Guest Blogger: David’s downtown loft: Part 1

DavidkeanlrmontageToday’s blogger is David Kean, a Realtor in the Beverly Hills office of Prudential California Realty. His previous condo remodel was featured in Pardon Our Dust several years ago. In his new place, he once again created a beautiful urban space.

"From the window of my previous townhouse, I watched a vacant 38-story Downtown L.A. office building being converted into residential lofts. I’d always liked the building’s triangular shape and location on Wilshire Boulevard, so when the units went on the market I jumped head-first into a purchase . . . and another home renovation project.

The 19th-floor corner unit I bought had a great layout, but almost everything was "builder standard." In other words, nothing special. I set out to add character to the bland space.

The architecture of this space leaned more toward modern. With me being more traditional (as evidenced by my previous condo remodel), I went midway to modern, opting for what I call a ‘transitional’ design style, or "Cosmopolitan Chic.” Transitional décor allows you to mix new and old by bridging the gap with a few modern renditions of classic forms.

Before moving in, I started selling pieces of furniture that I knew would not fit into the space or mix well with modern. I also started scouring consignment shops and EBay for a new dining table and chairs, sofa, cocktail table and other needed items. Also on my list: paint, custom bookcase, kitchen island, lighting and flooring.

The first thing I did was paint the entire unit a light mocha color, which gave the loft a warmer feel than the bright white, but I kept things things neutral. I resisted the urge to add crown molding to keep the background clean and simple.

I replaced the nondescript dining room chandelier with a neoclassic silver leafed iron chandelier. The contrast of the traditional chandelier against the clean lines and wall of glass helped set the tone for the new décor. I lucked out on EBay by finding a rectangular Parsons-style dining table of Macassar ebony (an exotic hardwood from India) that seats up to 10. Another EBay find was a set of 10 22-karat gilded J. Robert Scott armchairs covered in a French Chinoiserie silk fabric. The over-the-top dining chairs juxtapose well against the sharp modern lines of the table.

The main living area is completely open, so I decided to break the space between the kitchen and the living/dining area with an island 7 feet long and 2 feet deep. The island provides storage on the kitchen side, and room for three barstools on the other side.

Because I could not find a stock island of the size I wanted, I sketched out a design and had it custom made. The base of the island is maple, with a medium brown stained finish. The top is 2-inch-thick Italian Calacatta marble. I added modern polished nickel cabinet pulls and finished it off with chrome and leather barstools. Adding the island provided a clearer division of the rooms and their functions. Actually, it “made” the space.

Next: Part 2: The hall closet conundrum

Comments? Questions for David?