Lofting Up

"Be careful! I'm getting stressed just watching you."
~Our friend Kim watching us install a metal staircase

As we continue building capacity in our space, we also see that we need a place to store Sean's camera gear. None of the rooms on the first floor would have been conducive to utilize as a storage space, so we looked to our large amount of ceiling space. The hallway leading from the main studio and kitchen to the other half of our space goes through this odd semi-room with 2x4 wall studs that weren't really attached to either the top plate or sole plate. Also the joists were 2x4's with the wider side attached to the top plates, which meant that the middle ceiling sagged a visible inch even though no load was applied to the top of it. 

Over the course of a month, I began the labor-intensive process of demolishing the joists and drywall. One of my hipster, cycling friends, Brian, suggested that I start going to The Loading Dock. The Loading Dock is a non-profit building materials re-use center that salvages old industrial building materials that can be resold to customers for a small $10/year membership fee. I sojourned there with the aid of our third roommate, Julius, who accompanied me in a 15' landscaping van. The Loading Dock is a DIY construction enthusiast's wet dream; there are old cabinets, loose tiles, vinyl siding, carpet squares, loads of lumber, and pre-made staircases. All of these items are sold for very cheap; for example an 8' 2x6 piece of lumber usually sells for about $2 and pre-made staircases are sold for $10/step.

After having loaded all of the lumber for the wood studs and the joists, I started to look at pre-made staircases. Tucked away in-between the window section and the loose tile section I saw a slightly rusted, iron staircase like the ones you would see out on a fire escape. I fell in love with it within moments, and could not believe that a 6' tall iron staircase only costed $80. I installed the staircase in the hallway that eventually would lead up to the loft that I was building above the semi-odd room. The hardest part of the entire endeavor was ensuring that the staircase could be connected to the wooden wall and the floorboards. 

Our oily sparkle, glitter stairs! I think that I got the color temperature wrong on the photo edit.

Our oily sparkle, glitter stairs! I think that I got the color temperature wrong on the photo edit.

After installing the floorboards on the loft, painting them, and coating the surface in an unhealthy amount of polyurethane, I turned my attention to the rusted staircase. I sanded away the loose flakes of rust, primed the surface, and spray-painted chrome over the treads so that the staircase looked a bit more modern and a little bit less decrepit. As a bonding experience, Sean and I then glitter-fucked the staircase by sprinkling extremely fine blue and purple glitter over the chrome-plated steps and sealing that in another unhealthy dose of polyurethane. 

This resulted in the renovation of the semi-odd room that could now support a 15'x11' loft filled with all of Sean's gear as well as a glitter, chrome-coated staircase.