Living Room & Kitchen
Developers around the Midwest are snapping up old buildings near restaurants, theaters and other attractions and turning them into upscale residences that draw young couples, single professionals and empty nesters. Even among dedicated suburban dwellers, loft style is driving many looks in decorating and design.
Responding to this trend, Midwest Living joined other magazines published by our parent company, Meredith Corporation, to rehab six loft units in a riverside warehouse in our hometown of Des Moines, Iowa. Designers tailored each loft for a different life stage, and we created our tri-level space to suit active empty nesters starting a new life downtown. But the ideas it contains for using light, space and color can inspire anyone seeking a sleek new look. Come inside.
Converting old commercial buildings to residences usually involves design challenges such as softening the hard visual lines of brick and metal and distributing limited light from windows on the one exterior wall. Seeking to shape the industrial space into a softer, more comfortable environment, we painted brick walls and installed drywall. To help increase what light we had, we chose a reflective color scheme of soft white and pale aqua Benjamin Moore paint.
Our loft provided almost 1,700 square feet, but its linear shape made it feel smaller. Tall ceilings, cutouts between rooms, and mirrored walls helped expand it visually. A dropleaf oval table in the dining area off the kitchen accommodates two-person dining, buffet spreads or larger sit-down dinners. Classic furnishings from the Milling Road Collection by Baker carry out the sophisticated city look we envisioned.
We tucked our kitchen on the living room level under a 7-foot ceiling beneath the loft bedroom. Limited upper cabinets keep the kitchen from feeling cramped, and a tiled ledge above the apron sink offers open storage (inset). This efficient space, measuring just 12x14 feet, features a tight work triangle but still provides a place at the island for guests to sit and chat with the cook. Track lighting focuses on specific task areas. Silestone natural quartz countertops, maple KraftMaid cabinetry finished dark and light, and stainless steel Jenn-Air appliances continue the cream, wood and silver finishes carried throughout the loft.
Across from the island, a 9-foot stretch of countertop offers a place to set out hors d'oeuvres and drinks during parties. A bar sink, wine chiller, blender and icemaker make entertaining more convenient.