eclectic living room by Marie Burgos Design

Houzz Tour: Urban Eclectic Loft in Manhattan

Music and art, family keepsakes and vibrant colors give a former rectory in New York a second life

houzz interior design ideas

by Cathy Lara

Most of interior designer Marie Burgos' previous clients had contemporary, modern or transitional styles. But the homeowners of this loft space in the Gramercy neighborhood of Manhattan, artist and photographer Samantha Heydt and her musician and producer boyfriend, had markedly different tastes and design preferences that even they had trouble defining. The design challenge for Burgos was to understand her clients' upbringings and lifestyles so that she could find items and finishing touches that would appeal to their eclectic taste. "The most fun I had on this project was seeing my clients' surprise and excitement when I finally grasped their style and reflected my understanding in the design of the space," says Burgos. She transformed the loft from a space with Venetian plaster, black floors and moldings to a fresh, modern, functional space filled with travel finds, vintage pieces and family keepsakes.

Houzz at a Glance Who lives here: Samantha Heydt and her boyfriend Location: New York City Size: 2,300 square feet That's Interesting: The unit is located in what used to be St. George Parish's rectory.

The living room windows look into a neighboring building, but Burgos' clients barely notice, as they're too busy looking up: The 23-foot-high ceiling makes up for the lack of views. The watercolor painting is a gift from William Heydt, Samantha's grandfather, and the kilim rug is a vintage item purchased by Samantha in Istanbul.

Couch: ABC Carpet & Home

Most of the original wood floors in the living and dining area were kept, sanded and treated. "The floors needed a good clean because the previous owners had painted them all black. Once sanded, they revealed an amazing wood tone and fabulous design," says Burgos.

Dining table: Hive Modern; Sirius White Floor Lamp: Fashion For Home

Burgos had to remodel the entire kitchen into the slick, modern entertaining and preparing space that is today. "My client entertains often without having to turn on the stove — the food options are just endless here in New York!" Burgos replaced what used to be tiled flooring with a Jatoba herringbone-cut mahogany wood, an almost exact match to the wood floors in the living room. The leather pig on the marble counter was bought by Samantha's grandfather in the 1930s from Abercrombie & Fitch.

Bar stools: The Foundary; kitchen appliances: Miele

If this Original Martinique Wallpaper looks familiar, it's because it's the same one used at the Beverly Hills Hotel, on a Mariah Carey album cover, in Nikki Hilton's house and even on the set of The Golden Girls. Burgos purchased it from Designer Wallcoverings and Fabrics to create a fun, tropical-looking wall over the custom-made modern high-gloss dressers leading to the master bedroom.
The dramatic black and silver wallpaper and music equipment in the loft's lower level make it clear that one of the homeowners is seriously into music. "Samantha's boyfriend is a record label producer and professional musician," confirms Burgos. The artwork, Bird on a White Page, is by Heydt, a professional photographer and visual artist.

Wallpaper: Barbara Hulanicki Hula, Graham & Brown; floating cabinet: Ikea

Synthesizers, mixers and a turntable fill the shelf space above the couch — musical tools doubling as functional décor.

Couch: Hive

In the home office, Burgos installed porcelain floor tiles in wood-grain patterns inspired by Andy Warhol from Ora Italiana's Uonuon collection. The upholstered vintage grandmother chair was a gift from one of Samantha's relatives. The home office showcases art from Samantha's travels, creating a mix of textures and visuals.

"The color splashes range in this room, from the red-orange custom cabinetry lining to the azure damask wallpaper; it's not a space for the color shy," says Burgos. The designer usually tells clients who are afraid of incorporating color into their living spaces to start with a beautiful memory. "I ask them to see what colors their favorite vacation or location brings them, what color their happiest memory invokes, and we build on that," says Burgos. "It makes for a very personal way of designing your home."

Wallpaper: Fiorvanti Azure Coromandel, Designers Guild

A spiral staircase, a remnant of the loft's past incarnation as part of St. George Episcopal Church's rectory (a church where financier and art collector J.P. Morgan worshipped and served), shares the space with framed prints and a book collection. It was important for Burgos' clients to be surrounded by art and inspiration. Samantha grew up in a California home filled with colors, vintage wallpapers and antique pieces; she also traveled a lot growing up and has been collecting original pieces from many countries. "It makes perfect sense for my clients to live in a place that had a completely different past life, and to add to it their own history and artistic inclinations. It's a very New York story and space," says Burgos.

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