Inside a DUMBO Artist’s Loft We Would Kill For

Photo Catherine Lacey

Kylin O’Brien and Neil Redding’s live-work loft is the kind of place that everyone thinks no longer exists in DUMBO, but their building actually houses six awesome spaces for creative professionals like O’Brien and Redding. The white walls of the high-ceilinged living room and studio are covered in Kylin’s original paintings, collages and prints, many of which incorporate her daughter’s and other children’s drawings. Having spent a good deal of time in their home (Full disclosure: they’re friends) I can assure you that no significant tidying happened before the photos were taken—it’s always as immaculate and peaceful. Both Neil and Kylin are able to work from home often; with a space this beautiful, how could they not?

Brooklyn Magazine: The light up here is awesome! What’s the exposure?

Kylin O’Brien: Indirect from the north plus the skylights. I could use more direct sun, but maybe that would make it too hot in the summer. I’m like a cat and seek out warm spots. Especially in the winter.

Square footage?

Neil Redding: About 2,000.

What is your favorite design element in the space?

Kylin: The skylights. I love skylights. Also, I built that huge kitchen table because I wanted to have dinner parties. But I don’t like to cook. So, still not so many dinner parties.

Neil: I also love the light up here reflected from neighboring buildings and the skylights. It’s mysterious and enchanting.

Any weird quirks about the space or the building?

Kylin: Where to start? It’s an old factory loft built out by the artist and owner. Quirks abound. As for the building, well, it’s obviously crumbling.

Neil: There’s a brush factory on the first two floors. They’ve been there since the dark days.

So, this space is definitely the unicorn of Brooklyn apartments—a beautiful live-work loft in DUMBO that a family of artists can afford. Every Brooklynite wants to know. How did you come to live here?

Kylin: We are the luckiest people. That and maybe some good Feng Shui karma. I nerd out over my spaces. I make them as beautiful as possible and take great care of things, often improving them. I think the gods of home look out for us and our landlords and bring us together. We were getting priced out of our first DUMBO loft and were resigned to having to leave the neighborhood. One of our friends, artist and bon vivant, John Ensor Parker, tells Neil “No you can’t leave. I will find you a place.” I thought that was super sweet, but delusional. Alas, he DID find us a place. This place. Did I mention we are the luckiest people? Affordable artist’s lofts in DUMBO don’t actually exist. This place, it is not real. I am dreaming.

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