Renovating a Live/Work Loft [Pt.0I]


Two years ago I moved into an unfinished dungeon - how all good stories start I imagine - which for *most* wouldn't be an ideal space. All I knew when I got the heads up that the space was open, was that it was a 2000~ sq ft dual zoned industrial hard loft, and that I could live there - with proper zoning and landlord consent. A truly rare opportunity in a world of high rises and in-affordable rent. The price was very reasonable for the size, making me wonder whether it was a hoax or a death trap.

The property manager didn't even want to enter the space when I first visited, so I went in alone through a seedy yet charming alley way entrance. The space was huge, full of dust and dirt, and definitely needed a lot of work, but I loved every bit of it.

There was going to be a lot of painting - in total probably 6 different colors of paint between the floors and walls, ranging from black, to royal blue to a 'throw-up' cream; Two unfinished rooms, which would need to be torn down;  A performance stage bolted to the floor in one of the rooms, projection slots cut into random walls - all really calling into question what what this place was before.

On top of the obvious refurbishing, there was about 2000 sq ft of canvas ill-placed and stapled to the ceiling, with incredibly bad graffiti sprayed throughout. Literally nothing worth salvaging, graffiti equivalent of "I was here", whoever did this, I applaud your take on grunge but the original ceiling beams looks much nicer and still have that grungy charm. Possibly thee worst thing about the space was the bathtub, which was full of about 3-4" of dirt, and then another 1-2" of dried paint, and then of course a major snaking job - no comment.

If all that wasn't enough to scare me from taking on this reno, the space is also literally in the same building as a nightclub, a couple offices, and (half a dozen or so) residential units throughout which can be heard the same way you might hear a roommate - little to no sound insulation. Oh ya... and really loud banging heat pipes in the winter - not exaggerating these are LOUD - they come in a variety of sounds but my favorite is the one that sounds like a machete hitting my metal door. Just to keep things interesting.

Naturally, immediately after seeing the space I signed a lease; I had a clear vision from the start and I'm so happy with the result. I feel as though I've brought down the grunge to a reasonable level and brought myself and my aesthetic into the space. I just wish I took more photos initially, but to be honest it just didn't occur to me to document more than I did - bit too murderly looking to want to shoot/share with friends.

above: dust and insulationliterally flying everywhere

above: main space pre-room demolition

above: unfinished rooms being torn down

above: unfinished room.01

above: unfinished room.02

above: top right corner section of painted canvas stapled to ceiling.