Loft life, Brooklyn style

Myryah Irby

November 15, 2012

By: Myryah Irby, Home Renovation Enthusiast

In: Interior DesignGeneral Remodeling

Your home is a reflection of you. I really believe that. And not in some ambiguous way, but in a real, perceptible way. I think the space I live in mirrors my personality for the most part: cheerful, open, eclectic, warm. It's not fancy. It's full of thrift store finds, hand-me-downs, things we've made -- ceramics, paintings, photographs -- and gifts from friends and family. Here are a few photos:
bright bedroom
Resident fairy playing in our bedroom.
We splurged on a California King mattress set about six years ago and I will never go back. So luxurious! There is no good reason for that dress form in the corner. It was a prop in a shoot my husband did years ago and is now one of the many, many objects he's not ready to part with (this is a topic I will return to). white bedroom
We found the couch on Craigslist. A little old lady in Danville, CA was selling it for $25, it had been in her family for generations. The upholstery on the arms is ripped, and we'd originally intended to have it reupholstered, in red, maybe, but after living with it for a while it turned out we didn't mind it being a little tattered. Nothing a few sheepskins couldn't smarten up. It may look dainty, but it's actually a muscular couch, built to last. The cushions weigh ten pounds each. Ten pounds! To the right of the couch is another one of my husband's objets d'art: a threshing board (an obsolete farm implement, pulled by mules or oxen to separate grain from chaff). Every home should have one!
open floor layout
The large painting on the wall to the left is one of my husband's. He's a painter and photographer. About 80% of the artwork and photography in our apartment was created by my husband, and that suits me fine. To the left of the beam is a turn of the century large format camera that he still uses regularly. He develops the photos in our bathtub. That contraption to the right of the beam is a photo enlarger, used to project a negative onto photographic paper in an enlarged form.loft life
My husband and I don't always see eye-to-eye on artwork (other people's that is; I love almost everything my husband creates). He tends towards darker, more abstruse, sometimes disturbing or erotic imagery. Two of his favorite artists are Francis Bacon and Joel-Peter Witkin. I usually go for art that's a bit... sunnier? For example, the charcoal drawing on the wall in the photo above, a sort of raven head on skis? Yeah, that's my husband's. I was with him when he bought it and did not encourage the transaction, but didn't discourage it either. I remember trying to guide him towards a few other pieces by the same artist. "Oooh, look at this one, it's so colorful!" My husband has a strong point of view, and I respect that, so we live with the skiing raven head.
door to bedroom
We don't watch much TV. The TV we have was given to me by an old colleague who was moving in with his boyfriend. The TV we owned at the time was from the '80s and got exactly two channels. I'm thinking of buying a flat screen TV for the country house. I've never bought a TV, so any suggestions on good brands (or good shows) are welcome.kitchen in our loft
Ahhh, our kitchen! This is where I spend most of my time. I love to cook.  After college I worked as a personal vegetarian chef for a year or so while I was saving up for graduate school. I didn't have any professional cooking experience, but I was a passionate home cook. Passion can open doors. I'm not a great cook, but I truly enjoy cooking, and I think that comes through in the dishes I make. 

We bought our kitchen table at a little shop on Valencia Street in San Francisco that specializes in mid-century modern furniture (my favorite style, in general). We soon learned that beverages set on the table without coasters left rings. We are not coaster types, so my husband refinished it. It has leaves that extend a few feet on either side so can seat up to 10 comfortably, or 16 creatively. We host a lot of dinner parties.

Our friend Randall made the kitchen shelves. He and his wife and daughters lived in our building for a few sweet years, until they decided to buy and gut renovate a brownstone in Harlem. That's when we inherited the shelves. Their renovation is not going well -- contractor problems. (So glad we found Joe!) I'll likely write about their project at some point. Right now they are two years into the process and on their third contractor, and they have a gutted brownstone with no plumbing. kitchen with white shelves
My husband is wonderful at decorating spaces. He's definitely the creative genius of our outfit. However, once decorated, he's not so good at keeping spaces clean and uncluttered. That's actually, thankfully, one of the few points of contention at home. I am a minimalist who despises clutter, he is... not. But we'll get to that on another day. Join me next time when I return to our regular programming, i.e. our new country home. We just got a faucet in the mail today, so I'll likely be writing about our bathroom renovation.


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