The word loft usually suggests that rather useless portion of a house to which access is possible only by means of rickety steps and unstable ladders. In fact, the whole apartment is definitely associated with insecurity and trouble, for when one gets to the loft there is the possibility of putting ones foot through the lath and plaster, thus causing the ceiling below to crack and probably fall.
A loft, usually regarded as a dusty store-room for oddments which are not really wanted but may come in useful sometime in the remote future, can be put to good use. Providing the joists are strong enough to hold the weight, a floor can easily be laid without professional assistance and the place converted into a box-room where trunks and suchlike can be kept. Tongued and grooved boards are better than ordinary planks, and it is advisable to use screws rather than nails because the hammering is apt to crack the ceiling beneath.
The difficulty of getting the trunks up is eliminated if one possesses a loft ladder.
These ladders, made in various lengths and sizes, can now be bought ready to fix to the trap-door. They can be made to fit any particular opening, and when not in use are cleverly concealed in the loft by the trap-door. They are out of sight and out of mind. When one wishes to gain access to the roof, the contrivance is lowered by the mere touch of a pole which hooks into a concealed catch on the trap cover. Other types are operated by a worm-driven shaft and handle fixed to the wall. If there is no light in the loft this inconvenience can be overcome by means of a skylight, whieh is not a costly item.
The Room in the Loft
Perhaps your house is one bedroom short, or you would like to have a playroom for the children, or a study, and there is no means of adding to the structure. The loft may give the required space. In many cases it is possible to convert the loft into a room, but th:s depends on the strength of the joists, the height of the roof, and the position of the opening. If there is sufficient space a staircase can be built, a door made, dormer windows added, a floor laid and covered with linoleum and rug3, and the sloping part of the roof . panelled with wood or sheets of manufactured board. A room such as this, though not so easy to furnish as an ordinary room, can be made to look very attractive.
The windows, which are generally rather long and shallow, look most effective hung with chintz or cretonne curtains. The walls and ceiling should be painted or distempered a pale colour to reflect light. Do not try to introdueo a figured wallpapor as this is always inclined to box any apartment, especially if it has a low ceiling.
The Attic Den
The attic, already provided with a staircase, and usually boarded in all round, 5s also used by many people as a store-place for lumber. By the exercise of a little ingenuity and thought, the attic can be made into a very comfortable bedroom, sitting-room, don or childrens nursery.
Electric light can usually be carried to these rooms without difficulty, as many of the electric tubes which feed the bedrooms are laid in the roof and carried througii the ceiling. Even the ordinary loft without its floor is often supplied with electric-light. Tf practicable, the switch should be on the wall below the opening so that it can be turned on before ascending the ladder. For heating the attic, electre radiators are the safest means.