Design Assistance: Ideas for a Philly Loft

Apologies to anyone who reads in a reader on through email! Every time I try to post this is breaks the blog, so I have to remove it. I’m about to give up trying to post this!

Back in January I showed you some photos of my sister’s apartment and a design board I had made for her for her living room. I also mentioned how she wasn’t attached to the place because it felt too big. At the end of the post I gave you a sneak peek of the place she would be moving into, and an idea of how her Kivik sofa & the curtains I recommended might translate into the new place.

j's new place

Earlier this week my sister Jess sent me a photo of her new kitchen (she moves in 28 days!) and asked for my help finding a kitchen island that doubles as a table. Here’s what she had to say about her new space:

“Floors are gray plank, ceiling is lighter gray concrete. [Selling] pretty much everything… there just isn’t room. Keeping the sleeper sofa, red cabinet, one bookshelf, and whatever we can find as a table. Pretty much everything I have is various shades of green, but I’m not particularly attached to that. Probably no back or low back [stools].”

j's new kitchen smaller

I quickly looked back at the living room board I made in January and was relieved to see I had gone in the right direction. This loft apartment is a perfect setting for modern & industrial style furnishings mixed with colorful and cozy accessories. To me it’s the perfect marriage of elegance & class with youthful accents.

j living room studio

curtains | nesting tables | rug | pillows | slipcover | pouf | print

Since Jess said she isn’t especially attached the the green color scheme she has going on, I recommended she go with a predominately blue & yellow color scheme and accent it with pops of red, but to also keep the larger pieces neutral. The colors were pulled from the artwork – Jess lived abroad for about 18 months during college, and this Amsterdam bike print looks like something she would love. It should pair well with the travel themed prints seen in her previous apartment, but it helps to introduce some color as well (the other prints are black & white). By choosing to keep the larger purchases gray & tan, she’ll be able to change things up easily if she gets tired of the color scheme.

With a sleeper sofa I’d vote for a pouf or two instead of a traditional ottoman or coffee table, and I think that the slim nesting side tables would be a better option than a bulkier nightstand because the room is part bedroom & part living room. Rather than take of table space with a lamp, I’d love to see something wall mounted, maybe Daniel’s Frack Hack. I loved the blue curtains with breezy sheers in her last apartment, but in this apartment I’d go with pipe curtain rods.

j's new kitchen smaller

Here’s the photo of the kitchen again, to save you scrolling time.

I researched a myriad options for the island: the Ikea Stenstorp, the Ikea Varde base cabinet, either of those options with a larger Numerar countertop to allow maximum seating, the Ikea Utby bar table, the Crate & Barrel Belmont, West Elm’s Rustic Kitchen Island, various Craigslist options (including a few discontinued Crate & Barrel and Ikea models), eBay classifieds, several contenders from O.co, Wayfair & J C Penny… And briefly– the possibility of flying to Philly, felling a tree buying wood from a hardware store/lumber yard, and lovingly hand-crafting a custom island that would be the envy of all her neighbors and guests. I would then drive to Philly and rescue said island for my future loft art studio when she undoubtedly moves again in a year. I’m only half kidding about that last custom island part.

Most of these options were ruled out, for reasons like difficulty shipping/fitting them in her sedan/lugging them up the elevator, her lack of drill and circular saw, inability to see them in person first, the fear of Craigslist killers, and the cost of airfare. (Mostly kidding about those last two.) Also, since Jess’s kitchen is already full of warm wood tones and gray tile I think a wooden island base might blend in a little too much. I suggested she go with a stainless work table paired with red stools, and consider the possibility of switching the top out for a butcher block top down the line. (I’ll talk more in a later post about my hunt for the perfect prep table.)

I imagined the island shelf as the perfect spot to bring in a couple of light toned woven baskets, full of kitchen linens or anything she doesn’t want to keep directly on the counter. Underneath the island a jute rug would help ground the space (and also be resilient in case something spills). The metal locker basket would make a great produce bin.

j kitchen 3

table | stools | metal basket | woven basket | rug

After my exhaustive island research I went rogue and began plotting the other side of Jess’s living room/entryway. Since the apartment is a studio, I envision part of the living room acting as an entryway. Jess wants to wall mount her TV this time, so I’d use part of the red cabinet to hold some a DVD player & router, and maybe wall mount her Apple TV as well). Next I’d hang a few hooks (for purses, coats, keys, and reusable bags) beside the red cabinet and position her paper floor lamp beside the mirror – possibly on a timer, so she doesn’t come home to a dark apartment. I’d also forgo the shoe bench in favor of another woven basket and a side chair that could pull double duty as a place to put on shoes and extra seating for guests.

J entryway

light | mirror | cabinet | chair | hooks | basket

Overall, I am completely smitten with how it all came together. I think it’s a great mix of modern pieces and a few industrial touches to pay homage to the style of the apartment. The red cabinet, stools, and peacock chair are all classic styles but the colors help to keep things fresh & youthful. The neutral couch, rug, and nesting tables keep it from feeling like Crayola threw up all over the place.

SPOILER ALERT: Ever the independent thinker, Jess decided (after my research and very lengthy email on islands and stools) that she liked my first suggestion of the Stenstorp island. She also mentioned that her Kivik is very comfortable but it doesn’t fit in her current building’s elevator OR her new building’s. It’s also very heavy, wide, and she’s worried it will dominate the living room. Such a trickster. Way to pull the rug out from under a girl, sis! ;)

UPDATE: After my first attempted at getting this to post, Jess read it in her email and decided that she liked the idea of a stainless prep table as an island, but she was a little sad about not having a butcher block top, so I did some more research and updated the post.

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One Response to Design Assistance: Ideas for a Philly Loft

  1. Pingback: Design Assistance: Perfecting the Look » Hernando House

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