before and after

before & after: atlanta loft transformation

by Kate Pruitt

Oh, lofts. Lovely, light-filled lofts. I will always be envious of people who live in big, airy spaces like these, but after watching Grace and Amy setting up the D*S office, I now have a better understanding of how hard it can be to make huge industrial spaces feel comforting. I think Margot has done an amazing job renovating this space on a budget; the kitchen is gorgeous! Normally I would be upset to see wood flooring like this painted over, but I think the decision to add a platform creates a great separation of space, and the light reflecting off the white floor really helps to warm the interior. Great job, Margot! — Kate

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Read the full post after the jump . . .

Time: about a month

Cost: The most expensive things were the kitchen and kitchen appliances, which cost almost $5000 together. The rest of the project only cost about $1000.

Basic Steps: We spent a lot of time online and in bookstores looking through photos of other projects to get ideas, and a lot of time just sitting and brainstorming in the empty space. We never had a really set plan — it still evolved even after we started working, depending on how things were looking. One difficult decision was whether to remove the wood floors or not. They looked good and added a nice warmth to the space, but they were built up on framing set over the original concrete floors, so you lost about 6″ of space below them and you had to step down to get into the kitchen, bathroom, and entrance, which was really weird. We ended up leaving them in the bedroom area and removing them in the rest of the space, which worked out great: the bedroom is completely open to the living space, so it made kind of a mental separation between the two. We put the old floorboards on Craigslist for free, and they were gone within a day.

We were originally hoping to be able to just polish and/or seal the newly exposed concrete floors, but unfortunately they had been previously painted (a very ugly brown color) and the cost to remove the old paint was too high. So we ended up re-painting them ourselves (the color was another debate — we were worried that the white would be really hard to keep clean, but it actually isn’t difficult). For the kitchen, we knew we wanted to do something different (it seems like almost everyone in Atlanta is stuck on traditional granite countertops and stained cabinets). We debated for a while whether to use wall cabinets in the kitchen or open shelves. We looked through probably hundreds of photos online, and eventually decided we liked the open shelves best. The island made up for the lost storage space, and the kitchen looks a lot more open and modern. We picked butcher-block countertops to save $ (the other option was concrete). The subway tile wall took forever to do, but it was worth it!

Our advice is to take your time and don’t make all the decisions at once. Don’t be afraid to try something new and different, and don’t worry about what other people will think (a lot of our friends thought we were completely crazy, but they all ended up admitting that they liked it in the end). For some different ideas, look at restaurant design as well as home design. If you are planning on painting concrete floors, make sure you clean them very well with a degreaser before you start (we rented a carpet cleaning machine and put Greased Lightning in it, as well as scrubbed them manually). Be flexible and creative with materials. — Margot


Paint: Pre-mixed standard white from Lowe’s
Bathroom vanity: Old workshop cabinet that we got from a Scott Antique Market for $40
Sink & Faucet: Amazon
Kitchen fixtures, cabinets and living room sofa and chairs: Ikea
Other furniture and decor: Yard sales and flea markets

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  • Awesome! Very nice use of space, keeping it open but creating visual dividers like the step up into the bedroom and the kitchen island.

  • this is absolutely amazing, when you figure in the price it took them to do this it is truly unbelievable. might i even say one of the best i’ve seen here?

  • Wow, what a beautiful transformation. The kitchen is really nice, and the bathroom vanity! WOW. I think the painted floors look absolutely wonderful, however, I do believe they will come to regret that choice. Most people get white floors only once (count me guilty) due to the large amount of cleaning and maintenance it takes to keep them looking good.

  • They did a fantastic job! My goal is to live in a loft like that – we actually do live in a timber loft, but it’s situated a bit more like a normal apartment, and our living room looks out onto the courtyard, so not too much natural light.

  • Gorgeous! The difference in the natural light with the floor is amazing, although I agree with Christa – lots of regular cleaning!

  • This might be one of the best before & after’s I have ever seen. I Love it and am so inspired! How did you do it so inexpensively!?!

