Few New York City apartments enjoy the luxury of unobstructed views in three directions, but this 5,000-square-foot loft—a recent residential architect design award winner for architectural interiors—does. Katherine Chia, AIA, therefore wanted to ensure that every inch benefited from the “spectacular quality of light” flooding the space. She also “wanted to make sure it was maintained even as we carved out spaces that were fully enclosed, like bathrooms,” she says.
A screen system of offset wood planks and posts in lieu of solid walls transmits natural light from perimeter windows and lets it penetrate into those bathrooms. A subtle reveal at the ceiling line creates the illusion that the wood screens are freestanding, while glass lines the screens as a barrier for water and noise. A series of operable portholes improves ventilation and offers bathers a peek at what's going on elsewhere in the apartment. White laminated glass hides the plumbing in wet areas, and Chia designed custom accessories—towel bars and shampoo shelves, among them—to clip onto the glass.
“One of the things I've learned about doing lofts is that the relationship between spaces is critical,” she says. Thanks to the help of a lighting consultant, the relationship between bathing and living spaces becomes even more compelling as night falls. “When the lights are on in the bathroom,” Chia explains, “light leaks out and the bathrooms become lanternlike objects within the apartment.”
architect: Desai/Chia Architecture, New York City
general contractor: Giovannitti Inc., Yonkers, N.Y.
resources: custom lavatories and accessories: Desai/ Chia Architecture; plumbing fittings and fixtures: Agape, Dornbracht, Grohe, and Vola; wall tile: Ceramica Vogue (Linea Vetro)