The Big Reveal! Barney's Pop Art Loft

The Inside Man


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Name: Barney Santos
Location: Downtown Los Angeles
Style: Fun, artistic, modern loft

Go Los Angeles! I'd never had the opportunity to work with a vintage LA loft before, and it was a gas. Barney's loft was also a perfect job for our sponsor, Valspar Paint, because of the sheer height and length of his walls. With so much space, I really relied on the new color to warm up and make this room happen. And while I was nervous that the colors we chose might not work (there was nowhere to hide if they didn't), I think they're pretty much perfect. Check it out.

BARNEY'S POP ART PALETTE
For Barney's palette I wanted a warm color that would go well with his other beige walls, wood floor and modern furniture, but I couldn't bring myself to do red or orange or yellow, as they would just overwhelm the space. Green was our saviour. A color that can go both cool and warm, I found a warm, avocado tone that had a real richness and depth to it. Then we ran it the entire length of one side of the loft. Fun.

For the other walls in the living area, we redid Barney's beige, with a richer version from Valspar and also painted his windows in a vintage tone that I found a trace of on the outside of the building. Of all the paint jobs, this one — I feel — really makes the biggest impact on the space in a stylish, modern way.

Gilded Pesto - 6007-6B (main accent wall)
Holmes Cream - 3004-10B (neutral walls)
Cliveden Grey Morning - 6001-1B (window trim)

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Barney's loft before
Check out the before picture. While an impressive space (that photographs well), both Barney and his wife felt it was cold and needed warmth. To get there I added paint, furniture, artwork and textiles to cozy it all up.

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Barney's loft after

Here's a view right across to the fireplace (that works). We didn't add much to this scene but paint, a plant and the rug (oh, curtains too), but the paint, with the fireplace strip left white, really makes a difference.

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Barney sent me an email to let me know how he felt about the loft. "My favorite part of the new room is how the rug, furniture, and side tables were placed in such a way that it creates a totally independent room separate from the kitchen or office area," he says, "I know how difficult it is to create this illusion especially in a large open loft space, but it definitely works!"

"I also really love how the pesto green really lightens up the place, but at the same time creates this sense of warmth that we just didn't have with the old beige color."

I asked him if he was going to have a party and he said, "We've already got plans in place to have dinners, movie nights, and parties within the next couple of months, ha ha. Lets just say that we'll be putting this new space to good use. I do feel that we feel more proud of the space in a way that we've never felt before, it seems like all I want to do now is share it with my closest friends and family."

"I think one of the most important things that I was concerned about was creating a space that I would feel proud to share with my wife, a place that we would be happy and overjoyed to call our home. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Thank you, Maxwell, Sarah, Joe, Rich, Jim, David, Valspar Paint, and everyone at Apartment Therapy."

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Here's a view from the new dining room right across to the living room windows. It's an impressive view, and I was particularly eager to get big, long curtains on either side of it. While you can't tell that the afternoon sun is really oppressive (one reason for adding the curtains), on a purely decorative level they are very important for softening the frame of the industrial windows and creating a much more sophisticated filter for the light at all other times of the day.

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A special thank-you to our painter, Alan Silverstein and his crew from All Los Angeles Painting, for their excellent work. And a HUGE thank you to our incredible stylist, Joe Maer, and our photographer, Jim Franco, who really helped us bring the final layers of style and detail to Barney's room.

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SOURCE LIST
  • All paint courtesy of Valspar Paint
  • Curtain panels — Custom Sewing by Hillary Amber Fry
  • Curtain fabric — from Mood Fabrics NYC
  • Curtain rings — Home Depot
  • Vintage tin ceiling panel — Olde Good Things LA
  • Dining table, dining chairs, black console, black table lamp, round side table with marble top — Inmode Home
  • White media console, gray rugs (2 rugs pieced together), 2 matching floor lamps next to sofa, white bookshelves, small white table lamp on media console, and glass bowl with oranges — IKEA
  • Tall plant and planter — City and Home Garden
  • Artwork — Hold Up Art
  • Bus Lane by Faith Cavendish, mixed media on wood — Hold Up Art
  • It's Hard Chasing Carats with Such Blinding Light by Faith Cavendish, digital poster print — Hold Up Art
  • Cheshire Cat — Hold Up Art
  • Possessed by Luke Chueh, Sold out Edition of 400 — Hold Up Art
  • Yellow Bunny by Joe Ledbetter, Sold Out Edition of 400 — Hold Up Art
  • Books by Shepard Fairey, Gary Baseman, Upper Playground, and Invader — Hold Up Art


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ABOUT THE INSIDE MAN
We've teamed up with Valspar Paint to create The Inside Man, a special feature dedicated to daily (Monday — Friday) posts from Apartment Therapy and GQ about men's color conundrums and style questions. From sofas with cup holders to brilliant bachelor pads, we’re focusing on the décor dilemmas men often bring to us.

MORE FROM THE INSIDE MAN
Barney's Pop Art Loft: Phase 3 - The Progress Report
Barney's Pop Art Loft: Phase 2 - The Prescription
Barney's Pop Art Loft: Phase 1 - Local Inspiration
• Read more about guy style at theinsideman.apartmenttherapy.com.
• Check out GQ's guide to guy style at gq.com/theinsideman.

Photos: Jim Franco

Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.