Chucking a more demurely-colored articulation of space, Christopher Coleman’s Brooklyn loft Blazes a trail of indulgent—and perfect—excess
It’s easy, when living in a city wherein an un-maximized six-square-foot corner represents a tragedy of lost opportunity, to think of every decision as utilitarian. “This has to be our dining and extra office space,” and/or “How do we make this a living room and a kid’s room?” become expressions that ring familiar, and so, too often, any small footprints become a dour expression of need. Bathed in neutral tones and multi- functional furniture, our spaces—in pursuit of everything—become nothing.
It took a designer of Christopher Coleman’s wit to demolish that deadly prac- ticality, and it took his own home to do it. His Williamsburg loft needed a concept from the ground up, as it were, and instead of the demure, flat-toned accentuation of space that often guides the color consider- ations of his contemporaries, the Baltimore native found inspiration in bursts of geomet- ric and vibrant color. The eye rests here, is energized there, and the result is 1,250 square-feet of wonderful unpredictability.
Industry: Was this your vision alone or a collaboration?
Christopher Coleman: This is my part- ner and my loft in Brooklyn. It was collabo- ration between the two of us. It’s a labora- tory of ideas: experiments with colors, and different materials.
Industry: Did the loft have to play any particular function for you in addition to its living space?
CC: Well, we like to entertain, so we did not have space to really have a dining space, so we have the breakfast table and do a lot of buffet style dinner off of that. We have the home office upstairs with the TV room, so we have very defined spaces.
Industry: What kind of building is it in?
CC: The loft is on North 3rd Street in Williamsburg. It’s in a new building…small scale, with five floors and four apartments per floor.
Industry: What are the views and natural light like, and to what extent did either or both influence your design choices?
CC: We have an entire wall of glass in the living room and win- dows in every room, so we actually get too much light and there- fore have curtains in parachute cloth. The natural light makes it ideal for the palette of primary colors, too. We see some of the Williamsburg Bridge from our living room and bedroom window.
Industry: What was the space like when you started? CC: It was the model apartment, so it looked great and that’s why we wanted the space. It had what I call “basketball court” floors in light wood—which I don’t like—so we did a low-pile black velour carpet wall to wall which hugely helps reduce sound and grounds the high ceiling space.
Industry: What inspired the color scheme?
CC: I wanted to use a few key pieces, one being the large hori- zontal metal wall sculpture in multi colors. One other in the bed- room is the pair of silk laminated bedside wall lights in horizontal stripes, so we designed a custom wall covering in the kitchen to tie all the colors together and accentuate the height.
Industry: What furniture designers did you choose for the space?
CC: The furniture is an eclectic mix of found pieces…20th-Cen- tury vintage furniture and new custom-made pieces. For exam- ple, the two living room armchairs are from Prague and made in the 50s: one is covered in a black and white blanket and the other in a cotton Dhurrie rug.
Industry: And where did the artwork come from?
CC: A good amount of the art we had from previous apartments and we visit Art Basel every year and dream of pieces we would love to purchase!