Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Size: Living room/kitchen, 975 square feet
I am sharing the living room and kitchen space of my loft apartment. I am 27 and moved into my one-bedroom apartment one year ago. The building was previously an industrial space and was converted into loft apartments within the last 15-20 years during the revival of Kansas City’s downtown Arts neighborhood, known as the Crossroads District.
My goal was to transform the minimalist industrial nature of the space (high concrete ceilings, exposed pipes, brick walls, concrete floor) into a warm, cozy, soft environment that juxtaposed the harder structural elements, while also highlighting the best parts of them. I have an eclectic style, drawn towards antiques and traditional aesthetics as well as modern and mid-century. My favorite is a mix of all.
I’ve been collecting art, trinkets, chairs and lighting since first putting my college dorm rooms together. However, this is the first place that is all my own, and I had to acquire many of the larger pieces of furniture when I moved in. Apart from substantial pieces that I bought new (sofa, dining table, bar cart), the majority of my things came from antique or vintage shops. I was also able to find some quirky basement treasures at my parents’ house, which just needed some TLC. One of my favorite parts about the space is having big white walls to cover with art, several pieces of which are painted by artists in my family (the portrait of my grandfather painted by my grandmother that hangs above my sofa) or paintings that were passed down to me (a set of Yoko Ono works). Some pieces were found in antique stores, some were bought from young artist friends and others were purchased as new meaningful investments.
One of the things that significantly enhanced the dual living room/kitchen space was removing the apartment’s kitchen island which matched the cabinets and surfaces. I envisioned a big table surrounded by wine and friends, and the clunky, cold-looking island was foiling the plan. Since it was technically movable, the landlord agreed to move it out (first and last time agreeing to that, I believe). With the island gone, I was able to put in a large farm table that also acted as a kitchen island/work space for every day cooking and life. Seating was also a priority and being able to host gatherings. My solution was to plant fun chairs, not necessarily matching, all round the apartment and, when duty called, they would all find their places at the dinner table.
There was initially only one row of track lighting in the whole room, which cast a gloomy light, so I added a sputnik chandelier with lots of bulbs to put out extra light (electrical hookup was already there) and placed vintage lamps around the perimeter of the room. Lastly, and what adds the most warmth to the space most for me, are the Turkish and cowhide rugs that cover the concrete floors. All were found in antique shops and are well-worn, but add color, imperfection and character.
While this apartment is only a rental and I'll have to leave it someday, it has been such a wonderful experience and a great source of happiness— both in designing it and living in it.