The Loft Apartment Project
If you could see me now, I’m sitting at home on my couch with a sleeping infant to my right. To my left are counter and cupboard samples and about 12 to-do lists. In front of me is a long line up of half written emails to builders, electricians, and suppliers. I’m taking a little “blogging break” to tell you more about what has (literally at the moment) fallen into my lap.
We’ve had a really exciting opportunity presented to Aviator Jayne. We’ve been asked to help design three loft apartments being built in a historic space above a local business in downtown Owosso. We’re helping choose all the lighting, flooring, and paint for all three, but COMPLETELY furnishing and decorating the largest of the three apartments where the building owners, Jim and Jill, will be living.
You guys, for so many reasons, this is a dream come true. I’d like to think we have a a pretty gutsy vision for Aviator Jayne. We have dreams, plans, and goals all coming out of our ears. Of all the things we want to accomplish through Aviator Jayne, going to people’s homes and providing help with decorating and design is a big one. We want to be a place of inspiration and HELP to those who don’t know where to begin making a space they love. I have visions of our team sitting down with people to provide their expertise and some practical direction for how to make a house into a home. I see our team sharing advice on where to hang art, what paint colors to choose, how to arrange furniture.
When Jim approached us about this project I said YES before the pitch was finished. For starters, we are proud to share a town with this couple. Jim and Jill are a young couple who not only reside in Owosso, but much of their life is spent improving and restoring this town. Building by building, they’ve poured their time, money, and faith into this community and if I can help them in any way I will. Secondly, the building they’ve chosen is just magical. It’s old as can be and the space has sat vacant for years and years above one of the few remaining Radio Shacks in the world. For those of you who live in older cities with a downtown, many of the buildings that house your favorite businesses have unused spaces above. Big, open, unused spaces. Back in the day, many shop owners and their families lived above the business they ran. Aviator Jayne, for example, has a beautiful loft space right above the shop. I’ve been told that the original shop owner and his family once lived up there - I’m not sure if it’s true or not. But what is true is that at one time, our shop, which used to be a jewelry store for about 100 years, was a two-story shop. When the Great Depression hit the United States in the thirties, the second story of the shop shut down and was never opened to the public again. It sat unused, other than for storage and workspace. The stunning hand made jewelry cases are still there. When we moved in, honestly, it was the dusty and lonely upstairs that sold us on the building. We renovated the space and opened it up to the public again. We absolutely love showing it off to the people of Owosso who have lived here their whole lives, had come in and out of Cervaney Jewelers for every occasion, but had never been upstairs. It’s once again a useful space where people gather and memories are made.
This space above Radio Shack is no different in its beauty; tin ceilings, wood floors, just oozing with character and mystery. There are colorful walls and posters that we may never know the story behind. Historic spaces like this leave me in awe thinking about the rich history, all the people who did life here and imagining what it once was.
There is untapped potential in these spaces above the businesses we know and love. I am incredibly grateful to be a part of another transformation of a historic space being made useful again.
Let’s talk a bit more about the space. Of the three lofts, the large one, Jim and Jill’s future home, has a balcony that will overlook Exchange Street. This is where our lively Farmer’s Market sets up every Saturday, May through October. The two smaller apartments are side by side behind the main one. Each of these has a wall of windows overlooking Main Street. The tin ceilings have already been restored and painted in these two, and the light from the wall of windows is stunning. The main apartment will have an exposed ceiling since the tin on this side wasn’t salvageable. Still, totally gorgeous. All three have big open floor plans. All three are bright with natural light.
So, what’s this place going to look like when it’s done? Jim and Jill have a clean and modern style. Entertaining is important to them and they are really involved in their community. This space is in the heart of our downtown and from the comfort of their own balcony, they’re still right in the middle of the buzz of our sweet town below them. Community in their home is also important to them so we’re designing accordingly. We’re incorporating a long dining room table they can share meals with friends around. We plan to use a lot of comfortable seating and include a few different areas people can go to hold meaningful conversations. The colors, lighting, and flow of it all will make for a warm, inviting, and conversation-worthy space altogether. At least that’s what we’re going for! Another thing about the owners, they are completely trusting and open to what we want to do to the space. In fact, they jokingly (maybe?) said they don’t want to come back to the loft again until it’s completed. I really love their openness. It isn’t that they don’t have opinions and preferences, but I believe they’re just excited for change and they’re embracing it all. So, you will see Aviator Jayne’s interpretation of Jim and Jill’s desires. They gave us a few important clues and we’re running with them. We don’t want to create just a picture worthy space, we want to create a place full of function, comfort and a space that feels like HOME in that it honors what is important to Jim and Jill.
So here’s the scary part…we have about a month and a half to turn this shell of a space into someone’s home. We have to conquer flooring, lighting, paint…and then…built in’s, hardware, all new furniture, decor, rugs, a few custom furniture pieces… WHEW! Let’s do it.
The framing of the walls are up now, electrical is in place, and plumbing and drywall is next.
In the meantime, I’m learning how tricky it is to build a home out of lists, samples, drawings, lighting charts, Pinterest boards, and ideas. I’m ready to get these plans off paper and get my hands on this place. We’re so pumped about this renovation and we hope you’ll follow us on this adventure as we tackle each and every project along the way.
Thanks for reading today. Join us again next week for more Aviator Jayne inspiration!