Last fall Rick and I decided to downsize to a loft! :) Here’s how the conversation went:
Anny: You know, if anything ever happened to you, I think I would move to a loft…
Rick: Well, why are you waiting?
Anny: Whaaaat???!! You always said you had to have a garage!
Rick: Well, now that I have our big barn in the country, most of my workshop tools are there.
Now what?! Needless to say, I was thrown for a loop–my dream was going to come true! I dashed to the computer and Googled lofts in downtown Galveston the rest of the evening, and the next day couldn’t wait to start the walk-in search. This is embarrassing but true: I fell in love with the first loft I met. Part of my loft living rationalization was, if you’re going to live in a town like Galveston, why not have a view? The first loft I entered not only had a view of the harbor and The Strand, it was located on the top floor of a large printing company built in 1890. With original brick walls, huge arched windows, high ceilings, exposed duct work and a location in historical downtown a block from the harbor, it was love at first sight! I walked in and said, “Now this is a loft!” When I raced home and asked Rick if I could just steal him for thirty minutes to introduce this loft concept, he not only agreed but was very impressed by what he saw. We decided a two bedroom with a harbor view would be perfect for us. (I need that second bedroom for my sewing business.)
Now what? We had a 3700 square foot historical home full of furniture. Hmm. Would you believe, we immediately signed a contract with our realtor and the house sold in four days?!
Now what?! Fortunately, the wonderful buyers had similar taste to ours and we were able to negotiate selling much of the furniture as well. But–the loft wouldn’t be ready until spring! The lofts are apartments from the 90’s and each one is being renovated.
Now what?! We started a search for temporary housing. In the meantime, the loft management met and agreed to offer us a unit (#407) that was not yet updated until ours (#505) was available. How perfect! Oops! It’s only a one bedroom!
Now what?! The management also said that we could use two storage units in the indoor parking area. That brings us to today. We are living in the loft directly below our permanent home in progress. (I’m hearing the floors being sanded upstairs as I type this.) In one huge room, we have:
*A Living Room
* A Sewing Room
*A Dining Room
And that all attaches to: A Kitchen.
This is accomplished by placement of area carpets and carefully arranged furniture items that create dividers. (That was a challenge and a subject for another blog.) :) We couldn’t be happier (except to be in our #505 two bedroom.)
Here’s what we’ve learned about loft living:
1) It’s amazing what you can live without. :) I now need just one of everything, from cleaning supplies to office supplies, to linens…the list is endless. I feel like we’re living in a five story house but everything is “right here.” Of course, that includes the whole low maintenance factor. No more upkeep on the house and no yard work.
2) You can still have overnight guests. We just hosted Jennifer and Gracie as guests for two nights and using our new inflatable beds worked well. If you haven’t seen inflatable beds, they’re amazing! You plug them in, turn a knob and they inflate themselves onto an off-the-ground frame! They deflate themselves, as well, into the proper size to fit back into their suitcase size carrying case. So cool! Before we moved, we joked that the Tremont Hotel, across the street, would be our guest room. And, we really could book a room at the Tremont if the whole family visited at once.
3) Walking to stores and restaurants is good exercise and fun exploration. We’re enjoying our new urban surroundings. Tina’s on the Strand, where I sell my purses, is part of our view. We joked that I could just zip-line the purses down to the shop. Of course, being near inviting boutiques and yummy places like La King’s candy and ice cream parlour can take a toll on the budget and our waistlines. :)
4) You can have pets in a loft. The rule here is two pets, and that’s what we have. Of course, potty time is more challenging. No doggy door. We walk them breakfast, lunch, dinner, and before bed. They just walk up to the elevator, sit and wait for the door to open. They’re making friends in the building and around the block. The bellman at the Tremont keeps a doggie treat and water bowl by the hotel door. When we walk past, Buddy is kind of oblivious, but Kate helps herself like it’s a doggie drive-thru! Again, we’re getting more exercise, and that’s a good thing.
5) Security. Even when Rick is in LaGrange, I feel so safe. We have gated indoor parking right by the door and an access code is necessary to enter each outside door.
6) Outdoor living. We have access to a terrace with a pergola type roof on the second floor. Again, no yard work, but we can still relax and enjoy fresh air and sunshine in a relatively private setting. The weather has been perfect for open windows lately, and not only is the air cooler up here but the insects don’t seem inclined to fly this high!
7) Laundry and Gym. A gym with really fine machines and a TV is available on the first floor. Adjacent to the workout room is a small laundry area with four free commercial size washers and dryers. Each loft has a washer and dryer, but if you wish to launder more than one load at a time or that king size comforter, no problem.
8) Low insurance. We do live in an area that has experienced hurricanes and flooding. But since we’re on the fifth floor, flooding is not an issue. The Great Fire of Galveston was in the downtown area in 1885, and as a result, the building was built in 1890 with giant steel shutters to block fire spreading from nearby buildings. Of course this historical feature can now be used as hurricane shutters.
9) Urban decor. Since we sold most of our furniture and the rest will be used for the future farmhouse, it was an exciting opportunity to choose furniture for a new decor. Industrial Chic, Contemporary, whatever you wish to call it, this is a real departure for us and Restoration Hardware is our new best friend. It’s past time for something new and we’re having fun with it. The renovation architects have wisely saved and incorporated as many historical features as possible. In some units, this means a stairway to nowhere, old fire doors, and parts of the old printing machinery. In our loft, in addition to the usual loft features, we have the original freight elevator space with cables, giant wheels, and pulleys. I’ve designated the major portion of this space to what we’re calling “Rick’s Office.” Very Industrial! :)
10) Drumroll please….ships! Okay, ships don’t thrill everyone, but the number one favorite thing about living in the loft for me is seeing the ships. I don’t mean boat boats. I mean ships–freighters and cruise liners. Of course we have our share of shrimp boats, tugs, and barges, but when I see (especially lit up at night) this giant building go floating by our window, I just freak out! Oh my word–I swear to you, there is one floating by as I write this. Seriously–A giant freighter with “Glory One Monrovia” written on it! I can tell because it’s still daylight. There’s something so romantic about a ship floating out to sea to exotic locations. I just want to hop aboard. Maybe I was a sailor in another life? Anyway, that’s the main wow factor for me!
So there you have it! Top ten reasons for living in a loft. Is there a downside? When I find one, I’ll let you know. :)