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.

Krista @ Blue Eyed Yonder

Sigh… This is the lovliest loft/studio ever! I am in total love with the many windows, the history, the special antiques and, of course, the baby foot prints.

I was just feet from this building during lunch and had NO idea what kind of beauty was hiding on the inside. It’s so inspiring to see such amazing places in your own backyard. Love, love, love it!


So pretty. I’m really loving the exposed brick and the lovely shades of grey. It looks so calm and relaxing!


The loft is beautiful, but Ricky Bobby’s website is totally amazing! What an incredible little pug they have!


I am SO PROUD of you guys!!!! The studio looks amazing and Ricky Bobby looks pretty chic too. Hi Jill, Rob & Christine. Congrats from Cleveland!


Love love love them, Rob is one of my fav photographers to work with! and yes they are as cool as they look! xo


Without a doubt, my most favorite tour ever. I believe this is my home in heaven.

Paulina J!

This is my dream loft apt! The history, light and beautiful preservation, decoration and continuation are inspiring! I wish old buildings were NEVER torn down.


What an amazing house Jill & Rob have. More amazing is the love they have for their dogs. I visited Ricky Bobby’s website and it made me smile and cry. Thanks for sharing:)

Dominique Du Sablon

I love this. It seems that shades of white and grey are really big right now. It seems to be quite the trend. I can’t believe how much light is in this space, very beautiful.


don’t stop at just seeing this totally awesome house. you need to also click on ricky bobby’s site. HA!


Love this. Tell me, are the white floors pickled or white washed?


Oh my goodness! What an amazing space. Love, love, love. But seriously, how do they clean all those windows?


I have never been jealous of another person’s home… until now. It’s perfect.


they had me way before i got to the dog on wheels part – now i am smitten.
think they might disclose where the bed linens were found?


Lovely — & charmingly narrated. A question: Is the glass/metal freestanding shelving unit, the one holding seltzer bottles in the kitchen pic, an item one can readily purchase? I had seen something similar elsewhere but never could source.


okay, yes, i too would have totally married this man just to live in this space!! this is simply amazing…


fabulous on the outside, fabulous on the inside….the interiors and those that inhabit them….2 legged and 4 legged…constant inspiration to us all!!


Just amazing is an understatement. What a great space that is airy & has lots of neat unique pieces.

House of Brinson

It is Brinson mania! We might not be directly related, but based on our style maybe we are? Maybe there is an inherited ‘style’ gene? :)

Great space! We love it!
~Susan and William


What a great use of the natural elements. The brick walls, the hard wood flooring….And then to add the modern touches…..Absolutely incredible!


So cool to see such a beautiful loft located in my hometown ! Love that they allowed the space to breath -


I work a few studios down from Rob…. what a Treat to see him featured on Design Sponge!!


’tis the dream.
love the descriptions too, so many stories. especially likes this one hehe “The reason Jill married me: I have 6,500 square feet to store her stuff.”


That is an amazingly gorgeous and well designed home. Love the photography and focus of the shots. Thank you for sharing. I loved them all.


Everything is so beautiful. *I would like to know the color of the moody gray-blue cabinetry.* It looks new with antique effects. Very, very tasteful.


That is the most AMAZING home I have ever seen in my life. EVER!!!


Can’t breathe…. space lust….fellow artist in serious envy. Aargh… (Insert audible sighs and pirate noises…)


Pretty but cold like a castle. Fun to spend time in but doesn’t make a cozy home.


extraordinary! stunning! so rare to find a space that showcases every object as an object of art. i love the fleeting quality of the rust, peeled paint, monochromatic color, b&w photos….just beautiful!


Wow, I agree with Erik… some of their design elements are nice, but all together, it looks so cold and empty and uninviting! How do you feel at home there?


Should these folks be interested in adding to their family, I’m ready to be adopted. I’ll bring my cameras along, to aid in the fitting-in process :-). Lovely space, with great history and bones, beautifully decorated. The windows are , indeed, AMAZING! And the decorating is beautiful, tasteful, relaxing… ahhh. Beathe in, release, enjoy (the view.) Great job.


