This renovation combines a Reagan-era “loft” duplex with the unit below. In the nature of such things, both apartments contradicted every desirable feature of loft space (low ceilings, small windows, insubstantial materials), and had to be completely reconfigured and rethought.
The first step was to stop pretending these were lofts at all, and instead develop spatial effects that could succeed in the actual circumstances. Given that the resulting apartment was to be as open as possible, we worked primarily overhead, adjusting ceiling heights and materials, enlarging openings between the floors, and defining lighting zones. A plane of polished plaster over the living area and a maple kitchen soffit remediate the crushing expanse of ceiling, and a glass gangplank to the office enlarges the apparent size of the stairwell. On the bedroom floors, service runs are collected into wood soffits that leave the rest of the ceiling relatively high.
All windows were replaced and their sills dropped. Full-height casements at the main floor open onto a new glass balcony. The chassis of the existing stair was reused with new railings and an extension to the bottom floor. The matter-of-fact architectural expression is intended as a background to daily life: materials are unobtrusive and details are simple and completely resolved.