Sunday, December 16, 2012

Renovating a Loft Apartment

It's time to move into what will be, most likely, a fairly long period of home renovation blog posts! And that is because, about 2-3 weeks ago, I finally handed over the big check to the previous owners of this old industrial loft apartment and so now it is mine. I have not-so-suddenly found myself with a really run-down space to spruce up! My guess is that any renovations you see in this apartment were done back in the early 80's when this 1920s building was converted from factory to coop apartments. So, there IS work to be done......

I love the big open space. Well, "big" by New York standards. It's 950 square feet, which is a small size for what one thinks of as a "loft" but that is plenty to be an apartment for one person. OK, one person and a crazy dog. I definitely kept Frankie in mind when I searched for the space I would need (but could still afford). Not to mention the fact that it will be a live/work space, meaning I'll spend almost all my time here. And although I like the space open, for my needs, I would eventually like to create a few more clear divisions in the apartment. In the above photo, you are looking straight from the front door into the living room on the right and into the bedroom through the cut-out in that dividing wall on the left. I'm not so excited about myself or anyone else looking straight into my bedroom when they first walk in the door. A simple, non structural change I can make is to have shutters, blinds, or a semi-sheer shade installed in that cut-out to give the bedroom much more privacy. It will be interesting to see how much light is lost because that is the obvious reason for the cut-out. The windows are only along that one front-facing wall. 

This is the view from the living room towards the front door, which you can see right behind that ladder. The open kitchen is to the right and, to the left, is what I like to refer to as "the weird little room". Isn't it odd looking? It reminds me of a structure in a de Chirico painting. The real estate listing had to call it a "home office" because a room has to have at least one window (to the outside) and a closet to be a real bedroom. However, I do think I will be using it as a guest bedroom/storage space. 

This is inside the weird little room. As you can see, it is a small and somewhat narrow room with a very tall ceiling. It's a bit strange, but I think it will work for me and I'm not in a hurry to tear it down. I love de Chirico! By the way, the ceilings in the whole apartment (except in part of the kitchen and the bathroom) are almost 13 feet high! Isn't that wonderful? A 950 square foot apartment feels much smaller with lower, say 8 foot, ceilings. It was probably the high ceilings that sold me on this place.

For some reason Blogger will not allow me to make that paragraph flush-left. Please excuse.

Now we are walking into the kitchen. It is also a little strange. Perhaps all of these strange things are why I could afford this apartment! All of the appliances, except for the refrigerator, are behind that high wall. I was told a wall like this used to be required as an effort to contain the cooking smells and smoke. I suppose they decided it didn't really work because it's not required anymore. I can, and probably will, eventually take it down. However, it will be a long time before I am ready to do a kitchen renovation!

A more frontal view so you can see the cabinets hidden behind the high wall. The cabinets are in good shape and I actually do like them. May not have picked them myself and I don't like the way it goes up and then down on both sides of the sink. But I can work with this, it will be fine! What I don't like is how the kitchen looks like it is on some sort of ceramic tile "stage". It's not very interesting tile, for one thing and, for another, I don't like standing to cook on such a hard surface. And so, this floor will be one of the first things to go. I think kitchen floors should be a softer surface such as wood, cork, rubber, or some sort of vinyl or linoleum tile. There are a lot of fun options in the market these days. 

Unfortunately a similar and bland color was used in the bathroom. This tile probably looked really cool in the 80s but, to me, it now looks very dated. However, I am going to have to work with this because there is no money or time for a bathroom update anytime soon! Plus, I may want to reconfigure the bathroom at some point, hopefully to allow for an extra half-bath. I need to take my time on that thought process.  Plus, being a coop, I have to pass all the plans and materials by the governing board. Not looking forward to that!

But, luckily, I was able to catch the late November coop board meeting in time to have my preliminary work approved. By preliminary, I mean the work that has to be done when the apartment is empty because it's such a big mess! First project: scraping the slightly cave-like texture off of the ceilings. You can just barely see it in some of the other photos, but take my word for it, it was just heavy enough to look oppressive and dirty. I was further convinced when the building's super told me it tended to flake off and make everything dusty at all times. I have to hang on to that feeling of conviction because this is a major, dirty, tedious, and time-consuming job. I had to be there for a few days testing paint colors with all this going on and I felt pretty bad for the guys doing it. Of course, it's a job and they will get paid! I'm just holding my breath that it will be worth the time and money.

Next I will deal with the floors....stay tuned!

No comments:

Post a Comment