This Loft-Type Condo is the Industrial Home of Your Dreams
With 55sqm at his disposal, interior designer Kenj So worked with different textures to create a past meets present aesthetic and his own spin on the well-loved style
It’s safe to say that aside from the rustic style, the industrial look has been recreated a thousand times—with homeowners and designers making it their own by experimenting with materials and accessories. For this project in Mandaluyong, interior designer Kenj So had to find his way around different challenges to be able to deliver a home the owner wanted. “My client wanted to transform the unit into an industrial space that would look more beautiful as it ages. [He envisioned] that the chipping and cracking due to its use will add more character to the space,” explains the designer.
With admin rules to follow and most of the communication with the client done online, Kenj sought the help of his friends, also design professionals, to deliver the project. He tapped Nyds Ochoa as contractor and Vivienne Gatdula as project manager. The next hurdle Kenj had to surpass? Using various textures to achieve the desired look. “The style I am very much comfortable with is the cleaner and simpler path. The owner’s style is the total opposite of what I usually do. At the end of the day, designers are the interpreters of their clients,” Kenj says. True enough, stepping out of his comfort zone proved to be fulfilling. The client now has a remarkable space with a fantastic view and Kenj can tuck this under his belt as a successful project turned learning experience.
The 55sqm loft-type condo has one bedroom and two bathrooms. While mostly dark finishes were used, it’s kept bright and welcoming—thanks to tall windows that let in plenty of natural light. To achieve the industrial look, Kenj worked with weathered wood, exposed brick, industrial lighting pieces, and concrete. A few adjustments were made during the unit’s renovation as they had to consider certain rules and limitations.
“What makes this unit stand out is the character it has. It’s a beautiful distressed residential space with touches of vintages accessories,” says Kenj. The living area is reminiscent of a New York flat with a beautiful view of the city as icing on the cake.
The bricks featured in the area are not the usual ones we see in industrial-inspired spaces. “The client [wants to use] bricks, specifically the burnt ones. It became my jumping-off point since the materials and finishes need to complement the bricks,” shares the designer. They initially wanted to change the flooring in the living area but the admin of the building was against chipping. To solve this challenge, Kenj opted to create a step-up and raise the living area to separate it from the other parts of the home. Lights were then added underneath the edge of the platform.
To make the living area as inviting and relaxing as possible, a neutral area rug was added. This addition made the space seem warmer and perfect for lazy weekend afternoons. The other side of the area highlights a stunning storage piece featuring wood, bricks, and shelves in matte black.
According to Kenj, it was difficult to find the bricks the owner wanted. “These bricks also posed maintenance issues and might add too much weight and stress on the walls. The solution we came up with is to go with a faux finish. This option enabled us to control the color and intensity, plus it’s easier to maintain,” says the designer. The TV wall in the living area showcases the beauty of the bricks, with the storage piece following a similar look to make it cohesive. To complete the industrial look, the shelves also feature exposed pipes as support.
Opting for a blue L-shaped sofa and keeping the rest of the walls in polished concrete softened and balanced the look of the living area respectively. Since the owner wanted the unit to have a vintage feel, some of the accessories look like old school signs and framed prints.
Find similar pieces at Urban Abode, Unit E - Prime 08-B, CW Home Depot-Ortigas, 1 Doña Julia Vargas Ave., Pasig City.
Loft, Kitchen, and Dining Areas
Concrete dominates this side of the condo unit from the main door. Look closely and see how Kenj was able to incorporate a compact storage nook under the stairs. It can be used to keep shoes in place. Meanwhile, the dining and kitchen areas share space—making cooking and enjoying meals efficient.
Most of the lighting pieces used in the unit were sourced from depots. “In the living area, the client liked the idea of a mason jar lighting fixture. Given the high ceiling, it wasn’t easy to source for a readily available piece. We went for a custom lighting fixture and went to a supplier in Clark, Pampanga to make the piece. It was installed in varying heights,” shares Kenj.
Kitchen and Dining Areas
“I had to play around with the pieces used in the dining area because my client wanted to use a folding table to maximize the space. Taking inspiration from my experience growing up, I designed a table that folded differently from what we’re used to,” shares Kenj. The metal support of the table matches the barstools chosen as seating pieces. These picks work well with the lighting fixture and cabinets in matte black.
The designer wasn’t sure about using black in the unit as the color seem too heavy on the eyes. “My project manager suggested matte black. We used it for the loft beams, false beams, kitchen cabinets, closet doors, and the ceiling,” he adds. Pops of red and white subway tiles complete the cooking area.
Find similar pieces at Match Contract Furniture, 2100 Chino Roces Ave., Makati City.
A short flight of steps leads to the loft. Instead of keeping the walls plain and bare, Kenj asked his uncle, muralist Jun Ureta to spruce it up. A world map mural adds personality to the home. “It’s my favorite hack in the unit,” shares Kenj. The designer helped in finishing the mural as during the construction and polishing stages of the project, Jun had to recover from an eye surgery. To further highlight the work of art, track lights were installed as well.
The sleeping area is a cozy retreat. Kenj shares that the team wanted to expose all the pipes housed inside the boards. “When we saw that it’s the plumbing line of the unit above, we had to change gears. We also wanted an authentic wood pallet bed but it posed structural issues so we opted for wood slabs instead, then had it finished the same way as some of the pieces in the living and dining areas were done to tie the look together,” explains the designer.
Find a similar bed at Crate & Barrel, G/L Annex Building, SM Makati, Makati City.
Some of the accessories in the unit were bought by the owner during his travels. One of the pieces that caught our eye is this upcycled must-have. An old luggage now functions as a pretty side table that matches the overall look of the unit.
Upcyclist Paco Pili creates similar pieces. Follow him on Instagram—@upcycleph.
To keep within the theme of the home, wall-mounted shelves highlight the expert use of pipes and wood. Even the work area follows the industrial look perfectly. The table features a wooden top and a metal base. Of course, the chair is in matte black.
For similar pieces, follow DEKKO Furniture & Design on Instagram.
Ready to build or renovate your home? Get in touch with interior designer Kenj So through mobile at (0977) 837-6541 or email idr.kenjso[at]gmail.com.
More on Realliving.com.ph