An Old Wonderbread Factory Becomes a Spacious Designer Loft

by Sabrina Smelko

After years of small-space living in San Francisco, designer duo — and recent newlyweds who shared their celebration in Alabama, where they hail from — Savannah and Sean Metcalf were itching for more space. “As you may or may not know,” Savannah begins, “it’s hard to find breathing room in the city.” Just as the couple’s shared passion for art and design brought them together, it’s also exactly what drew them to sign on this loft space in Oakland, CA — which happened to be the first and only apartment they toured. “We just knew it was the one!” Savannah explains, “It was undergoing a fresh kitchen and bathroom renovation, and it had the high ceilings and concrete floors that we were looking for.”

Both Sean and Savannah are creative freelancers who work from home — Sean spends his time on branding, illustration and web design projects, and Savannah is a designer for Homepolish where she specializes in interior design on commercial and residential projects — so striking a balanced, work-live atmosphere was important to them both. “We sought to create a space suitable for three main functions,” Savannah says, “we needed an inspirational and clutter-free environment for working, a comfortable space for just hanging out and relaxing as a couple, and enough space and seating to entertain all of our friends.” On top of establishing and delineating specific “rooms,” one of the first things the couple did when they took possession was establish a headphones-at-night policy. “I am so thankful for headphones,” Savannah laughs, “Noise seriously echos throughout our space and headphones have prevented an argument on many occasions if one of us is working late while the other sleeps.”

Career-related fine-tuning of their space aside, the age and history of the building — which was once a Wonderbread factory — caused some snags in their design plans. The massive, old heater in the corner was a hurdle, but painting the walls adjacent to it the same color, in this case, a stark black using Benjamin Moore’s Black Panther, solved this design dilemma. A trickier issue involves their closet and storage space, or lack thereof: “We only have one tiny closet in our entire space, and it’s located under the stairs!” Savannah says, which is only large enough to house their vacuum cleaner. The solution for this was including two credenzas on the lower level, and choosing furniture items that offer storage, such as their coffee table (which acts as a miniature linen closet).

All in all, their spacious 2-story loft took an impressive six months to put together. “I really worked hard (with some help along the way) to create a space that was a reflection of both Sean and myself,” Savannah says, which was made easier due to the fact that the couple has similar style preferences. “We made every single decision together and really put a lot of thought and heart into our home. It was probably our best team effort!” Savannah was also very fortunate to work with a few of her favorite vendors and generous sponsors: Design Within Reach, Interior Define, Bend Goods, Herman Miller, Brooklinen, Unison Home and Minted.

“We also have a pretty eclectic style,” she explains, “we love vintage pieces with some history behind them, but we also love modern design.” With the help of many hands, the couple’s space strikes a perfect balance between streamlined and contemporary, while still boasting plenty of personality. “We are so thankful to have the opportunity to live in a space like this,” Savannah says. “As designers, we only dreamed of owning beautiful furniture like ours for quite some time and we feel truly blessed… Sean and I are very happy and feel at home here, and I think that’s what counts!” To top it all off, in the spirit of sharing and gratitude, Sean and Savannah are introducing a new member to their clan on January 1st, 2016: a rescue Golden Irish puppy. What better way to extend the celebration of their new family and home than with oodles of puppy cuddles! –Sabrina

