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The One Room Designer Becky Shea Will Never Forget

Becky Shea designed loft bedroom.

Design: Becky Shea, Photo: Claire Esparros

Interior designers and other experts in the home industry work on an impressive number of spaces throughout their careers. But even if some of the makeovers and redesigns start to blend together after a few years, there are some rooms that are just truly unforgettable. 

So, to give designers a chance to revisit their favorite projects—and to bring you plenty of inspiration for your own home—we’re sharing the one room these pros will remember forever. For some, there’s a sentimental connection, for others, there was an obstacle they never thought they’d overcome. But no matter what, these rooms are worth remembering.

Becky Shea always takes a holistic approach to her designs, seamlessly executing her clients’ dreams and desires while utilizing sustainable materials and supporting the local New York City artisan community. There is one standout room, though, that she will never forget as a defining moment of her design career—this stunning steel loft that perfectly blends her organic and modernist approach to interiors. 

“I’ll never forget this project. It was one of the first that defined my personal aesthetic and truly put us on the map for the sophisticated ‘NYC meets California organic modernist' aesthetic we coined,” Shea says. “The client was very open-minded to the ideas I brought to the table—which was nice, considering we were gutting a full-floor Soho loft—and everything just worked smoothly from communication to execution.”

When reflecting on this project, Shea feels grateful and confident with what the space now accomplishes. “My client trusted me to take this space to another level,” she says. “He never questioned my direction, style or methods. It was so fulfilling seeing the look of surprise and gratitude when he saw this room in its completed form for the first time.” 

That’s why we do this: it’s rewarding to make someone's wildest dreams a reality. 

Keep scrolling to see how Shea brought this steel and chic oasis to life. 

Steel wall in Soho loft.

Design: Becky Shea, Photo: Claire Esparros

At the start of this renovation, Shea and her team quickly realized that this was far from a typical project, with the discovery of century-old remnants from the printing factory that previously occupied the space. With these priceless artifacts intact, some could be restored and preserved, and Shea worked the touches of history into her unique and timeless design plan.

Shea and her team were able to retain much of the space’s original history while seamlessly blending it with her original, modernized design. “We pivoted from a traditional sledgehammer demolition to meticulously peeling back layer upon layer by hand, leading to the discovery of the brick walls, original beams and columns, and much more,” Shea recalls. “The coolest discovery was the beam in the kitchen, which has a section that was burned in a half-century old fire. After confirming it was structurally sound, we kept it as-is for an ode to the building’s past.”

Shea also could not have foreseen how close she would become with her client as this project took shape. “To this day, even two years after completing the project, we still talk regularly about our dreams, ambitions, and mutual love of entrepreneurship and all things design,” Shea says. 

When brainstorming the space’s layout, Shea and her client were certain that the focal point of the loft would be a steel wall that acted as a demarcation point between the bedroom and the bathroom, a helpful element for an open concept loft. “One of our guiding principles throughout the design was to creatively utilize every square inch of the space in a way that felt true to the artist-soho loft style with a modern approach in functionality,” Shea says.

White lounge chair in loft.

Design: Becky Shea, Photo: Claire Esparros

This room is filled to the brim with visual interest and emphasizes brutalist materials like concrete and steel at the forefront. “The steel wall has a major grasp on my heart and soul,” Shea says. “Steel is the strongest building material out there, and I feel it’s an accurate representation of the strength we have as New Yorkers while tying back to Soho’s industrial roots.”

As Shea’s designs are always focused on sustainability, she made sure to incorporate reclaimed elements to the space. This is present in the front of the shower, which features recycled dimpled glass from a Detroit factory, allows for privacy, and adds dimensional texture to the space.  

Other favorite elements of the room for Shea are the floating walnut vanity and Calcutta gold counter. “The way those two elements work together is a match made in heaven,” she notes. “The organic, earthy veining in the stone pairs beautifully with the walnut and enables the wood to stand out.”

The luxurious bathroom space is dotted with details like white grid tiling and marble countertops, with the main event being a spa-worthy teak shower floor. The warmth from this natural element balances the brutalist materials in the space while adding the right touch of luxe. 

White tiled bathroom with teak shower floor.

Design: Becky Shea, Photo: Claire Esparros

There is no lack of unique, timeless elements in this space, from a vintage 1950s-era dresser to a jungle gym clothing rack, inspired by actual monkey bars on a playground. “We wanted an unconventional closet that was easily transportable, so we placed the hanging bars horizontally, allowing the clothing to hang facing forward, and put it on castors so it can be rolled from room to room for private events,” Shea notes. 

After tackling this project, Shea’s style grew and flourished, opening her mind to the endless ways her style can be implemented in a space. “Walls don’t have to be completely opaque to separate a room, and you can definitely get creative with different levels as well,” Shea says. “This project also established my personal aesthetic as a designer. Every project we’ve done to date following this room incorporated steel into the design, whether it be a steel wall, door, shower doors or a partition.”  

This room was so carefully thought-out that I wouldn’t change a damn thing. Everything feels harmonious and syncopated with what an artistic Soho loft should emulate. 

This room embraces Shea’s design aesthetic to a tee, from the colors to the materials. Clients choose Shea to achieve this specific look in their homes, and this space was one of the first that helped her define it. “I’m forever grateful to this project, to this client and everything I learned and created,” Shea says.