Artful LodgerAuthor:Anh-Minh Le
Studio William Hefner transforms a basic condo into a bespoke environment for an art collector
Architect William Hefner’s client, an art collector and philanthropist, had occupied her condominium for a while before enlisting his eponymous firm for an overhaul. “She lived in it long enough to know how she used the different areas,” says Hefner. “That was helpful and informed the design and renovation process.”
Equally significant: While biding her time in what Hefner recalls were rather dated and basic surroundings—the high-rise was built in 2006—the client broadened her art collection, which was a major consideration in reimagining the interiors. “She wanted a place that would better showcase her art and that was cozy and comfortable,” he elaborates.
Ultimately, her patience was rewarded with a singular residence that wholly reflects her needs and wants. Since she is the sole inhabitant, Hefner imbued a feminine sensibility with sinuous silhouettes. The primary bedroom, for example, includes a curved headboard, an upholstered waterfall-style bench and a chaise with gently rounded edges—all custom by Studio William Hefner. To amp up the coziness, Hefner employed fabrics with a “softness about them,” he says. “There’s mohair and wool; no leather.”
Stripping out previous ornamentations, Hefner took a simpler approach throughout. Case in point: The kitchen cabinetry is hardware-free. The finishes, such as the bleached oak flooring, are neutral in color to avoid visually competing with the client’s array of art—including a pair of Jeff Koons balloon dogs and a Yayoi Kusama piece in the kitchen, as well as David Hockney, Gisela Colon, Julian Opie, Kim Bumsu and Francis Bacon works elsewhere.
Setting foot in the three-bedroom unit, situated on Los Angeles’ Wilshire Corridor, an Auguste Rodin sculpture atop a console table from Aldo Bakker draws the eye—as does the vista from the living room, straight ahead. “When you walk in, you look down this hall to the view and the light,” Hefner says. “We wanted people to feel like they’re up in the sky, with views that stretch to the beach.”
In the kitchen, dining and living rooms—which flow into each other—Hefner carved out seating areas that accommodate various types of entertaining. An alcove overlooking the city, outfitted with a small table flanked by easeful chairs, is ideal for the homeowner and a guest. The living room offers ample seating for groups, courtesy of the sofa facing the fireplace and the banquette in the corner, both created specifically for the venue. The custom Poliform kitchen is appointed with an island lined with counter stools and a return that offers a row of bar stools, while the dining area sets the stage for intimate dinner parties.
“It was about really customizing the home for her lifestyle,” says Hefner, who notes that projects within large buildings can be challenging, due in part to technical restrictions such as the plumbing and duct locations. The architect devoted meticulous attention to the micro (think: hinges) and the more prominent elements. “We designed a lot of the furniture custom for the owner and worked hard to make it fit the space—much like a well-tailored suit.”