Jack Ceglic designs a Soho loft to double as showroom and residence for a rug dealer.
Edie Cohen -- Interior Design, 10/1/2001 12:00:00 AM
In New York's decorating circles, Linda Miller is known as the doyenne of kilims, according to designer Jack Ceglic. The fruits of her long-established business and travels fill her 2,700-sq.-ft. showroom Soho loft. What her clientele might not know is that the showroom is also her residence, which she shares with her engineer husband. If so, designer Ceglic succeeded admirably.
The client's number one priority in a program dominated by business considerations was that the space read as if it were strictly a professional setting. The project was also to celebrate the ubiquitous loft vocabulary while appearing to have had minimal intervention on his part. But keeping it simple is hard work, especially in open lofts with few walls or raised floors behind which one can hide residential accoutrements. The beauty of Ceglic's solution, a complete renovation, is its apparent ease of effort.
Miller had lived in the space for about 20 years before calling Ceglic, a pioneer in Soho's development, having designed the Dean & DeLuca flagship as well as residences and shops of similar restraint and elegance. The designer confronted an awkward plan within a Sheetrocked background that had all but obliterated ties to the cast-iron building culture of lower Manhattan. To remedy the situation Miller moved out, and Ceglic moved in.
Ceglic demolished planes that obscured the original brick walls and timber ceiling. With this raw interior as his primary backdrop, Ceglic realigned the progression and allocation of spaces according to stated needs: for storage and display, conference and lounge areas, a painting studio, and an office. These are zoned within an essentially open expanse that doubles as living and dining for the couple. Divisions are only implied. A partition short of ceiling height separates the showroom/living room from the office and studio while anchoring a custom banquette. A second division occurs where the kitchen, the dining/conference area, and the opposite end of the showroom gallery intersect. Here, a white monolith, actually a surround for the refrigerator, backs another seating group and suggests structure within the open plan. The private domain, however, is cordoned off. Behind sliding doors, a master suite comprises a sitting room, 200-sq.-ft. bath, and sleeping quarters. Ceglic's rearrangement subsequently required the costly rerouting of plumbing and mechanicals. As is often the case, a hefty portion of the budget went to this invisible aspect of the project.
Ceglic's aptitude is nevertheless evident in custom work both large and small. A trio of tall mahogany doors leads to a terrace newly appropriated from the adjacent building. In front of the openings, the designer built a 20-ft.-long mahogany bench as transition between level changes. Addressing storage, he created a 12-ft.-long-by-8-ft.-high, lacquered shelving unit to house some of the smaller rugs and textiles. Kitchen needs are met with stainless-steel cabinetry and the counter combines marble, mahogany, and mosaic tile. Glass shelving on steel rods, a marble-topped dining/conference table, refinished structural columns, and custom light fixtures are additional components of a design-intensive package, which belies a seemingly simple environment.
"She has quiet, fine taste. She likes both antique and modern," the designer comments on Miller's preferences. He chose furnishings accordingly. The resulting mix of styles and textures, complemented by her own collection of African chairs, Moroccan vessels, paintings, and, of course, a changing inventory of rugs, creates a richly layered counterpoint to serene architecture, addressing commercial and residential needs in equal proportion. In Ceglic's skilled hands, the complexities of melding home and work modes all but disappeared.
Junichi Satoh shares design credit. The project spanned 18 months' duration and cost $375,000.