Designing Around Constraints: Modern Loft Nursery

October 6, 2015

Home remodeling projects often have their challenges.  But, building constraints can also evoke creativity.  Adding a floor within the framework of an existing apartment, while still cooperating with exterior window locations that had to remain, were hurdles to overcome to make this nursery project a success.

With a new baby on the way, this couple’s modern SOMA loft needed an additional bedroom to make room for their upcoming arrival.  Given the restrictions of an existing apartment building, growing the footprint to gain another bedroom was not an option.  The only way to increase square footage of livable space was insert a floor within the double height space.  The least disruptive location for this was to infill over the double height kitchen in order to maintain the openness of the rest of the loft the living and dining room.

The existing small mezzanine floor had a large beam extending to the exterior wall, which was then used to span across to the exterior wall to create the floor of the new bedroom.  This chosen location to add the new room had two existing exterior windows.  However, because of the restrictions of the existing apartment building, we could not alter any of the existing exterior windows, their location, type or add any new exterior windows.  Those limitations impacted the layout of the room and relationship between existing and new windows.

Lowering the ceiling in the kitchen to a single story height also had it’s obstacles as it was going from a double height, light filled space to then a more enclosed room.  Recessed lighting was then added in the new floor cavity at the bedroom addition to remedy the reduction in natural light.

Elevations showing the new bedroom and view from living room towards kitchen and new windows above.


haswell existing plan

Original floor plan at mezzanine, overlooking the previous double height kitchen.

haswell proposed plan

New plan at bedroom.




View from living room, looking up at enclosed mezzanine and new bedroom over kitchen.


Construction Haswell Project_0001_Layer 11

View down to original kitchen and surrounding soffit prior to new framing install.


The goal was to add the bedroom, but make it appear as though it always existed.  Details and elements were selected to match the apartment.  The new interior windows were added to match existing windows in detail, size, height and relationships.  The new internal windows provided light and ventilation to the new room bedroom and mezzanine space.



A look in the nursery, towards the new window over-looking the loft below. The window above the small couch is an existing exterior window.

Instead of your typical baby room, filled with pastels and rattles, this nursery was to be a sophisticated baby zone, brimming with American and British regalia.  Huxley’s creative parents paired pillows, a British flag mini-sized couch, books from London, photos from Montana scatter the room as a reminder of his meaningful roots.


Existing exterior window overlooking apartment courtyard.


Every remodel has its obstacles.  The existing framework of this apartment building possessed many challenges, but also provided an opportunity to draw on existing elements to incorporate into the new room.  This nursery addition project was born out of necessity for space, but ended up being a natural addition to the loft, while also creating cozy nursery which appeared to have always been there.






Comments are closed.