Our Library Loft Plans

In a few weeks, we're renovating the upstairs loft at our place.  (I CANNOT WAIT!!!! ... well, can't wait for it to be over, I should say ;) ;)   The loft is basically a family room where we keep all of the boys' toys, watch movies, read, etc... (Sidenote on why I love this floorplan so much: The boys don't keep any toys in their bedrooms here because the loft is right outside of their rooms, which has made our lives sooooo much easier.  Cleaning their rooms pretty much consists of making beds and dealing with clothes.  It's sort of like the old homes with the bedrooms off of the "nursery"... love it.)  Anyway, here's what the loft looked like when we bought the house:



We've removed the paneling and will removing the two existing windows and replacing them with one massive window, similar to this one in It's Complicated:


The window is actually 3 separate windows and will be around fifteen feet long.  It will completely open our loft to the back yard and I cannot wait!!!

Here's that area of the loft when we were living in it and using it as our kitchen during the renovations:


It's how it pretty much looks now with our wall-to-wall seagrass and half-painted walls.   The guys got as much done up here before we moved in.  You can really see how "pink" the beige was in the house compared to the cream we're changing it to...

And here's the view from this past Fall:



When you walk into the loft when we're finished, you'll really get to appreciate the view & almost feel as if you're outside.  We've added & enlarged windows wherever possible.  When I come home to our house (the downstairs) after travelling, I'm really struck by how open it is and I feel slightly exposed, but in a good way.  When it snows, you feel like you're almost out there with the snow.  This past week or two, everything turned technicolor green outside with the Spring, and there's a bit of a green glow in our house right now because it's so open.  (I was on facetime with my dad and he asked me what color green was on the walls!!)  I love it!! So, I think adding this massive window upstairs will really get the upstairs feeling the same way.

We're planning to add a window seat under the window:



This is going to be the biggest window seat I've ever seen at fifteen feet long...  I'm wondering how our workroom will get the cushion here.  ("Where there's a will" I guess?? ;) ;)

Here's another view of the family room "before": 



We've removed the built-ins in the pic and we are adding built-in bookshelves to all of the walls.  The new built-ins will consist of vertical drywall columns that support old wood shelves.  In the back of the room, we'll float our sofa in front of the shelves and use the inaccessible space behind the sofa for things we rarely need to access/storage:


We won't have room for floor lamps of end tables with lamps for the sofa, so I'm on the hunt for the perfect sconces to go above the sofa.

I should probably mention here -since I find that people often have questions about this- that we love to read and have a disgusting number of books.  We have ugly books, which I have ways of making look a little better, and we also have some really beautiful books, that yes, we actually read.  ( I say it like that because the last time I posted photos of a bookshelf of mine I got comments saying that the books on our shelves didn't look like they'd ever been read....  I'm amazed you can tell from a photo if a book's been read or not!) My husband (a former English teacher) and I both love to read and he loves collecting first or early editions of books.  My grandfather has also been gifting me (and now my husband & boys too) classics every Thanksgiving, so we've really gotten a fair-sized library going.  AND -I'll admit-  whenever I see a book that's really beautiful & looks interesting for a great price, I buy it, figuring it'll get read sometime.  I CANNOT WAIT to get our books out of our parking spot in our garage and into the house!!!   I've missed my books so much (it's  been since September) and can't wait to dig into them again.  

Here's a quick sketch of how the window wall will look, also surrounded by books:


The window seat will fit in with the shelves and then come out slightly farther than the shelves, which will be 24" deep on this will so the window seat looks more seamless.  Again, the drywall itself will be what shapes the buiilt-ins.  The window seat cushion will sit on a small drywall platform and the shelves above it and the vertical columns will all be made of drywall.  (House dream one day is to coat all of our drywall in a smooth plaster but for now, it's drywall.)  Because this wall of built-ins, is 24" deep, I plan to use it to really stash a lot of our books.  I have an insane collection of cheesy teen horror books from when I was a kid (books I still loooooove & read occasionally... Christopher Pike anyone??  He & L.J. Smith did Vampires best, I think!!!) and so they'll go above the window seat a few rows deep with their pages side forward instead of with their flourescent pink, green, and orange spines outward.  

