Ok, so it may seem like a weird choice to take out a platform and put one back in. But I promise. it works. Behold:
Ok so this photo, which is clearly taken while the new platform was being built, shows our window situation pretty well. As our building was originally a warehouse, the sills are up at 5 feet tall, presumably to allow for stacking a bunch of... stuff. I don't know, I never researched what this building held. I had enough insane stories of the former owner to sift through without bringing sacks of grain into the picture. I'll work on it.
The window height is lovely within the brick, but it's super weird. It just is. There's solid brick at eye level, and the windows are a bitch to get open without standing on something. So while I was thrilled to have most of the floor level, making you aware of how actually large the room is, I was also excited to have some windows that I could open without a step ladder. Oh, the silliness of loft spaces.
So we redesigned the platform a bit, cutting stairs into it and building a bench along the back wall, which allowed the space to be smaller and still get a dining table up there. People often forget how much room you need surrounding a table if you want to be able to push back chairs. So for smaller dining areas, a bench or a banquette is a sexy little solution - no extra floor space, squish-able seating for many guests, a hot place to show off some stolen-fabric-sample-pillows-with-grommets. All around, a great idea. My sister rolls her eyes because every single idea I have for her house involves a banquette.
If you will peer beneath all that stuff, you'll see the bench has a nifty shelf behind it. I didn't design this, but Leo included it so that he could bring the wall outlets, which were doomed to be hidden by the bench, up horizontally onto the face of the shelf. This has been KILLER for daily use - we play poker up there with friends, and everyone charges their phones and rests drinks on the ledge.
I sound really cool when I refer to myself playing poker, don't I? I feel really cool saying it. You know, just our regular poker game. No biggie.
One little snag - when I designed the bench, I specified the seat as 18" deep with a few inches slant on the back - so overall the depth should have been 21". This is optimal for comfy seating. If the back is too straight, it feels like a church pew. Too deep or slanted, and you'll feel like you're lounging in a sofa, not eating dinner.
Notice it when you go to a restaurant with a booth - is the seat a good height/depth/slant? No, of course it's not. They never effing are. They are either incredibly deep so you have to scootch up to the edge to eat and your back gets sore, or so low that you feel like a kid with your elbows hiked up on the table just to use your fork, or they are actual church pews that someone thought it was cute to salvage. Oh my god, did those people never attend church? I've gone like seven times and my butt is asleep just thinking about it. Restaurant booths are all horrible, and now you'll notice it forever, like when someone mentions how often you blink and you can't think of anything else. You're welcome.
So sadly, Leo made the bottom structure at the original depth, laid in all the wood flooring, and then had his stroke of brilliance about the shelf. He did not slide the seat forward to account for the difference. We still have a good slant on the back, but now the seat is about two inches too shallow. It's not the most comfortable thing in the world. But it would have involved replacing that whooooole big long seat, and I just got lazy. I'm always the one sitting over there, and I am soothed by thinking of all the time I did not spend hauling new wood up three flights of stairs. It's fine.
That's the moral of this story, friends. Be cautious of your benches, lest you build yourself a permanent and expensive seating unit that feels like church. Also, get the pigeon ACs out early, or their creepy rattling and cooing will ruin a perfectly good dining nook for months until you get that shit taken out properly.
Ohhhh my god I hate pigeons.