very good entrepreneur knows—or should—that you never take your work
home with you. So even if, like a noted hotelier, you are accustomed to
conjuring glamorous environments while on duty, you want your residence to
feel of a different piece from the experiences you provide on a daily basis to
your design-obsessed guests.
“It's my home and I wanted it to reflect that,” says the client of the
4,500-square-foot two-bedroom, three-bath duplex he purchased in a classic
SoHo loft building in Lower Manhattan. “I did love the vastness and scale, but
maintaining that was more related to its architecture and history as a loft than
having anything to do with hotels.”
The apartment has qualities present in many a high-rise luxury hostelry,
most principally breathtaking skyline views and generous public areas that
resembled, in the graciousness of their dimensions, the lobby of an urban
boutique hotel. But to humanize these expanses he hired designer Kara Mann,
who has offices in Chicago and New York.
“I didn’t accentuate the typical idea of a loft,” Mann explains, referring to
the chaotic, undifferentiated sprawl that often characterizes many of these
open-plan layouts. “But I did accentuate the space of a loft.” Her strategy was
to adopt the centuries-old technique of compression and expansion, making
the act of moving from one room to another feel processional, as if unfolding
from intimacy to grandeur and back again. Most interestingly, she achieved
this effect without altering a single 14-foot ceiling height.