A creative power couple trade California’s openness for a more compact life in New York, turning their Tribeca loft into a multiple-purpose living space and occasional client showcase.
NATALIE SHIRINIAN AND ELIZABETH Baudouin moved from Los Angeles to New York in 2015 and knew how they wanted to merge their home life with that of their design talent management company, NES Creative. “We wanted to do something interesting in a loft space that combined the antique and vintage finds we’d picked up on our travels and also featured pieces from the client roster we represent,” says Shirinian. She founded the company, which manages top global talent in art, design and culture, in 2010. “Basically, we wanted a white box like a blank canvas space, where we could hold pop-ups and one-day exhibitions and show our clients’ works in a living environment.” When a space became available in downtown Tribeca, the couple didn’t even need to set foot inside to sign on the dotted line. “The real estate agent sent us a video and we were like, ‘Yes, this is it!’” says Baudouin. They describe the loft as a series of “multiuse vignettes”. The dining area also serves as a workspace and a place to host friends, a back lounge area works as a reading room and an open kitchen and living area is ideal for pop-ups. “That’s what you have to do in New York — it’s all about how you get the most bang for your buck,” says Baudouin. It all feels warm and welcoming, an achievement further emphasised by the use of dark, moody colours and deep, comfortable sofas. “Creating a cave-like moment helps because you can be insular in the space,” says Shirinian. Then there are the pieces from clients, such as artist Yolande Batteau’s custom hand-painted wallcoverings and stunning, branchlike lighting made by famed New York design duo Gabriel Hendifar and Jeremy Anderson of Apparatus Studio, close pals of the couple. Elsewhere are pieces picked up on trips to favourite cities, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Milan. Shirinian favours a pair of 19th-century portraits of a wife and husband sourced from an antiques dealer in LA. “I bought the husband first and went back for the wife the next day because I thought he was lonely without her,” she says with a laugh. Baudouin loves the detailed Kelly Lamb table taking pride of place beneath Shirinian’s beloved portraits. “A lot of magic happens at Kelly Lamb’s table,” she says. “A bronzed eye is carved into it and I love sacred geometry. And the fact it sits beneath Natalie’s ‘ Ma and Pa’ makes sense to me.” The two admit to occasionally missing the openness and scenery of California, but they embrace the creativity it takes to make an apartment personal in a city whose 8.5 million residents all but live on top of one another. “You need to love your space because the grind of the city is tough,” says Baudouin. “But what’s great about New York is that you do your best to express yourself in a really confined space — and that’s a challenge. If you can do it, it can bring out a lot of creativity.”