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BUSHWICK CRIBZ: A Look into the Loft Life

When someone tells you they live in East Williamsburg or Bushwick there’s a good chance you picture them livin’ it up in a loft

Terri Chiao's loft, where she built a cabin and a treehouse. All photos by Renee Ligtvoet.

When someone tells you they live in East Williamsburg or Bushwick there’s a good chance you picture them livin’ it up in a loft. You may imagine big open windows, rustic wood floors or beds in da sky. Renee Ligtvoet and I scoped a bunch of different lofts and met the people behind them. Check out what this life means for them in this first installment of BUSHWICK CRIBZ.

Hart Street Lofts

First we stopped by Hart Street. Ruth and Gio, both writers, live in one of those cray-cray situations where the owner done effed up and didn’t convert it into a residential establishment in time for the rent boom of Bushwick, so thanks to the iron fist of NYHA, they pay an enviously low amount of $1200 for their beauty of a 900 square ft. spot.

950 Hart St

"Can I plot a plant while we talk?"

950 Hart

Ruth: "This place is a project. A serious project. We went to our first loftboard meeting a couple days ago. This building's in the process of getting legalized, so we have a lot of work to do. We have to hire lawyers. It's worth it though. We like this apartment, we like this space. Spencer can run back and forth. Right now he's saying 'I'm an attention whore."

Gio: "The lumber for those shelves  came from Build it Green! in Astoria. They're constantly getting new shipments of old NYC scaffolding. With everything in New York there's lots of red tape. One of the things they evaluate is the grade of the wood construction sites use for the scaffolding, so that stuff's no longer good for holding construction workers, but it's good for building shelves. That table sitting next you, the kitchen countertop, the dining room table, the desk, our bed, basically everything was built from it."

950 Hart

950 Hart

Gio: "That couch is Ruth's grandmother's."

Ruth: "A lot of stuff is my grandmother's."

950 Hart

Gio: "We lived in The Bronx for 9 months. But all of our friends were here, so we had a quarter life crisis and came back. We love it."

Ruth: "Yeah. Like I said, Spencer loves it too. There's plenty of space for him to run around, and the park is right nearby."

For Lofts on Cypress and Troutman continue on the next page....

 

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Lofts on Cypress and Troutman

Next we dropped by Chris’ pad on Cypress and Troutman. Chris is responsible for the social media hashtag #thatssobushwick, among wild paintings of monsters, characters and a hell of a lot of neon. He gave us each a mug of wine, and we did some talking.

Cypress Lofts

Me: "So you're a painter. Do you want to talk about that a little bit?"

Chris: "Oh man, is that what I gotta do? Not really at all, actually. It's too early and it's Saturday."

Cypress Lofts

"It can get really messy and I have to find a balance between hospitality and erratic freedom to just be able to throw paint if I need to. It can get bizarre. But I need to know I can get my security deposit back. It's messy. But it's controlled, I guess. I'm trying to control it. I'm trying to figure it out."

Cypress Lofts

"I found that in the hallway. It still works."

Cypress Lofts

"If you've ever seen Kevin--I mean Francis Bacon's studio, that place is insane. Yeah. I'd like to see Kevin Bacon's studio. Haha. But yeah, if you ever saw Francis Bacon's studio at the MoMA, he had hundreds of brushes and stuff, so I don't feel so bad."

 Me: "Anything else you wanna say?"

*Laughs.* "I feel like this is when they say 'I wanna thank my mom. I wanna thank my dad..."

For McKibbin Lofts continue on the next page...

 

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McKibbin Lofts

Then we crossed the ever-elusive border of Bushwick & East Williamsburg to the posterchild of Beatnick-loft life, McKibbin lofts. Katey, an art enthusiast let us poke around her sublet that she’s been living in for the past few months, whilst enjoying all that the hood has to offer.

McKibben Lofts

"I moved out here for art. I love what's going on. It seems like a real community where artists are cheerleading other artists. It's healthy. I just really wanna be a part of it and find my spot."

McKibben Lofts

"I like that it's unique, it gets morning light."

McKibben Lofts

"Even though it's just a temporary sublet, I like that every space in here is really raw and built out. I think the space is also original in the way that it's a single unit. A real carpenter came in here and made the stairs."

To continue on Knickerbocker Lofts click the next page...

 

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Knickerbocker Lofts

Lastly we dipped into Terri and Adam's loft on Knickerbocker. Terri, who’s an architect, designed and built the interior herself. Get a load of this! She built A FLIPPIN' CABIN IN HER LOFT. And while you're checking it out say waddup to their cat, Boo. WADDUP BOO.

A Cabin In A Loft

Terri: "For a lot of young architects building your own living space is a real opportunity to test out your skills. I moved into this loft and realized I would need a roommate in order to afford it. The idea of two smaller spaces in a bigger space was an opportunity."

A Cabin In A Loft

 Terri: "I had a lot of ideas of how I wanted to build the two rooms, like rooms on wheels, or a modular construction so I could take it apart easily. But then I ended up doing the lofted tree house and little house. The treehouse gave enough room to have space below it."

 Adam: "One day we were sitting here and she shared with me that she was imagining what she wanted to look at all day, rather than just a wall."

Terri: "Yeah. there were a lot of ideas. And we're working on an art installation that will have a greenhouse inside of a gallery, and that will be made so you can take it apart on site, so those ideas are still around."

A Cabin In A Loft

Terri: "This dining table was the work table. It was where everything was cut. I had a lot of help from friends."

A Cabin In A Loft

Adam: "I'm an artist. I went to school for drawing and painting, and I still make paintings, but I'm more of a sculptor. I also take photographs."

A Cabin In A Loft

Adam: "We just installed an air conditioner in the cabin, but we needed a long exhaust tube that would go out the window. It looked junky, so we built a sort of box to go over the tube, and it transformed the space."

 

Well, that's it everyone! And be sure to revisit Bushwick Daily for the next installment of BUSHWICK CRIBZ. 

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