Project Name: Urban Loft

Location: Washington, D.C., USA

Interior Designer: Ernesto Santalla PLLC

Architect: Ernesto Santalla Pllc

Construction Company: Madden Construction, Inc.

A former car dealership was integrated into a new condominium building as part of Washington, DC’s 14th Street revitalization, an area that had become depressed after the riots in 1968. This warehouse space provided the setting for an open loft apartment for the owners of an international art collection.

The plan was straightforward. A large volume of space for living, sleeping and working organized along an expansive window wall, flanked by the entry, kitchen, walk-in closet/dressing room, bathroom and utility room. Careful planning and execution of the scheme required that all of the infrastructure be kept out of sight. There are no unwelcome wires, pipes, or switches. The heating and ventilation are handled with one duct. The lighting is almost not there. The infrastructure is seamlessly integrated. The goal was to make it appear like nothing was done, at the service of the largest asset: light-filled open space.

All of the interior surfaces and custom cabinetry are the same white colour, which together with the dark brown hickory flooring, clear and frosted glass, white quartz countertops, and grey porcelain tile, complete the material and colour schemes. Richness is given by a play on textures. White surfaces range from smooth lacquer to rough concrete; the wide plank flooring has all the natural unevenness of the species; the custom cowhide area rug provides small scale detail and spans the entire colour scheme from white to black.

The interior has been maximized to display art. Works from Keith Milow, Yubi Kirindongo, and Philippe Zanolino are featured prominently throughout. These museum quality pieces are at home amidst contemporary furnishings selected for functionality, comfort and aesthetic appeal.

This space was designed as a warehouse. In this new iteration, the space is a sophisticated apartment dwelling that celebrates light, openness and an extraordinary art collection. What had previously been at odds, was brought together with grace.

The client has residences around the world and uses this one when on business in Washington, DC. Pieces from their art collection were selected for this space and the design of the space was driven by the placement of the art. The finished result is understatedly elegant and equally dramatic.