a href="https://nickeykehoe.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Nickey Kehoe" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Nickey Kehoe</a> chairs, and a collection of vintage kilims combine to create a cozy reading nook. </div>
Los Angeles designer Kelly Bergin transformed a bright if blank Tribeca loft into an inviting family home filled with light and soft texture. A painting by French artist Isabelle Cornaro dominates the family library, where an RH sofa, Nickey Kehoe chairs, and a collection of vintage kilims combine to create a cozy reading nook.
<div class="caption"> The rich leather daybed by <a href="https://www.walzworkinc.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Kevin Walz" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Kevin Walz</a> grounds a pair of bulbous poufs by <a href="https://www.baleri-italia.it/en/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Baleri Italia" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Baleri Italia</a>. The sculpture is by Paloma Varga Weisz. </div>
The rich leather daybed by Kevin Walz grounds a pair of bulbous poufs by Baleri Italia. The sculpture is by Paloma Varga Weisz.
<div class="caption"> “I felt like it was up to me to figure out how to make these beautiful pieces impervious,” says Bergin of making the living room accessible for two young children. A <a href="http://www.vladimirkagan.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Vladimir Kagan" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Vladimir Kagan</a> sofa sits opposite a pair of Theo Ruth chairs in a durable <a href="https://kvadrat.dk/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Kvadrat" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Kvadrat</a> wool; a <a href="https://nickeykehoe.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Nickey Kehoe" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Nickey Kehoe</a> cocktail table, Charlotte Perriand stool, and Rupert Nikoll floor lamp—all atop a floor covering by <a href="https://www.therugcompany.com/us/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Rug Company" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Rug Company</a>—complete the scene. </div>
“I felt like it was up to me to figure out how to make these beautiful pieces impervious,” says Bergin of making the living room accessible for two young children. A Vladimir Kagan sofa sits opposite a pair of Theo Ruth chairs in a durable Kvadrat wool; a Nickey Kehoe cocktail table, Charlotte Perriand stool, and Rupert Nikoll floor lamp—all atop a floor covering by The Rug Company—complete the scene.
<div class="caption"> “I wanted to bring in some natural elements to soften the space,” says Bergin of the powder room, which features a <a href="https://www.phillipjeffries.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Phillip Jeffries" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Phillip Jeffries</a> grasscloth wall covering, an antique Portuguese stool, a <a href="https://lusitanostudio.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Lusitano Studio" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Lusitano Studio</a> ceramic vase, and a painting by Paul Kopau. </div>
“I wanted to bring in some natural elements to soften the space,” says Bergin of the powder room, which features a Phillip Jeffries grasscloth wall covering, an antique Portuguese stool, a Lusitano Studio ceramic vase, and a painting by Paul Kopau.
<div class="caption"> “Everything is designed to recede, allowing the furnishings and the clients’ art collection and decorative objects to stand out and adding to the ethereal feel of the space,” says Bergin of the <a href="https://www.heatherrosenmanceramics.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Heather Rosenman" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Heather Rosenman</a> ceramics and woven basket by <a href="https://nickeykehoe.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Nickey Kehoe" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Nickey Kehoe</a> on display in the monochromatic kitchen. </div>
“Everything is designed to recede, allowing the furnishings and the clients’ art collection and decorative objects to stand out and adding to the ethereal feel of the space,” says Bergin of the Heather Rosenman ceramics and woven basket by Nickey Kehoe on display in the monochromatic kitchen.
<div class="caption"> “We began with a blank slate and worked with what was there, adding millwork to visually and functionally define spaces within the main living area,” says Bergin. In the dining room, a custom table by <a href="http://patrickkeesey.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Patrick Keesey" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Patrick Keesey</a> is paired with chairs by Guillerme et Chambron and plaster pendants by <a href="https://www.roseuniacke.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Rose Uniacke" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Rose Uniacke</a>. The shelf ledges highlight art by Beverly Buchanan, Emily Sundblad, and Patricia Iglesias. </div>
“We began with a blank slate and worked with what was there, adding millwork to visually and functionally define spaces within the main living area,” says Bergin. In the dining room, a custom table by Patrick Keesey is paired with chairs by Guillerme et Chambron and plaster pendants by Rose Uniacke. The shelf ledges highlight art by Beverly Buchanan, Emily Sundblad, and Patricia Iglesias.
