This minimalist and modern loft has been rediscovered inside the oldest building on the commercial street of Charlottesville, Virginia, USA. Built in 1843, the three-storey building looked like a gloomy and stuffy space, but thanks to a restoration process it has been transformed into a spacious, light-filled, open-plan loft flat. Moreover, the structure was optimised through the replacement and renovation of elements such as parts of the framework, roof, insulation, windows, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. The loft renovation design project was created by the team from the Bushman Dreyfus Architects studio, which is known for its work dedicated to the exchange of ideas between client and designer, working throughout the United States.
The front and back of the house are characterised by transparency, allowing visual access to the trees in the street and magnificent natural lighting of the space, both of which were fundamental points in the development of the project. All the typical elements of a house, such as the kitchen, bathroom and utility room, as well as all the appliances, are hidden by a sort of “box” of doors and secret rooms running the side length of the interior space. Elements as the oven and the refrigerator, which open at the sides of the worktop when necessary. This structure is clad in rough sawn white oak with a slight stain. Even the white oak floorboards maintain a minimalist consistency in colour and material. The oak cupboard has a window-like opening and frames the load-bearing brickwork walls, creating a strong contrast of textures and colours. The kitchen opening is positioned along the edge of the counter and runs over a stainless steel slab with electrical sockets. All the stainless steel elements structuring the system were custom made for this room.
The mezzanine staircase is a combination of contrasts between heaviness and lightness, transparency and opacity. The folded perforated steel steps and risers are attached to the vertical white steel plate parapet, creating an integrated structure with a monolithic appearance. The ceiling is decorated with seven modern skylights, which together with the addition of new aluminium-clad double-glazed windows maximise illumination throughout the space.