In 2001, a band of artists lead by sculptor and painter Matthew Ritchie pulled their fortunes to buy the old textile warehouse at 16 Desbrosses Street for $7.9 million. The goal was to create a somewhat affordable artists Utopia in Downtown Manhattan, and that they did: The eight condos in the building have been a revolving door for prolific artists, including Laurie and Carroll Dunham, the parents of Lena Dunham, who sold their apartment a handful of years ago. (Dunham fans might recognize it as the backdrop to her 2009 film Tiny Furniture.) Notes on a Scandal author Zoë Heller also lives in the building. Now, Ritchie has put his condo in the building up for sale for $4 million, trading it for a place with more space to work in Brooklyn.
“We got to make a space where there wasn’t any,” Richie told the Times for a recent profile of the apartment. Richie, who previously used the space as just a studio, brought in architect Philip Wu to reimagine the classic loft as a two-bedroom home. “It’s like a bento box,” Richie told the Times of the design, “everything has its place.” The apartment’s decor draws influence from Japanese style with its built-in furniture and maple-covered walls.
Original artworks by Richie, as well as by the Dunhams, can be found throughout the apartment, but like its furnishings are not included in the list price. The listing is held by Terry Naini at Brown Harris Stevens; the nearly 2,200-square-foot apartment comes with a $2,881/month fee including maintenance and taxes.