studio loft: completion
Last Friday was a gorgeous evening. Even though it wasn’t particularly warm, it was sunny…the kind of March day where people flock to outdoor bars and empty the contents of their purse looking for a pair of sunglasses. For us, it was a perfect evening for desktop hoisting! (Ok, it also distracted me from fantasizing about basking in the sun with a glass of wine in hand.)
First, Kyle prepped the stairwell. (Seriously, I came home on Friday to this sight and Kyle napping in the bedroom.) The plan was to hoist the slab up and into the loft between the wall and edge of the loft ladder. (It was far too long to go up the loft ladder and have enough room to rotate into position.)
It would be a tight fit, but we measured everything beforehand to make sure we had enough clearance. (Or so we thought, keep reading…)
Our neighbor Blair came over to help. (He was incredibly gracious and patient and we owe him big time!) As they brought the slab in from the garage, Kyle took the lead and walked it up the ladder…
…while Blair and his brute strength took the heavy end.
I don’t know how much this thing weighs, but moving it was no easy feat. One rung at a time.
I mean, it’s a big piece of wood. [Obligatory inappropriate photo-op.]
All was going well until we ran into one minor snafu…the loft ceiling. The low-end of the slab hadn’t quite cleared the ceiling below so it was literally stuck. Swearing ensued. (We blame the curvature of the tape measure during our earlier measuring.)
But we put our heads together and decided the only alternative was to remove the ceiling fan blades and the loft ladder and then slide it up on its side.
When we installed the loft ladder, I’m pretty sure we mumbled something like, “at least we don’t ever have to move this thing again!”.
Ha. If there was a bright side, it was that we didn’t have to completely remove it, just lower it enough so the slab could clear the top of the guardrail. The ladder is attached to the floor below and joist above with hefty lag screws. So Kyle removed those and then we used a scrap 2×4 as a kicker to keep it from sliding further.
It was an unintended extra step, but it worked. Turned horizontally, Kyle and Blair had no problem getting the slab into the space and then turning it 90 degrees.
With one final heave, the three of us hoisted the wood up and onto the steel angles. The final step was to attach the slab using stainless steel 1/4″x2″ screws and 1/4″x1″ fender washers at pre-drilled holes at each of the four angle supports.
At this point, it was in place and we called it a night.
But it didn’t take long for me set up shop the next day.
I had thought about moving the painted IKEA stool down to the nursery, but it’s actually a great height for the sewing machine and can easily tuck under the desk when not in use.
For now, I’m using a small IKEA table lamp for task lighting (the only other light we have in the space is the sconce over the ladder). It’s ok, but eventually it will move to the nursery and be replaced with a flexible and brighter work light. (Just need to find one first!)
In lieu of gifts last Christmas, Kyle and I bought each other a Macbook Pro. I’m in love and not just because it’s so pretty. After using a PC my whole life, it’s just so much more intuitive and well…smarter. I still use a PC at work and my brain has gotten better about switching back and forth between the two. We also have a printer/scanner/copier that now has a nice little home in the spot between the last Stolmen unit and the wall. Due to space limitations, we used to keep the printer in the basement so it’s great to finally have everything consolidated in one space. Even better, Kyle has set up everything wirelessly so the printer talks to the laptops and the laptops talk to the Airport Express which talks to the stereo system which talks to our iPhones. Our house is small enough that sometimes the microwave gets bitchy and interrupts, but we deal.
There is still a lot of accessorizing that needs to happen, but I’m totally thrilled with how it turned out and more importantly how the space feels. With the pleasant weather this weekend, I’ve had the roof window open and the soft north light makes the room feel bright and airy. Best of all, I no longer have the visual distractions that come with working at the dining room table or kitchen island.
The walls aren’t perfectly straight and plumb (this is the attic of 102-year-old house after all), so we intentionally created a gap between the edge of the wood and wall. Not only does it look good, but it also provides a space for cords to snake through.
I’m still debating if the sewing machine stays out or instead lives in its case under the desk. Let’s be real, I still haven’t used the thing yet.
Bonus perk of owning a Mac, one minimal white cord.
In the desk progress post, Ron and Nate left some smart comments about better ways to fasten the wood to steel angles (to deal with differential movement) and we listened. Kyle made the holes in the steel slightly larger and used the fender washers in conjunction with the screws.
In addition to a new desk light, there are still several things left to tackle. We have a large IKEA file cabinet that is too big to fit in the loft so I’ve been in the process of purging and organizing all of our paperwork (as seen above). We still had files labeled “architecture school” and “high school” (eek!) so there was plenty of room to edit things down. The plan is to buy a used metal 2-drawer file cabinet that goes under the desk on the window side. I’ve been scheming about finding something ugly but in good shape and spray painting it a fun color (I thought this type of thing would be easy to find on Craigslist or at Goodwill, but no luck so far). Kyle is not on board with this idea. Yet. =)
It’s not done-done, but it’s a good start. As we continue to use the space, I’m sure we’ll get a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. I like the idea of keeping it simple and minimal, but I could also see something going on the gable wall behind the desk and maybe a twin-sized daybed/chaise on the wall opposite of the Stolmen units.
I’m super excited to have this little space to call my own (or at least share with Felix, who is smitten with the new set-up). It feels like a treehouse of sorts and an escape from the constant to-do list downstairs. Up here, I feel more organized, more creative and a renewed itch to tackle projects. A set of curtains for the nursery? A new blog design? Let’s see where this goes…
To see past posts on the studio loft, click here.