Welcome back to Curbed's Featured Project series, this time with a look at a Los Angeles apartment designed by interiors wunderkind Kyle Schuneman, whom House Beautiful anointed as one of the Next Wave of Designers to Watch in 2010—and who was an extremely skeptical, yet very good-natured, participant in Curbed's Hottest Week 2012 tournament. (He made it pretty far, too.) All the photos and quotes below are pulled from Schuneman's The First Apartment Book, which was released at the end of August.
At 27, designer Kyle Schuneman is well acquainted with the sometimes conflicting desires of young people: to have a well-designed, functional, and downright cool apartment without having to spend too much to achieve it. For client Jacob, a ravenous collector, leasing a one-bedroom in a formerly grungy gothic-style building in L.A.'s Los Feliz neighborhood, the designer faced challenges like where to stash the client's collection of 500-plus porcelain dogs. The result is an exercise in restraint, a dark, masculine color palette combined with visual trickery to make the space feel larger. In the cramped bedroom, Schuneman "included a tight pinstripe on the bed" to "create the illusion of length." To add thrifty visual interest above the bed, he affixed mirrors to the strings of the client's antique tennis racquets: a cheap solution that made the room seem larger while incorporating a small part of the client's mountain of collectables.
? As may have been obvious from the hundreds of dog figurines, the Jacob has a dog, but not just any dog: a 70-pound Rottweiler. Schuneman claims that the "trick to not letting your dog—or cat—destroy your apartment is decorating for them too." With that in mind, the designer brought in an easy-to-clean microfiber couch and an already-abused (read: cool) industrial coffee table.
? Compounding the small-space challenges was the client's requirement that he have a dedicated workspace where he and a rotating cast of interns could all exist simultaneously. Upon moving into the apartment, Jacob had planned to convert the dining room into an office, but given its central location in the floor plan, lining the room with desks wasn't an option. So Schuneman brought one large, central table into the space—slightly wider than normal to ensure four people could spread out their work—and stashed all the necessary equipment (scanners, printer, laptop, etc.) in a sideboard. The final product is something that looks like a sleek, clutter-less dining room, but functions as a productive office space when necessary. Stealthy, chic, and cost efficient.
? Compared to the rest of the apartment, which had recently been refinished and repainted (in a fresh shade of gray) by the landlord, the kitchen was a vintage '50s relic, complete with "faded yellow tile work, a restored O'Keefe & Merritt stove, [and] even a built-in (nonfunctioning) ice box on the wall." This vintage look clashed with Schuneman's vision for the rest of the apartment, but, with painting verboten, he and Jacob were forced to face reality. The designer instructed his client to "embrace it," incorporating "retro-designed appliances, like the yellow toaster from Target.com and the vintage 1970s dishes—swiped from his parents' house." The ice box was transformed into a bar for entertaining.