A discussion with owner Frank Pierce about Douglas Riddle’s clean, simplistic design for the urban loft
By Sarah Carter Levitch
Photos by Robert Burge
When Frank Pierce moved to Old Louisville, he thought he wouldn’t be staying for too long, but 10 years later, he still resides at the Central Park Lofts. Captivated by the charm of the historic buildings and the abundance of windows in his loft, Pierce decided to stay. Originally a commercial building built in the 50s, the space was transformed into loft apartments 12 years ago. We spoke with Pierce about his work with Douglas Riddle of Bittners and how they kept things simple to create a serene atmosphere.
What was the initial inspiration for the space?
It’s a loft with concrete floors, concrete ceilings and exposed ductwork. Typically a loft has a lot of chrome, steel and glass, so we added different fabrics and textures like wood and leather. We gave it a warm feeling, and the monotone and neutral colors were soothing. The floors and ceilings are white, and the rest is browns, creams and blacks.
What was the line between your vision and Bittners’?
Douglas and I are good friends, and we have a similar design style. I wanted to get his ideas and float my ideas against his. It was an extensive collaboration. Anything I do design-wise, I ask Douglas because I think he’s very talented. I have a big table in the living area that is about 300 years old and wrapped in black leather, all worn. Douglas found that table for me. In fact, after I got it, he kept saying, ‘I wish I hadn’t told you that. I should’ve gotten that for myself.’
What are the key focus points of the space?
There’s the main room where the kitchen, sitting area and piano are. I have a corner unit, so there’s a lot of glass that wraps the corner. The back room was supposed to be a bedroom, but I made it my library/office/media room. That’s where I have my TV, my desk, my books and all my personal stuff. I have a mirror that was a family heirloom, some artwork that reminds me of Texas, where I’m from. My dog and I spend the most time back there because it has two walls of glass, so it’s almost like you’re outside. We tend to sit back there when I have people over, too, because it’s so bright and airy.
What are some of your favorite furniture or decor pieces in the space?
My desk is my favorite. It’s a Bittners piece, with white suede, a glass top and two shelves on the end. The other one is a chair. I have an unusual chair made of plywood that Douglas suggested I buy. It’s a piece of art.
What have you changed over the years?
I added a piano. It’s an old Baldwin parlor grand, bigger than a baby grand. There’s also a table that’s a piece of a cherry tree trunk. An artist that lives in the building made it. It’s raw cut, and the bottom of it is stacked wood. Above that, I put a lamp that’s a column of raw linen. There’s no base or top, and it’s fairly simple.
Tell me about your bedroom.
My bedroom is a study in white. White on white on white. Minimal. It’s soothing to me. I go in there to sleep. I don’t read or anything. When I did it, I told Douglas that I know it’s severe, but I really like it.
It seems like everything in the space is very intentional.
That is true. Everything has some story or meaning. I have these snake skins on the wall from Texas diamondback rattlesnake skins, a box my mother gave me and a walking cane that was my great-great grandfather’s. If I have it out, there’s some reason. It’s not just here because it’s pretty. I surround myself with things that have meaning.
731 E Main St.
Louisville, KY 40202