Anyway, we're starting this next phase in a few weeks and are hoping to finish up this Summer...  Now that the elevations are figured out, it's time for me to start thinking about the fabrics & furnishings.  I'm planning on moving a table of ours up to the window seat so the boys can do crafts & projects, and eventually homework up there.  I'll keep you posted as I put the fabrics together... I'm envisioning a solid on the window seat mixed with a bunch of pillows in my fabrics.

Have a great day & can't wait to hear what you think!!



If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

37 comments:

Merlyn Corcoran said...

You may want to consider making three separate cushions for your window seat for practical reasons - most foam comes only 9' long; it would make them easier to fabricate and transport; and if something happens, it's less expensive/less hassle to have one cushion cover cleaned or replaced. It will be a fabulous room when finished!

Lauren said...

Great idea Merlyn!!
Thanks so much!!
~lauren

Laura DeHaan Haske said...

I love all of your books! To me, nothing says home like something good to read. Please keep showing us ideas for bringing more books into our homes.

Anna said...

Window seat and books! perfect!

Kelly Pelley said...

It's going to be gorgeous! Can't wait to see :)

Shalini Ganguli said...

Wow it will look wonderful! All the best. Look forward to seeing the finished result.

Loretta Fontaine (EcoHappy Blog) said...

Lauren- Really wonderful plans! Your books will have such a happy home! (and the little book I gave you, too - I hope!)

Googling "beautiful window seats" is what made me find your blog Pure Style Home way back when (and landing on your April 2009 post “Icons of Home”). Now, exactly four years later you are finally getting that iconic windowseat! Yea! And the drawings sketched up for the windowseat look fantastic!

Loretta

Kristen said...

OK What an amazing space! This is going to be good. Can't wait to see.

Karen C said...

Sounds amazing! I can't wait to see the finished product. My husband and I have tons of books as well. We turned our dining room into a library a few years ago, and one wall is books from floor to ceiling. With all those shelves, we still have 3 tall bookshelves in our bedroom and had to donate a LOT. The greatest gift we can give our children is to instill a love for reading.

Pat said...

Sounds wonderful. When we became empty-nesters, I converted our dining room into a library with a large table, wall-to-wall shelves, fireplace, mementoes and comfortable seating. I can change it back to a dining room in 5 minutes.

Carmella said...

Such great plans in the works, Lauren! I can totally envision the whole thing from your sketches / description. Love! Have to say, we recently had a banquette built for dining, tucked into a bumped-out window. We love it!! With throw pillows, it feels like another sofa in the room!

Vel Criste said...

Looking awesome Lauren! The mom in me though is worried about the safety with windows and a seat on the 2nd floor! Just make sure their gonna be really thick glass and locks on top where the boys won't reach. Other than that I bet this room will look just like your other room designs - fabulous!

Merlin said...

Tis going to be spectacular!! We live in Arlington on a hill surrounded by huge trees with unadorned windows and marvel the way light changes throughout the day. franki

Lauren said...

HI Vel Criste-

Yes definitely! Tempered glass, and the openings are up top where they can't reach, Plus- and this sounds terrible but I have thought of it- there is a high raised garden bed beneath the windows so high that when you stand in it you can touch the window so it's not a very far fall.... hahaha I'm aware of how bad that sounds hahaha
xoxo,
lauren

Sabina said...

Lauren - would love to know how you make your books "look better". We have a loft of built in bookshelves and am looking for ideas...

Diane Haynie said...

Looks great...cant wait to see the finished product and I can easily envision a grouping of your fabrics on that window seat!

Nuala Raftery said...

I remember the discussion about your books some time ago and was amazed at how strongly many people felt about the presence of books in a room scheme. My dining room is a library with book-filled cherrywood shelves over china and pottery-filled cupboards on three walls. My ground floor study is lined with bookshelves and I have a bookshelf in my bedroom. In my little country cottage I have a book-filled study and every other room has piles of books on tables. In addition I have about 200 boxes of books in storage. There is an explanation for all this excess. My late husband was a professor of archaeology and I am an Archaeology and English graduate. Now a widow living alone, I spend at least 8 hours a day reading. My grandchilren are also enthusiastic readers and even the 7-month old loves her books. A house without books is not a home as far as I'm concerned.

