City Style Showhouse
(ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: JAN/FEB 2005)
Maybe you're not a budding actor or a starving artist, but downtown loft living still may suit your style more than you think. 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. 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.
We designed our master bedroom as the ultimate relaxing retreat. The calming aqua-and-cream color scheme from the other rooms continues here, and the bed's layers of beautiful silk linens suit homeowners who no longer need to worry about daily kid abuse. A natural quartz surround adds a contemporary edge to the romantic Heat-N-Glo gas fireplace. With other luxuries like the wall-mounted flat-panel TV, this bedroom getaway is all about relaxation.
Details include Lutron automated privacy shades and lighting system that are controlled at the touch of a button. Hammered silver lamps and chunky drapery rods with embroidered silk curtains mesh with the exposed metal heating vents that run through the space. Rich, dark, neo-classical furniture pieces provide a striking accent to our soft palette.
Faced with placing a bathroom in an interior space lacking windows, we found innovative ways to add natural light. A glass-blocked portion of the wall between the master bedroom and bath maintains privacy while letting light flow into the bath. Reflective aqua glass-tiled walls help bounce the existing light around. We visually enlarged the space by covering the end wall with a mirror, which also effectively doubled the light. Minimal bath cabinetry and hardware, and creamy countertops also keep the space from feeling crowded.
Brushed nickel, arched neck faucets and contemporary vessel sinks from Kohler offer fresh takes on traditional style. A long wall in the walkway from the bedroom was perfect for cube storage. A flip-top bench and robe rack beside the cubes help organize daily bath clutter. A roomy walk-in closet includes a convenient stacking Maytag washer and dryer.
The upper-level guest bedroom looks over a low wall to the living room and banks of tall windows there. The elevated space works as a home office, or as a sleeping loft when guests stay over. This area provides a clear look at the concrete and metal that define this as a loft unit.
We outfitted the room with a desk, sleeper sofa, reading chair and a campaign chest for storage, as well as a thick rug that could provide a soft pad for a grandkid's sleeping bag.
The upper-level bathroom contains a shower and features a vessel sink with wall-mounted faucet and eye-catching back-splash set atop a sophisticated furniture-like base cabinet.
The Loft Movement
Extra time might be the best feature of Laura Schulte's new home. Two years ago the young professional traded the yard work and 30-minute commute that went with her suburban Omaha home for a downtown loft, turning her daily drive into a four-block walk. She's also minutes from music venues, galleries and other attractions, showing why loft living has been a growing trend in Midwest cities such as Minneapolis, Detroit and Kansas City since the early to mid-1990s.
In both major urban centers and downtown areas of mid-size cities, developers are responding to growing demand for old buildings converted into lofts.
Detroit, for example, has about 1,000 new lofts available in the heart of the city. "Since 2001, Detroit has experienced a huge increase in downtown housing," says Michael Poris, a loft developer of the Detroit architecture firm McIntosh and Poris Associates.
Lofts and nearby businesses often develop together, revitalizing urban areas. George Birt of Downtown Developers has seen the pattern while renovating buildings in Kansas City's River Market neighborhood since 1997.
"The River Market started off 25 years ago as a couple of loft projects with little retail," he says. "Now, it's the most developed urban area in the city." Kansas City has about 1,500 loft units underway.
As in most cities, Kansas City's biggest loft buyers are empty nesters who can afford high-end spaces that typically cost $200,000 to $500,000 or more. Lower-priced units attract many young professionals, proving, as George says, that "downtowns are back on the map across the country." - By Sara Reimer
Thanks to our design team
ARCHITECT Greg Wattier, AIA, GE Wattier Architecture, Inc., Des Moines, Iowa (515/243-0074).
BUILDER/CONTRACTOR/DEVELOPER Steve and Tom Howard, ST Investments, Des Moines, Iowa.
INTERIOR DESIGN Carol Schalla, Senior Home Editor, Midwest Living Magazine; Cathy Kramer, CK Designs (515/314-7335).
PROJECT DIRECTOR Brett Wilson, Editorial Projects Manager, Meredith Publishing Group.
APPLIANCES Jenn-Air (800/536-6247; www.jennair.com).
CABINETRY KraftMaid (800/571-1990; www.kraftmaid.com).
COUNTERTOPS Silestone by Cosentino USA (800/291-1311; www.silestoneusa.com).
FIREPLACES Heat-N-Glo (888/427-3973; www.heatnglo.com).
LAUNDRY APPLIANCES Maytag (800/688-9900; www.maytag.com).
