A Hidden Loft in Downtown LA's South Park

If you aren't familiar with the Los Angeles rental apartment scene, let's just start by saying there's a whole lot to choose from. This city is filled with an abundance of historic buildings rich in character and an even greater amount of mediocre buildings that, well, aren't that great to look at from the inside or out. Whether you've been lucky enough to apartment hunt on this scene or not, trust me when I tell you how challenging it can be to find something that's well kept, in your dream neighborhood AND in your price range. Let's face it, sometimes scoring all three is nearly impossible. When I was first introduced to these clients back in 2019, I admired their desire to leave the quaint West Hollywood neighborhood (which happens to be the very same one I've called home for some time now) to find something more exciting near Downtown LA. Instead of continuing to pay a small fortune for their charming two bedroom place in WeHo, they opted to move closer to downtown to get more bang for their buck. Now, when I first got a tour of their West Hollywood abode complete with a private back yard (!) and vintage kitchen, I did momentarily think they may be crazy to leave something this good behind. Nevertheless, once we started talking and I realized that the daily commute to Downtown was slowing killing them, I was happy to step in and help make this move as easy as possible. Since technically the new loft is a one bedroom space, this project involved a lot of purging and creative storage solutions to make it just as livable as their previous West Hollywood home. Here's what the loft looked like before we got the keys:


Upstairs Loft

Upstairs Closet Area


Downstairs


As you can tell by the photos, the space needed a little love (and cleaning!) before move-in day. The landlord was happy to paint the whole place for us and take care of some other small upgrades before the keys were officially ours. Since this space is super special and it's somewhat of a rarity to find a unit this interesting in the South Park neighborhood, we probably would have taken on the paint job even if we had to do it ourselves. Nevertheless, once the keys were in hand the clients officially brought me on board and we immediately got to work. We wanted to incorporate as many existing items as we could from their West Hollywood place and to only add in new items if we could do so in a functional and cohesive way. We wanted to keep the style of the pieces timeless and the color palette neutral so the clients could grow with these new pieces as needed. The original idea was to stick with a minimal and slightly Scandinavian inspired vibe, with an equal mix of brand new and vintage furniture items. We wanted to keep the space interesting and retain as much functionality as physically possible. Luckily for me, these clients were two super dope creatives who had plenty of artwork and interesting pieces to accent the walls of the space, so it was just up to me to pull it all together with the large furniture items. The biggest creative challenge for us was how to configure the space. One of the clients is a songwriter and wanted to use the loft area as his work from home studio, however that area was originally intended to be the bedroom. As you can imagine, making music can be noisy so it didn't really make sense to have the sleeping area so close to his office. As you can see from the before photos, there is one (very small) closet upstairs which is one of the only ones in the entire unit. We knew that we would need this storage space upstairs regardless of how the rooms were used, so we went ahead and decided to turn the loft into both a living room and studio area. For the living space, we ended up deciding on a new neutral sofa from local retailer The Joneses in a yummy taupe color, and we paired it with a vintage rug from Turkey and this epic leather lounge chair from Sunbeam Vintage. We balanced the vintage pieces with a new coffee table made from ceramic and steel, and completed the look with a vintage console (not pictured) and the long modern bench from Room & Board. The artwork was handmade by the client and works perfectly with the extra large arched ceilings in the space.


Loft Lounge Area

View to Downstairs from Loft


The downstairs area presented more of a challenge for us. I wanted to give the clients as much storage as possible without crowding the space with oversized furniture pieces. Everybody was super into the idea of creating an exposed closet system, but we had plenty of hesitations. Would it feel too retail? Was it realistic to ask them to constantly have their things so organized that they were okay looking at them on a daily basis? Luckily these clients are the coolest and they were fully up for the challenge. Since there was an abundance of wall space, we decided to create something that felt like an art gallery meets a retail store meets an (accurately) artsy Downtown loft. We are stoked on how the closet area turned out, and how it feels like a continuation of the gallery wall pictured below.


Exposed Closet


For the bedroom area we again wanted to mix a combo of both new and vintage items into the space. We wanted everything to feel special and nothing store bought, so we customized things as we could. We kept it super simple with the platform bed base and end of bed bench. We custom made the headboard ourselves using materials from the hardware store and upholstered it in this Kravet fabric. The nightstands were vintage finds from Sunbeam and the plug-in sconces are some favorites from Schoolhouse. We finished off the Parachute bedding with two custom pillows from Clay McLaurin Studio.


Custom Artwork + Vintage Nightstands

Minimal Bedding + Gallery Wall

Extra Large Bench + Custom Pillows


Overall we are extremely happy with how this space turned out. It's clean, functional, eclectic and extremely unique just like the clients who live in it. Would you ever consider downsizing your life to fit into a smaller, but more interesting space? Let us know in the comments below!