sneak peek: rob brinson & jill sharp brinson


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. I’ve always dreamed of living in a loft, and this sneak peek only encourages the dream! Check out the full-sized images hereThanks Rob and Jill! — Anne

Image above: 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.

Image above: 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.

Image above: 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 . . .

Image above: The kitchen sinks were $100 on the side of the road — nothing gets by Jill. 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.

CLICK HERE for the rest of Rob & Jill’s home tour after the jump!

Image above: 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.

Image above: 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.

Image above: We dragged these seltzer bottles home from a shoot in Argentina in 1998. Forty packed in duffel bags; sure the luggage inspectors loved it.

Image above: 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.

Image above: 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.

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

Image above: 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.

Image above: 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.

Image above: 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.”

Image above: I wasn’t lying about the windows.

Image above: My family minus my surfing photography-student son, whose work can be seen here. Ricky Bobby is our pug. He has not had use of his rear legs since he was a pup because of a spine issue. He moves and inspires on wheels or can pull himself like a baby seal. He is very happy. This website was donated to him, and we use it to raise money for the Ricky Bobby Fund at Eddie’s Wheels to provide needy dogs with wheels.

  1. Kelly Eernisse says:

    Hi Miss Jill…what a beautiful way to live your life in the space you designed! I’m having my first home built and love your trough tub to say the least! I’ve grown inspiration to put this same design in my master bath! Please share the tub fixture product info and tub design materials if possible! This would help bless me & my family dearly! Thanks for sharing! (I also love your kitchen sinks that you found on side of the road!)

  2. My favorite sneek peek by far!!! You both have great style. I’m in the neighboring state of Alabama and was just planning a trip to “Hot”lanta next month to do some antique shopping ;-)

  3. I love the brick walls, it adds such great character. The picture of the wooden staircase with the exposed ceiling really caught my eye. I love it!

  4. Jill says:

    Kelly – here is the info about the tub you inquired about:
    That is the Cambridge Tub from Waterworks.
    The surround is honed marble.
    The backsplash was designed by our architect of poplar wood and finished with white & grey lacquer, rubbed and sanded between coats.

  5. Michele says:

    love love love the interiors of this house! it is so open and beautiful

  6. mattaltmix says:

    WOW. as photographers ourselves who have even used the beautiful windows for shoots from the outside, we’ve always wondered who owned that space. now we know.

    again, wow. more amazing than i could’ve imagined.

  7. oliviacharles says:

    Add me to the chorus of WOWS! What a gorgeous house, not to mention the gorgeous dogs! I can’t even pick a favorite thing to comment on. I love everything about it-thanks for sharing!

  8. Those windows are magnificent and I love the industrial feel paired with the more formal panelling in the bathroom and kitchen.

    Nice work.

  9. Victoria says:

    Wish I had a place just like that :0)

  10. Sonia says:

    i absolutly adore this place! its like a dream place to live!!!!! The colors, the space, the windows everything on it its perfect!

  11. Alkemie Jane says:

    Suddenly, I am both wicked jealous and thoroughly inspired to get working on my Cleveland-loft! Thanks for the kick in the pants! Hope to see more from you two soon! (PS- Rob, your work is lovely!)

  12. Kat says:

    I am in LOVE! Perfectly perfect.

  13. Jennifer says:

    swoon (about the loft) and awww (about the pug). loved every second of reading this post and gazing at these images.

  14. Kharina says:

    Why can’t I say Ricky Bobby without a French accent? Beautiful studio, the light, the kitchen, the ambiance. But Ricky Bobby stole my heart. It must have been his charisma…

  15. Joey says:

    Those windows, that space. I want this!

  16. wow!! that’s all I have to say!!

  17. LM says:

    THAT stool and THAT boiler table = awesomeness.

  18. Clare Pirie says:

    I love the light, the space, the industrial features…..this home is truly inspirational. Wonderful!

  19. Ebi Atawodi says:

    Still trying to pick up my jaw!!!

  20. Love the wood doors and wood stair pictures. Has industrial features that makes it truly unique. Great Job!!

  21. I’m in awe, this is a lovely space with everything I love, good light, history and personal touches which tell us something about it’s occupants. Love the riveted desk and the bathroom. Such a beautiful couple (& poochies!) too.

  22. Rebecca says:

    That’s a really interesting house. I like some of the interior design, it really unique. I think I probably would have gone with glass doors though. It would really complete the look.

  23. Diana says:

    I want to buy it ….How Much ? Seriously it is Awesome… you have done a magnificent job…

  24. Cara says:

    um. In Love.

  25. kb says:

    what colors/stain brand did you mix for your cabinets? I know its custom, but are you able to share the formula??? gorgeous!

  26. Brian says:


    I love your Sinks in the kitchen. What would they be called (Utility sinks/Laundry) What a great Idea.

  27. Schuyler says:

    Is the horse neck print in the studio Rob’s? (image here: It’s stunning.

  28. Michelle says:

    Love! What is the treatment of the white cement floor (the
    room with “RL” initials)? Is it epoxy paint? I’m working on a photo
    studio myself and love that look! Hope to hear from the owner.

  29. JaneAllen says:

    Great post!


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