Savvy Space Savers

Creative solutions enhance Royal Oak  loft
By Jeanine Matlow

Tony Walser and Bob Burrell were lured by the perks of loft living – high ceilings, open floor plans, exposed beams and more. But the homeowners’ 11-square-foot lofts at SkyLofts MarketSquare in Royal Oak brought some challenges. Fortunately, Walser, an engineer at Ford Motor Co., was able to adapt the existing features in creative, functional ways. “If I’m going to live in a space that’s unique and different,” Walser says, “I might as well make it comfortable too.”

One of the biggest challenges was a 32-inch standard TV (that Walser refers to as a “huge box”) that sat on a stand in the living room along with the requisite components. “With the limited space, it was taking up really valuable real estate,” he says.

Since a partial wall that separated the living room and bedroom was non-load bearing, Walser was determined to house a flat screen TV inside the wall that could accommodate both rooms with a simple rotation.

“I cut a big square hole in the wall,” he says, “indicative of an old pass-through between a living room and dining room.”

Now, the new and improved TV and media equipment are contained inside a plywood cabinet on swivels.

Wires are concealed within the wall and the plug is covered by the dresser in the bedroom. For the room on the opposite end of the television, a contemporary piece of art provides the perfect solution. “The picture serves functionally, too,” Walser explains. “It covers all of the mechanical components of the TV.”

The TV can also be viewed from the L-shaped kitchen, which faces a spacious outdoor terrace that expands the living space during the summer. A set of red cabinets from IKEA was put to use as a pantry for the kitchen and a 6-foot-wide bar with a wine cooler was added.

But the creativity doesn’t end there. The two-bedroom, two-bath loft included a “flex room” as a part of the floor plan. “That image [flex] stayed with me,” says Walser. So, he crafted his own version of a Murphy bed – made from ready-made cabinets and hardware found online – for the space that serves as a guest room and home office. Also made by the homeowner, a series of display cabinets, 8 feet tall by 2 feet deep, add storage space without taking up much floor space.

As Walser explains, being an inventor is part of being an engineer. Recently, while going through some items in storage, he came across a device he made in the eighth grade when there was no air-conditioning at school. “It was a little battery-operated fan that I set on my desk,” he says. Needless to say, they are sold everywhere now. The inventor may have missed the boat on that one, but who knows? The swivel TV could be his lucky break.

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