It’s not often you find a home that is perfect just the way it is. But this Tribeca loft, represented by Elliman agent Krista Nickols, of the Sabrina Saltiel Team, has been completely gut-renovated and reimagined by well-known interior designer Nina Barnieh Blair. The result? A light-filled, awe-inspiring space that feels open and expansive. Elliman Insider sat down with Nina Barnieh Blair to find out everything from how she solved the apartment’s challenges to how she makes her clients’ design visions come true.
Elliman Insider: A large part of the reason you renovated your loft was to create more light. Why is light so important and what are some tips for home designers on maximizing their light?
Nina Barnieh Blair: I believe light is one of the most important elements when designing interiors. It can change the ambience and mood of a space and can make spaces feel bigger or smaller. It helps create a dialogue between the the objects, texture and color within a space which is essential in creating harmony.
Tips for maximizing light:
- Use of materials such as clear glass transmits the most light to adjacent rooms.
- Skylights are also a great way to bring in light if you have access to a roof.
- Reflective materials and finishes: a warm white is an obvious color, or a reflective darker-colored finish can bring in additional light.
- We actually have warm lights installed in our windows to give extra light during the dark winter months.
EI: You replaced the walls with floor-to-ceiling glass and doors; was this solution immediately obvious to you or did it take some brainstorming?
NBB: The idea of installing a glass box was an immediate response when we viewed the space. The original 90s partitioning had created awkward dark spaces, but there was a beautiful light coming from the south-facing window in the back; I wanted to harness and maximize that light and allow it to reverberate throughout the main space.
EI: Besides light, what else should be taken into consideration when it comes to completely redesigning your home?
NBB: The ongoing pandemic has had extremely profound effects on pretty much everything including our homes. Homes have become workplaces, schools, places of refuge. I encourage clients to think about how they want the space to function and develop a program to meet that demand.
On a more practical level, finding an architect, designer and contractor who you get on with makes the process much smoother.
EI: When do you feel it’s appropriate to incorporate vibrant colors within your designs?
NBB: Like many design elements, colors also have the ability to change the mood of a space. It’s a personal choice and I encourage clients to choose colors that promote peace and wellbeing. I love designing with vibrant, warm colors as they are fun, stimulating and bring joy.
EI: When you are hired to work on other homes, do you usually bring your modern approach or do you work more collaboratively with your clients to produce a shared vision?
NBB: My approach is definitely a collaborative one. I believe a home is a reflection of the people who live in it. So I try and work with my clients to create a narrative that really expresses their personality, who they are and how they want their homes to be. The next step would be to create a program that fulfills the client’s needs and maximizes the intrinsic qualities and potential of the space.