LIGHTING CONTROL SYSTEMS Lutron Electronics Co., Inc. (877/258-8766; www.lutron.com).
PAINT Benjamin Moore & Co. (800/672-4686; www.benjaminmoore.com).
PLUMBING FIXTURES/FAUCETS Kohler Co. (800/456-4537; www.kohler.com).
SHADES Lutron Shading Solutions by Vimco (877/258-8766; www.lutron.com).
CLOSET SYSTEMS California Closets (800/274-6754; www.calclosets.com).
FURNITURE Milling Road Collection, Baker Furniture (800/592-2537; www.kohlerinteriors.com).
INSULATION CertainTeed Corp. (800/782-8777; www.certainteed.com).
INTERIOR DOOR HARDWARE Baldwin Hardware Corp. (800/566-1986; www.baldwin hardware.com); (No. K-T944-4/K-410-K
MATTRESSES Select Comfort (800/548-7231; www.selectcomfort.com).
TILE American Olean (888/268-8453; www.americanolean.com).
TV/ELECTRONICS Sharp Electronics (800/237-4277; www.sharpusa.com).
REPLACEMENT WINDOWS Pella Windows & Doors Corp. (888/847-3552; www.pella.com).
Throughout the loft:
ARTWORK Monoprints (Untitled #13, Untitled #19 and Untitled #20) by Dan McNamara. Olson-Larsen Galleries (515/277-6734; www.olsonlarsen.com).
CHANDELIER Odessa Chandelier, No. 9534. Currey & Company (678/533-1500; www.curreyandcompany.com).
COCKTAIL OTTOMAN No. 962-36-9. Baker (see Major Contributors).
CURTAINS Iselda Stripe, 100% Embroidered Silk. The Silk Trading Co. (800/854-0396; www.silktrading.com).
DRAPERY HARDWARE Kirsch (800/538-6567; www.kirsch.com).
ENTERTAINMENT CHEST Directoire Entertainment Center, No. 19-072-1. Baker (see Major Contributors).
FIREPLACE Infinity. Heat-N-Glo (see Sponsors).
FIREPLACE SURROUND Ivory Coast, No. 3004. Silestone by Cosentino USA (see Sponsors).
LAMPS Glass Lamp and Petite Nickel Floor Lamp (with Chocolate shade). Barbara Cosgrove Lamps (816/221-3461; www.barbaracosgrove lamps.com).
NESTING TABLES No. 18-551-1. Baker (see Major Contributors).
OUTDOOR FURNITURE The Castillo Collection. Giati Designs (805/965-6535; www.giati.com).
PAINT Swiss Coffee, No. OC-45. Benjamin Moore (see Sponsors).
PILLOWS Brown Coco Circle. Palecek (800/274-7730; www.palecek.com).
RUG Shaggy Shag. Capel (800/382-6574; www.capelrugs.com).
SHADES SYSTEM Controlled Flat Roman QED Window Shades. Lutron (see Sponsors).
SLIPPER CHAIRS No. 650-25-9. Baker (see Major Contributors).
SOFA Crescent Back Sofa, No. 487-86-9. Baker (see Major Contributors).
STACKING TABLES Ming Stacking Tables, No. 17-911-1. Baker (see Major Contributors).
3-SHELF BOOKCASE/TABLE English Tiered Server, No. 21-581-1. Baker (see Major Contributors).
WICKER STOOL Spot Table, No. 17-909-4. Baker (see Major Contributors).
ARMOIRE Elisabeth Entertainment Center. Oly (510/644-1870; www.olystudio.com).
BAMBOO CHEST Dressing Chest, No. 17-017-1. Baker (see Major Contributors).
BENCH 20th Century Bench, No. 19-910-1. Baker (see Major Contributors).
CANDLE SCONCES Small Oval and Vertical Curved. Oly (see Entryway, Armoire).
CHAIR Oval Arm Chair, No. 18-453-1. Baker (see Major Contributors).
LAMPS Pewter Buffet Lamps with Ivory Shades. Barbara Cosgrove Lamps (see Living Room, Lamps).
MIRROR Raindrop Mirror (round). Oly (see Entryway, Armoire).
PAINT STRIPES Stratton Blue, No. HC-142; Wythe Blue, No. HC-143; Palladian Blue, No. HC-144. Benjamin Moore (see Sponsors).
RUG (Wall) Scoot, No. 0406ABL. Angela Adams (800/255-9454; www.angelaadams.com). (Floor) Perde Patchwork. The Rug Company (212/274-0444; www.therugcompany.info).
ARTWORK Monoprint by Dan McNamara. Olson-Larsen Galleries (see Living Room, Artwork).
