This Insanely Cool Loft Is What Downtown Dreams Are Made Of
Written by Sacha Strebe
Think open-plan living rooms, exposed-brick walls, structural elements, and industrial vibes, often all in the one room. If you steer toward this vibe at home, too, you'll swoon over this factory flip in the hip arts district of downtown Los Angeles.
The old ketchup warehouse was built in 1927 before being converted into lofts. Portland-based interior designer Max Humphrey gave the historic one-bedroom a "prepclectic" makeover with pops of plaid layered among vintage one-offs and rare finds. This is Humphrey's signature. In fact, he tells us his entire design philosophy (which he describes as Pacific Northwest Americana) is based on the quote "Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn." He explains: "Design-wise, it's all about the mix for me. I like mixing styles, decades, materials, metal finishes, new and old, cheap with expensive. My favorite room has a lived-in look with loads of art on the walls and books on the shelves."
However you want to explain it, this loft is right up our alley, and we know you'll love it too. Take the tour with added style notes from Humphrey about his interior choices and challenges throughout the process. We guarantee you'll be pinning every shot.
The open-plan design was the most challenging aspect of this project, but he didn't let that stop him. "It was fun to design around," he said. "There's no unused or unnecessary space. Too many new houses have a million rooms that never get used, such as formal dining rooms and empty living rooms."
Chairish "Vintage Extra Large Star American Flag" ($295)
The former factory was owned by artist Robert Rauschenberg for a period during the 1960s. This was part of the appeal for Humphrey. A local developer turned the complex into live/work lofts a few years ago.
CB2 "Stairway White Wall Mounted Bookcase" ($349)
While Max loves anything army green, he also has a love affair with bold red. This awesome faux bamboo dresser was actually a Craigslist find.
Hans J. Wegner "Wishbone Chair" ($509)
Humphrey is always on the hunt for unique vintage treasures. The most recent find being his current favorite. "Buying vintage is always more fulfilling than buying new stuff," he said.
Rosemarie Auberson "Lines 23 Painting" ($320)
Since it's a loft and "every space is visible from every other space," Humphrey tried to keep the larger items fairly neutral. "This gives me the freedom to move pieces around from room to room if I want to later on," he said. "I kept the upholstery to solid colors. The pops come in with the art and accessories, but I don't worry about those matching anyway."
Serena & Lily "Hamptons All-Weather Rug" ($998)
Since it was his own space, Humphrey didn't decide on a color scheme. "In general, I buy anything army green that I can and just make the rest of the palette work around those pieces," he said.
"Century by Bruce Bernard" ($20)
If there's one essential piece every loft needs, it's definitely a hanging chair. "I had always wanted one of those rattan hanging chairs but never had the ceiling height for it," he said. "So when I moved into this place and saw the tall walls, I was psyched to finally put one to use."
Serena & Lily "Hanging Rattan Chair" ($498)
Just as much as he enjoyed decorating around the open-plan design, it wasn't easy, and "defining the different spaces was tricky." The solution? "I used rugs to ground the furniture arrangements to differentiate between areas," he said. Genius.
Brendan Ravenhill "Cord Sconce" ($320)
While the layout and design is carefully planned, he didn't overthink it. "I just bought things I loved and made them work," he said. "I tried to bring in as many organic materials as I could so the space wouldn't seem so cold and industrial, such as wicker, rattan, canvas, pottery, houseplants and old rugs."
Chairish "Turkish Hand-Woven Anatolian Rug" ($210)
Just like the main living area, Humphrey took an eclectic approach to the bedroom, layering found objects with modern pieces for a high/low mix. The George Nelson bench at the end of the bed was reupholstered with a textured fabric.
Akara Noguchi "Lamp" ($130)
Humphrey had the bed panels custom-made from a Pindler & Pindler fabric. "They used to be drapery panels in my last apartment, but I had them remade to hang from the bed canopy," he said.
Room and Board "Architecture Bed" ($1099)
Not one to shy away from prints, Humphrey placed a striped Serena & Lily rug underneath the dining table with a colorful striped kilim-style throw on top. The classic Eames arm chair in a neutral color ties them all together.
Eames "Molded Fiberglass Dowel-Leg Armchair" ($649)
The bones of the loft are neutral and warm, allowing the elevated styling to really pop. He added a few curiosities into the modern kitchen to bring texture and personality.
Le Creuset "Stoneware 8-Ounce Mini Round Cocottes" ($20)
When it comes to layering, Humphrey is a pro. He elevated the visual intrigue with styled vignettes and personality-packed elements.
Studio Licious "Target Wall Hanging" ($40)