Jan & Jerry's Global Decor in the Eastern Columbia Building

House Tour

Name: Jan McCarthy and Jerry McCarthy
Location: Eastern Columbia Building - Downtown Los Angeles, California
Size: 1650 Square Feet
Years lived in: 3 1/2 Years

This lovely home belongs to the parents of one of my good friends. Jan and Jerry's loft is in the Eastern Columbia building. The industrial building is one of my favorite loft spaces in downtown Los Angeles and is known for the Kelly Wearstler designs in the public areas.

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Jan and Jerry's design has many unexpected components such as chandeliers for bedside lighting, a very long dining room table constructed from individual tables, a built-in window seat with storage, stick candleholders in the master bathroom shower, and a jewelry stand on the kitchen countertop. I am completely enamored with the entire design of their home, but in particular their office desk and blue and brown hanging textile is my favorite element. The home compliments their lifestyle and daily routines. Jan keeps her jewelry in the kitchen so she can just grab a few accessories as she is walking out the door.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: My style is everything I am and everything I love. There is an eclectic mix of styles and furnishings with a bit of Hollywood glam, elegance, a little Art Deco, a bit of modern, and everything in between.

Inspiration: The inspiration for designing our loft is a collaboration of many influences. This is a live/work space and since I hold workshops and work related gatherings for Ladies Who Launch from time to time, I wanted it to be a comfortable, yet exciting place to come and be inspired. We also divide our time between a large ranch in Boulder, Colorado, and Los Angeles, so we wanted this loft to reflect our urban lifestyle.

It is easy to see how our travels to places like Africa (Kenya, Morrocco), India, and Thailand have been incorporated into the design. I have a bit of an animal motif going and have at least 10 elephants in some form or another throughout the loft. The animal motif is also carried through with a zebra rug, a couple of camels (including a table base that was once used to fit over a camel so that a blanket could be draped over the top and shade the passenger), pictures of birds, bird figurines, bird pillows, and even wine glasses with birds etched on them for a flight of wine designed by my daughter. I have pictures of Africa, travel books, Italian tables found at the flea market, an Indian tea pitcher, a game table purchased in Marrakesh, and other treasures collected from my travels mixed in with all of the furnishings and the eclectic mix seems to work wonderfully.

Our loft is in the historical Eastern Columbia building, which was built and designed in the late 1920’s, early 1930’s. It was a time of Art Deco, but also on the cusp of Hollywood Glam and the speakeasy. I love all of that, so I tried to capture the animal influence and worldly collections prominent from Art Deco and mimicked the turquoise blue terra cotta tiles and gold leaf on the building in my own color scheme and popped it out in various art works and my paintings. I also wanted to capture the influence of Hollywood glam and purchased several pieces of Barbara Barry furniture and set up a bar cart loaded with a vintage ice bucket, decanters that belonged to my mom, and other whimsical accessories that spoke to that era.

In the bedroom I wanted something a little different and was thrilled when I found these awesome vintage green leather library chairs that were once in a playboy’s mansion during the 40’s. I added iron footstools that I found at the flea market and refurbished in black matt and a black and white Art Deco fabric. The pillows sitting in each chair are the perfect finishing touch. The chandeliers that hang on each side of the bed are glamorous and accentuate the nightstands and chairs.

The floor is concrete. My husband and daughter applied a custom stain and acid wash themselves to create a beautiful coffee/tobacco floor that is the background for everything else in the loft.

Favorite Element: It's hard to pick! I treasure all my pieces, but I also love the dining room table I designed and all of the special elements such as using the modern clear acrylic that makes it seem as though the table is floating. It has a STRONG presence and can fit all my family and friends. I love the living room because it is a combination of so many treasures and uses furniture inspired from the Hollywood glam era. The bedroom pops with the elegant chandeliers and the green vintage library chairs. It is extremely comfortable and beautiful all at the same time. The desk area has a lot of interest because of the history and age of the desk base coupled with my recycled cardboard ottoman and chair that I had custom made to fit the desk height.

Biggest Challenge: Finding the right lighting and creating storage in such a small space has been the most challenging. I’m still searching for the prefect lighting to go over the dining room table, in the living room, and next to the secretary. Because this is a loft, the lighting has to complement not only the area it is in, but also all of the other lights that have been chosen and used throughout. Storage has definitely been a challenge but fortunately my husband is also a builder and he designed and built a linen closet across from the washer and dryer as well as the closet in the bedroom that has shelving, drawers and a space for the TV. He also built a 16’ window bench seat that has storage underneath.

