Lofty ideas

Our story so far: Under layers of carpeting, paneling and ceiling tiles, we discovered the original finishes of the 126-year-old Methodist church we are demoing in order to turn it into our home.

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But the best thing we discovered during demolition was the choir loft.

The old saying, “Man plans, God laughs” was evident in this church renovation. We had planned to close a week or two after we made an offer on the church, and we all know how that worked out. Now, our plans for the second floor were changing with every swing of the sledge-hammer.

One of the members told us the second floor used to be the choir loft, and as we (“we” being Tyler and his hired man St. Johnny) began pulling down the shelves and closets and walls upstairs, the balcony opened up like sunshine through the clouds. Tyler poked and prodded, and then smashed and crushed, to reveal the original, higher ceiling in the sanctuary and the huge opening into the second floor.

choir loft
Readers will have to use their imagination here. The lighted area above is the choir loft, overlooking the scrap wood pile in the sanctuary of the church.

Tyler was inspired.

He called me (I was fiddling with some sort of paperwork back at the rental property) and said, “I have a great idea, hear me out.” He described extending the balcony floor into the great room and constructing the kitchen underneath it which would create more space for our master bedroom in the overflow area behind it.

It was indeed an inspired concept.

For a number of days, we had been walking around the overflow area looking for ways to incorporate the kitchen, an entry from the to-be-built garage, a guest bath, the master bedroom, the master bathroom, a walk-in closet and a main-floor laundry. It was a lot to ask of 600 square feet.

No matter how I turned it around in my dreaming mind at night or on paper during daylight hours, I couldn’t figure out how to pull it off without sacrificing a shower or a laundry room or a walk-in closet (or all three).

Tyler’s concept would make room for all our creatures comforts, keep the kitchen we wanted and fill up some of the excess space in the great room.

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Tomorrow: Tyler’s inspired idea requires a custom feature. Of course. Click here to read it.

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