Fabulous space! Love, Love, Love the industrial theme. Ricky Bobby (great name by the way!) is adorable. I, too, have a pug…. 13 y.o. little diva…Stella. She is losing the use of her hind legs. She is like a fawn on ice while trying to navigate a wood/tile floor. Thanks for the inspiration!


whhhaaaa. Personally i’d go for more colour, but the space is amazing. Also like the history of it and your furniture. chapeau!


The most memorable sneak peek I’ve ever seen on Design*Sponge. Limitless on inspiration.


The space is fantastic, but how about Rob’s great sense of humor? I appreciated it as much as the photos!


Pug on wheels. Pug on wheels. PUG. ON. WHEEEEEEELS.

Yeah and the space is nice too love the sinks but whatever PUG ON WHEELS.

Andrea Baxter

love, love, love this! Its amazing how a simple palette like white with touches of original brick can make a large, open space so inviting, calm and peaceful:)


If you love this place take a look at where they live now in House Beautiful Dec/Jan 2010. It’s awesome just like this space!

karen barlow

Absolutely amazing style. I love the industrial vintage styling and the restrained colour palette and the building is just incredible!

karen berg

I would so love to have a getaway at this loft. Wow, that was a beautiful little visual vacation for me! Those Gray Cabninets are just stunning. Thank you as always for starting my day off to something so beautiful. -K


Be still my heart!!! The kitchen!!! The rustic floors and exposed brick! OH MY!!! What brand of cabinets are those? LOVE the color and style!!! NEED them ;)


I am in love love LOOOOOVE with their kitchen. The simplicity and the contrast between the gray cabinets and the white subway tiles is gorgeous. This makes me so want to go out and paint my cabinets gray right this second.


Ohmigosh I want to live here! So goregeous. I’d stain all that lovely wood flooring with specks of oil paint though. hehe


I’d really love to live in this space, and I don’t always like lofts. And the photographs! Wow.


ROB AND I are truly HUMBLED by all of the lovely comments – we feel SO lucky to be able to spend time in this historic property. SO fun to share with people that dig it, too. Thanks for all the emailed questions, as well — To answer some questions posted here:

1. wood floors in upstairs bedroom are painted a glossy glossy white.

2. we rarely wash the windows! last time I remember was when we got married in 2000! (BTW: we have AMAZING AMAZING photos of this).

3. bed linens are mixture of antique hemp and linen textiles I collect on travels mixed with West Elm mongolian lamb pillow, Mark Snider velvet pillow with velvet pom-poms. blue polka dot throw is a beach pareo from wanderlust and one on pillow in rear is an african hand-dyed textile I found in st. barth.

4. glass + metal shelf in grey kitchen is from SAT showroom at the Atlanta Mart. it is based on a patisserie shelf.

5. kitchen cabinets are stained a custom color – we mixed and mixed ’til we got it right.

6. to see our actual home, please visit my website and look under “press” House Beautiful January 2010 – we were the cover story

7. kitchen cabinets were built on site – no “brand” name – just my design

8. our other dogs are ridiculously jealous now – that is Bianca Jagger Brinson, the Standard Poodle and Angus Brinson, the Scottie

thanks so much for looking – Jill


I like the friendly reply of the owners, & also really appreciate that there is no cow rug or huge (cliché) mid century furnitures in that place ! let the space in itself with his own personality is a visible proof of respect from the happy occupants !


Fabulous space…and I loved seeing the homeowners pictures, and, of course, their dogs. Houses become homes only with people! (and for many, pets. )

Kelly Eernisse

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!)

Kim at SassySisterVintage

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 ;-)

Erez@Royal Suites

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!


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.


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.


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!


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

Alkemie Jane

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!)


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


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…

Tania @mauishopgirl

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.


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


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



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


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.