Mark Crumpacker, a branding expert who created the original Chipotle Mexican Grill logo in the 1990s, became the company’s chief marketing officer three years ago. His partner, Tim Wildin, is the corporate director of concept development, a job Mr. Crumpacker helped him land.
“I wanted to join the team really badly,”
Mr. Wildin said.
So it’s not surprising that the couple’s loft was designed by Thaddeus Briner of the New York firm Architecture Outfit, the architect responsible for the design of a number of new minimalist Chipotle restaurants, as well as ShopHouse, the company’s experiment with fast-casual Asian food.
The couple bought the 2,100-square-foot Greenwich Village loft, on a commercial block of West 13th Street, two years ago from the actor Benjamin Bratt for $2.5 million.
Mr. Crumpacker, 48, a graduate of Art Center College of Design, sketched the idea for the renovation. “I’m the concept guy,” he said.
Mr. Wildin, 31, is the implementer. In this case, that meant dealing with the contractor and the architect. The latter aspect of his task wasn’t difficult because he already had plenty of experience working with Mr. Briner on ShopHouse.
“I speak Thaddeus fluently,” Mr. Wildin said. For those unfamiliar with Mr. Briner and his philosophy of design, a single line from the Architecture Outfit Web site says it all: “Simple is usually better.”
The renovation, which cost $800,000, took 15 months and was completed in March 2011.
One bedroom was removed to open up the living and dining area (there are now two bedrooms). Soundproofing was installed in the wall adjoining the building’s communal hallway and in the ceiling, where a series of rectangular gypsum board “clouds” conceal recessed lighting and indirect fluorescent tubes along the edges of the apartment.
A row of cast-iron columns that was featured prominently in Mr. Bratt’s home has disappeared into new bathrooms and closets, but the design preserved the whitewashed brick.
“To me, it’s very Mercer Hotel lobby-looking,” Mr. Wildin said.
Mr. Crumpacker insists that their intention was not to create a “luxury Chipotle,” but colleagues have noticed connections, most notably the large walnut-clad block that sits off-center in the space, stopping just short of the ceiling. (the block was pre-fabricated by Architecture outfit and assembled in the loft. The architect claims it’s his favourite part of the loft.) It bears an uncanny resemblance to the free-standing plywood forms Mr. Briner designed to contain restrooms and drinks stations at the restaurants.
This volume, however, holds a laundry room, a guest bath, a home office alcove, a pantry and plenty of storage.
The design devotes so much space to storage, in fact, that some closets are still nearly empty. “We’re organized down to the built-in doggy crate,” Mr. Wildin said.
On a recent Sunday, he stood at the kitchen island, which functions as something of a command center for the apartment.
“I live at the counter,” Mr. Wildin said, “chopping and answering e-mail.” A small hole in the statuary marble surface allows him to plug in an iPad, he said, from which he can adjust the room’s lighting and the window shades.
Pivoting, tongs in hand, he pressed hanger steaks marinated in chili-and-fish sauce into the Gaggenau Vario teppanyaki grill behind him.
“Mark, can you get a silver presentation plate, like your Nambe?” he asked.
Then he filled it and placed it in front of guests seated around the enormous Saarinen pedestal table in the dining room.
“It’s a ShopHouse cut,”
On the topmost picture:
Dimmable fluorescent lighting recessed in the ceiling around the periphery of the living area brightens the room, as does the new set of slipcovers on the Solo sectional sofa from B & B Italia.