An urban environment reflected with stone

November 18, 2006
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Adam Kushner of Kushner Studios designed his Manhattan loft to reflect the character of New York City. The unique interior design includes a large countertop fabricated from Carrara marble and 3- x 12-inch quartzite wall tiles.


Adam Kushner devoted a great amount of time to planning and details when designing the interior of his Manhattan loft. Although the architect - who is the principal of Kushner Studios - has many residential and commercial projects in his portfolio, this particular design is a unique expression of his own personality as well as the urban culture of New York City. Throughout the interior space, Kushner incorporated materials that hold significance to himself and his family as well as adding to the overall aesthetics of the home. And a variety of natural stone played an essential role in making a cohesive design.

One interesting feature of the countertop is that there is a cutout for a hand sink. The sink can be plugged up, and the water runs down to the floor - creating a fountain. The water flows into an oval bed of black inlaid stone pebbles, which is set into the wood floor and leads to the Jacuzzi.
“I am an architect, contractor and also a designer,” said Kushner. “Lately, I have also been a developer. I sort of wear a lot of hats in the industry. I've always wanted to build my own house.”

The architect explained that he and his family were living in a small studio loft on the top floor of a co op in the West Village, and then had the opportunity to buy the adjacent one. “I was able to negotiate with the City to build up,” he said. According to Kushner, he began the project in 1997, but didn't physically start construction until 2001.

“As an architect, this was all about how one lives in a city - about entering and exiting, and ones relationship with the City itself,” said the architect. “When you enter through the door, you step through a threshold and step inside a sensual environment. You visually exit through the windows. It's setup of bookends of the City. Therefore, the loft is crafted from a lot of materials found throughout the public realm in the City.”

With this concept in mind, Kushner included unique elements, such as authentic New York City subway doors, into the apartment's design. He also was influenced by classic architecture and natural forms.

The white marble countertop is a stunning accent against the backdrop of rustic quartzite walls and wood floor.

Natural elements

“I was looking for something that would express the basic building blocks of early Asian architecture - fire, earth, water and air,” said the architect. “That's what the middle of the apartment is about.”

According to Kushner, the wood box that frames the home is part of the original building's structure. “The floor rolls up into the wall,” he said. An assortment of stone, including some quartzite walls, complements the wood. “Everything is made of stone,” said the architect. “I used quartzite because the City sits on a hardpan of Manhattan schist, a form of quartzite.”

The majority of the quartzite wall tiles measure 3 x 12 inches. The warm blend of gold, beige and gray stone is a subtle accent to the wood. The rough texture of the material also brings a rustic feel to the space.

In addition to several primary walls in the downstairs area, the quartzite tiles were also employed in the shower stall and complemented by white porcelain “subway” tiles. Further adding to the unique bathroom design, the toilet bowl is made of Carrara marble.

Carrara marble was also used for the large kitchen countertop. The bright white marble set against dark-colored cabinetry and the earth tones of the quartzite and wooden floor and walls creates a stunning focal point in the space. S&D Stone of Manhattan supplied the marble.

A flowing design

One interesting feature of the countertop is that there is a cutout for a hand sink. The sink can be plugged up, and the water runs down to the floor - creating a fountain. The water flows into an oval bed of black inlaid stone pebbles, which is set into the wood floor and leads to the Jacuzzi.

“I in-filled the Jacuzzi with rocks from our country home in Upstate New York,” said Kushner. “It is basically a local river stone. The upper surround is a similar stone purchased on Long Island called Mexican Beach Stone.”

The architect continued to explain that the Jacuzzi represents the idea of “water for pleasure.” Additionally, the water cascading down from the hand sink to the pool of stone pebbles - as well as the glass shower and glass bottom of the bathtub - reflect the concept of “water for show” and cleanliness.

“Fire is represented by steel and stone,” explained Kushner. “I put them next to each other. The steel surrounds the range top and there are inlays in the floor that are stainless steel and run to the fireplace. Air is represented by the idea of clouds.”

Quartzite was combined with white porcelain “subway” tiles in the shower. The contrasting finishes of the stone and tile bring texture and depth to the space.
Private Residence
New York, NY

Architect: Kushner Studios, New York, NY

Stone Supplier: S&D Stone, New York, NY (Carrara marble)

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