Comfortable Downtown Loft

Inviting sitting areas, lots of large windows, and eclectic artwork make this a wonderful home.
Robert Martin

Southerners are getting savvier in the way they live―from building green to scouting antiques deals on eBay. In Kansas City,  interior designer Ben Sundermeier does his part to help style-conscious homeowners give an urban locale a shot. But Ben doesn't just talk the talk. His own home is an ultra-hip loft that was once a group of rooms in a hotel. Completely overhauled, his digs display all the collective coolness that you would expect. But don't assume this designer values style over comfort. Ben knows how to blend both, and it shows. We asked him to spill his secrets for putting together a dreamy downtown space.

Q: Tell us, how do you turn a less-than-impressive space that was once a hotel into a comfy home?

I was very particular about staying true to the original bones of the place. I wanted to keep the structural shell―floors, ceilings, and walls―as exposed as possible. The coffered concrete ceilings in my loft, for instance, were great and didn't need to be covered up. All the new air-conditioning, plumbing, and electrical systems are hidden in a soffit. Other than that, what you see is what you get.

I chose to stick with two or three color palettes to keep the space from looking too visually complicated. All the walls and ceilings are painted the same neutral color―but not a stark white.

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