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Stepping up to a kid’s loft bedroom in a Queen Anne apartment



Photo: Joshua Huston

When engaged couple Brad Stemke and Sarah Pattison first saw their 700-square-foot apartment, they began plotting their future together with furniture and art arrangements and grand family plans. Chief among those plans was making the one-bedroom space, nestled in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood, work for their family. The location is perfect for the couple, who work close to home; it’s also perfect for Sarah’s 6-year old daughter Penny, who has taken up residence in the dining room. The dining room may not be everyone’s idea of a dream bedroom, but Penny’s “StepBrad” has transformed the space with a built-in loft bed, open floor space for play and a cozy space for reading, chatting and dreaming. 

“I have built a few things from scratch in the past, but a loft bed with a side platform and small ladder was definitely bigger than I had been able to do before,” says Brad. Armed with plans he found on a blog that converts popular furniture into DIY hacks (knock-offwood.com), a borrowed carpentry studio, sanded and treated lumber and a very excited Penny, Brad was able to create the ideal shared-space solution. 

Photo: Joshua Huston

Amending the plans to incorporate a two-step ladder rather than space-consuming stairs allowed the walkway between the living room and the kitchen to remain open, with more room for play. The platform, bed and headboard were previously owned pieces that were incorporated into the final result. “We didn't really have any problems,” said Brad. “I attribute that to measuring twice and cutting once, building into parts, and then bringing them to the apartment for final assembly. It turned out really sturdy. We have even had all three of us up there for story time!” 

Photo: Joshua Huston

Although the dining room is now Penny’s space, the family hasn’t had to forgo shared meals — family dinners have moved to a dining table situated in the living room. “We eat dinner together as a family every night, and it's something we hold very dear. Penny usually helps set the table, and we have a really fun time being together and doing our part,” says Brad. 

Photo: Joshua Huston

With their wedding planned for this month, the trio plans to remain in the apartment for now, until at least next summer, for geographic convenience; school, work, and play all are walkable, as are many local amenities. When she’s not outside exploring, riding bikes or bargaining at estate sales with Brad on a “Stepdad Day,” Penny is free to read and play in her very own space. “It’s the first thing she runs to show her friends when they’re over for play dates,” says Sarah. “Best of all, its creation highlights and epitomizes the bond between Penelope and her StepBrad. Built from scratch. Built to last.”

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