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Interior Designer Brad Ford on His "Industrial Warehouse"

"It was the summer of 1994 and I'd just graduated from FIT. I had been living in student housing and was trying to figure out whether or not I was going to stay in the city or move back home to Arkansas. I didn't have a lot of money or time to find a place, but I'd just landed a job with [interior designer] Jed Johnson and knew I needed to make a decision quickly. It was getting down to the wire so I decided to sneak into one of the buildings at NYU that supposedly had a listing of available apartments. Sure enough I found the postings and quickly jotted down a long list of numbers. There was a hallway in the same building with several payphones and I immediately picked up the phone and started making calls. If I got an answering machine I would leave a message saying I could be reached on the phone number of the payphone next to me, desperately hoping someone would call me right back. Sure enough, the phone to my left started ringing and when I answered it was in response to one of the apartments I had been most excited about: an 'artist's loft' in the heart of Soho. The woman explained that she was both an an artist as well as a "dresser" for Saturday Night Live and the vacant space she had available was a place where she could drop by, showcase her artwork, and store extra clothes needed for SNL. I practically begged her to see the place that afternoon and once she finally agreed off I went to 581 Broadway between Prince and Houston [streets].

The apartment itself ended up being more of an industrial warehouse. To say it needed some work is a bit of an understatement. It was a big space with great windows, but there was no kitchen and no A/C. It did, however, have a cracked toilet and a plastic shower used for camping trips that she had rigged up in the back of the loft. This area was behind a huge wall of rolled-up canvases and several dusty boxes of vintage clothing, and was also the location of a very sad-looking twin bed. This would soon become my 'bedroom.' It was cheap and certainly not ideal, but I was desperate and loved the location. I told her if it was okay I'd love to take it and she immediately agreed. That was easy! I pulled out my checkbook and wrote her a check right there on the spot. With keys in hand I felt relief mixed with slight trepidation. I walked with her toward the front door where I noticed a section that was partitioned off with several folding screens. Curious, I asked her what she stored behind the screens. Without any hesitation whatsoever, she said, 'Oh, that's where your roommate Peter sleeps. I think you'll really like him.' And then she walked out the door."

· Brad Ford ID [official site]