When prompted, many young New Yorkers admit to being reticent about raising a family in the big city. Constraints of tuition fees and real estate prices are often the catalysts for such debates, yet some families manage to make it seem effortless—enviable, even. The Krupas are one of those families. After purchasing their SoHo loft in 2008, Danielle and Stephen Krupa enlisted the help of architect Julia Krupa—Stephen's sister—to outfit their brand-new loft. Seven years later, now with a growing family of four, the couple needed one more upgrade to meet the needs of their growing household.
This time around, the couple enlisted the help of Megan Grehl, interior designer at Homepolish, to help tackle storage issues in the space. Danielle, a chef, blogger, and now mother of two, was in dire need of additional storage to contain anything from winter clothes to strollers and an impressive guitar collection. Between their passion for music, concerts, and food—there was no question that New York City was the only place for the couple to raise their two daughters, Audrey and Emme. Step inside the industrial loft that became a family-friendly home—proof it is possible to raise children in the Big Apple.
The 1894 building, located in SoHo, was initially used for commercial purposes and got converted into residential apartments in 2001 shortly before the Krupas moved in. With the help of Steven Krupa's sister—architect Julia Krupa, the couple went through an extensive first renovation.
When the couple renovated the apartment in 2008 they were very happy with the initial renovation—but with a growing family, they needed an overhaul to help tackle their storage needs. "We built entirely new shelving structures in the living room and family room with the help of millworker Brad Hornbake," says Grehl. Danielle and Stephen "wanted to redesign storage spaces in their entry area and family room, as well as update styling elements, like curtains, lighting, and rugs."
"Our goal was to unite the existing space with new storage solutions," says the designer. "Danielle wanted to redesign the storage space in the entry area and family room. It was essential to create an organized space and make her on-the-go lifestyle easier, especially with two small kids. We knew we needed to replace a wardrobe that wasn’t maximizing the vertical space in the loft." The Krupas needed the entry area to accommodate storage for the stroller, winter clothes, and shoes for the whole family. They also wanted to update styling elements throughout the common areas in the loft—particularly the window treatments and sconce lighting.
"To incorporate the Krupas' extensive collection of guitars and rock 'n' roll memorabilia, we designed the millwork to accommodate and magnify these items," says Grehl. "A low shoe storage bench allowed their two girls, Emme and Audrey, to hang out in the entry area. We also created a custom ladder to access the storage above."
Julia Krupa selected the tiger maple and raw steel design for the doorways, kitchen, and den areas during the first renovation. The doorways being integral to the space's design, Grehl used them as inspiration for the new powder-coated steel storage structures—and carried through the industrial loft essence of the home.
"This project presented a fun challenge of tackling existing 13-feet high ceilings with a tasteful vertical solution," says Grehl. "We created a custom wardrobe and library. and treated every square inch preciously. We measured their clothes, shoes, stroller dimensions, toys—even guitars—to ensure that everything fit perfectly. Due to the change in heights in the ceiling and the age of the building, many of the corners were not ideal 90-degree angles. We had to make sure every dimension was exact, and actually cut down the structures on site to ensure they fit all the angles."
"It was so important to create a kid-friendly space in a sophisticated adult setting," explains Grehl. "We designed custom walnut cabinetry to store toys and books for the girls. We sourced an outdoor fabric for the Restoration Hardware sofa, making it resistant to stains. We styled the space with a side table and a trunk for additional storage. To emphasize the height of the space, we sourced oversize table lamps." The office, which doubles as a playroom, is at once functional, tasteful, and family-friendly.
"When building the shelving in the playroom and living room, we had to consider precious heirlooms the Krupas wanted to showcase," says the designer. "We detailed the custom shelving to highlight musical elements like Stephen’s bright yellow childhood piano and electric guitars, along with books and artwork. The Krupas had decorated their space during their initial renovation, and our round of décor helped spruce it up." With the clever additions made by Grehl and Homepolish, the couple was able to transform their industrial loft into a family-friendly environment for their growing household.