Five-Alarm Design

Photographs by Dean Kaufman

Illustration by Jason Lee

In 2008, fashion stylist Scott Newkirk ran across a listing for a 3,000-square-foot two-story loft in a defunct firehouse in Fort Greene. Renovation was already under way when he snapped it up, but, says Newkirk, “Since I discovered it early enough, I was able to make suggestions on the bathroom tiles and fixtures, and other simple but powerful decisions that establish the spirit of a space.” No neophyte when it comes to creating ambience (he once built a 300-square-foot cabin upstate), he opted to keep the loft’s original iron staircase (“It worked with my vision”), but used an ebony stain and high-gloss polyurethane on the floors. To punch up the neutral palette, he incorporated modern and contemporary wood furnishings, olive cashmere curtains with custom-made brass curtain rods, and bountiful art. In addition to providing an inspirational blank canvas, the firehouse gave Newkirk enough room to showcase his forthcoming furniture collection ( “It’s become a laboratory for my creativity, a living showroom,” he says. “I finally found a space where my point of view could flourish.”

The Living Room
The gallery wall features stylist Scott Newkirk’s childhood drawings, work by friends, and a photo by writer Eudora Welty, who lived in Newkirk’s hometown of Jackson, Mississippi. The ebonized- and limed-oak sofas were designed by Newkirk. Photo: Dean Kaufman

The Wardrobe
“There was only one small linen closet when I moved in,” says Newkirk, who built the cubbies and added wall-mounted hanging storage, then used a double-height rolling rack to display his clothes. Photo: Dean Kaufman

The Staircase
The original iron staircase connects the two floors. Photo: Dean Kaufman

The Downstairs Hall
A view of the downstairs hall. Newkirk had the burlap curtains made by Circle Visual in the garment district. Photo: Dean Kaufman

The Exterior of House
Newkirk’s apartment redesign inspired his new business: “I was at a point where I was thinking about what I should do next in my life, and my friend said, “You’re standing in it,’” he says. Photo: Dean Kaufman

The Living Space
The curtains are cashmere in the bedroom. The desk is also part of his forthcoming furniture collection. Photo: Dean Kaufman

Five-Alarm Design