When people look up at the far-reaching corners of the concrete ceiling and then look down 14 feet to the dustball-ridden concrete floor, they notice our home doesn’t have the features associated with a typical home. It’s not located in a cul-de-sac. There’s no yard. It doesn’t have wall-to-wall carpet. And there’s no hardwood floors. One of the bedrooms doesn’t have a door—or four walls. Our windows are 10 feet tall and don’t have screens on them. But, despite the industrial characteristics, our home does give a slight nod to traditionalism. We have mini blinds.
Mini blinds aside, here are some of the non-traditional pieces that make up our cozy home.
We once heard a story that our loft building was constructed during Word War I to store weapons and machinery. After that it was probably used as warehouse space. It’s odd to imagine someone driving a forklift around in our living room. Traces of the building’s past still show themselves in the forklift lines painted on the floor or in the pillars wrapped in sheet metal, but to us it’s simply our home.
I’m not sure what’s happening on the rooftop adjacent to our building. After watching a group of about 20 people mill about for a bit, their shirts came off. Of course, that’s when I decided to get out my camera to see if I could get a better look at what was going on. On this crisp Sunday afternoon, I hope everyone up there is keeping warm.
Loft living is truly an urban living experience. And our loft is great. The concrete floors and pillars, exposed pipes, pocket doors, and 10-feet-tall warehouse windows give our space lots of character. But despite all that concrete reinforcement, there’s still one thing to contend with: neighbors. Even though it has one-of-a-kind features, our building is not sound proof. Because of this, I know my neighbors better than they think—not necessarily by sight. If I happen to hear a familiar voice, grunt, or sneeze around town, I might know exactly where that person lives.
Just by listening I know there’s a Green Bay Packers fan who lives in the unit above us. I know he’s a fan without conversing with him. Say it’s Monday night, Packers vs. Vikings, and the Packers—down by a touchdown—just fumbled the ball. Loud, choice words drift down from above. This makes us laugh—even the cat rattles out of a sound slumber. After recovering the fumble, the Vikings score a touchdown. Now the Packers are down by 14. To the man upstairs, it really can’t get much worse. We hear the cracking sound of plastic as it hits the concrete floor (there goes the remote) and scuffing noises followed by a loud thud. This makes us think Packer Fan is tossing furniture around. Again, we laugh and this time we mute our TV so we can enjoy the entertainment from above.
This neighborly noise is not just limited to humans. Next door is a lovely young woman with a dog named Butters. If our cat Libby meows a little too gratuitously (which never happens), Butters keeps her in check with a series of stern barks. Never mind that Libby is twice Butters’ size. These stern barks are always followed by an even more stern: “Butters, NO!” Oh, the joys our pets—and our neighbors—bring us.