Holbrook Loft

A loft incorporates aquatic features and efficient looks with an airy, translucent staircase as the focal point.

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This residential project began in 2004 when the client approached the architect with an opportunity to develop the interior architecture of his empty warm shell loft space. The building which houses the loft was originally constructed in the early 1900s and features an unfinished wood heavy timber construction. This loft serves as a part-time residence for the client, a local tech-industry professional. The intimately involved client had thematic demands that he requested the architect take into consideration when designing the space. He wanted to reflect an efficient look, evocative of his industry’s standards, and incorporate aquatic colors and features, reminiscent of his days playing for the United States Olympic water polo team. In addition to these thematic considerations, the architect faced challenges posed by integrating the raw, existing structure with the new architecture. The unfinished timbers were integrated into the modernist design, creating a distinguished mix of the old and the new. Initially, this space was designated as two warm shell lofts, but in order to locate enough space to satisfy all of the client’s residential needs, the two lofts were combined to form one loft. Because of this new arrangement, the architect was faced with how best to solve the design challenge posed by the fabrication of a new staircase. The client encouraged the architect to produce a staircase that would be the focal point of the entry lobby, and one that would generate conversation and attention. An innovative suspended staircase design was selected, which appears to float and features transparent glass treads. This design keeps the open appeal of the entry and required no bearing walls, but instead employed a system of steel tube ballasts, railings, and lateral bracings The airy, translucent result was an additional nod to the client’s passion for the aquatic. The final space features three bedrooms, including a master bedroom on the second level, with the kitchen and open entertainment room located on the main level. The client was insistent that the kitchen be a dominate feature of the loft because of the role it would play in entertaining clients and friends. This space features walnut cabinets, white oak flooring, stainless steel appliances and an 18x4 foot prep island. The kitchen opens into large open room, which can be utilized by the client in a number of ways. The new space design relies heavily on natural lighting sources, borrowing light from one room to another. The architect also took into consideration the client’s desire to be able to view the city’s performing arts center from as many vantage points as possible when arranging the space’s room enclosures. The bathroom features a ceramic alcove bathtub, a steam shower, and sliding panels that open up to the exterior porch, allowing natural ventilation and ambient light to illuminate the bathroom. This project’s final outcome addressed all initial design concerns and left the client satisfied with the new interior. The cooperative relationship forged between the client and architect helped to create an inviting and original living space.
  • 2007
  • Architect, Fabricator
  • Kansas City, MO
  • 3,983 SF


  • Rick Holbrook

Eldo Team

  • Principal: Doug Stockman


  • 2007 AIA Kansas City Allied Arts and Craftsmanship Awards - Merit Award


Photography by

  • Mike Sinclair


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