The Guest Apartment
The challenge: Transform an expansive but frill-free space above the garage into a cozy and fully outfitted guest apartment (or teen exile)—on a budget. HD Buttercup, one of L.A.’s most prodigious home goods emporiums (it occupies the sprawling Helms Bakery building in Culver City), took the challenge and donated the goods. As you can see from the process shots below, the market-like design mecca is one of those rare places where you can find everything, from early 20th century antiques to modern classics. The results, below.
The room’s greatest assets are also some of its toughest challenges:
The bare bones: two big bay windows, a small bathroom with a shower, and a kitchenette.
HD Buttercup sketched a design incorporating several “zones” for different activities, using area rugs to demarcate the boundaries of each.
To lighten up the room while still keeping with a Mid-Century and slightly mod vibe, we go for a white scheme with lacquered pop accents scattered throughout.
Plus, a few black statement pieces to anchor the space.
And, cushions, ottomans, rugs, and throws to bring in texture and warmth.
The Final Result
The guest apartment transformed in shades of grey and white. In a relatively small space we’ve created a suite of separate areas for sleeping, reading, working, and hanging out.
Design Detail: The new wall-to-wall carpet in “light ivory” goes a long way toward making the space feel brighter. It picks up the lighter hues in the wavy wall covering, and helps tone down the darker blues in the pattern.
Design Detail: Painting the window bays white pulls even more sunshine in. Jeff Lewis Color’s Pearl Bracelet works right in with the warm grey and blue tones throughout the room.
This side of the room now boasts two separate zones—a casual seating area and a desk space.
Design Detail: The mirror on the wall above the seating area does a great job of breaking up the wall pattern. It performs double duty by adding dimension to the room, making the space appear larger.Design Detail: The occasional black accent adds some necessary contrast to the many light tones in the room. The black furniture also differentiates the desk and seating area from the calmer bed and reading nook across the room.
Design Detail: A thin black border around the bay windows carves out the space.
It’s amazing what a coat of white paint and some sleek blinds can do to create a pared down vibe.
And white on white…on white compositions for balance.
Finally, because the large window and door let the light flow in, the kitchenette stays the same Payne’s grey (which we didn’t want to get rid of in the first place). We searched high and low for the perfect appliances to fit a fully-functional kitchenette and found Jenn-Air’s under counter refrigerator and an ideally-sized dishwasher for one.
Design Detail: The stool at the end of the counter makes this yet another functional zone in the room. The white lacquered dresser behind is tall enough to store a long-term guest’s possessions.
Photography by Mimi Giboin and Christian Nicco
Special thanks to HD Buttercup for donating the furnishings and design services.
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