Unfortunately, the county doesn’t like lofts and says so in its building code, and it especially doesn’t like ladders, so there was a question both of what I would do with the space and of how I would access it.
Nothing in the building code says I can’t walk up a set of shelves in my house if I am so simian, so when Richard built shelves at the writing-nook corner of the closet, he gave them some decorative holes, which I have found very useful when I climb my shelves to get to the loft. There is no ladder in my house, Mr. Inspector, just a set of shelves.
I envisioned the loft as a cozy, secretive space that my granddaughter might want to sleep in when she came to visit. After I moved into the house, I slept there a few nights. It was fine, but the precipitous slant of the ceiling meant I had to knee-crawl everywhere, which, even after I carpeted the floor, was not very comfortable. So the loft turned out to be not a spare bedroom but a spill-over library.
Instead of getting rid of books that wouldn’t fit in my library, I asked Richard to build shelves across the entire back wall of the loft. There I put files of tax-relevant materials, children’s books, photo albums, years of journals, and history, biography, and other nonfiction books, including the two or three science books in my humanities-heavy library. Two antique wooden milk boxes store CDs, DVDs, and other old-fashioned media. A long tin box from my mother’s house holds my collection of post cards.
Holding up the ceiling at the edge of the loft is a beautiful, peeled fir pole, unusually round and uniform. Richard had been saving it for years, but he gave it to me for that spot in the house. On my moving-in day Christopher (who had advised on the house design; see post on February 25, 2016) suggested I attach some manzanita limbs to that pole and hang from them two metal sculptures Ela had made when he was in college.
I don’t really do things in the loft, but I go up there from time to time to get something I need. I’ve gotten pretty good at climbing the shelves and pulling myself onto the floor of the loft. Sometimes I spread photo albums on the floor, looking for particular pictures. Sometimes I pull out old journals and sit on the floor, searching through them for a particular memory or piece of writing. Sometimes I need to put away some post cards or look for a CD. So I climb the shelves into the loft, and usually, when I’m there, I lose myself for an hour or so in this other special place in my house.