Before and after: Family-friendly L.A. loft remodel


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Chinmaya Apurva Collaborative recently completed its first interior loft renovation, a 1,574-square-foot space rethought as a series of areas for parents and child to rest, work and play. The project, completed in December, is the latest installment of Pro Portfolio, our Monday feature that looks at recently built, remodeled or redecorated spaces with commentary from the designers.
Location: Downtown Los Angeles.

Designer: Chinmaya Apurva Collaborative, which also goes by Cha:Col. General contractor: Alex Taslimi, Taz Construction.

Designer’s description: The clients -- husband, wife and 3-year-old daughter -- bought this historic loft in the South Park neighborhood of downtown last summer. The couple needed a flexible space for living as well as occasional home-based work. The building is seven floors high, the top three of which were added by the developer. This unit is on the fourth floor, giving us the opportunity to design within the historic structure.


When the couple purchased the loft, it had spartan, unmaintained finishes including synthetic wood flooring; reinforced concrete (or RC) columns with granular, degenerating stucco; RC beams; retrofitted aluminum-framed windows; and exposed HVAC and electrical work along ceilings, concealed within partition walls.

The clients needed a flexible live-work plan as well as a separate space for their daughter. The budget was extremely limited, so at the outset we decided to limit the scope of the project to interior mill work and finishes.

We worked extensively with 3D models and drawings to establish key sight lines. These were required so we could define separate zones without losing visual continuity between any of them. First, we defined all areas that were beyond the limited budget. We then cut an existing utility room in half and redesigned it as an open, flexible workspace with integrated shelving. Storage was relocated to a new partition wall. We then built open shelves to separate spaces yet leave porous boundaries.

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A media center with plywood wall panels conceals data cables. Shelves and benches were made of locally sourced 0.75-inch ApplePly plywood with exposed edges, glued as double ply (1.5 inches thick). The wood was sanded, and a clear-coat varnish was applied on site. The walls are 1/4-inch veneer plywood.

The workspace was carved out from an existing utility room. The loft’s flooring is cork; the work area has carpet tiles from Flor in robin’s egg and cream.
In the loft’s kitchen, the concrete columns were smooth-troweled with stucco.

Due to budget constraints, the kitchen cabinets were left intact. The kitchen countertop is Caesarstone quartz in the color Blizzard 2141, with a cascade side running to floor. The kitchen backsplash is glass tile from Glendale Tile. The Kraus sink is a 33-inch undermount double bowl in stainless steel with chrome faucet and soap dispenser.

A built-in bench creates a flexible space that could be used as a lounge or dining area. The pendant light is from Z Gallerie.

The photo above shows the child’s bedroom before the remodel, and ...

... the same space after. An interior awning window was added to establish a connection between this bedroom and the living areas. Sliding doors with chalk-sensitive paint were also added. Shelving was proposed as a continuation of steps integrated with the dining partition wall. We chose to use sliding doors (L.E. Johnson tracks for barn doors) and a fixed, sandblasted glass window. Paint for the lacquered medium-density fiberboard shelves: Benjamin Moore’s Smoke 2122-40, Etiquette AF-50, Kendall Charcoal HC-166 and Genesis White 2134-70.

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-- Lisa Boone

Pro Portfolio appears every Monday. Submit projects to


Finished project photos: Edward Duarte. ‘Before’ photos: From Chinmaya Apurva Collaborative