In 2003, Danielle Roberts opened her own design firm, Danielle Roberts Interiors. She began her career by designing tableware, crystal, textiles and china and later became an editor at House Beautiful magazine. Here is the inside scoop on her SOHO loft in New York.
Danielle says: I was approached by a banker in his late twenties to come see a loft he had purchased on Astor Place.
The building was built in 1892 and converted to modern-style condos in the mid-2000s. When I first saw the space, the client had lived there for about a year and it still felt like a corporate lobby! We identified three big decorating issues: limited lighting, lack of architectural details, and the absence of color.
To brighten the space and create warmer lighting, we removed florescent bulbs from the ceiling and hanging fixtures and replaced them with recessed lighting and wall washers. We then added incandescent hanging, floor and table fixtures to create more even light throughout the residence.
Changing the lighting emphasized the high ceilings, which was wonderful – but it also highlighted the lack of architectural detail. To add a more architectural feel to the cookie-cutter space without performing construction, we designed a large cabinet. The cabinet also serves as much-needed storage space. To add color, we painted the cabinet deep teal.
Initially all the furniture, textiles, etc. were black. To warm it up, but still keep it masculine, we added blues and grays, such as the slate-colored living room area rug from Aronson’s.
We warmed these cool colors with honey-colored wood pieces such as the Cherner Side Chair in laminated plywood, BDDW’s walnut bench and Miralbell & Raventós cylindrical wood lamp. The kitchen’s dark wood works with these colors as well.
All photos courtesy of Peter Margonelli
Lastly, we added iconic modern pieces such as Mies van der Rohe’s “Barcelona” cocktail table and Arne Jacobson’s “Egg” Chair. The final touch was shopping for good artwork and accessories.
This was an immensely satisfying project because the client was open to trying things and appreciative of our efforts. We ended up with a space that looks finished and stylish, but also casual and masculine.