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Before/After: A Low-Key, Bauhaus-Inspired Tribeca Loft by 2Michaels


Before/After: A Low-Key, Bauhaus-Inspired Tribeca Loft by 2Michaels

November 17, 2023

In a sea of sameness when it comes to interiors, it’s refreshing to come across a project that doesn’t strive to be of this exact moment.

When Joan and Jayne Michaels, the twin sisters behind design practice 2Michaels, sent us one of their recent projects, it registered like a breath of fresh air, a palate cleanser.

“Our client, Andrew Serling, bought the place in the late eighties. It’s located in a former Borden milk factory built in 1921, and the building retains its original charm. Over the years, Andrew married, moved to Pennsylvania, and rarely used the place (although his neighbor Robert DeNiro leased it as a boxing studio at one point). Years passed and the place fell into disrepair.

“Not long ago Andrew and his wife, Ellen, decided to spend more time in the city, so they enlisted us to crack the layout code (see before photos) with architectural designer Jeff English.” The result: a brilliantly reconfigured space with a Bauhaus vibe and a hard-to-pin-down, sophisticated aesthetic.

(Oh, and did we mention that Taylor Swift lives across the street? Mayhem occasionally ensues, but it’s all fine.)

Photography by Matthew Williams.


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Above: In the entryway, the Michaels kept it simple. A Wagenfeld Table Lamp anchors the custom console table from Crump & Kwash. Stealth storage is located out of sight, above the doorway. The runner is from The Citizenry. Walls throughout the loft are painted in Benjamin Moore’s Simply White.

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Above: The Michaels anchored the main seating area space with a Brioni Chandelier by Adolf Loos from Woka. The Atelier 41 Floor Lamp in the TV area is a Fortuny, and the other is a Kraft standing lamp designed by Andree Putnam—”our clients wanted a lot of lighting but we didn’t want to do track lighting or can lighting, so we compromised by using lots of floor lamps. The custom rug is from Judy Ross and is designed to coordinate with the furniture.
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Above: The Jen Risom 65 three-seat sofa is from 1st Dibs, and the custom sloped sofa is from Fair Design. The coffee table is from Orange furniture in LA. 

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Above: The loft’s bathroom is concealed behind a sliding door to the left of the TV; to the right, behind another sliding door, is the owner’s vinyl turntable and a bar. The ottoman is from Lawson Fenning, and a pair of 1940s Swedish chairs from Wyeth are covered in a Zak + Fox Fabric from their Amazon line. A counterweight Oscar pendant from RW Guild hangs above the TV seating area.
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Above: The framed “Theatre” photos are by Hiroshi Sugimoto through Marian Goodman. A custom elm wood dining table by Rob Pluhowski is surrounded by a suite of Plank chairs by Roland Rainer from Stillfried. The 1940s wood plaques on the table are by Fran Hosken through Weinberg Modern. Another counterweight Oscar pendant from RW Guild hangs over the dining table.
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Above: “Our clients were obsessed with Plain English, so in that spirit we kept things simple and classic,” the Michaels say. “Working with Jeff English, we designed the custom cabinetry, which was fabricated by Aspen Interior.” The kitchen island was designed by 2Michaels and Jeff English and made by Rob Pluhowski; the countertop is teak, and the paint color is Benjamin Moore Soot. The counter stools are by Bassam Fellows. The backsplash subway tile is from Heritage Tile, and the trio of Line Wall Lights is from Snelling Studio.
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Above: The custom fluted glass screen, stairs, and balustrade were designed by 2Michaels and Jeff English. “Jeff came up with the idea of gracefully referencing the old factory building aesthetic,” according to the Michaels. The “Tower” sculpture by James Beardan is from Weinberg Modern.
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Above: The sleeping loft is like a well-designed ship, with built-in closets and under-bed storage. The Menu Goose Neck Reading Lights are from O’Lampia. The oak platform bed was designed by 2Michaels and Jeff English, and fabricated by Aspen Interior. The headboard is upholstered in Froth indoor/outdoor fabric from Rosemary Hallgarten, and the Society Limonta waffle wool bedcover is from French Presse Linens.

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Above: “In the bathroom, we tried to capture the original feel of the place,” the designers say. “We used white subway tile from Heritage with edges that are square, not mitred. The floor is also tiled in Heritage mosaic tiles, and the shower fittings are from Waterworks.”


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Above: A pool table served as the centerpiece in the living area.
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Above: A makeshift kitchen occupied a corner under the loft area.
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Above: The loft bed area.

For more Before/After posts, see:

A 1912 Arts & Crafts Home Originally Built for an English Explorer

A Big Minnesota Home with the Hygge of a Small Swedish Space

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