L.A. Condo by Minarc Turns Minimum Space Into Maximum Design

The sleeping zone of a studio condo in L.A.'s Longford Tower. Photography by Art Gray.

Minarc designs and builds residences large and small, sometimes with the firm’s proprietary pre-fab system, sometimes not. What remains constant, however, is married principals Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir and Tryggvi Thorsteinsson’s devotion to the contemporary idiom. Further, the two are particular masters at making things work. A perfect case in point is a studio apartment within L.A.’s Longford Condo Measuring just 350 square feet, the dwelling nevertheless has everything needed—and stylishly so. Says Ingjaldsdóttir, “This is how I want to live when the kids are gone.”

The studio's open concept is delineated by the raised platform of the sleeping zone. Photography by Art Gray.

The miniscule flat is situated on the first floor of a 1979 apartment building located along the Wilshire Corridor and across the street from the Hammer Museum in Westwood. “Originally, it was probably an auxiliary unit for the penthouses,” Ingjaldsdóttir notes. Now, it’s a bona fide home rented out by the owner.

The sleek kitchen features Caesarstone countertops and high-end appliances. Photography by Art Gray.

For the Minarc team, the project was not just one of fitting things in. The designers did some structural work, too, starting with lifting the ceiling two feet to reach its 12-foot height. They then punctured the ceiling with slots for a glow of LED lighting and raised a portion of the floor to differentiate a sleeping zone. Flooring, meanwhile, is whitewashed oak throughout. To define the living zone, they created a walnut-framed niche for a banquette covered in cobalt-hued fabric and resourcefully crafted a glass-topped coffee table, its base made from leftover flooring planks.

A walnut-framed cobalt-blue banquette is the centerpiece of the living zone. Photography by Art Gray.

Believe it or not, the kitchen is enviable. The super-sleek composition boasts walnut cabinetry topped with creamy Caesarstone, mirrored below for a floating effect. Appliances, purchased through Snyder Diamond, are top tier, too: a Fisher & Paykel dishwasher drawer, a Gaggenau oven and refrigerator, and a Franke sink with KWC faucet.

In the kitchen, walnut cabinetry is topped with creamy Caesarstone. Photography by Art Gray.

What about closet space? No worries. A minimalist’s wardrobe can fit into the wall of storage facing the kitchen and leading to the bath. Here, a custom, recycled rubber sink is fit into a floating vanity, and the room’s standout is the array of decidedly chunky river rocks adorning the concrete wall. “The concept comes from one of the largest deserts in Europe, Sprengisandur, Iceland, which I like to keep close,” says Ingjaldsdóttir. But the condo’s real standout? That sunshine yellow fabric and steel swing, aptly named Lemon Drop.

The bathroom features a floating vanity. Photography by Art Gray.
Chunky river rocks adorn cement walls in the bathroom. Photography by Art Gray.

Read more: Brazilian Architect Marilia Pellegrini Creates Minimalist, Sustainable Home: Casa Container

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