Designer Sally Breer’s former home in the Frogtown neighborhood of Los Angeles is the loft of our dreams: expansive casement windows flood the open plan with sunlight, and massive wood arches extend overhead, lending warm texture and soft curves. "The windows make the loft special," Breer says. "But those heavy wood arches span the height of the space and take it over the top."
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The 13-unit building is home to a collective of artists, musicians, and designers, and is reflective of its neighborhood. "Frogtown has a bunch of industrial buildings along the [L.A.] River, but there are also charming bungalows," says Breer, who founded the firm ETC.etera with her friend and design partner Jake Rodehuth-Harrison (the former creative director of Lawson-Fenning in Los Angeles) in 2016. "You can live in the bones of an industrial warehouse and go for a walk and feel like you're in a suburban neighborhood," she adds. "It’s really unlike anywhere in L.A."
Like any artist would, Breer made the loft her own. "I didn’t make any major changes, but I opened up the space underneath the stairwell to make a daybed nook," says Breer, who also built a 12-foot mirrored wall on the upper level that sections the closet and doubles as a headboard in the bedroom.
For the kitchen, she crafted an island from a vintage console. "The base is polished stainless steel and I had a woodworker friend make a butcher-block top for me," she says. The designer also customized the kitchen table—which features a brass base and a black marble top—and a set of wood chairs that recall the work of Donald Judd. "I wanted the table to look like sculpture," she says. "It’s giant, and I can use it for work projects or for a paella dinner for 16 people."
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As a designer, Breer is always trying to achieve the perfect balance between classic and progressive design. "A designer’s home is the best place to experiment," she says. The living room’s Gae Aulenti-designed marble coffee table and Terrazza loveseat by de Sede—a 1970s design inspired by Ubald Klug’s idea for a sofa that mimics topography—mix with Greer’s custom pieces and give the loft a sense of history and wonder.
The personal pieces hung and set throughout the loft are the icing on Breer’s well-balanced cake. In the bath, an abstract painting by her father Robert Breer hangs near a black clawfoot tub. "He stopped painting in the ’50s, so I only knew him as a sculptor and a filmmaker, but his paintings are special to me because you can tell they were the beginning of the rest of his body of work," she says.
A drawing by Victor Vasarely, a friend of her father’s, hangs near the dining area, where there are also piles of beloved books stacked on the raw concrete floor.
Another painting—a large black-and-white depiction of a lightning bolt—hangs near the dining table and draws immediate attention. "My mom painted it in the early ’80s," Breer says. "She said it’s how she felt when she met my dad. It reminds me to seek that feeling in all things—love, life, and career."
Breer recently moved from her Frogtown loft and now lives in a home in Highland Park, Los Angeles—and we can’t wait to see what she’s done with the place.