Originally, You walked in the front door and had to step up 2 steps to the big open room. The sunken front door created a dangerous 2 foot drop off to the right of the door. There was a small coat closet in the corner and a giant ladder in front of the closet that went to an unusable nook up in the top loft. It was unusable in that whatever you wanted to put in there or get out involved dangling off the ladder with heavy objects while we screamed at each other. Since the floors were concrete with radiant heat and a 2” slope, we had to be creative when it came to adding walls. We also discovered the 4 fabulous walls were made of some sort of “unconventional” material that you couldn’t screw into. We ended up bolting 2x4’s to the beams holding up the bedroom loft area and gluing the bottom plate to the concrete floor. We (meaning my husband) filled in the exterior with reclaimed redwood fencing (I did do the sweeping/clean up of the boards). We saw a gorgeous reclaimed wood wall at a party at another warehouse loft and the owner of that space told us that getting reclaimed redwood fencing was pretty easy and cheap, so we looked up some fencing companies and found what we were looking for. After 2 CRV loads of wood, many trips to Home Depot, and having to get a new windshield because of a 2x4 that was just a little too big, we completed both sides of our 2 pantry walls and a built in counter with the leftover wood in a couple of weekends. It did also require yet another trip to IKEA for the shelving (DAMN you IKEA!! Shakes fist at big blue box).
One thing to note about the 4 walls—the biggest one has a giant roll up garage door and a giant window, the other is the kitchen and a half bath. That leaves 2 walls for everything else. Adding the pantry wall and another smaller one right at the front door added 4 more walls for storage/hiding crap/hanging art and prevented you from breaking an ankle when you fell off the floor into the sunken front door entry. Win-win.
The pantry addition allowed us to store/hide litter boxes, kitchen spill-over, all the food and party supplies, and my husband’s Grandmother’s cast iron cookware collection (I told you we love to collect things). The outside of the small wall has a mirror collection to open up the front door entry and the outside of the large wall has my Great-Grandmother’s paintings. When you are dealing with a lot of stuff, it is best to herd all like items together, commit to only keeping the best, get rid of the rest and then display the treasures grouped into one vignette.
The final part of the kitchen storage expansion was a big island. We have a chopping block cabinet and some baker’s racks serving that role until we find the perfect thing (next on the agenda). We also needed the world’s longest hanging pot rack for the rest of the cast iron and all the other pots and pans. After multiple runs to Home Depot and Ikea AGAIN (never go there on the 4th of July) for more hooks and shelving, we were actually able to put all of our stuff away in its place. After all that it was time for Happy Hour.
Photo Credits: Britney Stanley & Shannon Bailey