  • I think the wood floor was not ‘painted over’….it was undisturbed in the bedroom area and removed in the rest of the space. The revealed concrete floor was ‘painted’. Agree with the comment ….”take your time.” Very commendable – love the finished product. Congrats.

  • really great advice at the end there.

    the continual theme with space makeovers is be patient, stay flexible and do your research!

    can’t believe you did this for $6,000. amazing bang for your buck!

  • Great makeover and I’m having some serious déjà vu as I’ve been to a loft in theat building and did a lot of dreaming of living there, but we ended in a loft in another area.

  • Lovely! I’m curious about the concrete floors. I’m about to move into an apartment with carpet (yuk) and am wanting to rip it up an use the concrete. Is it as simple as repainting and sealing? What type of paint and sealant? Thanks!

  • Great transformation! I like the bit about ignoring your friends’ protests and advice. Sometimes the vision doesn’t translate well into words – seeing is believing.

  • Great renovation, and at such a great price, too! I love that kitchen – so airy, clean, open and refreshing. I grew up with wood countertops, and have been smitten with them ever since!

  • What kind of paint did you use on your floor? I’ve used porch paint before, but heard marine paint (for boats) holds up really well, too. Very cute place!

  • The before and afters are amazing today! Lofts intimidate me a bit, particularly as living spaces. But this one feels so cozy. Very inspirational.

  • Thanks for all the positive comments!
    To the people asking about the floor paint:
    We used oil-based floor paint from Lowes. I think the most important step was the preparation – – we spent hours literally scrubbing the place on our hands and knees with a de-greaser, in addition to using the carpet cleaning machine. Then we let it dry for a couple of days before rolling the paint on in 2 thin coats (one rolled horizontally and one rolled vertically). Finally, we had to wait over a week to be able to walk on it, and then only carefully. It took a while for it to dry completely.

  • oh that exposed brick … I’d love to live there! I’d even trade in 3 small children and hubby. :-) GORGEOUS!

  • How is the piece of wood the bathroom sink is set on attached yet hovering above the cabinets? Great idea for towel storage! I’m stumped as to how that was accomplished.

  • I. Love. This. My dream space come to life! Just a sweet space both before and (especially!) after. Congrats on a great job and an amazing place.

  • Very comfortable!! The light and the kitchen are spectacular!! Good Job Diego and Margot!!

  • If Kate had read what Margot had written she would have realised that they had neither painted over the wooden floor nor added a platform for the bedroom! Other than that it’s just lovely.

  • Love, Love, Love! Awesome job!

    One question: where do you keep your clothes? I didn’t see a closet or wardrobe anywhere.

  • Well done on a reasonable budget (I would have spent the most $ on kitchen items as well). I too am curious about further storage, closets and whatnot.

  • It is a great job, but I am dying to turn that rug so that it is parallel with the sofa instead of the wall. Just me? One of those absract/Kandinsky-like designs on the rug might work even better than a striped one where angling it always presents problems. Just a thought. SO LOVE D*s altogether:) j

  • I love, love, love your space!! It is so open, airy and bright. I love too that it is not a cluttered space. The beauty of all of your hard work shows for everyone to see. I wish that we had neat places like yours here in Davenport, IA! Great job!!!

  • Would you please give us an update a year from now on how the floors are wearing?
    Bravo for using oil based paint; acrylic isn’t the answer to everything.
    Gracias rex.

  • Stunning!!! Wow 6,000 really went a long way in this space. The kitchen is amazing and I LOVE the original tile in the living area. (maybe its brick, cant quite see?). The natural light is beautiful

  • What an amazing transformation. The dull atmosphere of the place has become a first class condo interior design found in a classy magazine. Good job. Kudos to the creator. I hope to see more of this in the future.

  • Very nice! I’m in Atlanta, looking at houses, and I hear you about the kitchens — I’m so sick of those granite counter tops and terrible cabinets!

  • Love it! I would need drapes on a wire for the bedroom division, but thats just me! Madly jealous over here, way to go!