Yesterday was a super exciting day for us!! Firstly, the sun finally broke through the clouds and we enjoyed some outdoor time as a family. I honestly feel we've been living under a rain cloud the last two weeks. A few days of rain are ok, but weeks... that was a bit too much for me! But enough about the weather. The more exciting news from our day was the completion of a project we have been working on for several months... our boys' loft!
In December we received the keys to our vacation chalet. For anyone who has built in Germany or Austria knows, most new build homes are not completely turn-key. Kitchens have to be installed, light fixtures hung, and in our case, it meant we also had to install the railing and ladder for our boys' loft. We decided to build lofts over our staircase and in our boys' room for extra space. The plan for our boys' room is that they will sleep on the top and have a play area on the bottom.
This was the first loft we've design and installed and lots of consideration had to be made to pull it all together. The size, height, construction material, access point (i.e. ladder), railing, lighting and electrical in the loft area being the important decisions that had to be made.
Here's a breakdown of the key design decisions we had to make and why we designed the loft the way we did.
1) Loft Size
We opted to build our loft the entire length of the room and 160 cm deep. I wanted to make sure we had enough space in the loft to fit a 140x200 cm mattress or several junior 70x160 mattresses, plus some extra space for a reading corner. However, I didn't want to build the loft so big that it would block out all the light from the window below, creating a dark space above.
Due to the angle of our roofline, the entry to the loft is shorter than the exterior wall side. I wanted to make sure that our loft was high enough that adults can comfortably walk underneath, but also tall enough to access the loft without straining. In our case, we were also limited by the height of the window. In the end, I'm happy the height, but the one factor I forgot to think about was the curtains. The room has an amazing view to the lake which I don't want to cover, but in the summer, the room is quite bright. With the current height of the loft, using a traditional curtain rod doesn't work. But no worries, I love design challenges and have some ideas of how to address this problem.
3) Construction material
This one was a bit easier for us as we simply asked our builder to construct it such that it would support the weight of several adults and the flooring on our loft to be the same/similar as our hardwood floors below. They did a great job with this!
4) Loft Access
Since we have a loft above our staircase as well, I wanted to have a ladder which could be detachable and easily used on both lofts. We did this with hooks and the system works great, despite the two lofts being at slightly different heights. We will also hang hooks on one of the walls in case we don't want the ladder attached to the loft. On the placement of the loft access, we had to consider how far the ladder sticks out in the open space. It couldn't be too close to the wall (would be too uncomfortable to climb up), block the window or door from opening, or in the case we wanted to put a large bed under the loft, it shouldn't create an awkward floor plan. We ended up positioning our ladder near the window to keep it out of the way and kept the width to 50 cm.
I had a lot of fun designing the railing for this room. The design aesthetic for our chalet is modern minimal with white, black and all natural wood accents. I knew I wanted to have an iron railing in a simple form and after several drawings and a visit to the blacksmiths shop, we came up with the perfect railing for the room. I highly recommend working with a professional when it comes to the railing, as safety has to be the first priority, especially if the area will be used by children. Our blacksmith was able to inform us of safety regulations for Austria with regard to minimal railing height, minimum spacing requirements between the railing poles and orientation of the poles. Here's a look at some of the designs we considered. In the end we went with Option 1. It ended up being the least expensive of the options, kept the design very simple, and added some contrast to all the wood in the room.
6) Lighting and Electrical
Thankfully our loft was constructed with the build of our chalet and we could decide on the placement of electrical outlets and lighting. We designed two electrical outlets, an overhead light, and a switch to turn off the main lighting from the top loft area.
Now it's time to style this space! I love this part of the design process. The boys are so excited for their new bedroom space and helping me to put it all together. It's so much fun having them involved. Stay turned for more photos.. Until then...