diversion: Lena Dunham’s parents ruin a Tribeca loft

not a sale, so a diversion, even if about a Manhattan loft

Weekends on Manhattan Loft Guy are usually for diversions from outside the real estate world, but this Robin Finn story (A Lena Dunham Locale and slideshow) from the Sunday New York Times Real Estate section this week doesn’t lend itself to a traditional weekday post and my headline snark marks it as more a source of fun than (ahem) analysis. The Old Grey Lady’s puffery was the opening shot in a marketing campaign as the loft “is poised to enter the market at $6.25 million” so I will restrict myself to general jibes. (What was “poised” when the article hit the inter tubes on Friday has now leaped, so I do not want to be seen as commenting seriously about someone else’s pending sales listing.)

Of course I am interested in how lofts come to be adapted to residential use, and Finn tells a story: northwest Tribeca former textile factory converted by an consortium of architect plus artists plus writers in 2001 (well beyond the struggling artist period in Tribeca); an artist/filmmaker and painter, “both renowned in the fine arts orbit”, used the space for their various projects, renovating it themselves for that purpose; by 2004, they moved in full-time with their two daughters “and the duplex has since undergone a progression of reconfigurations and modernizations by the architect David Bers in collaboration with [the painter], with finishes and overhead lighting by the designer Nick Dine and custom wood cabinetry by the artist Gregory Curry”. Oh, and one of the daughters has since moved out, and apparently has made a name for herself.

The article tells us that the loft in 2001 featured a 40 foot wall of brick, 11 foot ceilings, and original hardwood floors, while Slide #2 adds the detail that the ceilings were tin and Slide #11 adds that the lower (still studio) space has original beams and cast iron columns. All are details that make loft snobs (c’est moi) wax about “classic” and “authentic”. Such character was not what this arty family wanted, however. They painted the brick white (which you often see), they painted the original hardwood floors first white and now grey (which you sometimes see), they painted the downstairs beams and cast iron columns white (which you do see from time to time), and they pulled down the tin ceilings in favor of exposed beams and recessed lighting (quelle horreur!).

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it is a beautiful loft with wonderful modern finishes and elements, and walls and flooring that maximize the light for these artists. But … but … but, it could have been an authentic loft, DarnItAll.

That’s why some people can’t have nice things. (I wonder if they salvaged the tin ceilings.)

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