From Seven Acres to A Downtown View
One morning Kris Love decided she’d had enough.
She and her husband, Brad, had spent the previous day pulling weeds in the yard of their acreage west of Norfolk. It was 100 degrees out, sweat was dripping on their faces, and it was becoming increasingly clear that, though their ranch style abode had been a fantastic family home before their children moved out, the seven acres of land it sat on was just too much property for two people.
Fast forward to May 2012, when the Loves moved into a 3200-square-foot apartment along Norfolk Avenue. It was time to start a new chapter in their lives – one that included taking space that hadn’t been used in 60 years and turning it into a three-bedroom, twobathroom loft overlooking the city’s downtown area. The process lasted until December of that same year because a lot had to happen before the place could become livable.
“There were no walls,” Kris said. “It was just a big, open nothing.” She and her husband hired Clausen Bros. Construction to renovate the area. Windows were replaced, and rooms were partitioned off. There was some sand-blasting – and a lot of dust – and now the Loves are living comfortably on the second floor of a building that was constructed in the 1900s. They have a bird’s-eye view of downtown Norfolk, no yard to mow – “The maintenance is little to nothing,” Brad said – and energy bills are cheaper here than what they were at their previous place.
Coffee or dinner is now just a short walk away. As is lots of shopping, at the colorful stores dotting Norfolk Avenue.
Plus, the Loves have another thing. Space. And there’s a lot of it.
‘In fact, Brad and Kris have more square-footage in their loft home than they did in their ranch-style one. It’s great for entertaining – a recent dinner party meant hors d’oeuvres in the bar area, followed by a dozen guests seated
around the kitchen island for the main meal. Though the grand space does pose one interesting challenge: things just aren’t large enough for the Loves’ new space.
“We’re still struggling with big stuff,” Kris said. “I’m still looking for chairs.”
Thanks to the building’s high ceilings, what worked in their previous home now looks disproportionate in their current one. Artwork doesn’t take up as much wall space as before, and the Loves’ last dresser looked like a postage
stamp in their new master bedroom.
Brad and Kris tackled a potential storage issue with innovative solutions. The couple found creative ways to utilize the space in their loft. In the kitchen, what appear to be two tall cabinet doors covering a bank of shelves is actually the entrance to the pantry, a walk-in area tucked behind the back wall of the room. In the closet of their bedroom, there’s a washer and dryer, plus rods and shelves for the couple’s separate wardrobes. “Perfect” is the word Kris used to describe the setup there.
Their downstairs is a work in progress.
“We still have some things to finish,” Brad said.
He envisions plants at the rear of their property – as close as the Loves will get to a backyard – and a man cave in the room on the lower level that currently houses his motorcycle. It’s not necessary stuff, but it’ll help make the space feel more like their own. And just as Brad knows the exact spot in the main hallway where a freight elevator used to sit, he and his wife also know that this place, even before it’s completely finished, is theirs to call “Home.”