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Anna & AJ's Eco Loft


Anna & AJ


Los Angeles, California



Square Feet:


What I Love About My Home

Anna works for a solar nonprofit so she talks about green jobs as her day job. We decided to live at T-Lofts since it was marketed as an eco loft, and using green elements was a natural requirement for the design. The result includes bamboo and cork flooring, aura paint in all rooms, furniture made locally in LA, and pieces made of cardboard, reclaimed wood, abaca, and organic cotton. Our favorite elements include the Zebrano accent wall in the dining area and the diy mosaics in the entryway that highlight AJ's video projects (as well as cleverly cover our breaker panel).

Biggest Challenge in Furnishing My Home

As real estate and design rookies, we were overwhelmed when coming up with a comprehensive concept for our new loft. After months of undecisiveness (and trying to relax and watch TV from a yoga mat or air mattress), we enlisted the professional help of design duo - Natalie and Sayre - of Younger & Ziskin. They were successful in making the final result still feel like our place, and our space is at a stage where we feel confident making future design choices as our style evolves. In addition to being a complete project, the biggest challenge was defining the spaces for the open floor plan. AJ is a freelance editor, so at home, he is surrounded by stacks of hard drives. The custom built pony wall provides separation between his office space and the living area, as well as a hiding place for the maze of cables.

Favoriting and voting have ended.

Comments (36)

I love your lighting! Gorgeous kitchen and bedroom.

posted by estrellitas on April 22, 2011 at 11:08am
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Awesome entry. Beautiful design and eco friendly..what's not to love!

posted by Tracy333 on April 22, 2011 at 11:48am
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Amazing space! What's the backsplash material? I love it and want to replicate it.

posted by LA0811 on April 22, 2011 at 11:18am
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Your bedroom is wonderful!

The living room is a little bit too brown for my personal taste, but it's still really well done and I like it a lot! I love the wall behind the dining table...It's an awesome space overall!

posted by pheebs79 on April 22, 2011 at 11:33am
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@estrellitas: i believe our space will be on a house tour next week. all the light fixture sources should be listed

@LA0811: the backsplash is parcelanosa tile. it came in all the units, just different colors

@pheebs79: maybe it's the lighting, but the living room color is actually a deep purple - benjamin moore "caponata"

thanks all for the kind words. appreciate the comments!

posted by solarsister310 on April 22, 2011 at 1:24pm
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@pheebs79: hahah ok you win. aj and i are looking at the walls. it's a brown-purple. ;)

posted by solarsister310 on April 22, 2011 at 1:38pm
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I really like how you pulled all the elements together. Very sophisticated.

posted by RnD Design on April 22, 2011 at 2:23pm
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999 sq ft??? You're kidding me. Video for the measurements for sure...aside from that, because it is in print for the measurements and I'm having to go with that...this is almost, might be the one...that is my favorite of all...beautiful decor, great layout for the space, design is excellent....and it doesn't have that barren feel of emptiness to it, just very inviting!

posted by smoothsailing on April 22, 2011 at 3:02pm
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Love that kitchen. Very nice home, though some of the color choices don't do it for me.

posted by dansky on April 22, 2011 at 5:23pm
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I dig that color in your bedroom! What's that called?

posted by The Vintage Spoon on April 22, 2011 at 4:25pm
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i love it... but... a design team did the work? while it's still a beautiful space it kind of takes away from the idea of what I thought this site/contest was about. kinda like entering a photo contest with a professional photographer's photo...
i could be wrong.

posted by ando on April 22, 2011 at 5:31pm
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I have to agree with Ando - its a great place, but I find that I'm not that impressed when its really a professional architect or interior designer doing the work. As a professional in multifamily rental & condo real estate development, I have to say there just isn't a lot of creativity that goes into hiring a design professional or picking through color samples or finish submittals. I felt the same way about the Darren's Usable Space submission - just seems to say more about the owner's personal financial situation than anything else. (Plus, the 999 SF is just a bit too cute by half.)

