Susan Goldstein, principal at SBSG Styling, is no stranger to luxury. She’s styled some of the most-coveted properties in San Francisco and New York City, and has been featured on HGTV's Selling NY, Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing NY, and in The Wall Street Journal’s Home of the Week. And while she designs posh spaces in New York’s SoHo, she remembers the neighborhood’s humble beginnings. See how she keeps the spirit of old SoHo alive in her designs on 36 Bleecker St., and read our tips for bringing that lofty style into your own space.
Work with (and embrace!) old bones
While it may be one of downtown’s most coveted residential addresses today, 36 Bleecker was originally a printing factory built in 1885, known as the Schumacher building. Its historic Queen Anne Victorian and Romanesque Revival style boasts vaulted ceilings and an open layout, making it easy to take cues from the original architecture. “We chose materials that complemented the Industrial look and gave it a masculine style,” says Goldstein.
Let your rug set the tone
As the foundation for any room, rugs play a major part in setting a tone for your space, so they’re always a great starting point. Here, a Moroccan rug with a simple geometric pattern is the perfect counterpart to the masculine Midcentury furniture and distinctive architecture of the space, creating a vibe that’s eclectic, not chaotic. As moods and seasons change, a simple rug swap does wonders to refresh the feel of any room. Experiment with patterns and textures to find what works best for you.
Take cues from the architecture
Beyond having a space that feels large and open, another major upside of high ceilings are the large windows that accompany them. Great natural light can be hard to come by in New York, and is in of itself a design element. Take advantage of the natural light by designing a space that welcomes it. Low furniture and light hues let the sunlight pour throughout the space with ease. Don’t have large windows? Recreate the loft look in your home with pale walls (can’t go wrong with classic white), light rugs, and reflective accents to brighten things up.
Use art to inform the space
Before SoHo was home to some of the city’s poshest shops and restaurants, it was a haven for art-world greats like Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, and Willem de Kooning to create work. “In the early 70's, SoHo was the home for both successful and emerging artists because of the size of the spaces that they could rent,” says Goldstein, “it was the absolute best place to be in NYC.” A painting by NYC-based artist Victor-Raul Garcia is used here to make a statement while telling the story of the neighborhood; a reminder of what SoHo once was. Whether you go for something monochromatic or something bright and colorful, choose a piece that tells the right story for your home
Add little touches to make a big impact
Once you’ve got the core elements like furniture and rugs in place, use accents to create that lived-in look. The best way to do it? Think small. Here, pottery adds shape and dimension to the room without making it feel cluttered. Use greenery to bring the outdoors in and add a little zen to the overall space. Here, the bamboo trees and ferns work double duty, offering both tranquility and privacy from the outside. Black thumbs, have no fear: a (good) artificial plant will do the trick, and will always look as wonderful as the day you got it.
Make Industrial feel comfortable
Industrial decor often gets a bad rap for being cold and uninviting. But as Goldstein proves above, the right decor elements help you achieve a sense of sophisticated comfort without losing the effortlessly cool SoHo vibe. Experiment with color and texture to create a unique design story all your own. Most importantly: express yourself. After all, SoHo style is about breaking the rules to create something that’s uniquely yours.
Create the loft look in your own home
You don’t need to live in a warehouse or have a ton of exposed brick to bring the loft look to your own home. Simply try some of the tips and tricks above to find the perfect balance of rustic refinement for your own home.