Whereas others might look at a board-formed cement wall in a basement and see, well, a concrete wall, Jess and Jonathan Taylor, the design duo behind the L.A.-based firm Taylor + Taylor, were inspired.
The couple had purchased a virtually untouched 1952 house in east L.A. and that concrete wall became the backdrop for a new guest kitchen in the basement.
"It was really the starting point of the whole design," says Jess Taylor. "As designers, our goal is to always try to incorporate the existing surroundings whenever possible, utilize them in practical ways, and be inspired by them."
"As we conceptualized this space, we've always been drawn to modern Scandinavian approaches and this notion of really minimal, functional spaces," says Jonathan. Additionally, the couple had recently returned from a vacation that provided them with further design inspiration.
"We just got back from Mexico City for our 10th anniversary, [where we saw] the workspace that Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera shared," says Jonathan. This motivated them to adopt a pared back aesthetic that highlights the room’s utility: "The utility itself brings about beauty," says Jonathan.
The kitchen is just 90-square-feet, so the couple needed to make sure to pack a lot of function in the small space. Their biggest challenge was right-sizing the appliances. "We had to familiarize ourselves with these tiny European appliances that can fit in this certain context where you still have the full functionality," says Jonathan, noting that since the firm is L.A.-based, they’re used to designing for more sprawling residences as opposed to dense, urban environments with smaller square-footage.
"As we went along, we realized there's a real need for introducing some other element that had some overt modernism in it," says Jonathan. To that end, the pair discussed the striking floor treatment with their friend, the L.A.-based designer, social media consultant, and art director Anne Sage, who connected them with Fireclay Tile. From there, the couple combined pieces from Fireclay’s Fallow and Grange line, which they painstakingly arranged until they achieved the effect they were after. "The tile was a really fun component to play with," says Jess.
Shop the Look
Lighting Design: Taylor + Taylor
Cabinetry Design/Installation: Taylor + Taylor
Other: Anne Sage
Photography: Monica Wang Photography
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