Photography by Julia Robbs

Savannah and Sean's living room is their self-described safe haven. "We love to unwind here after the workday ends." Savannah explains. Although Sean can sometimes be found working from the Eames lounge chair, Savannah reserves the living room for relaxation only. The black accent wall serves both in form and function: while it anchors the wall and flanks the windows, the color was chosen deliberately to blend in with the color of their space's heater.
A Old Wonderbread Factory Becomes a Spacious Designer Loft
"My favorite thing about our home is being able to share it with Sean," Savannah shares, "Our home is our very favorite place to spend time, and it was so special to create it together."
The view of the main-floor living and work areas from their second-floor lofted bedroom. In the morning, the sun streams in from the 2-story window and drenches their space in light, and waking up to this is yet another thing that Savannah and Sean are grateful for.
A Old Wonderbread Factory Becomes a Spacious Designer Loft
By floating the sofa away from the wall, Sean and Savannah were able to fit a massive bookshelf behind it, which houses many of their favorite design books. Also hiding on the shelf is a projector. "We probably watch a movie two or three nights out of the week," Savannah says, "It feels like we're at the theater!"
A Old Wonderbread Factory Becomes a Spacious Designer Loft
On the coffee table is this book that Savannah created for Sean for their first anniversary of dating years ago. "It was one of the best years of my life," Savannah recalls, "and this book holds so many photos that remind us of that time."
A Old Wonderbread Factory Becomes a Spacious Designer Loft
These minimal shelves are from CB2, and blend nicely into the wall. The printed throw pillow is from Unison Home.
A Old Wonderbread Factory Becomes a Spacious Designer Loft
The Russell Interior Define sofa is their favorite place to read under their white Lampe Gras lamp.
A Old Wonderbread Factory Becomes a Spacious Designer Loft
Savannah started her vinyl collection before she even owned a record player. "I fell in love with browsing records at $1 thrift stores, and even found my favorite Fleetwood Mac record years ago," she says. Sean bought her this Crosley record player for their first Christmas together as a couple.
A Old Wonderbread Factory Becomes a Spacious Designer Loft
The Bertoia Diamond Lounge is Savannah's all-time favorite chair, which she found on Craigslist from a retired dealer. "They were manufactured in the 70s, and are in pristine condition," Savannah explains, "They had been packaged and protected in the dealer's warehouse for 40 years, and they even feature a discontinued Knoll textile!" Flanking it on the left is Sean's favorite chair, the classic Eames Lounge from Design Within Reach. "Our two chairs are the classic 'his and hers' tale!"
A Old Wonderbread Factory Becomes a Spacious Designer Loft
A collection of loved items rests on and hangs above this Ven Cabinet Dresser from Design Within Reach. "I love this image because it illustrates our love of art, photography, and music," Savannah says.
A Old Wonderbread Factory Becomes a Spacious Designer Loft
Beside the living room is a space-saving work zone. The standing desk is completely custom. They had the legs manufactured to their desired height, and the couple sourced the live-edge redwood surface locally.
Across from the work station is Sean and Savannah's dining area, open to the living area.
A Old Wonderbread Factory Becomes a Spacious Designer Loft
A gallery wall of mostly Sean's photography helps define the space, as does the Thatch rug from Design Within Reach. Copper Lucy chairs from Bend Goods add some color, texture and airiness around the heavy Basque dining table from Crate and Barrel.
A Old Wonderbread Factory Becomes a Spacious Designer Loft
On the other side of the dining space is Sean and Savannah's entryway, and above that is their lofted bedroom, which boasts a pseudo-balcony half wall overlooking the first floor.
A Old Wonderbread Factory Becomes a Spacious Designer Loft
The swiveling light can be tucked against the wall to allow for headroom when walking by, or pulled out above the table to offer light in the evenings.
A Old Wonderbread Factory Becomes a Spacious Designer Loft
Behind the dining area, you enter the kitchen, featuring barstool versions of the dining chairs to tie the rooms together. The movable multi-functional IKEA island acts as a breakfast bar, extra counter-prep space and offers storage underneath.
A Old Wonderbread Factory Becomes a Spacious Designer Loft
"I love the finishes in our kitchen," Savannah says, "I accented the white cabinets and backsplash with warm wood tones and bright copper."
A Old Wonderbread Factory Becomes a Spacious Designer Loft
In the entrance, this Broyhill Emphasis piece was found on Craigslist, along with their bedroom pieces from the same collection. As their loft doesn't have a closet at the entry, this stores many accessories.
A Old Wonderbread Factory Becomes a Spacious Designer Loft
"The lack of storage space was a real issue in our bedroom," Savannah explains, "We don't have closets, so we created a built-in look using IKEA cabinets and custom brass hardware (from Lewis Dolin). They're really organized and functional, and I love the way they look." The artwork above the bed is from Minted.
A Old Wonderbread Factory Becomes a Spacious Designer Loft
The couple's bedroom is a fun collection of old and new. They layered vintage pieces, such as the kilim pillows and hand-tufted rug with new purchases, like their white bed linens from Brooklinen and their mattress from Casper.
A Old Wonderbread Factory Becomes a Spacious Designer Loft
The steel pipe garment rack pictured in the back is a DIY piece a friend made for Savannah. You can find the DIY project on Savannah's blog, Grace Made.

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