It’s Fall, which means it’s my busiest season as a band director. For the past three years we have come to a screeching halt on renovation progress during this time, because I am at school late every day and I’m barely home at all on many Thursdays, Fridays, or Saturdays. I have managed to chip away at rehabbing the old storm windows, but other than that it has been pretty stagnant around here. In other news, we continue to have trouble finding someone to help us with necessary structural repairs to the porch, so it looks like we will have to push that back to Spring. In the meantime we have many goals to accomplish this winter on the interior of the house!
Sometimes you need an incentive to get something done fast – like oncoming cold weather or a neighborhood home tour. Thanksgiving, which is rapidly approaching, is just the motivation we need to complete a space of our house that has remained untouched for more than a year and a half. The loft, as we call it, is really just empty space above the master bedroom that is open to the upstairs commons area.
When you look at it from ground level it doesn’t look very big, but it is actually 5’3″ tall, 8′ wide, 13′ long. When we first started renovating the house, many people were surprised we planned on using this area at all. They assumed it would be way too hot and inconveniently located to ever use it, but we felt otherwise. The insulation that we used on the roof deck is so good that it’s maybe just a few degrees warmer in the loft and remains comfortable all year. It has already served as a great storage area. If that’s all we ever used it for, it was still worth the effort. Our goal, by Thanksgiving, is to have the space available for visiting guests to use as a guest “bedroom”.
We have already done a lot of work on the space. Here was the original condition…
We have added sister joists, a thick plywood floor, a short knee wall, insulation, drywall, and a new window to create a space that we intend to use as an additional play area/reading room/guest room/whatever.
Our original plan was to build a book shelf around the window, put down some carpet, and build a railing at the open end of the loft. The creative juices started flowing and plans changed. Realizing we didn’t have a guest room, we thought this might be a fun place to add a bed. Also, we couldn’t decide on a railing design that we liked, so we eventually gravitated towards building bookshelves on the open end that would serve as a way to partially enclose the space (more on that in the next blog post).
The hardest part of any project is visualizing it. I am NOT a carpenter, I just like to pretend. In the past I have described myself as a carpenter hack, but maybe now I can start calling myself an amateur carpenter? Anyway, I enjoy it, even if I might be doing it all wrong. I am at least a little proud of the fact that I am creating these projects without using directions, plans, or any type of guide. As an educator, I know that means I have graduated to higher level of understanding. According to Marzano, I have moved from Retrieval and Comprehension to Knowledge utilization. Or, on Webb’s depth of knowledge scale I have moved from level 1, recall and reproduction, to level 4, extended thinking. Wait! Can I use this for my school administrator’s teacher evaluation rubric???
Okay, I have lost all the non-teachers out there. Moving on…
I started by positioning the bed frame (purchased from IKEA) and checked to make sure there would be enough head room. I also wanted to make sure the top of the mattress was slightly below the window ledge. I secured the outline of what would eventually become the book shelf and then secured the bottom of the shelf to the bed.
Next, I built the casing for the window and added the rest of the walls and shelves for the book shelf.
The next picture shows a pretty big jump (sometimes it’s hard to remember to stop and document the progress). I added facings for the bookshelf, and ledges on both ends of the bed. I also added a facing for the ledges and the front of the bed. It’s nothing fancy, but I think it captures the spirit of the space and will work well for our needs.
While I was working on this project I was so thankful that we decided to add a window to this space. I found myself getting distracted looking out the window at our chicken coop and the rest of the neighborhood. It’s a great place to just hang out.
Here is the support for the mattress. Another fancy IKEA purchase.
The picture below shows what it looks like with the mattress. We left enough space under the bed to store an additional mattress that can be pulled out to accommodate another guest.
I do think the view from the camera lens makes the space seem smaller, so here’s a picture with a four year old to give you a better sense of scale.
Still a lot more work to be done on this space. Next up… bookshelves on the other end of the loft, more trim work, priming and painting, baseboards, then carpet! We have three weeks to complete the project. It will be close, but I think we can do it.