Susan Nkwankpa-Gillepsie, courtesy or Nwankpa Design

In its six years of existence, Nwankpa Design, founded by Nigerian-American architect Susan Nwankpa Gillespie, has made strides in the design and construction industry. The Los Angeles-based firm is well-regarded for its high-end residential designs, with some of its most recognized projects including Cumberland Hideaway that transformed a compact room in a multifunctional space and a remastered Los Angeles abode, landing in publications like Dezeen, Domino, and Dwell.

Completed in 2021, Cumberland Hideaway redesigned a 200-square-foot room into a space that could serve as a work retreat, sanctuary, home gym, and other functions, depending on what its owner— a busy creative director and mother of two— would need it for. Skylights filter in natural light, while vibrant colors and wallpaper bring life and warmth into the area. Bushammered porcelain floor tiles are paired with custom cabinetry in playful pale pinks, blues, and white hues for a chic finish.

The Curson Residence, completed in 2020, gave Nwankpa and her firm the opportunity to transform a full home spanning 1,850 square feet in Los Angeles.Wanting to keep the revamp true to the home’s original 1920s design while incorporating contemporary elements, Nwankpa reconfigured the home’s series of small rooms into an open-concept layout and an additional 400 square feet of interior space. The material palette was kept simple, employing a combination of oak, honed quartz soapstone, and Italian ceramic tile, and custom wood cabinetry. Similarly, the transformation of the Coeur D’Alene Residence in Venice, California also transformed a 1920s residence into a more modern space with an emphasis on natural materials and an embrace of natural light throughout.