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When sculptor and architectural designer Elena Colombo was bought out of the Manhattan rental she had lived in for nineteen years, she started the search for something to buy. “I used to say, I’ll never live in Brooklyn!” But here she is, in a garage no less, living in an industrial part of Fort Greene. She moved here in 2006, when she saw a photo of this old garage that had been a lunch counter for the Navy Yard and then a motorcycle repair shop. She has never looked back.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Once you enter, there are stairs leading down to what was once a creepy basement, according to Elena. It has now been converted into her own walk-in closet and dressing room. I love that the original garage door is still there.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Elena turned the former repair-shop area into a kitchen. It’s equipped with stainless-steel cabinets and a wooden table she found in Waverly, Pennsylvania, that she uses as a kitchen island.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

The 2,400-square-foot space was in pretty good shape, save for the floors, which Elena replaced. She and her two assistants work from this studio.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Elena designed this room divider out of old typeface drawers. It separates her bed area from the rest of the room. She found that wonderful chair on the street and had it recovered. In addition to the city sidewalks, she finds many of her treasures at yard sales in Pennsylvania, as well as an antique store in Greenport, Long Island, where she has a house. “Ken and Ginger, who own Beall & Bell, have a great eye,” she said. “Also, I am addicted to One Kings Lane.”

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Elena’s bed is only visible once you get behind the screen.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Elena’s office is tucked in just beyond the kitchen. The rug is from West Elm, and the pearl installation painting above her desk is by Alexis Elton. The hanging lampshades are designed by Elena and made from Balinese sticks she found in the flower market. Elena took them to NY Brass Lighting on Chrystie Street and had them construct the shades.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

The minimalist bookshelves are from Design Within Reach and the red circular sculpture is actually an industrial mold for sand casting that Elena found outside of Wyeth Home, a furniture store in Tribeca. The chairs were a find at a yard sale, which she had recovered.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

The basement has been cleaned up and is now a great space for storage.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

On my way out, I noticed this giant wood propeller, which Elena had always admired in the entryway of a friend’s building in Soho. At long last, it became hers, and she enlisted a metalsmith friend to make the harness so it could hang from the ceiling.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Jose Mora (left) North Conduit and McKinley Avenues, Cypress Hills. On September 4, 2006, 11-year-old Mora was on his way to the barber for a back-to-school haircut; that week, he was to start the sixth grade at nearby Junior High School 302. He was struck by a Honda while walking his bike across an intersection.

Jonathan Neese South 4th Street and Roebling Street, Williamsburg. On August 12, 2006, Neese, a bike messenger known as “Bronx Jon,” was struck by a livery cab while cycling from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

Sam Khaled Hindy (left) Base of the Manhattan Bridge. On November 16, 2007, Hindy was run over after mistakenly entering a Manhattan Bridge lane reserved for cars.

Habian Rodriguez Main Street and Horace Harding Expressway, Flushing. On September 1, 2007, Rodriguez collided with a city bus and died 30 minutes later.

Elizabeth Padilla (left) Fifth Avenue and Prospect Place, Park Slope. Commuting to the Brooklyn Bar Association on June 9, 2005, Padilla swerved to avoid the open door of a parked P.C. Richard’s truck. She lost control of her bike and fell underneath the wheels of an ice-cream delivery truck.

Juan Luis Solis East Gun Hill Road and Bouck Avenue, the Bronx. Attempting to pass a double-parked car on June 22, 2007, Solis was struck by a box truck and died of severe head trauma. The truck did not stop.

Jeffrey Moore (left) Chauncey Street and Rockaway Avenue, Bed-Stuy. According to witnesses, on May 29, 2007, Moore was run over (twice) by his girlfriend Jeanine Harrington. She was indicted on charges of murder and criminal possession of a weapon (her Nissan Pathfinder).

Derek Lake Houston Street and La Guardia Place. On June 26, 2006, Lake reportedly skidded on a steel construction plate and was crushed underneath the wheels of a passing truck.

Elijah Armand Wrancher (left) Springfield Boulevard and 130th Avenue, Springfield Gardens. On August 28, 2007, 12-year-old Wrancher attempted to ride his bicycle while holding onto a moving truck. He lost his grip and fell under the truck’s rear wheel.

David Smith Sixth Avenue and 36th Street. On December 5, 2007, Smith was biking up Sixth Avenue when the passenger-side door of a parked pickup truck opened unexpectedly. He was knocked into the path of an oncoming truck.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Fall Fashion Features

The Beefcake in the Backcourt
Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.

 

The Beefcake in the Backcourt
Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.
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