Daniel Shapiro’s Pittsburgh attic checked off everything on his wish list: a large, open space with high ceilings, ample all-natural light and amazing views. The challenge of defining each living area in the open space, however, became evident right away. “It was quite important to me to make sure the bedroom was different from the remainder of the attic,” says Shapiro, merchandise manager for American Eagle Outfitters. Armed with a honed sense of design and a varied collection of art gathered from his travels, he also enlisted the aid of interior designer Karen Anderson of KEA Design. “It took about a year to get the space where I wanted it to be,” he states. The result is an effortlessly chic home balancing the building of the industrial design with a modern sensibility.
in a Glance
Who lives here: Daniel Shapiro
Size: Around 1,000 square feet
That is interesting: Converted for loft living in the ’80s, the construction has been a chocolate factory, department shop and paper storage center.
“I’ve always wished to live in a loft space,” Shapiro says, “and I wanted an authentic attic with an industrial feel that didn’t seem made or new.” The very first impression of Shapiro’s flat is composed of a balanced interplay between materials and periods.
Bar stools: Vintage Toledo Bar Chair, Restoration Hardware
Midcentury classics mix in the dining area, even though a Beni Ourain carpet purchased on a trip to Morocco reflects Shapiro’s eclectic style.
A terrarium in an oversize carafe-style vase mirrors the modern profile of their Eames dining seats.
Gallery-white walls contrast with exposed brick and accentuate the high ceilings. A kitschy painted portrait of Diana the Huntress, finish with a ’60s hairdo, overlooks the dining room area with an air of formality and a dash of humor.
Shapiro drew inspiration from a visit to neighboring Fallingwater, one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most commissions. Shapiro mainly responded to the way Wright made open floor plans.
A George Nelson Bubble Light punctuates the dining area. A bench keeps the mood casual and the seats flexible.
Chairs: Eames, Modernica; dining table, bench: Gus Modern, Weisshouse
Shapiro’s office, tucked along the perimeter of the loft’s only hallway, takes advantage of some great perspective of Pittsburgh. Part work space, part thoroughfare and part gallery, this multifunctional space is perfect for creative thinking.
“I will sit at my desk and have a look at the remainder of my attic,” Shapiro says. “The grand view is facing me, behind me is my photography collection, and also to my right is my patio.”
Desk: Airia Desk, Herman Miller
“My notion of gardening is having someone else do it,” jokes Shapiro. He hired Pittsburgh occasion planner and botanical decorator Thommy Conroy to create a seasonal potted garden that stretches around the brick perimeter. Shapiro says, “Thommy transformed it into an urban oasis.”
Constructed over the present concrete slab, the terrace floor was a DIY project. The parquet pattern is made up of acacia tiles from Ikea.
Here is Shapiro’s view from his office. A lavish sectional by Gus Modern defines the seating area. The green lamp is an antiques shop find; a neighborhood collector located that the vintage Danish side table.
The photo banner on the wall is an lamppost sign advertising a Robert Bechtle exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. It’s a cropped reproduction of Bechtle’s oil painting “’61 Pontiac,” from Room & Board.
“I wanted to create [the attic] feel modern but warm at the exact same time,” says Shapiro.
Pillows: Judy Ross Textiles, Room & Board
Having a collection ranging from midcentury American and Danish furnishings to Asian and African American accessories, Shapiro’s flavor is as varied as his passport.
The java table in the middle of this room is very important to Shapiro. “It has sentimental meaning for me, as I had been with my father when he purchased it for the living room in my childhood house,” he states. Just recently Shapiro discovered the table was created by Philip and Kelvin LaVerne, a 1960s father-and-son design team famous for tables using chinoiserie influences.
A steamer trunk passed from Shapiro’s great-grandfather displays artwork. Shapiro picked the embroidered elephant art on a trip to Vietnam.
2 Ikea Expedit shelves separate the sleeping area from the remainder of the loft.
The tufted upholstered headboard mirrors the sectional sofa. The custom pillows are made with classic Spartan all-natural indigo.
Bed: Tate, Crate & Barrel; side table: custom, Modernica
Unobstructed panoramic views continue into the bedroom.
Shapiro is always eager to add to his art set. “I adore Gerhard Richter; I would find an Ed Ruscha painting and perhaps even an Edward Hopper.” Adding shades to the windows is next on his to-do list. “It’s a little bright in the daytime!” he says, laughing.
Dresser: Grove, Room & Board
Lighting and colours contrast with white walls in the bathroom. A massive sink basin expands the feel of this space as well as the functionality, even though a wide mirrored medicine cabinet reflects light from other fields of the attic.
The San Francisco printing by Ork Posters is a reminder of Shapiro’s previous hometown.
Sink: Tälleviken, Ikea
Wooden cabinets add warmth into the clean lines of this kitchen, along with a stainless steel worktable reflects natural light from the loft’s bank of windows. Frosted pendant lighting is a sweet interpretation of mill lighting — a nod to the building’s past.
A lively collection of Vietnamese Tet masks, a Jonathan Adler giraffe and a 1920s art deco tea collection and antique buffet create a strong focal point in the kitchen.
Shapiro relaxes in the kitchen with designer Karen Anderson. “Karen understood my needs perfectly,” Shapiro says. “She understood how I liked to work. She gave me a few hints, and then I would head out and look for individual bits. I listened to her on almost everything.”
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