Indie film director Jon Watts asked Los Angeles designer Jared Frank of Topsy Design to maximize every bit of room in his 749-square-foot house in Los Angeles’s Beachwood Canyon. The studio space was built in 1948 as a granny house for the neighboring, much larger, arts-and-crafts house. Working within a limited budget, Frank focused on the main living area, coaxing a couple of extra feet from a closet behind the space to create a built-in seating area, doubling the capacity for guests. An unused corner became a sunny breakfast nook thanks to a built-in bench and a solid-wood-plank table. For the sleeping nook, just large enough for a bed, Frank had one custom made and added an Evelyn Ackerman textile found on eBay. Frank put in a stained knotty-pine ceiling with simple knotty-pine trim—"a very cost-effective solution," he says.
The next step of the renovation process will be to update the kitchen and bath. As for the next round of funding: "I need to do another movie first," says Watts with a laugh.
Erika Heet has been working in publishing for more than 20 years, including years spent as a senior editor at Architectural Digest and Robb Report. She has written for Architectural Digest, Robb Report, Interiors, Bon Appétit, Sierra Magazine, and The Berkeley Fiction Review. She recently wrote the foreword to New Tropical Classics: Hawaiian Homes by Shay Zak. She lives in a Topanga cabin with her artist husband and two children.