2009 WRA Wisconsin Remodelers Silver Award
With a client who was a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright, earth friendly products, reading and creating crafts resulted in the need to convert an unfinished attic into a 2nd floor loft area for these hobbies. The homeowner also had resale in mind, the space had to meet a codes to be considered a bedroom.
The existing attic was an unfinished and unheated space with 2 old inefficient windows at each end. The existing floor joist were 2×8’s and were structural sound for a floor load, but the was an 9′-0″ section that was sitting on a non bearing wall below. The problem was solved by adding a LVL structural beam flush in the floor. The entire floor area was covered with 3/4″ plywood sub-flooring. Icynene Insulation was added to the existing 2×6 rafters to ensure R-38 insulations values without the need of reducing the already low to begin with ceiling and rafter heights and eliminating the need for roof venting. 2 new Marvin windows were added at each end in the existing window locations, this still created a natural light code issue. 2 skylights that fit between the existing rafter cavities were added in lieu of changing the window sizes or reframing the roof, per homeowners request. Ceiling joists were added at 7′-2″ to create a flat spot for lighting and to help create a collar tie to strengthen the roof for future snow loads. All rafters had to be furred down to create a straight plane for drywall, because of bowed existing framing. All non bearing knee walls, closet and bookcase niche were framed. The area was then wired to code and per homeowners lighting locations. HVAC supply and return lines were added to this space through the chimney chase and ran into the back of the knee walls.. An exhaust fan was added in the ceiling to help with minimal natural ventilation . The entire space was drywalled and sprayed.
Finish carpentry is where the homeowner brought her ideas to create her dream loft area. With the homeowner being a fan of earth friendly products, bamboo flooring manufactured in Sweden was supplied and installed , the unique part of the flooring is free of VOC emitting formaldehyde glue. Custom moldings were made to match the profile of the 1st floor level and stained to match by owner. Bi-fold doors and shelves were installed in the closet. A cabinet and bookcase were installed in the 2 niches.
The homeowners love of Frank Lloyd Wright inspired her design of the balcony railing system and small bench niche adjacent to the staircase, this bench also created a great space to put one of the heat supply runs. The newel posts are wrapped with maple 1x stock and capped off with copper caps custom made by the owners brother.
Along with the great natural lighting, 5 well placed wall sconces, can lights and ceiling fan help to light this artsy space. The homeowner adds her final touches to this amazing loft area by putting a organic wallpaper to the walls of the room to complete her dream space.
“Conclusion” With lower ceilings due to the existing footprint and other existing conditions expression of materials and millwork detailing was extremely important to meet the concerns of both the client and the building codes. The process lead way to a bright and earth friendly loft space that the owner can relax with a book or work on arts and crafts, while having the peace of mind that her concerns were considered and met without compromising her vision of a 3rd bedroom for resale and her own personal needs.