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The high life

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Reflective surfaces and a monochromatic palette give this top floor, downtown loft space an industrial edge

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Moving into a new home often presents an opportunity to consider whether or not your interior decor reflects your personal style. For the owners of this downtown loft, a new address was the chance they'd been looking for to wipe the slate clean and create a space that makes a personal statement.

The interior of this historically significant building presented a blank canvas to design a modern space for two, says interior designer Vernon Applegate of Applegate Tran Interiors.

"Loft design is all about open-plan living and scale. The bones of this apartment offered a 14ft-high ceiling, double height windows and exposed mechanics," says Applegate.

The design brief outlined a desire for an intimate, yet seemingly contradictory, open and airy atmosphere. Applegate has accomplished this using dividing elements that allow space to be isolated into defined areas. Furniture placement demarcates the living areas, while fabrics soften the industrial aesthetic.

Opening up a space creates issues of light and privacy. Between the living area and the bedroom these problems have been overcome by creating custom barn doors, made from brushed stainless steel with frosted glass panels.

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The original guest room at the other end of the living area was surplus to needs, so the wall was removed, creating a spacious lounge.

Now, occasional guests can be accommodated in privacy by drawing a heavy curtain across the width of the room. This curtain mirrors the scale and color of the windows.

"Our biggest design obstacle was the bedroom," says Applegate. The wall behind the bed was at an angle compared to the other three walls, and confused the layout of the room. By adding a floating wall at right angles to the window we've created an art space, plus ensured the owners can see the view from bed."

Neutral tones play up the architectural details. A monochromatic palette of gray ensures, the view is the star, with color and texture playing support roles.

"Instead of using color accents, we chose to mix materials and textures to create interest and diversity."

Strong architectural elements create clean contradictions, providing a dynamic background for furniture and art.

"Plush shag carpeting contrasts with brushed stainless steel, and patent leather throw pillows balance wool loungers.

The chandelier is made from stainless steel tubing with suspended Waterford crystal attached and sparkles at night.

First published date: 01 April 2005

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Credit List

Interior designers Vernon Applegate and Gioi Tran, ASID, NKBA, NARI, Applegate Tran Interiors (San Francisco)
Main contractor Jim Crone
Window treatments Custom
Flooring Custom blue grey paint on oak
Paint Pratt & Lambert
Lighting Pollicelli Lighting; Furtuni
Chandelier House of European design
Furniture Minolti, and custom made by Applegate Tran Interiors
Light gray feature chair Stanley Jay Friedman