Toy loft, a genius way to use ikea products to create a live-work space in LA

CHA:COL’s Toy Loft

Can’t get a visually stimulating, completely versatile living space on a tight budget? American studio CHA:COL begs to differ.

When the studio was commissioned to create a space that acted as both an office and apartment in a one-storey loft, the designers knew they’d have to get creative. The clients, husband and wife visual artists, wanted their 1,465-square-foot (135 square metre) unit to be ‘super compact’ and multi-purpose. CHA:COL managed to do this while maintaining elegance and style worthy of Toy Loft’s location, which is on the top floor of a residential building near Los Angeles’ arts’ district.

The company put their limited $75,000 (£66,000) budget to work, using modified Ikea products effectively ‘hacking’ original designs, so they would fit seamlessly in the live-work space. The cabinetry and hardware in the kitchen are almost completely Ikea-based and the company then worked backwards to form a hybrid system by designing surrounds, custom-framing and cabinet-facing materials. Many other designers are using methods to change Ikea furniture for their own purposes and Reform, a Danish company, is dedicated to customising Ikea’s Metod kitchen.

Outside of revamping Ikea furniture, the loft’s complicated design was just as difficult to execute. One of the things that added to this, was that it was necessary to have structural support, a sprinkler system and fire-proofing in the closet. This closet has a series of modules that roll on tracks, so it can be easily configured to accommodate various designs. The clients can organise their custom settings by moving around each module, and as CHA:COL used a deeper space in the back for little-used storage items, this process is a breeze.

The building where Toy Loft is housed was originally a warehouse and toy factory completed in 1924, and updated to loft dwellings in 2006. The industrial feel of the space has been maintained as it features exposed ductwork, concrete columns and a polished concrete floor, along with site-cut plywood for the new structure, light-gauge steel framing and medium-density fibreboard.

Rooms include an ‘attic nook’ dedicated to a bedroom, with a lounge area directly below it. There is also the option of sleeping quarters in the lower area, which includes accordion doors for privacy and can be closed off when necessary. Bleachers with storage cubbies, a kitchen, desk and the closet, are also found on the lower level.

CHA:COL was founded in 2006 by husband and wife team Apurva Pande and Chinmaya Misra and is a multidisciplinary practice. Toy Loft is just one of their featured architectural designs.



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