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Loft With a Lift
An old industrial building receives a modern update
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Built in 1925, the handsome and historic industrial Biscuit Company Lofts building housing the loft was originally home to the West Coast headquarters of the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco). In a mission to help transform downtown Los Angeles from a place for strictly 9-to-5 business activity to a vibrant 24-hour residential area, the building was gutted and converted into 104 residential lofts as the first step of this renaissance.
Interior design: Kenneth Brown, Kenneth Brown Design, Los Angeles, CA; 323/525-0204, kennethbrowndesign.com.
Photography: Grey Crawford
This photograph: Courtesy of Biscuit Company Lofts; biscuitcompanylofts.com
Interior designer Kenneth Brown wanted the living room to mix textures. A large-scale pattern on the walls helps to keep the space grounded. Kenneth’s technique for creating small “rooms” within the vast floor space was to use movable walls. Take the living room and kitchen, which share the first floor. The installation of a flowing floor-to-ceiling curtain between the two gives each room a sense of privacy. Two patterns—a formal, tone-on-tone wallpaper and a warm plaid in eggplant, green, and taupe used on both the back of the fabric partition and on the window panels—bridge the design scheme. Enhancing the soft-wall effect, the oversized damask wallpaper visually cushions hard architectural elements—and keeps attention from heading straight out the window.
Sofa (“Bogart Sofa,’’ custom); sofa fabric (camel mohair); chandelier (“Tall Delavize Chandelier’’): Wilton Cordrey Collection, 213/742-1900, wiltoncordrey.com, trade only.
Coffee table (#60B-601M); brunching table with gold leaf (by Garcia): Century Designer Showroom, 231/741-9030, trade only.
Vase and bowl with balls on coffee table: JTA Diverse Furniture Showroom, 213/746-3122, trade only.
Side table (“Occasional Side Table’’ #S1014051 by Pride Sasser); black leather chairs (#430-01 by Whittemore Sherrill): Filbert & Fig, 213/748-8324, trade only.
Teak end table (“Sugar Gear table’’): JTA Diverse Furniture, 213/746-3122, trade only.
Plaid drapery (#26007-830): Kravet/Lee Jofa, 213/741-8600, trade only.
Zebra chairs (#7112): Lippman & Lippman Furniture Manufacturing, 213/741-0666, trade only.
Painting (“Burgundy Dream,” by Fillipo Ioco): Soicher-Marin Gallery, 310/679-5000.
Greenery: The Tropics Inc., 323/469-1682, thetropicsinc.com.
In a city that is all about breaking the rules, Kenneth nonetheless stuck to some of his own for this project. One of them is that to achieve a transitional look, each classic element must be counterbalanced by a modern one. So on the expanse of updated damask that covers the walls, a collection of black-and-white photographs contributes a slight edge and artful volume. Stately tufted benches are given a va-va-va-voom surge with hot red-leather seats.
Mirrored screen (#65564, by Garcia); bar cart (“Chantry,’’ Opal Point Collection by Martha Stewart): Bernhardt, 213/763-6130, trade only.
Red leather tufted benches (#2001-00 by Whittemore Sherrill): Filbert & Fig, 213/748-8324, trade only.
Wallpaper (“Illena’’/Black, Mauve #73/1002 by Cole & Son): Kravet/Lee Jofa, 213/741-8600, trade only.
Black-and-white photographs (London Collection, by Julie Chytrowsky and Brian Kravets): Wall Kandy, 310/904-2471, wallkandy.com.
Wall sconces (“Lalique Wall Sconce’’ #E22091-28-TN): Trebor/Nevets, 213/748-7036, trebornevets.com, trade only.
Gray area rug: InterfaceFlor, 866/281-3567, interfaceflor.com.
Stainless steel cabinetry and a modern apple-green glass backsplash echo the building’s industrial locale. A mahogany pedestal table, chairs in classic black velvet, and a chandelier with black crystals ground the room in timelessness. A rug in an oversized houndstooth pattern softens the commercial surfaces in the kitchen and enhances the classic quality of the table and chairs.
Chandelier (by Schonbek): Architectural Lighting & Design, 213/742-8800, trade only.
Dining table (Camden Passage Collection); dining chairs (“Gamecock,’’ Camden Passage Collection): Century Designer Showroom, 213/741-9030, trade only.
Sink: Artesian Sinks, 770/321-0024.
Faucet: Hansgrohe, 800/334-0455, hansgrohe-usa.com.
