Friday, July 25, 2014
1-day before and after...
When I decided to rent a loft in downtown L.A. for a year, while some much needed repairs to my little California bungalow were underway, I didn’t want that year to feel like I was living out of boxes.
I still wanted to be able to have friends over for dinner and entertain like it was a real home, not a temporary space.
CHALLENGE: Aside from the bathrooms, there are no walls separating the one big open space.
In the “before” photo, what you’re looking at is the back of an Ikea closet system dividing the bedroom from the rest of the living space. It was there when I moved in. It’s a great storage and closest space for the bedroom, but the back of it is not the grooviest thing to look at. Plus, if you know anything about Ikea closet systems…the backsides are a bit plasticky looking. They’re not designed to be focal points.
I couldn’t add a wall to hide the closet system, or to separate space. Making any structural changes to the loft were out of the question since I was renting it.
SOLUTION: It was all about creating divisions with furnishings and adding warmth – to a very concrete and industrial large room – through texture, woods, personal items and color (without painting).
Since the loft is very modern looking, I could have gone with a clean and minimal look but if you know anything about my personal style, you already know that I believe that “more is more.”
As much as I love and admire clean, modern, sparse rooms with great architecture, I wouldn’t want to live in one. I’d be nervous all the time. Personally, I tend to lean more towards rooms that have way too much going on. Definitely orderly, but still filled with stuff. For some reason, they feel calming to me. It’s like being in New York. It’s loud, bustling, crowded and filled with more than anyone can ever imagine and yet, it feels like the most soothing place to me.
1) I camouflaged the back of the closets with a couple of angelo:HOME Ludlow shelving wall units, and then added some personal touches to them–to layer in color and interest.
2) The area right in front of them became the dining room, since just off to the right is the open kitchen. The space is big enough to house two Brookdale reclaimed wood & pipe dining tables side by side. This really helped to warm up the loft and clearly define a dining room.
3) Adding the Lexi dining chairs in parisian tan-gray velvet was another way to add a touch of warmth to all the cool materials in the loft. texture is a fantastic was to layer in some style without trying to hard. On the ends of the tables and in the center, I added a little bit of color by using the Lexi chair in parisian teal blue.
4) I finished off the look by stringing two of Fulton chandeliers in gold over the tables. One over each table. And since they can be plugged in (as well as hard wired), I hung the chain over a pipe and ran the clear cord along the side of the pipe. I attached it to the pipe, so it wouldn’t slack, with white zip ties and then down the back of the Ludlow bookcases to an extension cord, that runs from the window wall outlet (on the left). That way, when I leave, I can just unplug them and take them with me.
I chose the Fulton chandeliers because they are anything but modern. I have always loved the juxtaposition of styles.
This was a 1-day transformation.
If you have all the components you want to work with, it’s easy to just put them in place and spend no time painting, constructing, or worrying about making a wrong decision that is difficult to undo.
Renting has it’s own set of pluses.
Next, the living room. Stay tuned…