For years, attics or loft spaces have been underused and undervalued. But space crunch in urban homes is forcing us to reorient the interior of our houses in such a way that no corner of the building is left underutilised. Loft spaces are getting grand makeovers and swank apartments are being created out of it. The water soaked, cockroach bitten, rotten wood interior of the attics are things of the past now. They are now being given a luxury facelift to make them useful for various purposes.
Sometime back we have discussed different ways of using your attic. Today, we will learn some of the most elementary yet oft ignored steps of turning your attic or loft area into a small reading room cum home office. Jorge Luis Borges used to imagine “paradise as a kind of library.” Even if you do not go that far, you will find that a well decorated attic library often provides with the peace you require to do your work, read a book, practice another hobby or just daydream. But just tad negligence in any of the following may mar many of your pleasant hours.
Water seepage through the roof can completely destroy the loft space and cause significant damage to the building itself. Thoroughly examine the roof for any actual or potential leakages or signs of soaking water. Presence of mould, mildew and stains indicate persisting moisture related concerns. Take care of the leakages.
Secure the roofing material by applying an oil based waterproofing compound. Apply neoprene cement in the gaps between the flashing and roofing material. Repair the leaking pipes and cover water pipes with foam pipe wraps.
Due to a general lack of space at attic can quickly turn into a rather stuffy and unhealthy place to be in. To prevent this you need to take all the precautions and ensure natural air moves freely in your attic or loft space. A well ventilated attic will also remove some of the concerns related to moisture build ups.
If your attic only has small ventilators mounted high on the roof or small vents at the end of the gables you can use soffit vents to increase airflow. To a certain extent, attic fans can help removing the hot air from the interiors. Air conditioners can prove to be useful as well.
The sloping roof could be a source of discomfort if very low. You can use this part of the roof to installs skylights. This will remove the cramped feelings, if any. Also, the skylights would be great sources of natural light and air for your attic reading room. If for some reasons this is unnecessary or not possible paint it in such a shade that makes it look stunning yet understated.
Many people use to the space to copy planners. Globe trotters love decorating it with atlases, perhaps to remind them from time to time that they are children of the entire world and not bound by any certain place. A combination of ceiling mounted skylight installations and furniture by PA Soul Furniture gave this home library a remarkable feel.
This may sound a bit strange, but attic floors generally do require reinforcing. Additional joists and subfloors are employed for the purpose. If existing joists are not strong enough to withstand additional pressure as well as wear and tear they would require replacing. Plywood subfloors are to be installed to hide wiring, plumbing and ductworks too.
Proper selection of colours helps to brighten up any space. A tactful selection of colours and décor are very important for an attic wanting in space. Scandinavian inspired designs can help create a energetic reading room cum office space that also boasts of a roomy feel. Pale shades combined with wooden textures work wonders for a small space like an attic study area.
Work with a clear intention of eliminating any sense of clutter and be free to experiment. Remember, a colour scheme also includes conceptualising the colours of the furniture, soft furnishings and lighting fixtures and is not limited to walls and ceiling only.
Attic libraries must have lights that are not too timid or too harsh to the eyes. LED fixtures that do not generate heat and can be mounted high on the walls or ceilings. Do not ignore the good old table or floor lamps. With modern fixtures they will fulfil the duties of task lightings and will enhance the beauty of the room. If you have a table text to the wall then you may also use wall mounted lightings with adjustable arms. Do not ignore the sources of natural light like the windows and skylights.
Use the walls to install elaborate shelves. After all you need a proper home for your books. Have cosy furniture the look, form and colour of which would depend on the availability of space, existing décor of your house, your tastes and budget. Bespoke shelves and furniture made of solid oak, cherry wood and mahogany would increase value, utility and glamour of your home library.
You can also invest in antique pieces that will continue to be an asset for many years to come. Apart from book shelves, storage units, study table and desk chairs try to have a small lounge chair or cosy sofa bed to recline on with an old favourite in hand from time to time. Continue to build on your collection of books as you have done in the past. Steep yourself in the age old wisdom and give due credence to your attic reading room.