Gold-leaf console (#6080-44 by Henredon), carved “Mars’’ bust (#A-1516 by Speer) Filbert & Fig, 213/748-8324, trade only.
Wallpaper (“Illena’’/Black, Mauve #73/1002 by Cole & Son); black drapery (#27834-8): Kravet/Lee Jofa, 213/741-8600, trade only.
Orchid centerpiece: LA Premier, 310/276-4665, lapremier.com.
Trophy: Trebor/Nevets, 213/748-7036, trade only.
Green backsplash (“Vennica Green’’): Glass Connection, 323/888-6112.
Area rug: InterfaceFlor, 866/281-3567, interfaceflor.com.
To balance the steel cabinetry on the facing wall, Kenneth added matching mirror-framed mirrors and a vintage motorcycle that speaks to the clean-cut but edgy personality he gave to his imaginary client.
Refrigerator; range; oven hood: Sub-Zero/Wolf, 800/222-7820, subzero.com.
Cabinetry: Marina Woodcraft, 310/677-2169.
Large framed mirrors (#MF5033060): Wilton Cordrey Collection, 213/742-1900, trade only.
Red table lamps (“Trevi’’ #6438 by Currey): Filbert & Fig, 213/748-8324, trade only.
Motorcycle: John Sender, Custom Choppers, 323/972-3222.
Departing from the deep purple that saturates the rest of the apartment, the entry and staircase were kept a clean white, serving as a clean background from which artwork could show nicely.
A walk up the staircase reveals a painted black console and a round mirror suspended from the ceiling with a black chain. On one side of a drapery made from black waxed linen sit an Asian-influenced console, copper lamps, and a round mirror.
Credenza (by Oscar de la Renta): Century Designer Showroom, 213/741-9030, trade only.
Black circular mirror (#A-390 by Speer); gold lamps (#6769 by Speer): Filbert & Fig, 213/748-8324, trade only.
Wallpaper (“Rajapur’’ #66/5038/Indian Red, Black by Cole & Son); black drapery (#26208-8): Kravet/Lee Jofa, 213/741-8600, trade only.
Greenery: The Tropics Inc., 323/469-1682.
On the second level, Kenneth used his soft-wall concept to give the bedroom an entry space as well as to define the parameters of a home office so that it doesn’t disturb the sleeping quarters—a design no-no that Kenneth always tries to avoid. A faux-crocodile bed is topped with a sexy faux-fur blanket. A map of Paris cut into pieces and framed in black is a twist on the black-and-white photographs hung in the living room.
Bed (“Juliet’’ bed in black crocodile); throw; end tables (“Victor’’): Wilton Cordrey Collection, 213/742-1900, trade only.
Mattress (by Stearns & Foster): Bed & Den, 213/748-1155, trade only.
Wallpaper (“Rajapur’’/Indian Red, Black #665038 by Cole & Son); black drapery (#26208-8): Kravet/Lee Jofa, 213/741-8600, trade only.
Art (map of Paris, artist unknown): Soicher-Marin Gallery, 310/679-5000.
Lamps (“Gold Baton Table Lamps with Black Shades’’ #TA1090-TN): Trebor/Nevets, 213/748-7036, trade only.
Greenery: The Tropics Inc., 323/469-1682.
Area rug: InterfaceFlor, 866/281-3567.
A desk and black-leather armchair offer a workspace between the two areas, which are tied together with a fuchsia-and-black paisley wallpaper. Matching brass floor lamps are placed in adjoining spaces—next to the office desk and beside matching tufted chairs in the bedroom of the second floor.
Desk (“Penngrove Curved Tambour Desk,’’ Opal Point Collection by Martha Stewart): Bernhardt, 213/763-6130, bernhardtla.com, trade only.
Floor lamp (“Bradburn Standing Lamp’’): Century Designer Showroom, 213/741-9030, centuryfurniture.com, trade only.
Black leather chair (#486-01 by Whittemore Sherrill): Filbert & Fig, 213/748-8324, filbertandfig.com, trade only.
Leather rug (by Capel): JTA Diverse Furniture, 213/746-3122, jta-lamart.com, trade only.
Wallpaper (“Rajapur’’/Indian Red, Black #665038, by Cole & Son); black drapery (#26208-8): Kravet/Lee Jofa, 213/741-8600, trade only.
Art (“Men’s Sketches,” by M. Racine): Soicher-Marin Gallery, 310/679-5000, soicher-marin.com.
Interior designer Kenneth Brown.