Design Duo Debuts New Loft

by AVENUE insider Photographed by Brendan Burke
Tuesday, June 26, 2018

New Yorkers should be very familiar with Emporium Design’s work. Principals Tim Welsh and Robert Stansell have crafted such popular bars and restaurants as Boulton & Watt, Drexler’s and Blind Barber, as well as residential projects. Now, the duo have turned their hands to their most customized project to date. Located at 24 Horatio Street, Horatio Loft is a 1,300 square foot residence that combines a mid-century modern design aesthetic with cutting-edge conveniences. The 100-year old space is owned by BarkBox CMO Jay Livingston, who wanted to embrace the building’s past while allowing him to have a functional lifestyle. Upon entering Horatio Loft, the elevator opens directly onto an original steel and hand-blown glass sidewalk vault cover. Check out the slideshow above to experience the rest of the space; and read below to learn about the design duo’s inspiration.

Can you describe your inspiration for the space?

Our main inspiration for this apartment, like with most of our projects, was to celebrate the building’s history and embrace the bones that we discovered after peeling away generations of (questionable) renovations. The building was once a warehouse, so it was clear that the direction needed to be an “industrial loft conversion,” but with the sophistication of modern amenities and conveniences and the customization of every inch of the space.

Can you talk about your design process for residential and commercial spaces? How are the similar/how do they differ? 

We treat residential and commercial projects similarly in that our goal is always to respond to a very specific program, often highly customized, while creating comfort and sense of place. Residential projects often require a higher level of intimacy, as the client typically calls the space their home. We enjoy the challenge of that level of customization.

How did you two meet? What is your collaborative process like? 

We met on the first day of architecture school and became fast friends. We share the same value and hands-on approach to architecture and design, so it wasn’t long before we were discussing working together. We focus on different aspects of project development, but we collaborate on all stages for each and every project.  What sets us apart is our desire to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty. We are very proud of Emporium Design’s ability to design and fabricate custom light fixtures and furniture that’s able to respond to the unique challenges that every project has. Horatio Loft features many pieces designed and fabricated by us, including light fixtures, vanities in both bathrooms, bedroom side tables, the media center in the living room, and other furniture as well.

What is the most important room in a person’s home? Why? 

The two most important spaces in a home are the living/family room and the kitchen. In Horatio Loft, these two spaces are combined so it’s even more important. The kitchen is often described as the heart of the home, as in this case where the open kitchen flows directly into the eating area and open concept living space.  This open loft concept is very conducive to entertaining as our client plans to do in the future.

Do you have a favorite project that you’ve completed? 

Not unlike children, it’s hard to put a finger on a favorite; they are all different in unique ways, have their own challenges that we have put our heart and soul into, but are incredibly rewarding.  As far as Horatio Loft goes, we had a lot of fun with this project and our team is very excited and proud of the result.  It was difficult to satisfy our client’s ambitious program in a not-so-huge footprint. However, by being tasked to carefully craft and curate just about every inch of the loft, including the design and fabrication of custom light fixtures and furniture pieces, we were able to create a space that functions much larger than it really is.

What’s next for Emporium Design?

We have a lot going on right now: ground-up design and construction on two homes, one in Sea Island, Georgia, and another in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. We are also in construction on a vegetarian restaurant in the East Village; a high-design art deco inspired bar in the East Village; and a café in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We are wrapping up design on a large restaurant in the Rockefeller Center area and a six-story condo building in Long Island City.


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