Retro Inspired Downtown Loft


With the help of our friend and builder Ken Garland Jr., we just completed the design for a fabulously fun downtown Memphis loft! Our client, Kenny, is a super fun-loving guy who loves rock and roll music, anything rat pack related, and is a collector of funky rock and roll art. He loves to entertain and wanted a cool retro-inspired space to invite friends and family over to when in town. Of course this was a project that we enjoyed from start to finish, especially when working with such a fun human like Kenny.

Every project requires a team of dedicated professionals from architects, to builders, to designers, and project managers! Caroline Lovelace was killing it here on the final install day! We ended up creating a lot of custom pieces— a media cabinet, lighted mirror, bar, all drawn to scale, involving electricians, carpenters and even a plumber. We love how the space turned out— edgy yet modern with a retro feel.

Since Kenny loves to have people over and making signature cocktails for his guests, we knew that creating a custom bar area would be an important factor for this project. We worked with Kenny to make sure we were able to create the perfect bar that would reflect his fun personality and pays homage to the rat pack era. We carefully measured and planned how we wanted the bar to fit into the entry space, which flowed into the living room. We had the bar custom built by a carpenter, then finished off with red pleather channels and brass nailhead trim. The bar top is made of gorgeous white marble for a retro feel, perfect for mixing and pouring cocktails. We wanted the lighting installation to be an intricate design element making a “wow” statement when guests walked in, yet, also functional storage for bottles and glasses. The fixture was hand-drawn and each light socket was carefully measured, then custom casing built around it. Glass shelving was added inside the fixture and the bottles and glasses fit perfectly. It was a big undertaking, but well worth it— we think it turned the space into the perfect modern-retro party space.

The living room flowed right off of the bar area and we wanted to keep the theme relevant with a mid-century and retro mix to make it feel retro, but in a modern way. The rug is a pattern on pattern with a 1950’s feel, which allowed us to pull in some movement and an intentional dizzying effect. We had the media cabinet custom-built to be cohesive with the rug. The custom tufted leather pull out couches perfectly fit modern mid-century look and were functional to accommodate sleeping arrangements for family. We went with a simply white paint plan and neutral white oak wood floors. Kenny loves red, so of course, we had to bring in a pair of fun pleather chairs to match the bar.

The dining room was a continuation of the living area, so we used a bright red, original art piece, that Kenny already owned, as a focal point on the gorgeous brick. The table is white marble and ultra glam – giving a retro feel – perfectly placed under a mid-century modern light fixture, which is very sculptural, acting as a piece of artwork in itself! We mixed a lot of silver and gold elements along with the bright colors for a super fun design experience.

We wanted to keep the kitchen edgy and fun, so we created a retro glam backsplash paired with high gloss black cabinets, which is very modern, also old-meets-new.

The bedrooms were fun to design, driven by Kenny’s love for rock and roll centered art. We kept the overall design soothing but then added playful pops of color for visual interest. He chose a Stevie Wonder piece for the master and we designed around it with a custom bed from Weiman. Instead of lamps, we hung pendants over the bedside tables to give a light and airy feel. We used Avasa bedding and all of the pillows were made custom using very fine, rich fabrics. The guest bedroom was designed around a Jimi Hendrix piece of art, which continued the rock and roll theme.

We are so happy with the way this install turned out. The vibe is fresh and poppy, retro-tinged, and completely alluring with its dedication to comfort and practicality wrapped up in beautiful design that never goes out of style.

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