block party

An open-plan loft space in a for­mer fac­tory in the Big Ap­ple pro­vided the perfect prop­erty for Mike Zand­man and his love for en­ter­tain­ing


A for­mer hat fac­tory in Man­hat­tan has been trans­formed into a fab­u­lous place for en­ter­tain­ing

For Mike Zand­man, this loft apart­ment in Man­hat­tan, New York is the perfect place for en­ter­tain­ing: ‘I love hav­ing friends over,’ he says. ‘And my home is pur­pose­fully de­signed so that peo­ple can re­lax.’

The flat oc­cu­pies an en­tire floor of a for­mer hat fac­tory, and what makes it par­tic­u­larly good for host­ing is the vast liv­ing space with soar­ing three-me­tre-high ceil­ings. But ac­cord­ing to Mike, it is also the choice of ma­te­ri­als that puts his guests – and him­self – at ease. ‘Ev­ery­thing is rugged and rough,’ says Mike. ‘The floor­ing is re­claimed her­ring­bone par­quet and if some­one scrapes their shoe across it, it won’t show.’ The same goes for the din­ing ta­ble, which dou­bles as a bar when he has a gath­er­ing. ‘It is made out of steel and so it gets ring marks from the glasses; but for me, that just adds to the char­ac­ter of the piece.’

Ow­ing to Mike’s busy work sched­ule, which in­volves a lot of trav­el­ling, he knew he wasn’t go­ing to be able to ren­o­vate the loft alone when he bought it in 2013. ‘Ini­tially, I per­suaded a friend’s wife to help,’ he says. ‘She agreed, ex­plain­ing it would be in her style and the first thing she planned to do was cover up the brick walls. Ev­ery­thing was set up and ready to go, but then I went to a party in a place where the walls were ex­posed, and I knew I’d made the wrong de­ci­sion.’

Mike called his con­trac­tor to halt the process the next day, and they sug­gested he get in touch with in­te­rior de­signer Jenny Wolf. ‘She com­pletely un­der­stood my style,’ says Mike. The look, which Jenny coins ‘mod­ern in­dus­trial’, cel­e­brates the build­ing’s his­tory with features such as ex­posed steel sup­ports and book­shelves fash­ioned from re­claimed wood and steel. By swap­ping the small win­dows at the rear of the apart­ment for large steel-framed ones, Jenny was able to en­tirely re­con­fig­ure the space, re­lo­cat­ing the kitchen and liv­ing area to the back of the build­ing, where it is now flooded with light.

Along­side the more mas­cu­line features are softer, tac­tile touches, in­clud­ing vel­vet, wool and mo­hair in a muted pal­ette of char­coal greys, tau­pes and mossy greens. The only white piece of fur­ni­ture is the pony hair bench. ‘By some good for­tune, no one has spilled any­thing on it yet,’ says Mike.

What ex­cites Mike the most about the in­te­rior is the gad­getry. ‘I have a 75-inch TV and a 135-inch pro­jec­tor screen for movies,’ he says. ‘ When I touch down at JFK, I can turn on the heat­ing and lights via my phone and I can even send friends up in the lift and into my flat re­motely.’

The kitchen, too, is packed with some im­pres­sive ap­pli­ances, so it comes per­haps as a sur­prise to learn that Mike can­not cook. ‘But I’m good at invit­ing peo­ple over who can,’ he laughs. ‘When I’m in town, I’ll have a din­ner party ev­ery few weeks. My guests sort the food and I look after the rest – it’s the perfect ar­range­ment as it’s a great place to en­ter­tain.’

sit­ting room A ro­bust and practical her­ring­bone floor brings char­ac­ter to this open space, while soft ma­te­ri­als make it feel warm and homely. PK22 chair, from £2,809, Twen­tytwen­ty­one, is a good al­ter­na­tive. Farm­house ceil­ing light in Pewter, £89,...

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