<div class="caption"> Custom window dressings help soften the loft’s sharp linearity in the master suite, where the bed is topped with linens by <a href="https://lesindiennes.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Les Indiennes" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Les Indiennes</a> and flanked by <a href="https://lawsonfenning.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Lawson Fenning" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Lawson Fenning</a> nightstands. The bench is by <a href="https://www.thomashayesstudio.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Thomas Hayes Studio" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Thomas Hayes Studio</a>, the sconces are by <a href="https://www.workstead.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Workstead" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Workstead</a>, and the pendant light is by <a href="https://apparatusstudio.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Apparatus" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Apparatus</a>. </div>
<div class="caption"> Bergin infused the master bath with personality thanks to fixtures by <a href="https://ceadesign.it/it/home.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Cea Design" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Cea Design</a>, a hand towel by <a href="https://rikumo.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Rikumo" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Rikumo</a>, a vase by <a href="https://www.heathceramics.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Heath Ceramics" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Heath Ceramics</a>, and a vintage Turkish rug purchased on <a href="https://www.etsy.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Etsy" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Etsy</a>. </div>
Bergin infused the master bath with personality thanks to fixtures by Cea Design, a hand towel by Rikumo, a vase by Heath Ceramics, and a vintage Turkish rug purchased on Etsy.
<div class="caption"> A nod to the eldest daughter’s favorite color, a red <a href="https://www.serenaandlily.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Serena & Lily" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Serena & Lily</a> daybed topped in linens from <a href="https://lesindiennes.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Les Indiennes" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Les Indiennes</a> pops against neutral <a href="https://sandbergwallpaper.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sandberg" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sandberg</a> wallpaper in the girls’ bedroom. The nightstand is by <a href="https://ducducnyc.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ducduc" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Ducduc</a>; the pendant light is by <a href="https://www.challieres.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Mathieu Challières" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Mathieu Challières</a>. </div>
<div class="caption"> Wood paneling in the entry creates a formal yet understated sense of arrival. “Because that light is so soft and airy, we wanted to ground it with earthy elements like wood and leather to direct the flow.” A <a href="https://lawsonfenning.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Lawson Fenning" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Lawson Fenning</a> console features a mixed-media piece by Thea Djordjadze and sculpture by Simone Fattal, and is complemented by a stump stool by <a href="http://www.bddw.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:BDDW" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">BDDW</a>. The bench is by <a href="http://www.xavierlust.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Xavier Lust" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Xavier Lust</a>, and the pendant lighting is from <a href="https://rewirela.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Rewire" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Rewire</a>. </div>
Wood paneling in the entry creates a formal yet understated sense of arrival. “Because that light is so soft and airy, we wanted to ground it with earthy elements like wood and leather to direct the flow.” A Lawson Fenning console features a mixed-media piece by Thea Djordjadze and sculpture by Simone Fattal, and is complemented by a stump stool by BDDW. The bench is by Xavier Lust, and the pendant lighting is from Rewire.

The softness underscores the family’s need for a home that feels less like a gallery and more like a backdrop for the beauty of everyday life. “Nothing is off limits,” says Bergin. “They often host small dinner parties and kids’ birthday parties here. The girls use every inch of the space.” Of course, not everything was done in the name of kid-friendliness. “There’s a wooden sculpture in the living room by Paloma Varga Weisz that the youngest daughter calls the ‘Scary Lady,’” Bergin says with a laugh. “You can’t win them all, can you?”

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest

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