Erie Street Loft


After years of ignoring its original warehouse aesthetic, due to a developer’s ‘apartmentizing’ of the building, this 2,400 square foot, two-story loft has been rehabilitated to show off its industrial roots.  Layers of paint and drywall have been removed revealing the original timber beams and masonry walls while accommodating two bedrooms, master suite, and a lofty, open living space at the ground floor.  We wanted to avoid the lifeless feeling usually associated with industrial lofts by giving the space a warm but rustic aesthetic that we think best represented the original loft building.  The finish materials also echo an industrial aesthetic, featuring upcycled reclaimed timbers as a fireplace surround and wall material, reclaimed stainless steel awning window, sourced from the ReBuilding Exchange, doors from a Chicago Montessori school, and salvaged metal pendant light fixtures.  Description, before and after photos, and floor plans inside.

The first floor of the existing apartment suffered from a haphazard layout of rooms breaking the loft into several small spaces.  The kitchen was oriented such that it severed light and air access to the rest of the unit.  The new plan rearranged the kitchen (with some juggling of plumbing lines, no small feat with an occupied unit below) to be open to the living and family area while nearly tripling counter space.  The kitchen is custom designed with a mix of stainless steel and white cabinets, marble counter (leftover pieces of the marble were used as a seat in the master bathroom shower), and stainless steel shelf.  In order to deliver natural light into the powder room a reclaimed, stainless steel, awning window was integrated into the north wall of cabinets.  The ceiling of the powder room was eliminated so it would be open to the wood timber framing similar to the rest of the space.  The existing fireplace surround (and very fancy mantle) was removed and replaced with a slightly angled plane, hugging the four flues that penetrate the space, and clad with reclaimed framing lumber.  The 2×4’s, found at the ReBuilding Exchange, were ripped in two and installed with the weathered side out, allowing us to mount pieces with at least one flat side.  The first floor also houses salvaged industrial pendant lights over the kitchen island and three reclaimed doors, one of which is from a former Chicago Montessori School, via the ReBuilding Exchange, and labeled as a ‘LECTURE ROOM’, but sorry, its just a closet.  The clients also desired a full-service entertainment center that could accommodate their iMac, TV, and vast collection of books.  The custom unit houses their entire library while providing a sliding panel to hide to iMac while the TV is in use.  When they are ready to settle in front the of iMac, a bench on wheels can be rolled out for seating.  Otherwise, it is conveniently nested away in the bookshelf.

The second floor suffered from a collection of unorganized spaces made to resemble bedrooms, but did have the benefit of access to plentiful and even northern light.  To share light with the formerly dark interior of the first floor the second level hallway flooring finish was removed and replaced with a series of glass panels inserted into the timber framing.  The second bedroom is also designed with natural light in mind.  The entry of the room features a sandblasted steel and glass door with an operable transom window.  Since the existing ceiling above the first floor stair landing was removed it allowed for another window and operable transom at the bedroom.  Lining the third bedroom is a series a custom designed, sliding shoji doors.  The master suite was completely reconfigured to allow light to flood the master bathroom, and is accessed by a reclaimed, obscured glass and wood door.  All existing walls in the master bedroom were removed so the separate functions could be defined by new custom millwork and closets which allow light to pass over into the bathroom and closet.  The master suite opens to a green roof terrace (still a work in progress) but complete with a ping pong table.