A few months ago I came across the work of SPI Design, a design firm run by Sarah Shetter and Alison Palevsky. The two started the company in 2004 on the ideal that “modernism can be successfully combined with comfort and livability.” I love this idea and I love their work. To give us an peak into how they approach the challenge of trying to turn that mission into a reality, they sent me some before and after photos of a project they worked on in the Hollywood Hills on Woodrow Wilson.
The two-story Hollywood Hills house, with floor-to-ceiling windows that open up the living room to the outdoors, was built in the 1950s. In order to enhance the clean style of the home’s mid-century design, SPI replaced the living area’s existing wall-to-wall shag carpet with concrete flooring softened by area rugs in a neutral color.
Above is the living room after SPI worked their magic, here is the before:
Says Sarah about the living room transformation: “SPI wanted to eliminate the Austin Powers vibe of the living room while maintaining the open floor plan and clean lines. In order to enhance the clean style of the home’s mid-century design, we replaced the living area’s existing wall-to-wall shag carpet with concrete flooring softened by area rugs in a neutral color. The whitewashed wood ceilings were stripped and sealed with a natural wood finish, and a built-in fireplace, flanked by bench seating, replaced the existing free-standing fireplace. We added contemporary track lighting to the living and dining rooms.”
The TV Room
“The TV Room opens onto the front patio with an outdoor dining area. We wanted to keep the room open to the outdoors but still make it very cozy for TV watching (You can’t see it in the photo, but the sofa faces a wall with built-in bookcases and a wall-mounted TV). The sofa is custom designed, and the coffee table is a vintage find from JF Chen.”
“Two structural columns in the master bedroom dictated the layout of the room. The column at the entrance to the room was used to swivel-mount a 42-inch flat-screen TV that can be viewed from the bed or from the outdoor deck. Located behind the TV are eight phantom doors that conceal storage space and also hide the TV wiring and components. The other structural column was encased in a free-standing wall built to divide the master bedroom from the office. The front of the wall acts as a headboard for the king-size bed, while the back of the wall has a built-in desk with shelving above.”
“Since we relocated the home office to a section of the Master Bedroom, we turned the upstairs office into a proper guest bedroom. The room is simply decorated with night tables, reading lights, an area rug, and a queen size bed. The Wilson Bed is part of the SPI Line collection.”
A big thanks to Sarah and Alison for sending me these great photos, and for providing valuable insights into the creative process of their work!
For more info about SPI Design and their furniture line, check out their web site!