Loft living: Couple opens home for Downtown Lynchburg Loft Tour
Feb 20, 2013 (The News & Advance - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Todd Hunley and Shannon Parsons' Commerce Street loft is full of vintage decor -- fitting for a couple that runs its own antique store downstairs.
They opened the shop, Buzzard's Roost, at 718 Commerce St. in November 2011, after living in the building for years.
Before building owner Jon Cesafsky renovated it, "it was just wide open, from front to back on all floors, with one central staircase," Hunley says.
Now it houses the antique store downstairs and three loft apartments, between 2,100 and 2,300 square feet each, upstairs.
Once Hunley moved into the historic space, among those open this weekend for the Ninth Annual Downtown Lynchburg Loft Tour, he started seeking out items related to Lynchburg's past. The first piece he bought was a framed copy of Lynchburg's Virginian newspaper from 1830.
"It just seemed like it fit, because that's where it came from," he says.
Most of the pieces in the loft come from the 1800s or earlier, except for one 1950s-era chair that belonged to Hunley's grandfather.
The living room is populated with several antique sofas, an 8x10 view camera from the late 1800s and an old Barker Jennings Hardware parlor stove "that would've been cast right down here on the river," he says.
Other features include two oil lamp chandeliers that Hunley says they burn almost every night, a painting by Lynchburg artist Flavius Fisher and vintage family photos, including one of Hunley's grandfather at about 8 years old, smoking a cigarette.
"I remember him telling me you weren't a man until you smoked your first cigarette," he says with a laugh.
The kitchen is home to more modern conveniences, with a center island and shellacked brick countertops.
Framed Confederate currency hangs in the sitting room, not far from a 1700s-era American-made cage clock with wooden gears and a spiral staircase that leads upstairs to the bedroom/office area.
Hunley is a longtime history buff, which rubbed off on Parsons when they started dating. Now, one of her favorite pieces in their loft is a child's high chair from the 1700s.
"You can see the wear of some child's little foot," she says, pointing to the footrest.
The couple says owning an antique store certainly helps with their decorating.
"We'll get something we really like, and when I find something I like better, that goes in the shop," Hunley says. "It's constantly evolving."
Here's more of what they had to say about loft living:
Why did loft living appeal to you
Hunley: "I have always been a history fanatic. Even though I was horrible at it, history was my favorite class in school. Really, [it's] the romance, the appreciation of old buildings ... the ambiance.
"Originally, [downtown] was Lynchburg. This is the heart of the city. This was the thriving part of Lynchburg."
What made you want to open the antique store downstairs
Hunley: "We just decided to do something with it. When people come in ... they tell me they feel like they're walking into a shop from the 1800s. We're trying to create an atmosphere."
How did you go about decorating the loft
Hunley: "We try to use very functional pieces. Every antique piece we own, we sit at it. We eat at it. We use it as our desk. With the green movement, if you truly are concerned with your carbon footprint, there is nothing greener than an antique. ... They're gonna last. They've already lasted 100, 200 years."
What do you like about antique furniture
Hunley: "I love the lines. The craftsmanship. Again, to stop and think that all this stuff was done by a craftsman, and the skill level they had to possess to turn a piece of furniture that's still around. It wasn't an antique [then]. It was a vital part of someone's life."
What do you guys like about being on the loft tour
Hunley: "It's a great cause."
Parsons: "We also want to show people antiques can be worked into modern living. I think a lot of people see an antique they like, but don't know how to work it in."
Hunley: "You can create an atmosphere with something that has history behind it."
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