The Brinson Loft

Atlanta-based photographer Rob Brinson has had this loft studio in the King Plow Art Center, a former plow factory from the 1800s, for 23 years now. Today it’s the full-time studio space he always dreamed of when he first became a photographer. He and his wife, Jill Sharp Brinson, stylist, designer and creative director for Ballard Designs, lived there full-time for six years but now use the living spaces as a getaway and a crash-pad for friends and relatives.

In the owner’s words:

The most amazing aspect of the studio is that it has over 1,000 panes of glass and has incredible light for my work. It is over 6,500 square feet with sections 25-feet tall with clerestories and was originally the foundry and pattern shop for the factory. Each day, 180 trains go past the studio, but I do not even hear them anymore. It’s located in the Westside District of Atlanta (which is pretty much the place for design, style, dining, etc.). This area was not that way 23 years ago, and I was pretty lonely over there, as I was the sole occupant of the 180,000 square-foot factory for a while, until I convinced a good friend he should risk all of his money on developing it as an art center. Luckily it worked, and we are still good friends. When living there, my young son referred to it as Fort Apache, but now it’s all chichi. The loft is an equal blend of my wife and I with a tilt toward me; my home probably tilts to her talent more. The style is industrial and functional. It’s kind of like a space with a view, as every room has great natural light.

The upstairs loft was originally a private bedroom and living space before I decided to rid it of any walls. No sleeping late here with all of its windows. It has a different feel because of the lower ceilings.

The conference area

… with “RL” 60-lb. metal letters (my father’s name and the first two initials of my grandfather, son and I). Jill had my mother’s 1950s chairs reupholstered (she threw out most everything else). A real feel-good space.

An area I can hang my prints

… while I work on projects, and a sofa that was a gift to me from Jill. She thinks the dogs are not allowed on it . . .

The kitchen sinks were $100 on the side of the road

The quirky antique stool was found in London by Jill, and after arriving home with it, she saw it in a spread in World of Interiors.

The wire baskets are sea urchin baskets from fishing boats in Bodega Bay, CA

… that we found during a shoot. We bought them off of a boat that was docking for the last time.

A one-of-a-kind stool invention

… with a patent pasted on it that expounds several lofty spiritual quotations. It bounces. The table is made from an old riveted boiler tank that Jill bought many years ago in France, and it has a proud place in our loft. It is too heavy to move ever again.

We dragged these seltzer bottles home from a shoot in Argentina in 1998.

Forty packed in duffel bags; sure the luggage inspectors loved it.

My grandfather’s partner desk from the 1930s.

Each drawer is filled with old family photos, leases, letters, contracts, deeds, stock certificates and items from as far back as the 1850s. Eyeglasses, ballet shoes, letter sweaters, bibles, coins, ribbons of political buttons, old letterhead, ledgers, lighters and a multitude of other family “treasures.” I love the stairway to our loft — I guess there were not many building codes in the 1920s.

One of the bathrooms

— we have 3 and ½. This one is made from 14-foot Belgium raised-wall panels and doors and an old French street light.

The reason Jill married me: I have 6,500 square feet to store her stuff.

The best 800-square-foot shooting room I have ever been in with the most amazing light.

It has a southern exposure, sort of like me. The flooring is two-inch thick heart pine board from an 1800s tobacco factory in NC where I grew up. My surfer son is the only one who can stand on the ladder without falling off. We were married in this room, along with 70 friends and family members.

The pattern shop.

Patterns are hand-carved from mahogany to make molds for casting metal machine and plow parts. Just beautiful objects that would sometimes take a pattern maker a month to finish. Computers do it in an instant now. Jill slip-covered my old 50s furniture with linen.

Saloon doors to the make-up and hair room. This used to be where tons of sand was stored that was used in the foundry

When I finally got all the sand out, I discovered tiny baby footprints in the concrete that walk around the room. Sometime in 1920, someone heard a man yell, “Get that baby off my slab.”

Via Design*Sponge

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