A ‘Blank Space’ in Soho Becomes a Family Home
Location: Manhattan, NY
Attracted by a 65-foot-long wall of windows, the owners renovated this 3,000-square-foot loft—Sarah Tilton
Mike and Lori Gelhard were living in Mamaroneck, N.Y., with their family of five and wanted a place in New York City. This loft in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood fit one of their main requirements: The circa 1890s space needed everything. ‘It was a rare blank space. It meant we could create exactly what we wanted,’ says Mrs. Gelhard, an artist and designer.
‘I’d been commuting to Wall Street and we wanted a pied-à-terre in the city,’ says Mr. Gelhard, a retired banker. ‘We looked for about a year. When we saw this one we walked in and knew.’ Mrs. Gelhard says it was the light from the 65-foot-long wall of windows overlooking Crosby Street that also sold them. ‘That’s what really struck us. When you’re in the space there’s a lot of natural light,’ she says.
The couple paid $2.4 million for the approximately 3,000-square-foot home in 2011. They spent two years and another $1.6 million redoing it, they say. The building once housed a printing company, Mrs. Gelhard says. The kitchen is one of her favorite places in the home with the windows and the view of the great room.
The Gelhards describe themselves as ‘serial renovators.’ This is their 20th project in 30 years. ‘How we like to renovate is to stay as authentic to the building as possible,’ says Mrs. Gelhard. They left some of the ceiling beams exposed and painted the columns which are original. ‘When you’re in the space you can imagine what it was once like,’ she says.
Mrs. Gelhard did the painting in the entry area. They replaced the original floor boards, which were narrow, with 11-inch-wide white oak. The ceilings are approximately 10.5 feet high.
The floating headboard in the master bedroom is cedar painted with a silvered finish. ‘I wanted it to look like barn siding,’ says Mrs. Gelhard.
The couple chose a sliding door for the shower and black porcelain tile in the master bath. The long sink adds to the industrial look, says Mrs. Gelhard.
In their daughter’s bedroom, the couple dropped a portion of the ceiling while keeping some of the original beams exposed. The floating ceiling highlights the 45-degree angle of the wall that the bed sits against, says Mrs. Gelhard.
The home has three bedrooms and 3½ baths.
The couple, both age 55, are selling as they spend less time in the city now that Mr. Gelhard has retired. They also have homes in Australia and California. There are closets on either side of the Murphy bed, shown here.
They will miss the location. ‘You just walk out the door and everything you could possibly want is there,’ says Mr. Gelhard. The home has an asking price of $5.85 million. Todd Lewin and Michael Rubin of Core share the listing.