Story by Rachel Schwartzmann – Visit The McKibbin Loft – Photos by Joanne Pio for The Style Line
Our friends at The McKibbin Loft prove that there’s
truly no place like home. Interestingly enough, they also disprove the notion that home has to be a singular definitive location – for loft dweller Mercedes Fernandez it has become quite the opposite. A resident at McKibbin, Mercedes has built her life and profession around one important element: flexibility. Splitting her time between the states, Spain and Bali, this globetrotter attributes her passions and positive outlook on life to keeping an open mind. “I live between two countries that are complete opposites.” she shared, “Between these two countries is Spain, where I can have what I need, plus my family. In this lifestyle I found my balance, enjoying each moment, regardless of where I am.”
In the spirit of keeping an open-mind, Mercedes and her two loft mates Lucia and Cristina also keep what one may consider to be an open-door policy, catering to the comings and goings of their houseguests and clients. With only one of three allowed in the loft for a period at a time, the energy in McKibbin is never the same, which is something Mercedes prides it’s success and their enjoyment on. “We enjoy sharing our space and time with others and we hope others enjoy it as much as we do.” she told us. Upon entering the space it’s hard not to immediately feel at ease. Although spacious, the loft eludes a warmth with it’s sleek interior adorned with fun touches from DIY projects (see the hanging swing and hammock in the main room) and an equally, if not more warm welcome from the hosts themselves.
Perhaps what spoke to us the most during our visit was experiencing Mercedes sincere enthusiasm firsthand – all things considered, it’s hard not to be impressed by her ability to connect, build and share a dynamic hub for people to come together from all walks of life. As she puts it, “A unique thing about Mckibbin is our ability to connect with people from all over the world. We welcome anyone.” To pay homage to the communal spirit of McKibbin, today we’re sharing a few snapshots from our afternoon with Mercedes who shares more of her background, her insights on life abroad and what creativity means to her and those around her.
I’m a happy, simple,
pragmatic person, born and raised in the south of Spain. I grew up in a big family, and I owe them pretty much everything what I am right now. I’m in love with the human ability of changing and adapting to new circumstances and I’ve always been an avid traveler. I believe that living in different environments is the best way to discover the unknown. I came to New York with lots of hope and low expectations with the single goal of improving my english and ended up working in Aire Ancient Baths with the best. I’m very grateful for the big opportunity that they gave me. More than simply hiring me, I felt like I was accepted into a big family. After three years of working with them, I decided to leave the nest and try new experiences, flying on my own. Currently, I’m working in New York and Bali, the former being a city that has left a significant mark in my life. Most recently I’m developing a new project here in New York. I find myself at a time in life where I have to prioritize happiness and live the present first and foremost. I strongly believe that it is important to give the best of yourself and do things with love.
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Talk to us about your day-to-day and the mission behind McKibbin Loft. What are some unique ways in which you’ve seen the loft being used?
The McKibbin Loft is home for all of us. We enjoy sharing our space and time with others and we hope others enjoy it as much as we do. Anyone can rent the loft for a photoshoot, a film production, or as a place to sleep. A unique thing about McKibbin is our ability to connect with people from all over the world. We welcome anyone. I feel very lucky for having come up with this idea together with my friends and partners Lucia and Cristina Puron. Without them this project would not have been the same. The three of us are always traveling but we coordinate to be in charge of the loft at different times. Lucia is an interior designer and it’s clear right when you walk into the loft. Cristina has been a great help for all our visibility on social media. I think that the key to the success of @themckibbinloft is the combination of three different minds but with the same mission.
What is one question you wish people asked you more often?
Less about work and more about life.
What have you learned about your interior and sartorial preferences as a result of the projects/shoots that have taken place at the loft?
Living at @themckibbinloft is helping me stay update with trends. We have a lot of fashion productions. Brands like Ann Taylor, Elizabeth Arden, Freixenet Cava, among other brands have worked with us. We’ve also appeared in publications in magazines and blogs as Vogue Spain, Vogue Japan, Refinery29, Flair, and Loft Chile. What I enjoy the most about each shoot is the human aspect. Just to see how the team works, the enthusiasm to get the best results, and how they define and accomplish their goals. No matter the size of the production I always find something new to learn.
What is one element of your story or something about you that you don’t think is addressed enough?
I always trust my heart and follow my insticts. I always try to give the best of me and fight for what I think is right.
How do you think New York fosters it’s creative community and what do you think are some issues that need to be addressed re: space and resources for artist?
From my point of view, I think NY is a great source for the creative communities, as it’s so unique; there is so much variety in styles, cultures, way of living and contrasts, amongst other things. People fight for their dreams even if the competition is fierce, each single one of them trusts themselves, believes in themselves and keep on going with their head held high. Taking into consideration all that NY has to offer, I think it lacks in more opportunities for new talents to arise and there aren’t so many spaces where the creative community can work on their projects, you can find them all scattered around the city in coffee shops, and in some cases in the parks.
What story do you hope to tell through this endeavor?
I hope to tell that everything in this life is possible. You will get what you want if you trust yourself and work hard. Also being grateful each day of your life and always try to help those around you, but I also think it’s important for everyone to walk their own path. I don’t think it’s healthy for me to push my philosophy of life on others. I prefer to listen to people and understand their own personal situation and way of living.
In spirit of the spirit of this month’s #TSLResolutions, how are you exercising your freedom to live happily and healthily?
There is no better exercise than knowing where you want to be. I live between two countries that are complete opposites. In the U.S. you can find everything you need, and you are always in need of everything. On the other hand, in Indonesia you have nothing and you are happy with what you have. Between these two countries is Spain, where I can have what I need plus my family. In this lifestyle I found my balance, enjoying each moment, regardless of where I am. Yoga, surfing and healthy-eating helps me find where I want to be.
How do you celebrate personal style?
With a big smile.
How do you think creativity contributes to some of the world’s bigger conversations and how do you think McKibbin Loft have contributed to this shift in thinking?
Creativity is very important to me, creative minds inspire me a lot. When you meet people with talent that are looking to change their worlds, your own world also changes. At the end of the day, everyone is the creator of their own world. McKibbin is a playground for so many creative people, just by living here you soak in the positive vibes. After three years of sharing our loft with people from all over the world, I feel I got to know all kinds of cultures without even leaving my living room. It’s all about sharing and learning.