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Books are like friends! And they should have a wonderful space in your home. I am so looking forward to seeing this transformation!

Have a great day!

Abby M. Interiors said...

Lauren, What a beautiful plan! I'm excited to see pillows in all of your textiles on that super long window seat. Your boys are going to have such amazing memories from this space. So special!
Abby M.

Tawna said...

Your window seat was amazing at the show house. I can imagine all of your gorgeous textiles layered on your new one! I love that the couch hides stuff you don't get to a lot or don't want to see. I'm working on a room for my mom, and it also has a window seat area that my dad made. It's the strangest shape...kind of an oval with diamond cut edges (that probably makes no sense at all...ha ha!) but it's fun seeing ideas for these spaces. Getting the right foam is a new experience for me? Do you suggest any certain place to get it? I love Merlyn's idea too!

Heather Peterson said...

I read EVERY Christopher Pike as a kid--wish I still had them to pass along when my girls are more grown!

We, too, are a family of book lovers, and I have several half written posts about bookshelves, shelf styling, prop books--I just don't get it. If you love books, you should have them in your house! You're setting a good example. :)

Heather
loveyourspace.blogspot.com

Morning Milk said...

Love your plans! Tell me, would you mind divulging your public sources for home accessories? I am in dire need of cool, vintage accessories.

THanks!

Jennifer @ MillerMusings said...

I can't wait to see how this room turns out!! We bought our house almost the same exact time y'all bought this house, and we're also in the process of adding built-ins for our huge stockpile of books. We're doing the work ourselves, so it's going painfully slow, I cannot wait to have all our books out of the boxes in the garage, I miss them SO much!!!

suzannem80 said...

Omg, this room sounds AMAZING! I love your style; it 's always very "tree-house/secret garden" feeling to me. I also love books and have a room in my house that I call the "Reading Room" and it's obviously filled with as many books as I could pack in there.

I also have saved all my "teen horror" books and re-read them from time to time. I loved the Final Friends series by Christopher Pike, and I also saved all my old Sweet Valley High books too. I'm 32 years old and my friends think I'm crazy but I dont care. So happy that you're going to display your old books too! :)

Heather said...

What a change that will be! I can see why you are eager to be done and using the space already! Have you considered using multiple (though matching) window seats allowing access to hinged storage in the window seat? We had that growing up and it was always well-used storage for rarely used, but still needed items.

alison g. said...

It's going to be so amazing, and gives me lots of food for thought. We ended up buying in Burke, and I was thinking about built-ins similar to what your sketches suggest. I'll get a preview of what I envision with your loft reno!
Take Care,
alison g.

Carol Ann said...

Home is where my books are! Looks like you follow the same philosophy. Can't wait to see the new book-filled room!

Laura Casey Interiors said...

This sounds fantastic, Lauren! I adore books also. I can't wait to see the finished space.

Jason Knight said...

Hey, I am wondering what the best windows would be for my home in Elgin il, Thanks for any suggestions!

Katelyn Falk said...

I love it!! I can feel your excitement just reading the post. :) I love living vicariously through your blog because my husband and I are currently renting and can't change much in our apt. I always love getting ideas for our future home from your blog!

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All Things Domestic said...

Can't wait to see the finished product! Am interested to see what fabric you choose for the seat cushion. We put an L-shaped banquette in our new kitchen with a treated patterned fabric, and it has seen a LOT of wear & tear the last year and a half. I rotate, spot clean, and use fur fighter (the dog lays on it) regularly. I'm thinking the life span will be maybe 4 years, tops, and that's with a 9 and 11 year old who aren't particularly messy eaters. You might want to limit the crafts in that area to less messy ones and definitely no paints! (How the heck would you clean paint or play dough off the seagrass floor?) Looking foward to seeing the room completed!

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mrsben said...

It is going to be beautiful Lauren!
Agree with others; two or three cushions should work and definitely include storage underneath. Oh, don't forget accent lighting in those bookshelves but being who you are, you have probably thought about that. ☺ -Brenda-

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