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Monday, August 25th, 2014

California Boho Goes Pro in this Santa Monica Office

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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TV production developer Ashley Stern needed to set up a Los Angeles outpost for her Paris-based company —quickly and on a limited budget. The space her real estate agent and interior designer Veerta Motiani helped her choose had plenty of pluses. It was around the corner from Santa Monica’s Main Street, it had wonderful high ceilings and industrial style, the building was new with a gorgeous lobby and roof-deck ocean views, and the price was right.

However, the long narrow space posed some design challenges. It didn’t get a great amount of natural light, the ceilings were a little too high for human scale and she wasn’t allowed to paint the walls. On top of that, Stern needed the space to serve as her office, have room for a potential intern, include a conference table space and be set up to accommodate two of her French colleagues when they were in town on business.

photo by Alen Lin

The project began with Stern’s desk. “She was nervous about this idea, but I had to tell her to just trust me, we were going to use a dining room table instead of a desk to serve as the centerpiece of the room,” Motiani says. The rustic light pine table serves primarily as Stern’s desk but can also accommodate two of her French colleagues when they are in town. Because it’s open underneath, her co-workers or her intern, or both, can join her around the table to conference and to work on their laptops. Two comfortable modern chairs serve as their desk chairs when they are in town. Turned around, as you see here, they offer another place for Stern to have one-on-one meetings.

Motiani wanted the room to reflect Stern’s bohemian style and the relaxed coastal Santa Monica/Venice Beach vibe. The rug’s deep blue chevron pattern brings in ocean color, while a woven ottoman adds a beach grass feeling. The ottoman also functions as a side table for notepads and pens during meetings and as a casual extra seat.

photo by Alen Lin

Because the room was dark and they weren’t allowed to paint the walls, Motiani found a contemporary steel chandelier that fit in with all of the industrial elements on the ceiling. She also chose a white filing cabinet and accessories near the windows to reflect the light and keep things bright. Stern literally was brought up in a [converted] barn and loves horses, so Motiani chose a white horse ceramic piece to sit atop the filing cabinet. She brought in plants to play off the glimpses of tree branches outside.

To save on the budget, Motiani found a handful of pieces in Stern’s family storage unit. The tall lamps were among their things; Motiani knew their exaggerated height would help the design stand up to the extra-high ceilings.

photo by Alen Lin

Another way Stern’s family helped the decor in a major way was through the artwork. Stern’s grandfather is noted photographer Phil Stern. He allowed Motiani and his granddaughter to cull his archives and pick out exceptional pieces for the office.This photo of James Dean in the turtleneck is one of his best-known pieces.

The glass console table can serve as a landing spot for keys and bags, a credenza or as a separate desk for an intern. A sofa serves as a more casual space to work from, where Stern can relax and get her creative juices flowing or pow-wow with a colleague. The coffee table is an upside-down metal bucket from Stern’s family storage unit. Motiani chose it because of its beautiful green-gray color. The piece adds an interesting rusty and crusty patina to the room, suitable for this more relaxed seating area.

photo by Alen Lin

“This project was a challenge — I really had to hustle to keep within the budget,” Motiani says. “We were really lucky that her family had so much great stuff they weren’t using!”

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Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Bringing Up The Barn

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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I remember looking for a house with my parents when I was a teenager – one of my favorites was a converted 19th century dairy barn. The center of the first floor had a two-story volume, with a balcony all around it that led to the bedrooms around the perimeter of the second floor. Everything had been painted white. The whole house had the feeling of a rustic gallery. It was super cool and supremely impractical for our family, but it’s stuck with me. Thus, I felt like seeking out some converted barns to share with you today.

Converting a barn can help preserve not only the building but also the feel of the agrarian landscape. These are treasures that all too often are left to rot and fall apart. Here are som wonderful examples of barns-turned-homes for people:

This one is from Colonial Barn Restoration Inc.

The way they converted the large barn door into an entryway with side lites and a transom is especially clever.

Original rustic beams, wood siding and doors keep the feeling of the old barn alive.

Another great thing about barns is that they have tons of space for things like basketball and racquetball courts.

This barn by Kissling Architecture in Fredericksburg, Texas has been converted into a gorgeous ranch house. It’s remarkable how the massing has such modern lines:

The original stone adds so much patina and history, both inside and out:

The way simple, vernacular lines of buildings like barns, built for form over function, compare to the clean lines and simplicity of modern architecture is quite striking. This is especially apparent in this rustic-meets-modern project by Aldridge & Tanno Architects:

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