CHAIRS Side Chair, No. 613-21-9. Baker (see Major Contributors).
LAMPS Green Shade Lamps. Barbara Cosgrove Lamps (see Living Room, Lamps).
MARTINI GLASSES No. 398. Marinha Grande (212/725-7690; www.marinhagrandemglass.com).
TABLE (Under tablecloth) Drop Leaf Table, No. 20-409-1. Baker (see Major Contributors).
APPLIANCES Jenn-Air (see Sponsors).
BLENDER Attrezzi Blender. Finish: Satin Platinum. Jenn-Air (see Sponsors).
BAR FAUCET Revival Bar Sink Faucet, No. K-16112-4A. Kohler (see Sponsors).
BAR SINK Undertone Undercounter Sink, No. K-3339. Kohler (see Sponsors).
BAR STOOLS No. 18-998-1. Baker (see Major Contributors).
CABINETRY Base Cabinets in Putnam Maple. Finish: Chestnut. Upper Cabinets and Island in Putnam Maple. Finish: Pearl, with Wintersday Frosted Glass Insets. KraftMaid (see Sponsors).
COOKTOP 30-inch Gas, No. JGC9430AD. Jenn-Air (see Sponsors).
COUNTERTOPS Amarillo Palmira, No. 1406. Silestone by Cosentino USA (see Sponsors).
DISHWARE The Chocolate Montalla Collection. Bionda-Bruna (404/607-1081; www.bionda-bruna.com). Florentine, Cioccolata and Crema Dinnerware. Vietri (800/227-5933; www.vietri.com).
DISHWASHER 3-Rack Integrated Stainless, No. JDB1050AWS. Jenn-Air (see Sponsors).
FAUCET Vinnata Kitchen Sink with Pull Down Spray, No. K-690. Kohler (see Sponsors).
HARDWARE No. 205. KraftMaid (see Sponsors).
ICEMAKER Stainless Undercounter, No. JIM1550ARS. Jenn-Air (see Sponsors).
LIGHTING Tech Lighting (847/410-4400; www.techlighting.com).
MICROWAVE/OVEN Stainless 30-inch, No. JMW8530DA and JMW8527DA. Jenn-Air (see Sponsors).
MIXER Attrezzi Stand Mixer. Finish: Satin Platinum. Jenn-Air (see Sponsors).
RANGE HOOD Pro-Style Stainless, No. JXT9030BDP. Jenn-Air (see Sponsors).
REFRIGERATOR Bottom-Freezer (20-Cubic Feet), No. JC2059GES. Jenn-Air (see Sponsors).
SINK Dickinson Undercounter Kitchen in White, No. K-6546-4U. Kohler (see Sponsors).
TILE (Backsplash) Cache Subway Tile. American Olean (see Major Contributors).
TV 15-inch AWUOS Liquid Crystal Television, No. LC-15B4U-S. Sharp Electronics Corp. (see Major Contributors).
WARMING DRAWER Stainless 30-inch, No. JWD7130DDS. Jenn-Air (see Sponsors).
WINE CHILLER Stainless Undercounter, No. JWC2450ACS. Jenn-Air (see Sponsors).
BED Queen Leather Bed, No. 18-254-1. Baker (see Major Contributors).
BEDDING Angelina Collection in Cream. Peacock Alley (214/744-0399; www.peacock alley.com).
CABINETRY Fairport Birch. Finish: Bisque Glaze. KraftMaid (see Sponsors).
CHILDREN'S PHOTOGRAPHY James Haney, Lightcatcher Photography (847/381-7980; www.lightcatcherphoto.com).
CURTAINS Katrina Embroidered Silk. The Silk Trading Co. (see Living Room, Curtains).
DRAPERY HARDWARE Kirsch (see Living Room, Drapery Hardware).
DRESSER Neoclassic Chest, No. 19-010-1. Baker (see Major Contributors).
FIREPLACE The North Star. Heat-N-Glo (see Sponsors).
FIREPLACE SURROUND Ivory Coast, No. 3004. Silestone by Cosentino USA (see Sponsors).
INTERIOR SHUTTERS OnThank Co., Des Moines, IA (515/265-9801).
LIGHT SCONCES Progress Lighting (www.progresslighting.com).
LAMPS Hammered Silver. Barbara Cosgrove Lamps (see Living Room, Lamps).
MATTRESS Queen 7000 Sleep Number Mattress. Select Comfort (see Major Contributors).
MIRROR French Mirror, No. 21-150-1. Baker (see Major Contributors).
