It takes a certain caliber of interior designer to oversee the gut renovation of a home owned by a Homepolish co-founder. Just think about it. Since 2014, the startup has garnered attention for its success with teaming clients up with designers who match their style and, more importantly, their budget. Still, New York-based designer was up for the challenge.
Over the course of seven intense months, Shea and her team worked closely with Will Nathan, who is also the founder of and Partner at , to transform his SoHo loft into an industrial retreat that suits his bicoastal lifestyle. The project appealed to Shea for two reasons: she connected with Nathan’s business acumen as a fellow entrepreneur and they share an appreciation for history and architecture.
And so the process of revamping the 2,800-square-foot loft in a landmark early 20th century building began.
First, Shea had to consider how her design style would translate into the space and complement Nathan's aesthetic. "My style is on the organic-modernist side with a bit of industrial elements," Shea said. "Will appreciates history, as do I, so we took it upon ourselves to strip the space down layer by layer."
The original space was awkwardly divided into seven small rooms. Shea's goal was to make it feel more open, while keeping the authenticity of SoHo’s design ethos in mind. To make this happen, Shea settled on an open-floor plan.
The kitchen, which turns out to be one of Nathan's favorite spots in the loft, is one area that showcases the true beauty of the open-floor concept. Details like a large marble island, a trio of minimalist pendants, and open shelving add interest.
The spacious master bedroom is steps away from the serene bathroom, and Shea had one clear objective for the area: "We wanted it to almost feel like a hotel." Furnishings were kept to a minimum with a simple, low-profile bed, nightstands and a basic rug that highlights the beauty of the wood flooring. Plus, there's an accent chair boasting a quintessential 1920s motif—a nod to Frank Lloyd Wright.
Another highlight of the bedroom is a 15-by-8-foot glass wall that can be dimmed when the shower is in use. It separates the master bathroom from the bedroom, allowing for privacy. It's also an example of Shea's attention to detail. "The glass [in the shower] is from an old factory in Detroit," Shea said. "Everything in the home is American-made."
Along with American-made accents, the designer made an effort to maximize the natural light that pours into the loft throughout the day. She changed the windows to match those in front of the landmarked property and the bedroom doors were upgraded as well.
Despite the scale of the project, the concept of simplicity informed Shea's decisions. For instance, rather than installing a full closet, Shea opted for a simple clothing rack, like the one featured in the guest bedroom. It was a better design choice as guests don't frequent the space regularly, since Nathan splits his time between Arizona and New York.
When it comes to storage solutions, Shea's creativity really shines. The designer captured space underneath the master bathroom floor for Nathan to store entertaining essentials, seasonal goods and other belongings.
And that's not the only instance of Shea's clever approach to storage. She also installed a 35-foot bench that Nathan can use to stash his belongings. It boasts a striking, faux brick facade and runs the span of the living and dining room areas.
Considering Nathan's busy schedule, a cozy, relaxing area to unwind after a long day was a requirement, too. Shea crafted an inviting nook from a small elevator vestibule (the building's first floor is a commercial space). The designer positioned a bench with an upholstered cushion from in front of a built-in bookcase. LVWood Hickory flooring, a NAFCO Studios table, and a black and white photograph taken during one of Shea's trips to Amsterdam complete the area.
Both Nathan and Shea couldn't be more pleased with the overhaul. "He [Nathan] was one of those dream clients who told me what he wanted and let me run with it," Shea said. "He was very happy with what I presented from day one. I also like working with open-concept spaces, because you can really position furniture wherever [you] want. I like rooms that make you think outside the box."