Decatur Street: Nineteenth Century Industrial Building

Hinting at its past life, this 2,400-square-foot, two-story loft in a nineteenth century industrial building was converted into an upscale residential apartment with views of the historic French Market and the Mississippi River. Existing ceilings of rough-hewn timber were maintained throughout, as were selected areas of plaster-skimmed exposed-brick walls. The original wide-plank heart pine floors were also salvaged, adding another layer to the warm, highly textured space.

A new kitchen was conceived as a white insert within the otherwise wood-toned ensemble. Its existing brick wall was painted white to reflect natural light from windows on adjacent and opposite walls. A white Corian-clad island was designed around existing wood columns to provide a casual seating space for the kitchen and to establish a subtle delineation between the kitchen and living area.

Large vintage Murano chandeliers hang from the beamed ceilings in the living room, accompanied by vintage Murano table lamps in the two primary seating areas.The furnishings consist of mid-century modern classics by T. H. Robsjohn-Gibbings, Edward Wormley, and Harvey Probber. The color palette of orange and green was chosen to complement the rich browns of the architecture. A large sisal carpet grounds the furniture arrangements and, like the white-painted brick wall, lightens the room.

Upstairs, the master bedroom’s brick walls were painted white and softened with white linen curtains to create a serene refuge. A custom bed and vintage Gilbert Rohde side tables and desk extend the largely neutral palette, while a persimmon-colored vintage lounge chair and orange lizard-skin lamps by Karl Springer pick up the vibrant color accents from the floor below. A new stair with a Hollywood Regency–inspired painted steel railing was inserted to connect the two floors and enliven the entry hall.