A Modern Arts and Crafts Loft | Midwest Living

A Modern Arts and Crafts Loft

Reviving a building from her past, Anita Kealey of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, creates a modern home and business space for her future.
  • Living a legacy

    Anita Kealey's Sioux Falls loft once was the historic R.F. Pettigrew Building's top-floor ballroom, where Anita took ballet lessons as a teen and where her father's orchestra played in the 1940s and '50s. Built in 1889 by Sen. R.F. Pettigrew, the building originally had a third-floor assembly hall for the Odd Fellows with offices and apartments below.

    In the early 1980s, Anita moved back to Sioux Falls from New York, where she attended design school. As a 25-year-old interior designer, she inquired about the three-story quartzite building and bought it. "I just thought this building was so cool, especially since I had this history with it," she says.

  • Lofty ambitions

    At first, Anita had no plans to turn the building into a home. Her new company, The Design Studio Inc., moved in and transformed the first two floors into retail/commercial space. A buyer for the top floor backed out, so Anita considered renovating the space as condos. "We finally thought, why not take the best views for ourselves?" she says.

    The Design Studio Inc.

  • Hard work pays off

    A tiled fireplace wall divides the living room from the den. Built-in shelves display pottery from local artisans and Anita's own glass pieces.

    Anita's loft was the result of months of often frustrating work. In addition to restoring the building's windows and quartzite facade, Anita had to deal with ancient or nonexistent plumbing and mechanical systems; crumbling paint, plaster and mortar; and layers of past remodels.

    Workers removed four levels of ceilings to uncover the arched windows in the great-room and realized there was space for a lofted office/workroom. "We tried to salvage everything we could," Anita says. "You don't want to be wasteful if you can help it."

    Spark Modern Fires (fireplace)

    Knoll (Barcelona chairs and stools)

    Syverson Tile and Stone (room divider wall tile)

  • Dining room color

    Cubist artwork by Romanian artist Constantin Tanasache complements the contemporary dark brown leather dining room furniture from Emporio Beraldin.

    Anita decorated the loft to have a classic look that incorporates modern aesthetics. She chose warm, neutral background colors and earthy textures in tile, flooring and furnishings. On top of that, she layered colorful artwork and accents.

    "I think the biggest mistake is trying to mix too many things. It's better to have consistency in things like the woodwork, the use of stainless steel and color -- things that are understated, but carry a consistent theme all the way through. I didn't want it to look like a patchwork quilt," Anita says.

    Emporio Beraldin

  • Wide-open and still cozy

    Anita wanted to enjoy both the wide-open loft feel as well as have cozy gathering places. At one end of the kitchen peninsula, curved Italian oak bar stools overlook a fireplace wall and plasma TV with a comfortable seating area.

  • Sleek galley kitchen

    The kitchen integrates stainless steel appliances with clean-lined, quarter-sawn oak cabinetry. Because Anita and her husband, John, like to entertain, a long, galley-style kitchen was a priority.

    Dacor (appliances)

    Bosch (dishwasher)

    StarMark Cabinetry

    CaesarStone Quartz (countertops)

    Top Knobs (hardware)

    Oggetti (light fixtures)

    Kohler (trough sink)

    Vent-a-hood (range hood)

    Syverson Tile and Stone (backsplash and floor tile)

  • Convenient wet bar

    A wet bar area at the end of the galley has a sink, built-in bottle rack and glass-front wine cooler.

    Blanco (bar sink and faucet)

  • Library mixes old and new

    Reeded-glass French doors open to the library. Anita repurposed the original cornice to the Pettigrew bank vault as the fireplace mantel in the library. The cornice looks seamless with the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired tile fireplace surround, yet highlights a piece of the building's history and exemplifies what Anita wanted to achieve in her loft.

    "I feel that it's timeless, yet very urban, with a lot of warmth," she says. "I don't like to create cookie-cutter designs, so this is kind of an eclectic mix of Craftsman meets modern classic."

    Bayer Built Woodworks Inc. (French doors)

    Motawi Tileworks (fireplace relief tile)

    Shortridge Company Ltd. (handcrafted chairs)

  • Lofted workspace

    In her free time, Anita designs her own line of couture evening gowns in her lofted workspace.

  • A place for music

    Anita's husband, John, displays his guitar collection in built-in niches opposite the dining room.

    Europa Stairways (spiral staircase)

    Knoll (bench)

  • Showcasing local stone

  • A master bedroom with light -- and leather

    A leather headboard from Emporio Beraldin spans almost an entire wall in the sunny master bedroom. A bonus during renovation: When workers removed the orchestra stage (now the master bedroom and back hall), they discovered pristine wood floors underneath.

    In designing the loft, Anita roughly divided the 5,000-square-foot rectangle to take advantage of the views. Living areas face the large street-side windows, and bedrooms and baths sit at the rear of the building.

  • Master bath luxury

  • Special window accent

    Light filters into the bath through a leaded-glass window from Hallstrom Glass.

    Hallstrom Glass Designs

  • Throughout the loft

    Elaborate tin ceilings; high, arched windows; and other details help make the space not only Anita's home but also part of her history. And whenever she wants to step back into her childhood, she still has the same maple ballroom floors -- now restored -- for dancing.

    (A version of this story appeared in Midwest Living® January/February 2009.)

    M-Boss Tin Ceilings

    Pratt and Lambert (custom paint colors)

    Desco Windows

    Tubelite (arched windows)

Add Your Comment