When the owner of this New York loft called on Gachot Studios, an AD100 design firm, the original idea was to give the space a surface-level refresh. “But when you pull the thread on the sweater, it slowly unravels,” says John Gachot, who runs the practice with his wife, Christine. Perched on the top three floors of a late 19th-century building in Soho with a “premier cast-iron facade that’s right out of the book,” the loft had had work done, but “hadn’t been lived in for a while and felt a little dated,” John says. As talks progressed, the client, who works in the fashion industry, decided to go deeper with the renovation to make the home truly feel like his own.
The penthouse boasts large floor plates with the public spaces located underneath the primary bedroom suite, which is flanked on both sides with outdoor terraces and capped with a rooftop garden. “The client is a great host and wanted to make the place comfortable whether for two people or 20,” John says, “so we addressed moments of intimacy and expansiveness.”
A critical piece of the puzzle was figuring out how to shuttle guests from the social areas to the roof terrace without cutting through the bedroom. The client had also purchased the apartment below him, allowing use of a rear staircase that connects the kitchen to the roof. The Gachots shifted the layout to create another staircase leading to the downstairs apartment, which holds guest rooms and work spaces. “There was a bit of a juggle with the plan,” John says. “In a very playful way, you’re creating theater with a sequence of surprises as you walk through the home.”
No surprise is more scintillating than the salmon pink powder room, which pops with almost neon intensity against the loft’s subdued palette. An avid traveler, the client had seen the hue on a trip to France and wanted to incorporate it in the home. “The containment of that color to bring life into the space without upsetting the balance was important,” John says. “And everyone looks good in that color; that was a happy accident.” Throughout the loft, secret doors, hidden rooms, and unexpected mirrors create a constant sense of play.
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The client also drew inspiration from details he’d seen in Morocco and Japan. “We didn’t want to go overly thematic with those juxtaposed concepts, so we took the best elements and applied them abstractly,” John says. Subtle plaster creates a soft texture on the walls, while radius ceilings and trim molding add dimension and shape. “We balanced arches and square openings to create hierarchies in the rooms,” he says.
With generous outdoor spaces and large windows, the loft benefits from ample daylight, extensive views, and an indoor-outdoor feel. And yet, it maintains a sense of seclusion thanks to clever landscaping by Verdant, which strategically frames the cityscape while obscuring the home. “We created layers to make it feel like you’re in your private world,” John says. On the roof terrace, an automated louver system allows a shade structure to open up or close depending on the weather.
Taken together, the loft feels both eclectic and timeless—of the moment, but unbeholden to trends. “All of the different look books, travel photographs, and tchotchkes from around the world that came in during design presentations brought in the client’s personality,” John says. “Transformed, those references present a seamless whole, and it’s not obvious when it was designed.”