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A Surprise for Two ‘Creatives’: An Artists’ Loft in the East Village

  • October 25, 2021

Lou Lou and her mother have adjusted to life without Mr. Kutner, but he is still a part of the space he shared with them. Ms. Herrera Malatesta is working through his archives, organizing not only Mr. Kutner’s work but also his private collection — more than 1,000 images altogether. “He was such a special person,” she said. “I’m trying to keep his memory alive.”

It helps to know that there are two other artists downstairs who understand how much the building means to her. As Ms. Paulsen said, “It’s her baby.”

The first floor, where Ms. Paulsen and Mr. Zusman live, was updated before they moved in — with refinished wood floors, white walls, modern appliances — but the rest of the building has remained largely untouched for decades.

The second and third floors, where Ms. Herrera Malatesta and Lou Lou live, has several fireplaces (one still works), vintage fixtures and antique furniture shipped over from France. “It feels like a bohemian palace,” Ms. Herrera Malatesta said. “I don’t know how many photo shoots we’ve done. Every corner of the building has been featured in some magazine.”

$3,200 | Lower East Side

Occupation: Ms. Paulsen is a jewelry maker and arts management consultant; Mr. Zusman is a painter and a wholesale wine representative.

The search method: “I tried the StreetEasy thing, but it didn’t go so well,” Ms. Paulsen said. “Just a lot of generic places in high-rise buildings.” She eventually turned to Listings Project, which she describes as “a really magical space — you get the good, the bad and the weird.”

Favorite neighborhood spots: Mr. Zusman runs along the East River; Ms. Paulsen searches out the community gardens that pepper the neighborhood. “And we both love eating oysters at the Summit Bar,” said Ms. Paulsen, whose father was a clam digger.

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