Name: Aaron and Emily Choi
Type of Project: Full remodel, including the kitchen and two bathrooms
Location: La Jolla, California
Type of building: Condo; 1300 square feet
The Renovation Diaries are a collaboration with our community in which we feature your step by step renovation progress and provide monetary support towards getting it done in style. See all of our Reno Diaries here.
Yesterday we introduced you to Emily and Aaron's condo renovation. It's an ambitious project: transforming a 1300 square foot space that's currently stuck in the 70s. Today, we're taking a look at some of their inspiration for the finished space.
My vision for our kitchen and living spaces is inspired by a combination of traditional French kitchen and industrial gastropub. When I think of traditional kitchens in France, I think of large fireclay farmhouse sinks, white marble countertops, and glass cabinets to display white ceramic plates and bowls.
I am also very drawn to the industrial interiors of the gastropubs and retail stores that are popping up all over downtown LA. Reclaimed wood, wrought iron, subway tiles with dark grout, concrete, pre rinse faucets, and vintage filament light bulbs are characteristic of this style.
Knowing that we will have to sell this place in a few years, I want to use more traditional influences on things that will need to last such as cabinets, countertops, and flooring, and then incorporate the industrial feel with the furniture, lighting, and hardware. As for the bathrooms, I want to experiment with either unique floor tiles or stunning wallpaper — since it's a much smaller area, the cost of material won't break the bank.
Having recently obtained my masters degree in architecture, I am the designer for this project. I treat Aaron like my client, persuading him of my design decisions while getting him to sign off on the cost. (I'd like to think I'm getting good practice in dealing with clients, but it's arguably harder to say no to your wife than your architect.)
Our design process starts with function. First, circulation is key, since the kitchen is in the center of the condo — it must be large enough for at least two people to cook at the same time. Secondly, we want to maximize the amount of light let into the condo. Both purposes were achieved with our proposed layout of the stairway and kitchen, a direct result of the most straightforward solution to some structural restraints that we had to work around.
The color palette takes its cues from raw materials such as marble, wood, iron, and concrete. I particularly love the calmness created by the combination of white, wood, and light grey. The pattern of the subway tile — classic and timeless in its own right — provides a subtle texture in the kitchen.
In contrast, the bathroom tiles — perhaps the loudest part of the project and without a doubt my favorite—are individually cast concrete with a hint of blue and form an art deco (some say dragon scale) texture. The contrast between the slate color tiles and the white grout enhances the pattern (inspired by one of Emily Henderson's bathroom designs).
Check out the full series (so far) and be sure to join us tomorrow as Emily and Aaron discusses the budget for their renovation.
(Diary Text: Emily and Aaron Choi, Images: As linked above.)