NIGHTSTAND Neoclassic Chest, No. 19-011-1. Baker (see Major Contributors).
PAINT Wythe Blue, No. HC-143. Benjamin Moore (see Sponsors).
PILLOW Checkered Mother of Pearl Cushion, No. M-4-IV. Rani Arabella-River Traders, Inc. (561/802-9900; www.rivertradersny.com).
RUG Grace, No. 426a. Loop Starburst. Angela Adams (see Entryway, Rug).
SHADES System Controlled Flat Roman QED Window Shade. Lutron (see Sponsors).
TV 30" AQUOS Liquid Crystal Television (wall-mounted flat panel), No. LC-30HV4U. Sharp Electronics Corp. (see Major Contributors).
VASES Sheer Vases (on dresser), No. RS-131-1054 and RS-131-1055. Robinson Salter (415/435-6050; www.robinsonsalter.com). Glass Vase (on nightstand), No. 224. Marinha Grande (see Dining Area, Martini Glasses). Celadon Tapered and Throated Bottle Vases (on cabinetry). Oly (See Entryway, Armoire).
WICKER CHAIR No. 656-27-8. Baker (see Major Contributors).
BATHTUB Tea for Two Whirlpool with Spa/Massage Package and Chromatherapy, No. K-856-V-O. Kohler (see Sponsors).
CABINETRY Fairport Birch. Finish: Bisque Glaze, with Wintersday Frosted Glass Inserts. KraftMaid (see Sponsors).
CANDLESTICKS Moroccan Hurricane, No. 7HURR-MOSEL. Jamie Young Company (888/671-5883; www.jamieyoung.com).
COUNTERTOPS Capri Limestone, No. 1301. Silestone by Cosentino USA (see Sponsors).
FAUCETS Antique High Country Widespread Sink, No. K-116-3. Antique Deck-Mount Bath Faucet with Accented Hand Shower, No. K-110-4/K-126. Kohler (see Sponsors).
LIGHT FIXTURES Wall Mount Bath, No. 69002. Kichler Lighting (www.kichler.com).
SINKS Vessels Chord Lavatory, No. K2331-8-0. Kohler (see Sponsors).
TILE (Wall) Glassworks. Color: Aspen Mist, No. GW01. (Floor) Stoneworks. Color: Azteca, No. TU051 Pinwheel with Aspen Mist, No. GW01 Dot. American Olean (see Major Contributors).
TOWELS Peacock Alley (see Master Bedroom, Bedding). Garnet Hill (800/870-3513; www.garnethill.com).
LOFT BEDROOM AND BATH
ARTWORK Monotypes (Fall End Rows and Slough in Field) by Rod Bouc. Olson-Larsen Galleries (see Living Room, Artwork).
BATH ACCESSORIES Calacata Collection. Labrazel (www.labrazel.com).
BATH LIGHT FIXTURE Wall Mount Bath, No. 6463N. Kichler (see Master Bath, Light Fixtures).
CABINETRY Lyndale Cherry. Finish: Patina Glaze. KraftMaid (see Sponsors).
CLUB CHAIR European Club Chair, No. 520-31-9. Baker (see Major Contributors).
COUNTERTOPS Kona Beige, No. 1410. Silestone by Cosentino USA (see Sponsors).
DESK Spanish Table Desk, No. 19-850-1. Baker (see Major Contributors).
DESK CHAIR Arm Chair, No. 613-25-9. Baker (see Major Contributors).
FAUCET Stillness Wall-Mount Lavatory, No. K-T944-4/K-410K. Kohler (see Sponsors).
LAMP No. 1GENI-SMSL. Jamie Young Company (see Master Bath, Candlesticks).
MIRROR (Bath) No. 2-4481503. Pottery Barn (800/922-5507; www.potterybarn.com).
PILLOWS AND THROW Rani Arabella-River Traders, Inc. (see Master Bedroom, Pillow).
RUG Spike Shag, No. 224. Angela Adams (see Entryway, Rug).
SCULPTURE Romeo & Juliette, No. 26F43. Oggetti (305/576-1044; www.oggetti.com).
SINK Vessels Bateau Lavatory, No. K-2273. Kohler (see Sponsors).
TILE (Floor) Chloe Mosaic. Color: Satin White Pinwheel, No.
CH99 with Stainless, No. CH11 Dots. American Olean (see Major Contributors).
TRAY Ottoman Tray, No. 3655-65a. Palecek (see Living Room, Pillows).
TRUNK Campaign Trunk, No. 13-959-1. Baker (see Major Contributors).
For full resources, call 800/678-8093 or visit www.midwestliving.com/browncamp.