Before & After: Multi-purpose Loft Space

We moved into our home four years ago in a flurry of MA thesis writing and job changes. When we had time, we worked on decorating the bedrooms, living room, and dining area — but we pretty much ignored the loft space at the top of the stairs. We eventually bought a rug and our friend Karen kindly built us pine shelves while staying as a houseguest. Sadly, that was about it until last year, when our home office moved there to make way for a nursery.

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As we prepared for the baby's arrival, we realized we already had random stuff we weren't using, including two bookshelves from my college house, random art from my grandparents' home, and my husband's old office chair. Since we wanted to spend money on the nursery (and, of course, the baby) we decided to utilize what we already owned rather than buying anything new.

The art, some of which isn't our taste but has sentimental value, got gathered on a gallery wall, along with photos that got displaced in the office move. The bookshelves, which are a bit worn, pop on the wall and look nice from our living room, which has a view of the loft. My husband's beloved movie collection got organized into DiscSox, and we moved the cookbooks to the kitchen. After some consternation, we accepted that these shelves would never be stylishly arranged but would be where we stored random childhood books, knitting patterns, photo albums, and other evidence of our tendency toward hoarding, something that's well-hidden downstairs. In the end, we did end up having to buy a new desk (from CB2, after a search for a vintage one failed) and a task light, but that was it.

While the loft is still imperfect, it did force us to look at our old belongings in new ways and to use things we may have otherwise donated or stored. Overall, we're happy with the eclectic result, which serves its purpose as an office, while giving us a bit more storage room.

Images: Kathleen Luttschyn

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DIY, Before & After

Kathleen is a freelance editor who lives in Chicago. She loves eclectic rooms, traveling with her family, and feeding anyone who steps foot in her house. She theoretically hates clutter, but can’t stop buying books and craft supplies.