Category: Article:

by Dr. Oneida Cramer

Entering the housing market is a new breed of residential lofts?conceptualized and built to achieve the ambiance of a loft but without carrying historical architectural perspective.

?The reason I like this (loft) is I wanted contemporary, loft living. But I wanted it new. So, this gave me the best?take the elements from the old and keep all the conveniences of a great new building,? said Steve Rahhal, who was among the first residents to occupy 2011 Cedar Springs Road last August.

So what features define the new resident loft? First, a high ceiling?in all the 45 units at 2011 Cedar Springs Road, a two-story ceiling occupies the spacious room between the kitchen and the window overlooking the city. And of course, these lofts require a ?loft??a second story with access via a stairway up to the master bedroom, dressing room, bath, and accessory space for a study/office, grand piano, or seating. On a recent loft tour at 2011 Cedar Springs Road, I found many lofts with cement floors and exposed plumbing, but not all. In fact, the five interiors, created by David Cadwallader, ASID and John Holstead, ASID, ranged from the minimalist to elegant classical traditional?including a grand piano on hard wood floors to a monotone white covering all the ceiling plumbing. Pocket doors with frosted glass, decorative stainless steel, and reflective ceiling lights accentuated the stark contemporary lines of an all-white loft.

Although floor plans trended along similar lines, residents were given pretty much an open option when choosing where to enclose rooms, according to Cynthia Branch Mills, International Interior Design Association (IIDA), who along with Pat McLaughlin hosted the tour.

?To me, what defines a loft?that it is old, that it?s being converted into livable space?that?s what I consider a true loft,? said April Savina, Fashion and Associate Editor People Newspapers, and a Dallas loft dweller at the Post Wilson Building.

?Our ceiling is 12 to 15 feet high, depending on the room you?re in, ? Savina said. All the plumbing, metal, white, and PVC fixtures, is exposed. ?We?ve got three different kinds of flooring. Part of our entryway used to be the women?s restroom; so, it?s got tile.? The loft also has wood floors and a cement floor in the bathroom. A bit further, there?s brick?a knocked out, hole walk through that is an arch?raw, jagged and not finished.

The management tried to keep everything as original as possible adding only bathrooms and kitchen, according to Savina. But it does leave some very odd floor plans?everyone totally different?for example, 1500 square feet but looking small because of a large winding hallway.

?The one we chose is 1300 square feet,? Savina said. ?We don?t really have a hallway; we have only one closet. Our bedroom has three walls?no fourth wall. You kind of walk down a ?hallway,? and suddenly the bedroom is on the left?no wall or doorway leading into it. You walk a little further, and it (the space) just opens up into a huge room?one room to serve as our living room, dining room, kitchen, and study. But it?s all just one big room.?

?You just have to be creative with using space?defining the room that?s not defined for you,? said Savina, who found life in a loft quite an adjustment after living in an apartment because of difficulty in getting the old construction to look sparkling clean. Storage also posed a problem; so, Savina and her husband constructed a small closet in a little out-of-the way nook.

Lofts first appeared in Dallas around the late 1980?s to early 1990?s, according to Westdale Asset Management, marketing director Ricki Ferrell. In fact, Westdale was one of the early developers and now oversees five different complexes in Dallas.

It so happens that in 1992-93, Les and Daren Rogers were looking to build a home along the lines of the art deco lofts they had visited on the west coast and the Bohemian style living in New York City. In Dallas, they found only limited selection, nothing suitable until quite by accident they discovered a vacant property at the southeast corner of McCommas and Central Expressway on the edge of the historic ?M? Street district. Les had grown up to be a teenager in the area before his family moved away. Now, he welcomed coming back to his roots and building something with his own personality?artist of large contemporary shapes ( with elements of Frank Lloyd Wright?s concept of incorporating natural stone, steel and wood.

?We really wanted to be part of the neighborhood. Like when the kids grew up in Plano, we wanted to have neighbors, and flowers and hundred year old trees,? Les said. But mainly, we wanted to be functional for the art and the deco pieces.?

So, with the help of architect, Dean Dekker, Les designed and built a 4000 cubic foot open floor plan home with a 26-foot ceiling, which allows for a second story loft to circle partially around two large rooms on the first floor?the front living room and the art studio. The walls, because of their dimensions, can exhibit paintings up to 7 feet by 18 to 20 feet large. And the loft accommodates balcony space for chess and a game room.

?We researched old books of Chicago fire stations,? Les said. ?I wanted to do what could have been a 1940?s fire station that somebody would purchase and rehab to the 90?s?transform into a post-modern dwelling. That?s how I came up with the design of the exterior. And because it was in the ?M? Street with all of the Tudor homes, I chose the 1940?s firehouse look just to mold the basic sculpture piece. Then I began do put my own personality and functionality into it.?

?I wanted the studio to have a lot of natural light from many sources, so I put twelve windows (2-foot by 2-foot) in the living room and upper mid section.? A large window at the curve of the stairwell overlooks Central Expressway. And along the upper half of the stirs, the wall is covered with a convoluted galvanized aluminum, normally used for industrial roofing. The same convoluted galvanized aluminum, with a display of family pictures, also covers the second floor wall space between the outdoor hot tub and the open master bedroom area. A guest bedroom is the only enclosed room in the house. It is located on the first floor behind the kitchen, which just happens to be quite near the front entrance.

On entering the front door, visitors are confronted by a 2-foot by 12-foot steel wine rack with holes cut so the wine cork tilts down. And behind the wine rack is a glass rack made of automotive tail pipe and stainless steel rods; the polished glass liquor shelf sits on top of four rubber Chevy hood grommets on the top inside of the tail pipe frame. As if not to be outdone, the bar counter top features a poly acrylic coated painting, which can be viewed from the second story-bridge. Also seen from the bridge is the top of the 600-pound steel plate that sits on top the Portuguese stone fireplace in the living room, where Les and Daren often sit by the fire marveling how their visions built their dream home.

-by Dr. Oneida Cramer
For more information, see the about page
For my favorite music go here

Home - Email Webmaster - About - Links - Privacy Policy
1 1 1 hello