Large open space gives animator place to draw inspiration

Cal is an animation artist, director and teacher — and a first-time homeowner. He moved into his home two years ago, a 1920s semidetached unit that was owned by an 80-year-old woman who hadn’t changed it much in her 60 years of occupancy. The ground floor was dated, dingy and full of cramped rooms, which was less than ideal for a 20-something guy who works from home and entertains a lot.

Cal wanted his live/work space to function on a variety of levels — as a modern kitchen, as a professional office and as a cozy lounge area. And he wanted it all to be hip, creative and modern. So I got set to transform his home’s main floor and give him a fashionable and functional space that fits his lifestyle.

I started by knocking down all of the walls and creating one large open-concept space with a system of wooden posts and beams with steel joinery. Not only are these crucial for support, but they give the room an open, loftlike feeling. In keeping with this industrial look, I painted the walls in airy neutrals and put down beautiful wood flooring.

Then I divided up the space into three “zones”: a kitchen, an office and a lounge.

In the kitchen I put in a long counter along one wall that looks like concrete, but is actually polished quartz. I jazzed things up with a green-gray glass-tiled backsplash, and added Shaker-style, over-counter cabinets in the same color as the beams. I then installed a sleek stainless steel sink, a fridge with French doors and a built-in dishwasher.

In the middle of the kitchen I set up an island with a cooktop that features a glass-and-stainless steel fume hood above and a range below. I then attached a wood table to the island that will act as Cal’s eating area. Above the table I put up a custom-made industrial fixture, which I made with 16 light bulbs hung from wires.

On the other side of the kitchen I installed the office area, complete with two big workstations with stylish, heavy-duty quartz desks and ergonomically designed chairs. As this is a space in which creativity will flourish, I put up a huge blackboard on a sliding door (which also hides a new pantry) where Cal can jot down his brilliant ideas.

I also put up a gorgeous flat-screen TV on the wall between the office and lounge areas. This television can swivel to face either area, depending on whether it is needed for work or play.

In the newly designed lounge/entertainment space, I installed a fireplace with a gas insert and a double surround — one of quartz to match the countertops, and one of wood to match other elements in the space.

I wanted the furniture in this area to be comfortable, so I put in a big, cozy sectional in a gray felted fabric, a couple of chairs and a few benches. For some pizzazz, I added an area rug, colorful throw pillows and a funky light pendant. To finish the look, I put up khaki linen drapes on both the living room window and the doors to the backyard.

After a few more finishing touches, Cal’s new space was ready. What was once a closed-up, rundown space is now an industrial idea factory that is perfect for cooking, cartooning and chilling out. How divine!

Interior decorator Candice Olson is host of HGTV’s “Divine Design.” For more ideas or information visit Her column is syndicated by Scripps Howard News Service.

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