Its in sharp contrast to the far more DIY spaces like "Franklin's Apartment is Alive" or "Coco's Cozy Hollywood Regency" - neither of which are anything close to my style nor could I ever imagine liking living in them - BUT are so personally idiosyncratic & feel "true" to the soul or personality of their owners that I can't help but fall in love with their spaces - the kind of homes that make you want to meet their owners to get to know more about the people living there.

posted by Dave2 on April 22, 2011 at 6:15pm
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I too love the space but having a professional designer go up against design by the renter or homeowner doesn't seem quite fair.

posted by Kathryn1123 on April 22, 2011 at 6:20pm
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I understand the criticism about using a professional designer, but it is specifically allowed in the rules. Also, at least they are upfront about. I'll bet others simply wouldn't disclose the help they've received.

posted by schwyzerin on April 22, 2011 at 8:12pm
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Professionally decorated or not, I really don't care. It's gorgeous...and I want to live here.

posted by kellykat0 on April 22, 2011 at 9:38pm
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place looks beautiful. i could easily come up with a very long list of likes. i'm ever so slightly hesitant to click favorite since it was designed by a pro (kudos for giving credit where due, and using it to spur your own design choices). i know pro design is allowed now, but i can't help but feel it detracts from the spirit of the contest. but, it's really wonderful you've showcased how lovely eco-friendly can be (and dedicated a career to it)! happy earth day, you have my vote.

posted by aj510 on April 22, 2011 at 9:49pm
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Where's the LED lighting?... and that whopping supersize fridge. Not what I think of when I think eco personally.

posted by HongKonger on April 22, 2011 at 11:24pm
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I'm not a fan of the cardboard lighting. It doesn't look good, and it won't last very long. So having to replace it doesn't make it green. But the rest of the apartment is perfection. I love the mix of mid-century and contemporary. And I have no problem with people who use professional architects. I did, simply because it's nearly impossible to get construction projects passed by the building's board, and my architect knew the process well. Anyway, good luck! It looks like one of the best entries here.

posted by D2 pad on April 22, 2011 at 11:47pm
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I love that so many people love your new place!

posted by Rocelle on April 23, 2011 at 5:13pm
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I love the zebrano accent wall in the dining room! I was doing a search to find exactly just that. Where would I be able to purchase that accent? Great space & design :)

posted by Traydog15 on April 23, 2011 at 11:44am
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How is the fact they used a professional designer any different from the people who ARE professional designers who post all the time?

If they did the design work the day before the contest, that's one thing, but if they're living there then they have to maintain that level of class and cleanness.

posted by Shadlyn on April 23, 2011 at 11:26am
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@smoothsailing, @dave: i submitted our entry last-minute. i knew our square footage was around 1000 sqft, so i just entered the largest number the form would let me. you've since motivated me to take out my 100' tape measure. you can refer to the floor plan to follow along... from far bedroom wall to far living area wall = 42.5'. from dining area wall to office wall = 23.625'. multiply those, right there you get 1004 square feet. subtract the area by the front door (5.333' x 1.917' = 10.223') and you get 994 square feet.

the bathroom, which we admit is quite luxurious, takes up a lot of real estate that could more wisely be used as another room. in the end, location played a big factor. aj could work in burbank, hollywood, or santa monica. i work in carson. west la was a prime place, and among the new construction options within our budget, there was no comparison.

posted by solarsister310 on April 23, 2011 at 2:14pm
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@ando, @dave, et al: i totally get that it doesn't "feel right" to have used professional help. no argument there. it's true, we don't have lifetimes of collections or spend weekends at flea markets or doing diy projects.

but if from our entry, folks like us can see that supporting up-and-coming designers can be an affordable resource, that we were more than happy with our experience, or are inspired by any feature of our place, than we're happy. (btw, in no way are we being incentivized by younger & ziskin for our testimonials)

@ dave: i'm sure natalie and sayre would be pleased to hear that they're work looks expensive. we actually saved money (and more importantly time) by going with designers. for what we were originally planning to spend on a bed and side tables, we got that plus a headboard, light fixtures, paint, drapes, rug, a mirror, and a bench. they were able to (pardon the pun) really make design within reach by knowing where we could opt for the knockoffs and pull together items from their in-the-know resources, IKEA, overstock.com, West Elm, CB2, and Lamps Plus (with their designer discount!). and the more creative elements - the zebrano wall, the entry gradient wall, the tv frame, the pony wall, and the drapes/headboard - were all accomplished with a couple rolls of wallpaper, a few buckets of paint, some osb, 2x4s, and drywall, and fabric.

