home office. Flanking these spaces are the kitchen on the northeast corner and the
northwest-side bedroom, linked by a 3-foot-wide hallway running parallel to built-in
closets and a bathroom sandwiched between both rooms.
Mill, who studied architecture and fine arts before becoming the dean of graduate
studies at the Academy of Art University, treats the interior like an assemblage sculpture,
creating unexpected juxtapositions of art and modernist furnishings.
“My process is spontaneous. Sometimes when I look up from a book I am reading,
I get an idea,” Mill says. That’s how he thought of suspending an Emerson Woelffer
canvas from the ceiling above a Corbusier chaise his mother gave him.
In 2007 Mill recruited Oakland metalsmith Chris French to replace an entertainment
unit between the living room and the kitchen hallway with new bookshelves. During
demolition they realized that with the unit gone, they had better access and sight lines
from the living room into the kitchen. So they kept the opening and fitted it with a
floor-to-ceiling pivot door of black steel panels riveted together, as a nod to sculptor
Louise Nevelson. Next to it, a portal to the original hallway was filled in with Nevel-son-esque black painted stacked wood and steel crates for Mill’s art books.
Craving more storage and display areas, Mill identified unused pockets of space in
soffits, around columns and in corners, and in 2013 he asked Los Angeles interior
designer Stephan Jones to help him maximize every square inch.
Jones, who also happens to be a collage artist, is Mill’s perfect foil. They are friends
and met professionally when Jones and his art-buying clients first visited Mill’s gallery
more than 10 years ago.
“We always discuss concepts and aesthetics easily,” Jones says.
Together he and Mill made the loft into a truly versatile space. They ripped out
closets, kitchen cabinets and unwanted doors to free up walls, and they introduced
custom millwork from Henrybuilt.
With fewer doors, “it is a sequence of semi-enclosed spaces,” Jones says. “There is
always a sense of something beyond what’s visible.”
The new storage is more efficient and makes the place, as Mill says, quoting the
architect Le Corbusier, “a machine for living in.”
“With fewer doors,
‘it is a sequence
spaces. There is
always a sense of
what’s visible.’ ”
Facing page: For the dining niche, Jones designed a banquette, seen under a red 1981 painting,
Lit de Marriage, presented to the writer Howard Hughes and his wife Victoria Whistler by the late
British artist Howard Hodgkin; Jones paired it with a round travertine-topped table and vintage
chairs. On the back wall is Russian color field artist Jules Olitski’s large 1960 canvas Fanny. D;
on the right, untitled totem, a 1963 white painted assemblage of scrap wood by Richard Faralla.
Right: Views of Mill’s atelier at home inside the former elevator shaft.