Name: Sonja Rasula, Founder of UNIQUE USA
Location: The Unique Space // 1275 E 6th Street, LA CA 90021 //Los Angeles Arts District
Size: 18,000 square feet
Years lived in: I’ve been renovating the space for the past four months, and we just opened in December!
Welcome to the Los Angeles Art District's newest neighbor, The Unique Space! It's 18,000 square feet of raw warehouse space, completely renovated and redesigned by the incomparable Sonja Rasula. Just five short years ago, Sonja created Unique USA, one of the largest trade shows to run quarterly in Southern California. Now she's created a co-working space and creative office community for like minded businesses in Los Angeles.
Considering Sonja's background in interior design and experience with styling for television, it's no wonder the office is as beautiful as it is. What she envisioned was a communal workspace where people could cohabit and encourage each others' creativity.
There is an entire bottom floor with various workstations and tables where you can sit alone or in groups. A great perk of working here is their Linus Bike collection, which you are free (as a member) to ride around town on. Sonja also installed the gorgeous teal blue Jonathan Adler for Kohler sink in the second floor's renovated kitchen. And I'd be remiss not to mention her insane bathroom installations and all those amazing brass details.
Already home to some incredible people (Bri Emery of Design Love Fest + Lorenzo Diggins of The Essential Man, just to name a few), the space offers so many options for personal or business use, with all its gorgeous natural light and various nooks to work in. For long term use, The Unique Space offers year long leases... but you can pay a small fee if you just want to commit for one day. :)
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: California Hippy Chic? Modern, clean, simple design with splashes of great color and pattern… I like to mix new, shiny objects with antiques and flea market finds.
Inspiration: I wanted to create an inspirational, new kind of workspace/office building… something very different than the average office. Something that felt beautiful, lived-in and warm: my inspiration was California and the desert. So I designed ways to bring some of the California outdoors in.
Favorite Element: It’s a tie between the fabulous turquoise farm sink and the giant photo of Joshua Tree National Park that I had made into wallpaper.
Biggest Challenge: Creating a new footprint that had good flow and allowed for natural light (where the private offices, hallways, restrooms would go) around the permanent structural beams that are literally every 11 feet. It was like creating a jigsaw puzzle!
What Friends Say: They say that they want to live here and that it is “very Sonja”, whatever that means!
Area where there is room for improvement/future projects: The top and bottom… we have a rooftop terrace that we built but it’s bare as can be, so we need furniture, plants, shade umbrellas. And the basement is a mess yet has amazing potential – we plan to renovate that and put in a yoga and pilates studio.
Proudest DIY: I designed numerous wallpapers for the space, which has always been a dream of mine. Everything was printed and manufactured locally here in the valley by an amazing company called Astek Wallcoverings – they worked with me closely and made sure I liked everything, down to looking at printed color samples. I also asked my friend, reknowned artist Brian Rea to design a wallpaper too!
Biggest Indulgence: Splurging on all the brass details such as bathroom faucets, kitchen drawer fixtures and even the light switch plates. Serious bling!
Resources of Note:
Furniture: Most is from HD Buttercup (http://hdbuttercup.com/); I designed the work tables/legs in the co-work area, and a lot of the chairs were from my collection of vintage chairs. The beautiful table in the library was made by Los Angeles furniture maker mfeo (http://wearemfeo.com/), using old wood from his Grandfather’s barn in Oregon.
- All of the sinks and hardware in the building are from Kohler
- All the other wallpapers are by Sonja Rasula, produced by Astek Wallcoverings (http://www.astekwallcovering.com) and will be sold online in 2014 at uniqueusa.com
- The rugs are all antique, bought at the Rose Bowl Flea Market.
Lighting: IKEA pendants mostly
- The beautiful rope/textile wall hangings throughout the space are by LA-based artist Tanya Aguiniga (http://www.aguinigadesign.com/).
- The STUNNING new floor on the ground floor is by Eternity Floors. It’s their Cabana Collection and the color is Rio, which is so new the website doesn’t have pics yet!
- Our fleet of bicycles are Linus (www.linusbikes.com)
- Eternity Flooring (http://eternityflooring.com)
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(Image credits: Bethany Nauert)