What Friends Say: They love my style and they want my stuff. My friends love that I have incorporated such varied inspirations and all of the things my husband and I love in our home, making it a great place for family and friends.

Biggest Embarrassment: The utility door for the AC unit takes up valuable wall space and is difficult to hide. We painted it the same color as the walls and that has helped.

Proudest DIY: I recently took up painting and I am proud of the pieces I have created. I also designed the dining room table and I love the wow effect it has in my loft. I’m proud that I have found a way to include all the things I love and have it totally work. My husband is extremely proud of the window bench and the closets, all which had challenges because of the irregular space due to the old building.

Biggest Indulgence: The living room furniture, the bed I want from Christopher Guy, and the Baby Grand I want in the dining room.

Best advice: When it comes to design, go for the unusual. It’s okay to mix eras and styles and everything doesn’t have to be designer. Buy original art.

Dream source: I love finding treasures that no one else has, so flea markets and antique stores are great places to shop. Other dream sources include Travel, 1st dibs, Christopher Guy, Interior Illusions, Barbara Barry, Kneedler Fuchere, Donghia, Original Art, and Jan Showers.

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Resources of Note:

APPLIANCES

  • LG Side by Side Refrigerator
  • GE Monogram Dishwasher, Stove, and Microwave

FURNITURE

  • Porter Sofa, 2 Joan Arm Chairs, Grace Lounge Chair: Barbara Barry
  • Oval Ottoman (Renaissance Gold finish, Tx’d Woven Oyster): Christopher Guy
  • Glass Side Tables: Flea Market
  • Coffee Tables: Flea Market
  • Borghese Nightstand in Bedroom, Mirrored Side Table & Credenza: Z Gallerie
  • Upholstered Dining Chairs: Brocade Home
  • Wood Credenza: Pottery Barn
  • Kitchen Table (Acid Washed Metal top, Aged Oak): ABC Carpet and Home
  • Acrylic Dining Table Base: Custom from Colorado Plastic Products
  • Acrylic Credenza TV Stand: CB2
  • Green Vintage Library Chairs: The Red House
  • Cardboard Chair and Ottoman: Custom by Joel Sterns
  • Prague Metal Side Table: J Peterman Company
  • Gable Bar Cart: Restoration Hardware
  • Victoria Ghost Acrylic Chairs: Kartell
  • Black Secretary: Pottery Barn
  • Verona Nightstands: Z Gallerie

ACCESSORIES

  • All over the world, flea markets, antique stores, and (Sub)Urban Home
  • Eggplant Colored Pillows: CB2
  • Dishes (Penguin): Anthropolgie
  • Twig Coat Rack, Fish Vase, and Elephant Vase: Z Gallerie
  • Elephants in Bathrooms and Tea set: Tozai
  • Candlelabras on Dining Table: Antique Store
  • Bowl: Gallery of Functional Art
  • Shell Sculpture: Z Gallerie
  • Candlesticks and Free Standing Ice Bucket: Pottery Barn
  • Jewelry Tree: Urban Outfitters
  • Decanters, Glass Biscuit Jar, and Ice Bucket on Bar Cart: My Mom
  • Flight of Wine Glasses: Keeley Kraft

RUGS & CARPETS

  • Zebra Rug: Objects, Ltd

LIGHTING

ARTWORK

  • Caitlin McCarthy: Africa, Pear, Abstract, and Golfer
  • Jan McCarthy: 2 Large Abstracts
  • Jane Oniki Boas: Ocean
  • Gonzales: Bird and Abstract
  • Anne Archer: Print
  • Sue Hammond West: Wall Hanging
  • Etched Wine Glasses: Keeley McCarthy

PAINT

  • ICI Paint # 602 Meadowlark Eggshell (Bedroom)
  • ICI Paint #707 Soapstone Eggshell (Ceilings and all other walls)

FLOORING

  • Concrete stain by Jerry and Caitlin McCarthy

TILES AND STONE

  • Dining Table Top: P & L Marble
  • Black Granite Countertops: Golden West Marble and Granite

OTHER

  • Closets designed and built by my husband. Materials came from Ikea and Home Depot.

Thanks Jan & Jerry!

Images: Bethany Nauert, Killefer Flammang Architects

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Marcia is an interior, portrait, and travel photographer and has photographed over 50 homes of creatives. Her photographic style is capturing her subject in the most natural state and creating an emotional response.

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