The main living area of Julie Koesel’s Spokane loft is stylishly spare, dominated by a black leather sectional opposite an impossibly long shelf lined with color photos of European street scenes.
Even the little vintage tricycle parked casually on the concrete floor doesn’t seem out of place.
Then you notice the trampoline.
“It’s a very magical space,” says the 29-year-old entrepreneur and single mom who owns and operates Julie Elaine, a skin therapy company, from her spacious unit in the Adams Street Lofts.
Koesel, who grew up on a dairy farm in Chattaroy, is a pioneer of sorts in the urban loft scene. Four years ago she bought the 2,400-square-foot unit from city planner and downtown visionary Jim Kolva, back when his five-unit building offered some of the few lofts available in the area.
“At the time I didn’t have a place to live or work,” she says. “I knew I either needed to get out of Spokane or find something really amazing.”
But as much as Koesel loves the sleek, industrial feel of the unit, her dairy-farm roots are evident in a number of vintage accents that add color and character to the space:
Koesel’s 2-year-old daughter, Avery Jae, stores her toys inside several wooden fruit crates that line one wall of her room in the loft’s master suite, which overlooks a spacious courtyard that borders the downtown railroad bridge.
“Avery has a pretty cool room for a 2-year-old,” she says.
Near the stairwell, a primitive-looking door salvaged from her grandmother’s Palouse farmhouse awaits conversion into shelving.
And a series of antique windows from that same farmhouse hang artfully from an exposed rafter, separating Koesel’s main-floor treatment room from her Spartan bedroom on the mezzanine above.
The effect is a sort of whimsical-minimalist, a combination that lends itself to both her home and work life.
“This space is just such a different thing,” Koesel says as a train gently rumbles by, underscoring the urban-Zen feel of the loft. “It’s uncluttered, there are no distractions, so it’s very relaxing.”
Koesel says that while her urban lifestyle doesn’t allow for the kind of outdoor amenities that many suburbanites enjoy, there are ample opportunities to enjoy with her daughter downtown.
She and Avery spend much of their time in nearby Riverfront Park, where they make good use of the water feature and the historic Looff Carrousel.
Koesel also organizes activities for Avery and her friends.
“I am the queen of play-dates,” she laughs. “We have her friends over for picnics in the courtyard, or we go to the park.”
In addition, Koesel says once a week she runs with some friends up to Seven Mile on the Centennial Trail.
And though Koesel often makes use of the trampoline that punctuates one end of her living room, she says Avery lays claim to the antique tricycle.
“It’s older and a little hard to get around on, though” she says, even on the sidewalk-like floor of her loft. “I’m going to get her roller blades. And a helmet, and elbow and knee pads,” she adds.
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