Pro Portfolio: Loft renovation for the single guy

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Interior designer Suzan Fellman’s recently completed loft in Hollywood is our latest installment of Pro Portfolio. The feature, posted every Monday, looks at a recently built, remodeled or redecorated home with commentary from the designer.

Project: Loft renovation in a 1920s landmark building

Designer: Suzan Fellman


Location: Hollywood

Designer’s statement: Single and divorced men are among my favorite client categories. They are direct, no nonsense. They don’t second-guess their decisions once we make them, and they allow me to execute without fuss or muss.

Case in point is this 1,683-square-foot loft in the Broadway Hollywood building. It belongs to a first-time homeowner, a successful young TV writer. I had been working on his neighbor’s loft; he saw me repeatedly with tools, building materials and workmen, and he kept poking his head in. One day he asked me to look at his place. Although it was large and had plenty of light, it lacked definition and personality. He was overwhelmed. I emailed him a series of either/or questions, such as pizza or steak, Iggy Pop or Frank Sinatra. There were no wrong answers; the process just helped me to understand his taste.

Based on his responses, I started by defining the space. I built a library and a pony wall (does not extend to the ceiling) to differentiate sleeping and dining areas. I added lighting, practical and ambient, to remove the institutional feel. I installed wall covering to add texture, and I selected the furniture, which is a combination of vintage and custom-made pieces. In presenting my furniture plan, I gave him my “single man” talk: I’ve met many a man who thinks, “My place is fine, it’s only temporary,” and he ends up living in it 10 years or more. Although my client intends to move to a large house someday, I underscored the importance of living well now and the ability to move nice pieces. I also explained that when a lady visits a gentleman’s home for the first time, having an attractive place to put her handbag helps her to decide whether she’ll stay or, more important, whether she will return.

The photo at top shows the loft’s main living area. The library, the dining area and the hanging-out area are clearly delineated, yet made harmonious through scale, color and texture. The custom shelves take full advantage of the loft’s 16-foot ceilings. The rolling ladder gives easy access to the highest books. The soft, wool carpet flows through the hang-out area, uniting the two spaces.

To see more of the loft, keep reading …

Whales are the client’s favorite animal. I found this prime example in wood and had the iron stand made. It sits at one end of the living area, by the bar.

I believe that any true gentleman needs a proper bar. The client also wanted a wine refrigerator. There’s little camouflage in a loft, so I paired it with an antique Biedermeier cabinet and a brass antique library lamp.

This baseball stitching is one of my favorite details on the sofa. It’s the Black’s Beach sofa by Tim Clarke, made of leather, linen and brushed steel.

To create variation and pattern on the long wall running from the entry, I covered it with a woven material called Barskin, made of hand-pounded bark by the Caba Co.

The antique typewriter, bought off EBay, sits on a table of my design. It’s made out of antique rough-hewn pine. I branded it with a “B,” the first letter in the client’s surname. The photo from the 1960s shows the client’s mom, who was an airline stewardess when that’s what they were called.

The antique English oak trestle table is bleached for an updated look. Belgian midcentury chrome chairs are upholstered in velvet. The antler chandelier is custom-made, designed by me. Behind the pony wall, above, is ...

... the sleeping area. An antique English safe serves as a bedside table.

The bed is steel, the headboard felt and leather. Adjustable library sconces float above both sides of the headboard. The antique Persian flat-weave rug is goat hair. It adds pattern while playing off the loft’s vertical and horizontal lines.

Pro Portfolio appears on this blog every Monday. Submit projects to


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-- Compiled by Andrew Myers

Photo credits: Sam Frost