Interior Glazing Maximizes Light at West Loop Loft with Moss as Architect and Builder


What do you do with a 50′ square space with just 125 square feet of windows?  That was just the situation we faced at this West Loop Loft. Maximize interior light with operable window walls. Here is how we addressed it.

The West Loop Loft is a veritable cabinet of curiosities, filled with beautiful and startling objects collected by the owners.  Our design focused on elegant modern architectural solutions to create a backdrop for the owners collections, although we took a few opportunities to create art from beautiful materials and found objects ourselves.  Keep an eye out through the project for custom steel and slab wood furniture and fixtures, created by moss.

To read more about the construction process check out Adventures in General Contracting: West Loop Loft.

The existing space was largely an open space loft with  small bedroom/bath core blocked off with a sleeping loft above.

before pano

We approached this project with the goal of defining some spaces in this open loft and exploring ways to share natural light amongst the spaces. The main focus was a ribbon of glass which allowed the bedrooms to share light and air with the living spaces, but also be closed off when privacy was desired.

Since moss served as both architect and general contractor on the project, we were able to make a number of design adjustments along the way to accommodate the client’s budget and updated wishes. What began as a steel and glass partition was economized to wood and glass, while still maintaining the thin lines, mullions and color of a steel assembly.

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Beyond the bedrooms and office, the remaining space was left open for living and cooking, all customized with outfitted with found objects and custom finishes and millwork.  The open plan allows for a flow of projects and activities from one area to another, all maximizing the natural light available from the existing windows.




Window Wall in West Loop Loft

As you can see in the video, the window wall components were fabricated off-site in the Fricano shop and then installed after the bulk of construction was complete. As designed, it shares daylight from the main space with the bedrooms. In fact, the windows not only bring in light but are operable, allowing for air movement. Full height curtains bring the rooms from day to night, adding visual privacy and muffling extraneous sound transmission. The rolling planter allows the indoor greenery to be shifted around during the days and seasons to maximize its access to daylight.

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custom window wall

Master Bath and Shower

The continuous shower floor with trench drain was refined from its original design – an easier task as moss was both general contractor and architect.  The first pass: river rock embedded in aggregate was modified to a commercial stone tile product modified by hand to include dark and mid toned rocks along with the original white.  We don’t like ugly round drains in the middle of our shower. The floor of this shower is continuous with a slight slope to the side trench drain which keeps everything flowing smoothy.

continuous shower trench drain

We experimented with a variety of finishes for this custom bent steel sink.  Shown below (clockwise from upper left): sample section of steel finish, sketch of the assembly, detail of bend at front edge, and the final placement.

custom sink

Built in Kitchen

The kitchen is simple and efficient, built in along one wall.  The compact design is unobtrusive when not in use but eminently functional and chock full of concealed storage space.  The goal is to highlight art, and minimize clutter.  The backsplash is a custom cut piece of steel with integral shelf and concealed LED strip light.

built in kitchen

custom steel backsplash

If extra work space is needed, its easy to spread out to the slab wood table sitting adjacent.  This is a moss custom furniture creation and, like the entry bench shown below, was fabricated from slab wood at the shop.

custom slab wood dining table

custom slab wood bench

And, like all moss projects, this one is 100% cat approved.  We thank our feline tester, Mai Mai, as well as the following contributors to the project.

cat approved

People & Products

Builder: moss
Photography: moss
Videography: Nick Martin Film
Flooring: Clear Epoxy
Kitchen cabinetry: Fricano Custom Cabinetry
Salvaged kitchen pendants: Reclaimed
Kitchen counter / backsplash: Rolled steel by Vector Custom Fabricating
Kitchen appliances: Thermador, Bosch, Whirlpool
Dining Table: Custom by moss, reclaimed white oak top with steel legs
Master bathroom sink: Blanco sink with custom rolled steel counter by Vector Custom Fabricating
Master bathroom tub: Victoria & Albert
Master bathroom plumbing fixtures: Grohe, Toto
Entry bench: moss
Window wall: Fricano Custom Cabinetry
Curtains: Robert Allen ‘Lavishing Parchment’ fabric
Bathroom sink: Reclaimed 1946 Kohler farmhouse sink with custom copper faucet and rubberized wheel handle
General lighting: Red Dot double head
Concealed LED: Edge Lighting
Entry sconce: Reclaimed 1930’s movie house flood light
Living Room Pendant: Custom elk antler chandelier by Breedlove Designs (no animals were harmed)
Cat: Mai-Mai