Dezeen Magazine

Bed in front of glass partition and white curtain

Dumbo Loft by Crystal Sinclair Designs features a book-filled mezzanine

Interiors studio Crystal Sinclair Designs has renovated a loft apartment in Brooklyn's Dumbo neighbourhood to include a mezzanine with a wall of books and a bedroom behind a glass partition.

Upstate New York studio Crystal Sinclair Designs overhauled the space for a well-travelled lawyer and writer.

Dumbo loft with mezzanine
The loft's high ceilings enabled a mezzanine library to be added

The client purchased the loft during the early Covid-19 pandemic in Dumbo, an area that has seen extensive conversion of buildings into luxury apartments.

Sinclair's aim was to retain the industrial look of the space, while incorporating a mix of furnishings that offer a European flair and nod to some of the locations where her client has spent time.

Wooden dining table and chairs
Crystal Sinclair Designs retained the industrial materials and kept surfaces bright

"[She] wanted to incorporate certain elements that are representative of the places she’s lived and worked before," Sinclair said.

"To that end, we worked in a nuristani mirror and a tribal qashqai rug purchased in Afghanistan, a statement chandelier from Italy, and her entire and not insubstantial library."

Kitchen with white and grey marble surfaces and a farmhouse-style island
In the kitchen area, arabascato marble contrasts a farmhouse-style island

The concrete shell was largely left exposed, balanced with antique pieces like an easel and a leather wingback chair to add more story and a "lived-in" feel.

"The space itself led the way," said Sinclair, who founded her eponymous studio with her husband, Ben. "The idea was to draw attention to the high ceilings with floor-to-ceiling drapes and a metal/glass partition wall. As the space is bright, we decided to paint everything white."

Living room with boucle sofa and giant crystal chandelier
Floor-to-ceiling glass panels divide the living space and the bedroom

The 1,190-square-foot (110-square-metre) apartment features a concrete coffered ceiling that reaches over 14 feet (four metres).

Thanks to this height, an L-shaped mezzanine could be added to provide a space to store the client's book collection.

Wall covered in wooden battens
One wall is covered in wooden battens that create a relief pattern

A ladder beside a window provides access to the upper level, where bookshelves displaying the extensive library almost cover the whole wall.

Underneath are a row of tall cabinets, and the kitchen that features slabs of white and grey arabascato marble that contrasts a wooden farmhouse-style island.

Reading nook
The eclectic selection of furniture was chosen to help give the space a lived-in feel

In the living room, a cream boucle sofa is paired with a Moroccan rug, while a giant crystal chandelier hangs overhead.

The corner bedroom is partitioned from the rest of the space by floor-to-ceiling glass panels housed within black metal frames.

A white linen curtain can be pulled across to obscure the neutral-toned sleeping area from view. A desk also runs the length of a wall, for the client to use on the days that she works from home.

Elsewhere, original structural columns are wrapped in tiles around their lower halves, and a section of wall is covered with wood battens that create a relief pattern.

Small desk under a window
Linen curtains can be drawn to provide privacy in the bedroom

"We played with it and kept everything bright and airy," Sinclair said. "All we needed to do was to layer in order to give the space depth and purpose."

Loft apartments are typified by high ceilings, large windows and expansive open floor plans, and are commonly found in former industrial neighbourhoods of Brooklyn.

Chaise lounge covered with a textured throw
Antique pieces help to imbue the spaces with a European flair

Other areas of New York City, like Tribeca, are similarly full of historic warehouses and factories that have been converted for residential use.

In these types of buildings, recently completed projects include an apartment by Andrea Leung with "secret spaces" hidden behind a mirrored wall and a penthouse by Worrell Yeung where industrial finishes are contrasted with the "pure minimal lines" of new fittings.

The photography is by Seth Caplan.

Project credits:

Interior design: Crystal Sinclair Designs
Stylist: Mariana Marcki-Matos