Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it is not the surest sign of respect. True admiration never mimics but expresses appreciation in subtler ways. Designer Erik Lindström grew up the son of an architect and learned a lot from his father. When he decided to build his own home, he honored those lessons while going his own way.
Lindström, whose L.A.-based Lindström Rugs offers his own designs, as well as patterns created by Karim Rashid and others, was raised on Washington’s Bainbridge Island, in a tree-hugged house designed by his dad, Richard Lindström. Writing about the home in The New York Times, architecture critic Paul Goldberger asserted, “It goes beyond the narrow limits of orthodox modern architecture in a way that is truly original…it is not studied or precious at all, and in an age when such qualities seem to predominate in even our most inventive architecture, their absence here comes as a breath of fresh air.”
“His sense of flow in a space was always a marvel to me,” shares Lindström. “The interior was as important to him as the exterior, the overall structure, and that was imprinted in my mind from an early age with wide hallways and ample ceiling heights, and rooms that were thoughtfully placed, with a purpose.”
But creating a satisfying sense of space and movement like Erik’s father once did is more challenging on a narrow site in Venice, California. Working with architects Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir and Tryggvi Thorsteinsson of Minarc – along with interior designer, Lisa Strong – Erik has managed to not only pack a full program into a tight footprint, but to do so without sacrificing any sense of spaciousness. This is especially evident in the public spaces on the top floor of the three-story house.
Although arranged in an open plan, the living room, dining room and kitchen are anything but amorphous. The streamlined kitchen is set apart by a sleek island that extends over the angled ceiling of a stairwell to form a wedge-like terminus that reads like the leg of a figure in an Oscar Schlemmer painting.
The living room and dining room are divided by a monolithic two-sided metal fireplace fashioned in both pitted and polished nickel by Mike Danielson Studio. Enhancing the sense of discrete spaces is the highly personal way Lindström has kitted them out.
The dining room is backed by a black wall on which are mounted two large portraits of his grandparents. The glass and chrome dining table is a piece he grew up with, designed by his dad to specifically accommodate the eight Marcel Breuer chairs that slide right under it. In the living room – a cocoon of low-slung furniture – a stuffed owl and a large, 1970s abstract canvas painted by Lindström’s uncle, William Ingham, share pride of place.
“The house I grew up in was very modern, but the furniture and art spanned different cultures and styles,” notes Lindström. “The interiors I enjoy the most have a contemporary canvas, curated with furniture, art and antiquities that have soul and a richness to them. Each room should have an aura of the unexpected, filled with pieces which tell a story, allowing guests to pause, wonder and ask questions along the way. It’s this balance of old and new that harmoniously makes for comfortable living and stimulating conversation.”
But like the home his father designed in 1979, this one is more rational than radical, less a statement than a shelter, in the fullest sense of the word.
Photography by Lu Tapp of DustyLu Photography.
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