A 1920s Office Space Is Transformed Into a Polished Penthouse

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By Michele Koh Morollo
Industrial elements are combined with vintage furniture and a minimalist color scheme to create a layered, atmospheric loft home and office.

Los Angeles–based interior designer Vanessa Alexander of Alexander Design is known for creating stylish spaces that encompass richly textured and layered aesthetics. Her latest project is this 4,500-square-foot loft conversion in Venice, California, which features restored gray concrete floors and zinc windows that exude a rugged, masculine vibe. 

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Due to its expansive open floor plan, the space was broken up into separate areas to create an intimate, inviting feel.

Due to its expansive open floor plan, the space was broken up into separate areas to create an intimate, inviting feel.

Located in a four-story building that was originally built in 1926 to house a telephone company, the loft residence—which includes a roof garden—sits high on the penthouse level. The three floors below house additional office and gallery spaces, which Alexander Design is currently developing.

The loft's concrete floors and zinc windows were restored to showcase their original beauty.

The loft's concrete floors and zinc windows were restored to showcase their original beauty.

Although the loft has an expansive open layout, Alexander wanted to give the space a strong sense of intimacy, so she incorporated numerous compartments and separated seating areas to scale down the interior. 

A custom-made coffee table by Alexander Design and Spark and dowel sits in the living room. The sofa and cushions are also by Alexander Design, and the armchair is from Illum Wikkelsø.

A custom-made coffee table by Alexander Design and Spark and dowel sits in the living room. The sofa and cushions are also by Alexander Design, and the armchair is from Illum Wikkelsø.

"We kept the palette fairly dark with many blacks and grays mixed with warm weathered leathers in saddle and cognac, as well as organic textural linens. The space has a tremendous amount of light, and since it is a loft space, the inherent openness combined well with this dark palette without compromising its sunny open nature," says Alexander. 

An at-home gym was also designed as part of the renovation.

An at-home gym was also designed as part of the renovation.

The sophisticated industrial influences continue from the living areas to the kitchen, where the wall shelving was suspended from the ceiling to accentuate the space's extreme heights, and also create a reference to the mesmerizing zinc windows. 

A 1920s Office Space Is Transformed Into a Polished Penthouse - Photo 5 of 13 -

Alexander collaborated with local artisanal furniture brand Stahl + Band, and design/build studio PSS Design Cult in downtown L.A. to construct the kitchen, which includes a massive island counter, featuring concrete that was poured on site. 

The faucets—which are made of copper pipe fittings—reference the history of the building and its industrial roots.

The faucets—which are made of copper pipe fittings—reference the history of the building and its industrial roots.

In the dining area, massive custom-made mirrors with metallic frames were installed to provide privacy, while also encouraging interesting light and shadow play. 

The seating area includes lighting by Apparatus and black candles from Cire Trudon. The table and benches are custom-made from a very rare and heavy reclaimed oak. The benches are lined with Icelandic sheepskin throws.

The seating area includes lighting by Apparatus and black candles from Cire Trudon. The table and benches are custom-made from a very rare and heavy reclaimed oak. The benches are lined with Icelandic sheepskin throws.

Alexander and her team constructed the bed platform out of reclaimed wood and attached a customized leather headboard. The bed separates the bathroom from the sitting areas, and is oriented towards a big picture window that frames views of the Santa Monica Pier, as well as the Malibu Coastline. 

The bedroom houses bedding by Society Linen, a striped throw by Tenfold from The Line, and vintage embroidered textile pillows.

The bedroom houses bedding by Society Linen, a striped throw by Tenfold from The Line, and vintage embroidered textile pillows.

The seaside views can also be enjoyed from the rooftop garden, which has an olive tree, a Bocci court, an outdoor kitchen, a yoga platform, and a dining area shaded by a reed and metal pergola structure that was constructed by PSS Design Cult. 

An oversized, custom-made concrete trough on a bronze base is paired with industrial copper piping and taps.  The mirror, which is suspended from the ceiling by braided leather straps,  was manufactured by PSS Design Cult. The oval bathtub is from NativeStone.

An oversized, custom-made concrete trough on a bronze base is paired with industrial copper piping and taps. The mirror, which is suspended from the ceiling by braided leather straps, was manufactured by PSS Design Cult. The oval bathtub is from NativeStone.

A vintage Beni Ourain rug from Mehraban sits in the bathroom.

A vintage Beni Ourain rug from Mehraban sits in the bathroom.

Danish antiques including items by Poul Henningsen, Arne Jacobsen, and Ditto Heath—as well as textiles and furniture from Le Corbusier— were thoughtfully woven into the space, along with items from Alexander’s own custom furniture collection. 

The terrace area features a reed and metal pergola structure designed by PSS Design Cult.

The terrace area features a reed and metal pergola structure designed by PSS Design Cult.

The olive tree—which is 100 years old—had to be placed in the roof garden with a crane.

The olive tree—which is 100 years old—had to be placed in the roof garden with a crane.

The lounge area makes a superb place to witness the sun set for the day. The basket weave pendant is from Tower 20 Venice.

The lounge area makes a superb place to witness the sun set for the day. The basket weave pendant is from Tower 20 Venice.

Project Credits: 

Interior design: Alexander Design 

Builders: PSS Design Cult, Stahl + Band, and Spark and dowel