This is a concrete apartment that we renovated in the Financial District in New York City. Concrete interior finishes play a major role in this apartment, as almost every room has concrete as a primary feature. The apartment is modern and industrial because of the concrete used and other aspects of the design that I will discuss in this post.
I am Jorge Fontan an architect in New York and owner of Fontan Architecture. In this post we will discuss one particular apartment we renovated where concrete was the overriding aesthetic choice for the renovation. This apartment was originally all white. Our client contacted us even before he closed on the sale to begin working on the gut renovation. One of the first things he told us about the apartment was that he hated it being all white. He said “I don’t want to feel like I’m living in a hospital.” White apartments are not for everyone and a concrete apartment is certainly not for everyone. We have another blog post if you want to read about white apartment designs.
For this apartment white was just too stark and sterile. The owner of the apartment wanted to add textures, materials, industrial elements, and of course concrete.
NYC Concrete Apartment Interior Renovation
In this project, we gut renovated the entire apartment. It included removing most of the partition walls, building new walls with a new apartment layout, adding a second bathroom, adding a guest bedroom / home office, raising the ceilings, all new finishes, fixtures, and appliances throughout the apartment. all materials were new except the wood floor which was refinished. Concrete walls are a major feature of the overall interior design.
Before and After
Below you can see the before and and after of the apartment renovation. The ceilings were raised leaving all the beams and utilities exposed, you can see the sprinkler pipes on the right. In order to provide a high contrast mood, the ceilings were painted black. The walls were refinished with concrete trowel applied finishes. The custom closet doors were made quite tall with a bright orange finish. The client chose to keep the original floors and refinish them with a lighter tone to contrast the concrete walls.
Modern Apartment Design with Concrete
Concrete is an incredibly modern material. There are many different ways to use it such as walls, floors, countertops, or sinks. Not everyone is going to want an all concrete apartment like this one. You need to consider the overall design for the entire apartment for a cohesive design. When used properly, raw materials, industrial, unfinished materials, steel, and wood will go very well with concrete.
Concrete Texture Yet Minimalist Design
I think one surprising thing about concrete is that concrete interiors and concrete architecture actually have a real minimalist modern feel while being extremely textured. Dynamic and simple.
If you are interested we have another post discussing a bit more on Concrete Interior Finishes.
Industrial Apartment Design Features
This is an overall industrial apartment design. Details like exposing sprinkler pipes and painting the ceiling black give it an industrial feel to go with the concrete which is quite industrial on its own. There are several details that enhance the industrial feel throughout the apartment design.
The doors were all orange stained to add vibrancy to the darker concrete. The doors have industrial hardware to tie into the industrial look (see picture below.)
Modern Ceiling Mounted Coat Rack
Details help bring a design together and create interesting points of focus. This is a modern ceiling mounted coat rack at the front entrance. Coincidentally, my black leather jacket really goes well with the concrete wall finishes and black metal tube.
Industrial Kitchen Faucet
The picture below is of an industrial kitchen faucet. This is an articulating faucet that has hinge joints so you can pull it down or around the kitchen sink.
The bathrooms are also concrete in this apartment. The picture below shows the concrete bathroom walls and concrete shower. The bathroom concrete has a smooth finish in comparison to the rest of the apartment. You do not want too much texture in a bathroom, especially not rough texture.
Custom Industrial Bathroom Accessories
The accessories in the photograph below are all highly modern and minimal. Included are a custom made black tube metal ceiling mounted towel bar, a simple white trough sink, wall mounted faucets, and a simple long medicine cabinet.
The modern toilet and sink are matte white, which goes very well against concrete. Wall mounted toilets and smart toilets are a more modern option for home design.
For a more modern and sleek look, the concrete shower is a curbless shower with a linear drain. The linear shower drain has a pan filled with concrete to make the floor more continuous. The drain is actually the reveal. The bathrooms have heated floors.
Not Everything Is Concrete
Although most of the apartment has concrete finishes, the kitchen does not and neither do the closet interiors. Other than that, all areas have concrete of some form. This apartment has a simple modern kitchen. The kitchen has panel ready appliances to blend in with the rest of the cabinets. The walls are painted to match the cabinet so that the entire wall appears continuous.
Foyer / Entrance Hall
The entryway foyer is a very dramatic space as the concrete and contrasting orange door strike you as you walk in. Upon entry to this apartment it is obvious that this is a unique bespoke design.
Manhattan Concrete Apartment Interior Construction
KJ Remodeling was the contractor on this job. They are a great company that as an architect, I really enjoy working with.
Concrete Apartment Design
I study design and construction (as an architect), but these issues are complicated and involved. Every project is different and must be assessed on its own unique characteristics. This post does not assume to cover every possible issue or condition, but provide a general overview of the topic.
Thank you for reading our blog post on NYC Concrete Apartment
I hope this was helpful. Please leave questions and comments below. If you would like to speak with an architect, you can contact us directly.
This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 15 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.