An LA designer built a Zen apartment for his long-distance fiancée


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Krista Mileva and Jared Frank are well into their bicoastal relationship, with two weddings planned for this spring. The first was an intimate family reunion on the East Coast near Massachusetts, where Mileva is currently enrolled in MIT's Architecture and Art History, Theory, and Criticism program. The second time will take place in Los Angeles, where Frank lives and runs his eponymous interior design company, Jared and his Frank Studio. “I think the fact that we are having a long-distance wedding really represents who we are,” says Mileva.

Aside from a few months together at Frank's house due to the pandemic, the couple has been mostly apart since they met in 2017. Once Mileva finished her undergraduate studies, she traveled to the UK to obtain her master's degree at Cambridge. , moved in 2020. other Three years into a five-year PhD program in Cambridge, a suburb of Boston, the thing that brings them together most is her airy, modern apartment. It was designed by her fiance. “Even when he's not there, I feel like he's with me when I look at these items that he picked out that he knew I would appreciate,” Mileva says.

They happened to be together in Los Angeles when their apartment went on sale, so they needed to make a decision as soon as possible. Mileva's broker gave them his lo-fi FaceTime tour of the property. “She didn't have internet, so she had 3G, but every time she showed the window, it would go out. [the picture]'' Frank recalls. But I didn't need much visual reassurance. Just on paper I knew it was a gem. The Georgian Revival building was designed in 1922 by his MIT-trained architect, Hamilton Harlow, and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. However, this particular unit had a different history. It was renovated in the late 1970s by Harlow's son, who added oak fixtures and terracotta tiles and essentially removed the interior hallways to create a sense of flow.

The floor plan of the apartment was also a big attraction.There was a window facing the front garden. and Backyard – An unusual arrangement for a Cambridge residential building. Every room had a view and access to light, a necessity for both of his Angelenos. I didn't have to actually see the unit to know if it was a perfect fit.

While Frank's main home in Silver Lake is lively inside and out (the walls are covered with elaborate frescoes, the streets are lined with fancy restaurants and concrete), he finds Mileva's Cambridge home quiet and cozy. I wanted it to be a good place. “The interior of the apartment is the exact opposite,” says Frank. “She's there to come up with her original ideas and think about things that aren't necessarily around her.”

For the designer, that meant an orderly space filled with light. In the living room, the walls and ceiling were painted the same cream color, and the rug was “just the way I wanted it to be.” Frank took advantage of the windows and added sheer curtains and his two Isamu lanterns to diffuse warm light. “It's really difficult and funny to tell an electrician you want a pendant in the corner,” he says. While writing a dissertation on postwar organic forms, Mileva points out that it doesn't hurt to be surrounded by the work of midcentury design icons. “Being inside these lanterns is so exciting and wonderful,” she says.

These days, however, her doctoral research focuses on the history of caves (she has just begun curating her first gallery show on the subject at the Marta Gallery in Los Angeles). The lithograph by Giorgio de Chirico that Frank acquired at auction and framed above the fireplace is a surrealist scene of a man and woman gathered in a rocky pool, a direct reflection of her research. There is. Meanwhile, a sculptural lamp on the bookshelf reminded her of something she might have found in her 1970s contemporary cave dwelling on the Amalfi Coast, built by architect and designer Gae Aulenti.

“It was nice to be able to give her the space she deserved for the work she was pursuing,” says Frank. “There's this belief that all you need is a book and a table, but I don't believe that.”

For many couples in long-distance relationships, nightly FaceTimes and airline miles are a way to show that you care about each other. But for Mileva, it's Bruno Mattsson's Pernilla chair, which envelops her like a warm embrace, and Tobias Scarpa's wall light, which keeps her company when Frank isn't around.

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