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Lofty Goals

Designer Katie Rosenfeld transforms an industrial New York City loft space into an inviting home for a young family

Written by Sally Finder Weepie
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    Sometimes, in design, you run up against a brick wall. Or, in the case of Katie Rosenfeld, tasked with shaping the interiors of a New York City loft, one brick wall after another. Literally—because every room except one in Mow Wong and Chris Kofol’s home is clad in brick.

    That’s OK with the homeowners—they love the historical character of the downtown building, a former hat factory. But it presented an interesting design challenge for the Wellesley, Massachusetts-based designer. “The loft has a lot of industrial elements,” Rosenfeld says, “but they didn’t want a rustic or modern look. They were after a bold, lacquered Miles Redd kind of look—a maximalist vibe. I had to figure out how to do that in a way that made sense with the architecture.”

    Photography: Read Mckendree

    Interior design: Katie Rosenfeld, Katie Rosenfeld Interior Design, 354 Washington St., Suite 223, Wellesley, MA 02481; 781/235-2450,

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    Textured Walls

    First, Rosenfeld called on grass cloth—lots of grass cloth—to soften rooms and juxtapose the brick with soft texture. She covered walls in the hallways, casual dining area, master bedroom, and library with two variations of grass cloth that both bring in a menswear feel, one in a check and one in a soft gray-blue that feels like a man’s blazer. 

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    Colorful Living Space

    Smartly complementing the fabric on walls, a well-curated variety of fabrics, many of those also menswear-inspired, covers furnishings, bringing modern verve to the pieces’ classic forms.

    “Mow and Chris are very tailored, well-dressed. They have great taste,” Rosenfeld says. “I brought in tattersalls, checks, and plaids because I wanted the apartment to look like they look. My biggest goal is to create interiors that reflect the homeowners.”

    A palette of jewel tones speaks to their penchant for rich color. “We wanted traditional but bold,” Mow says. 

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    Bold in Blue

    That comes through in the open living areas of the loft, which presented another design challenge with its long, narrow 100x24-foot floor plan. To make the large space feel intimate—and give it function—Rosenfeld delineated numerous zones.

    The family gathering spot is defined by a tufted navy velvet sofa with nailhead trim, perfect for TV time. “I gave it a layer of funkiness with pillows,” Rosenfeld says. “Pillows are where you can go more wild with fabric.”

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    All in the Mix

    Adjacent to the family hangout zone is a formal living space where Chris and Mow can entertain friends. It pairs abstract art with a stately Chinese armoire that belonged to Mow’s mother. That juxtaposition threads throughout the home, providing energy and interest. “There’s vintage everywhere,” Rosenfeld says. “The framed Hermes scarf in the library, lamp on the bar cart, the tiger-print chairs, all the rugs—I like to mix in old things.”

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    Bold Buffet

    Like the living areas, the formal and informal dining areas are open to each other but have different functions that fit the lifestyle of the homeowners and their little girl, Cricket. The family eating spot includes a green lacquered cabinet decorated with blue-and-white ceramics for style—and an easy-care tulip table that suits a baby. “There’s no worries about her flinging her mushy peas,” Chris says with a laugh.

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    Dining Room

    The formal dining spot, teaming an ebonized dining table with Louis XVI-style chairs—upholstered in sassy animal print—is set up for sophisticated adult entertaining. “I think it’s so striking,” Rosenfeld says. “It’s one big ball of chic.”

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    Gorgeous Green

    That vibe continues in the library, Mow’s favorite space, a cozy work area that drips sophistication with paneled emerald-green-lacquer wainscoting, tailored fabrics, and rows of volume-filled bookshelves.

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    Sweet Nursery

    Chris, meanwhile, has a soft spot for a different space. “I have to go the sentimental route,” he says. “My favorite space is Cricket’s nursery. It’s cure, warm, and soft—and there’s a special story behind the artwork.”

    The story started on a bit of a scary note, as Cricket was born six weeks early. They traveled to Massachusetts to be with her in the hospital. In the tiny infant’s special-care unit was artwork bearing the words “A person’s a person no matter how small.”

    While the new dads worried, Rosenfeld worked—at top speed—to get the nursery ready for the early arrival. “I wanted the room to be versatile, so I went with the gender-neutral blue-and-white wallpaper,” she says. “Then I put in pink accents that can be switched out.”

    Her crowning touch is a painting of an elephant by a Danish artist with the same slogan: A person’s a person no matter how small. “I love the irony of the elephant,” Rosenfeld says. “And even though there’s no window, the room still feels airy, while it’s cozy and cocoonlike for Cricket.”

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    Family Portrait

    In fact, Mow says, the entire loft feels warm and welcoming, thanks to the clever layout that makes the space highly functional for their family, paired with smart decorating. “The design reflects our tastes,” he says. “It’s traditional, but livable and comfortable—super inviting.”

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    Master Bedroom

    Rounding out the loft are the private spaces, including the master bedroom, which features layers of sophisticated color, pattern, and texture—notably the suiting-like grass cloth that softens the walls.

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    Fab Master Bath

    The master bath contrasts the chic, smooth stone of the shower with a warm wood vanity and traditional toile wallpaper, all in a masculine color scheme. 

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    Playful Pattern

    The second bath, also outfitted in stately stone, takes a turn for the playful with a zebra-print wallcovering that pleases Cricket—and the family's fun-loving friends.