@those interested in the process... we didn't just give some people money, and then go on vacation for a week to come home to an amazing final product like on hgtv. at our initial consultation, we told them we wanted "simple modern with natural textures, filipino accents, and some urban flair" and handed them a stack of catalog ripouts, internet printouts, design show postcards, and paint swatches. hey, we did try, we just couldn't figure out how to put it all together and didn't want to doom us to a yoga mat and air mattress forever. i've prided myself for years on being able to shove everything i own into my car. for our first big purchases, we didn't want to buy anything - even if it was off craigslist - if we were gonna have to replace it later because it didn't fit in. aj and i spend our days honing our crafts - film editing and solar respectively - that it made sense to work with someone who does the same.

it was a collaborative process over months but out of respect, we did try to give them as much artistic freedom as possible - and were rewarded for it. i wanted to L-O-V-E everything but it wasn't hard to approve the things they were coming up with.

we definitely want to give credit where credit is due. some of the things we did contribute - the obey and filipino artwork we already had, the journalistic-style photos were taken by us, the stacks of books and magazines are ours obviously, and we designed our couch.

posted by solarsister310 on April 23, 2011 at 3:15pm
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I love the colors and the kitchen looks amazing.

posted by alan kao on April 23, 2011 at 4:41pm
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@hongkonger: thanks for asking! we do have cfls in all the light fixtures that can accept them. all the appliances are energy star. the fridge consumes 48 kWh a month, compared to older fridges that consume around 185 kWh.

to read about the T-Loft eco-features, go to tlofts.com/sustainability.html (we're not getting paid by t-lofts either) the building has 18 electric vehicle charging spaces, rainwater catchment for the drought-tolerant landscaping, and fake grass. every unit has aerators, dual-flush toilets, dual paned windows. the cross breezes are great and we're in socal, so we rarely run our a/c, fan, or heat.

ultimately, i think it's our lifestyles that have the biggest environmental impact - what you eat, how you commute/travel, etc. i convinced aj to trade his yukon for a prius, and we're excited that across the street will be a stop on the expo line whenever that's built, but there's plenty of room for improvement.

posted by solarsister310 on April 23, 2011 at 3:34pm
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@TheVintageSpoon: the bedroom color is benjamin moore aura "mysterious" which is quite fitting since as the lighting changes during the day, so does the color.

@TrayDog15: the wallpaper is from osborne & little

thanks for the questions and comments everyone! happy holiday weekend!

and for my fellow editing freaks, i did just realize that i used than instead of then, and they're instead of their =)

posted by solarsister310 on April 23, 2011 at 3:46pm
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@Really?: it's all relative right? yes, us americans enjoy things mcsized! in this contest, our space is considered huge yet some of our visiting couples think they'd go crazy in our space.

i too prefer the teeny-tiny entries because you're forced to be so creative. if we choose to raise a family here, we could always put a bed over the bathtub, in the closet, behind a bookshelf? ;)

i think the point of the categories - no matter what AT chooses to call them - is so those with similar size spaces can get inspiration from others. there are 28 other units in our building with our almost identical layout and many have struggled with what to do for an office space. we hope our solution gives them ideas.

posted by solarsister310 on April 23, 2011 at 4:02pm
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This is really inspiring! I love it. Congrats on your new place :-)

posted by creelo on April 23, 2011 at 9:29pm
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As an AT fan and someone that has been lucky enough to see this space in person, I can say that this space definitely represents their personal style and taste. My favorite design element is the personalized art pieces that represent them as a couple. There are inspirations from their heritage (Filipino art pieces and photos that they took in the Philippines) and their livelihood (mosaic of hundreds of stills from AJ's own editing work that combine to reflect his logo and eco-friendly components from Anna's love for being eco-friendly:).

posted by LAlove on April 24, 2011 at 7:28am
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I adore the kitchen and dining room. Wonderful!

posted by Portobello on April 24, 2011 at 8:23pm
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I love everything about your place!

posted by lazysmurf on April 25, 2011 at 11:52am
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too darky o my taste.

posted by Ofelia on April 26, 2011 at 5:11pm
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HA! i asked my pal to vote for me yesterday + it seems as though i was still signed in under her name. nonetheless, nicely done + best of luck.

posted by 3floorsup on April 27, 2011 at 5:04pm
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thanks for your comment, solarsister310! you two have also created a great space. on the photo looking at the entry, it seems like you might have sliding doors/wall? i love that idea! all the best-

posted by josmi on April 27, 2011 at 5:01pm
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really beautiful and a worth while day job!
here's hoping it makes a dent.

posted by artist girl on April 29, 2011 at 12:45pm
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CFL bulbs are more standard than especially 'eco' at all these days. And to use them only where they can fit... why weren't they all swapped out to LEDs? If reducing one's carbon footprint is at all important, this would have been factored into the reno.

Still don't think its very 'eco'.

posted by HongKonger on May 28, 2011 at 1:49am
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