A couple of years ago, interior designer Orlando Soria undertook the renovation of this condo in Los Angeles with unbeatable views of the Silverlake Reservoir. The home was perfect, there was just one catch—the 1983 construction was a little dated, to say the least. Soria, then West Coast creative director at Homepolish—had high aesthetic standards, and would not stand for orange peel–textured walls and brown tiles. In a matter of months, he schemed up a master renovation, turning their dated '80s condo into a fresh modern abode with a killer view.
With a vision set on breathing a fresh modern Scandinavian vibe into the space while keeping nods to its roots, Soria created the lovingly dubbed "Orcondo," a functional home full of personality and life. We chatted with the designer about the recent renovations. Look through this before-and-after transformation, and take notes—you'll want to tap into his renovating expertise.
Courtesy of Orlando Soria
"There were so many offenses in the space previously," says Soria of the 1980s structure. "Brown tile everywhere, gray industrial carpet, parquet flooring… I just wanted to create a neutral space where all the art and objects I've collected over time could be the focal point."
"The building had a pretty strong 1980s vibe, and I wanted to honor that while making the space feel more sophisticated and contemporary," he says. He achieved that by highlighting architectural details, like the spiral staircase, and by adding fixtures and furnishings that were in line with a minimalistic '80s aesthetic.
"Every surface is new," says Soria. "We started by skim-coating all the orange-peel texture walls so they were smooth. In the kitchen, we knocked out a 12-inch dropped ceiling (that was there for no reason) and opened it up to the rest of the space by removing a large broom cabinet."
The designer's biggest challenge: the triangular layout. "The building has 12 units, each designed to have a full view of the Silver Lake Reservoir, so every living room has an angled set of enormous windows that makes the room into a triangle," he says. Figuring out a layout that would make the room both functional and visually pleasing was a big challenge.
The couple opted for a sofa from Gus Modern with a view of the fireplace. The Stilnovo chairs were placed to have first-class sights of the nature beyond.
"The living room overlooks the Silver Lake Reservoir and is shaded by some eucalyptus trees (my favorite)," says Soria. "The ceiling in here is quite high, so I wanted to keep it as light and airy as possible. So I chose some loungey, low furniture, and an open, sculptural chandelier custom-designed for the space."
For extra guests, two poufs were slid under the chrome coffee table. The fireplace demanded a large statement, so Soria hung a large round mirror with a braided rope.
"The condo gets a ton of natural light and features architecture that is continuous from space to space," says Soria, "So I knew I wanted to keep most of it bright white. The warm oak flooring helps keep the space from feeling too cold and clinical."
The pièce de résistance: an oversize work of art by Cleon Peterson hung in a mosaic above the Blu Dot dresser. "The color palette of the furniture in here is pretty neutral because I wanted the pop of color to come from the incredible Cleon Peterson print I found at Art Basel in Miami last year," says Soria.
The dining area also saw quite a transformation, with Soria adding a built-in bookcase and showstopping pendants from the Mary McDonald collection. "I wanted to add a bit more storage," he says, "so I added a built-in wall of shelving with some cabinetry below."
"I wanted to be able to host dinner parties, so I got rid of my old table and added one that could fit up to eight people," added Soria. Anchored with only a simple seagrass rug, the space was transformed from a white shell into a beautifully layered dining room fit for lavish dinner parties.
"The guest bedroom previously was pretty lackluster and free from personality," says Soria, "but it had a lot going for it." Thanks to a narrow horizontal window above the bed, the room gets a ton of natural light, so it was painted a light warm gray ("Sleigh Bells" by Benjamin Moore) and has a bright yellow silkscreen found at the Rose Bowl Flea Market.
As a nod to the '80s, Soria added a low-slung platform bed from Blu Dot and anchored it with a large rug in similar tones. The pillows on the bed were sewn by Soria's mother.
Soria describes his style as "California Modern Art Eclectic Organic Minimal Japanese." "I'm kind of all over the place, but I'm of the mindset that different styles can be mixed, as long as consideration is given to the architecture and style of the individual pieces you're combining," he says. "I studied art, so I approach things compositionally. I think my art-school background gave me an appreciation for art within the home. You can get away with minimal, subtle furnishings if you have some art that makes a statement."
Courtesy of Orlando Soria
Contrary to the guest suite, the master bedroom doesn't receive a ton of natural light, so Soria painted it a dark blue. "I wanted to give the wall some color and make the whole space feel welcoming and romantic," he says. "I painted the walls Ralph Lauren 'Blue Iron' and added a nice cozy rug."
To make the space more functional for two, the couple made structural changes to the master bedroom. "We knocked down a wall separating a former (and claustrophobic) walk-in closet to make one large space," says Soria.
In order to keep the large-scale project within budget, they furnished the space with mostly ready-made pieces and gave it life with flea market finds and a few thought-out investment pieces, like a custom bed for the master bedroom.
"My favorite thing is how relaxing it is," says Soria of his new home. "Usually we leave all the doors and windows open, and since we're in such a quiet part of town, there's not a lot of traffic noise (though we do hear coyotes howling pretty often). Since we're so elevated, it feels kind of like being in a treehouse."
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This story was originally published on July 15, 2016, and has since been updated.