April 12, 2017

Architect Nancy Nienberg Gives a Brooklyn Mom Her Dream Loft

Wunderground Architecture + Design expertly creates a cohesive home for a blended, and growing, family.

by Danine Alati photographer Jennifer Liseo architecture Wunderground Architecture

LOFT FOR LIFE

Who says all the cool loft spaces are in TriBeCa? A Brooklyn mom with a young daughter decided to create her dream loft apartment, with help from architecture firm Wunderground. The divorced financial advisor already owned a two-bedroom apartment in DUMBO, so when she remarried, she and her new husband bought the adjacent one-bedroom unit. After having a daughter together, they hired Wunderground "to create a seamless flow of space, with a distinct children's area," the homeowner says. "It was important that the apartment didn't feel like a combination, but instead a large family home...modern and clean but warm and welcoming, as well."

Nancy Nienberg, principal at Wunderground, immediately understood. "We needed to maximize usable space and include small details that would make the apartment family friendly without visual clutter." Nienberg continues, "The loft needed to perform well for an active family on a daily basis, but transform easily for entertaining centered around great food and music."

To accomplish these distinct goals, Nienberg and her project manager Jacinto Padin exploited the loft character of the space and converted design challenges into opportunities. "We featured the loft elements (painted original concrete columns and ceilings) and promoted the large scale of the space. We also gave attention to 'fixing' the unsophisticated little details from the initial building conversion," Nienberg explains. "We rerouted the hallway using a ceiling cove to connect the units and lead to the natural light."

In the living room, the architects strategically "bookended" the television with a concrete column on one end and a custom cerused oak bar on the other, thus carving out space for a 65-inch television without making it the primary feature of the room. "Everyone was happy!" Nienberg says. And the client agrees that it's one of her favorite features.

Mid-project, the design team found out another daughter was on the way, and they were able to shift plans to accommodate a third child. The foyer to the kids' room is outfitted with a sofa, TV, shelving for toys and a full-height pivoting door to close off the space. "I love that the playroom was designed and decorated in a sophisticated way so that when we entertain we can open up the entire space and have a great flowing party space," the homeowner says, adding that the design process was much more simple than she imagined it would be.

It was so flawlessly executed, in fact, that the couple subsequently tapped Wunderground for a new project: "After the experience with Nancy on our combination in Dumbo," she says, "we hired her to create a unique indoor-outdoor living experience Upstate."

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