A 1920s Office Building Is Revamped as a Craftsman-Inspired Hotel in Los Angeles

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By Anna Jones / Published by Dwell
The innovative and culturally eclectic third site of the Sydell Group's Freehand Hotel Collection is located in the historic Los Angeles Commercial Exchange Building in a quickly redeveloping area of downtown.

Representing a new thought-era of travel accommodations, the Freehand Los Angeles Hotel blends the social benefits of a hostel with the modern amenities of a hotel. Equipped with 167 private rooms and 59 shared rooms, a communal vibe thrives through the merger of lodgings and public amenities under one roof. 

The LA branch expands the concept of the Freehand Hotel by providing the very best of local culture in an immersive experience. Public spaces include a variety of cuisine and cocktail services led by award-winning chefs and cocktail shakers, concept stores, and, soon to come, another branch of The Broken Shaker, an industry-leading bar and James Beard finalist.   

A 1920s Office Building Is Revamped as a Craftsman-Inspired Hotel in Los Angeles - Photo 1 of 10 - The Freehand LA lobby welcomes visitors with an evocative, American craftsman vibe.

The Freehand LA lobby welcomes visitors with an evocative, American craftsman vibe.

The interior design, paying homage to the building's historic character and creating a uniquely Californian vibe, was led by New York-based Roman and Williams. Deep woods, colorful artwork, rich draperies, and custom millwork embrace West Coast Arts and Crafts elements. 

A 1920s Office Building Is Revamped as a Craftsman-Inspired Hotel in Los Angeles - Photo 2 of 10 - Rudolph’s Bar & Tea, named after the previous owner of the Commercial Exchange Building, is one of the amenities in the hotel, providing tea-infused cocktails, full tea service, and small plates to visitors and locals.

Rudolph’s Bar & Tea, named after the previous owner of the Commercial Exchange Building, is one of the amenities in the hotel, providing tea-infused cocktails, full tea service, and small plates to visitors and locals.

The Exchange Restaurant, which pays tribute to the historic, exterior sign at the entrance of the hotel, provides multi-cultural food with an Israeli influence.

A 1920s Office Building Is Revamped as a Craftsman-Inspired Hotel in Los Angeles - Photo 3 of 10 - The 12-story Commercial Exchange sign, the largest in Los Angeles, still hangs proudly at the hotel's entrance.

The 12-story Commercial Exchange sign, the largest in Los Angeles, still hangs proudly at the hotel's entrance.

A 1920s Office Building Is Revamped as a Craftsman-Inspired Hotel in Los Angeles - Photo 4 of 10 - A custom lighting element made of fabric and wood floats above the wood dining table as a glowing sculptural piece.

A custom lighting element made of fabric and wood floats above the wood dining table as a glowing sculptural piece.

A 1920s Office Building Is Revamped as a Craftsman-Inspired Hotel in Los Angeles - Photo 5 of 10 - Rich teals, gold accents, warm wood tones, and accent greenery create a warm and textured dining atmosphere.

Rich teals, gold accents, warm wood tones, and accent greenery create a warm and textured dining atmosphere.

A 1920s Office Building Is Revamped as a Craftsman-Inspired Hotel in Los Angeles - Photo 6 of 10 - Custom millwork resembles the Arts and Crafts movement through detailing and shape.

Custom millwork resembles the Arts and Crafts movement through detailing and shape.

The guest rooms, with colorful wall paintings, wall draperies, and custom cedar bunk beds, resemble the design character of the Freehand Miami Hotel. Marble, concrete, and steel maintain the structure's 1920s heritage, and is balanced with the Californian typologies embedded through the new textures and furnishings designed by Roman and WilliamsNorcross Furniture Company manufactured many of the pieces, including the king-sized bed frame, wooden desk chair, and bunk beds and shared lockers shown below.

A 1920s Office Building Is Revamped as a Craftsman-Inspired Hotel in Los Angeles - Photo 7 of 10 - The guest rooms combine artwork, textiles, and rich wood tones to provide a luxurious, cozy retreat.

The guest rooms combine artwork, textiles, and rich wood tones to provide a luxurious, cozy retreat.

A 1920s Office Building Is Revamped as a Craftsman-Inspired Hotel in Los Angeles - Photo 8 of 10 - A desk looks out at a colorful mural, a reminder of L.A.'s dynamic surroundings.

A desk looks out at a colorful mural, a reminder of L.A.'s dynamic surroundings.

A 1920s Office Building Is Revamped as a Craftsman-Inspired Hotel in Los Angeles - Photo 9 of 10 - The shared rooms, the most affordable and popular option, are inventive in decor with bunk beds, draperies, and accents of purple. 

The shared rooms, the most affordable and popular option, are inventive in decor with bunk beds, draperies, and accents of purple. 

A 1920s Office Building Is Revamped as a Craftsman-Inspired Hotel in Los Angeles - Photo 10 of 10 - The shared rooms provide additional lounge space for socializing with fellow travelers.

The shared rooms provide additional lounge space for socializing with fellow travelers.

The Freehand Hotel, launched in Miami, also has an outpost in Chicago with a New York location coming soon.