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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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