Book shelves and a ladder for the loft

Amy and I have been moving right along on progress in the loft because we have been motivated by a rapidly approaching deadline called Thanksgiving.  The most recent project consisted of building two bookshelves at the open end of the loft.  The bookshelves will give us much needed storage for books (duh), board games, and Legos!  So many Legos.

As a reminder, here is what that end of the loft looked like in the beginning…


Actually, that’s a little better than it was in the beginning because that picture was after I cleaned out all the debris.

Here is what it looked like after all the renovation work…


This is the opposite end of the loft space from the bed and bookshelf I built in our last post.

Originally we thought we would construct a railing, but we couldn’t really picture it in a way that didn’t look strange or out of place.  We eventually decided that constructing bookcases on either side of a centered opening would be a better option.  It would act as a railing, but also help create a space that seemed removed, secluded, and special.

We thought for a long time about how tall and deep to build these.  We wanted them to be tall enough to add safety, but not too tall to completely enclose the space.  We also wanted the space between them to be comfortable to pass through, but narrow enough to keep the opening safe.  And we wanted room for shelving on the loft side and the open area side.

Amidst all this thinking in the early stages of the project, I forgot to take pictures.  So the first shot of progress is pretty far along.  Once again, the fact that nothing in this house is ever truly level or plumb made this extra difficult for my amateur skills.  Here is the initial “box”…



One additional thing that made this project difficult was that the loft space was incredibly crowded with tools and most of the time I had to go down the ladder, down the stairs, and outside to make any big cuts.  It was slow going!  Also, there were many odd angles and oddities to work around.


Now that the hardest part was over, I added shelves and a base…


Then finished off the trim…


One other lingering project I took care of was completing the simple casing for the window at the very top of the commons area.


This seems like a good time to mention that despite all of my deep thought…

[Edit from Amy: something that never seems to end.]


I completely forgot to give Amy the opportunity to finish wiring the electrical boxes before completing the bed.  So….  Amy was a trooper and contorted herself to finish the project.

[Edit from Amy: Which is what I get for procrastinating.]


I married a good one.  She’s a keeper.

We have known for a long time that we wanted to use a library ladder to access the loft space.  There is some wall space just to side of the master bedroom door that will be a great place to store a ladder.  Also, once we decided to use bookshelves as the “railing” for the loft space, it made even more sense to use a library ladder because now we could access books!  We got lucky and found a stash of old library ladders at a salvage place just a couple blocks away that were removed from a shoe store in town.



In our research, we discovered that library ladders are expensive.  Just ordering the hardware (and no ladder) could easily be $500.  Our ladder had all the hardware, but we did need to order the railing and additional hardware for that.  All total, we spent about half of the cheapest option we found anywhere online.  In the interest of time, we aren’t doing anything right now to clean up the ladder.  At some point we might strip off the poly and put on a fresh coat or possibly paint it a fun color. [Edit from Amy: or take the caution stickers off.]

I finished trimming out the front of the bookshelves and made sure to cut the rail to a length that makes it impossible for the ladder to go off the stairs!

20161111-dsc_0167Amy has been spending her time caulking, priming and sanding the built-ins and bed area. They are nearly ready for their final coats of paint.



We are very close to wrapping this up.  The space has been measured for carpeting and we hope to have that installed before Thanksgiving.  Most of the dirty work is done, so we can finally stop living with this tangled mess of tools and cords and ladders…[Edit from Amy: Who are you kidding?]


Up next – painting, carpet, lighting, and decorating!  In the next post, we will have the big reveal and take a look back at the progress of the loft since day one.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Seth Hoffman says:

    Looking nice! The bookshelves were a great choice, and I especially like how you made them two-sided. It will give you a lot of flexibility in how you choose to decorate the space too.


    1. Amy and Joe says:

      Thank you! I’m glad we took our time making that decision. We have learned to wait until it feels absolutely right.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s