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MONDAY, MAY 14, 2007
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Shereé Sutton in the kitchen window of her loft apartment on Second Avenue Southeast in Decatur.
Daily photos by John Godbey
Shereé Sutton in the kitchen window of her loft apartment on Second Avenue Southeast in Decatur.

Loft life
No longer just for artists: Live/work lofts make life more convenient and fun

By Danielle Komis
dkomis@decaturdaily.com · 340-2447

Every morning Shereé Sutton wakes up and drinks her coffee in her kitchen window. She watches as Decatur slowly comes to life as business owners open their doors and lawyers head to the courthouse.

Once Sutton is ready for work, she walks down the stairs of her loft apartment and heads to Emporium Etc., her salon underneath her loft downtown.

Traffic jams, travel times and yard work are a thing of the past for her. Living in a loft apartment above the shop she owns makes life simpler, more convenient and fun.

“I absolutely love it,” she said. “I can’t imagine why someone wouldn’t want to live here. It’s so easy.”

Shereé Sutton with her cats in the dining room of her loft apartment above her business, Emporium Etc., on Second Avenue Southeast. Living above the shop she owns makes life simpler, more convenient and fun.
Shereé Sutton with her cats in the dining room of her loft apartment above her business, Emporium Etc., on Second Avenue Southeast. Living above the shop she owns makes life simpler, more convenient and fun.
Once a thing of the past, loft living has slowly spread from city to city as the new way to live, in the same way suburban living once spread.

Sutton loves the light streaming in through her tall front windows that stretch nearly 10 feet to the top of her ceilings, and always has the best seat in the house for parades and other downtown events, such as the recent bike criterium.

“I was hanging out my window taking pictures,” she said, laughing.

Two years ago, she lived in a house in Decatur, and downsized from the 2,500-square foot home to the 1,000-square foot, two-bedroom, two-bath apartment. But she’s never looked back.

The only downsides for her are the long walk up the stairs and her lack of a washer and dryer.

Byron Vann, who lives near Sutton in one of the Decatur lofts on Second Avenue, said he lived in a house for awhile, but liked living downtown better because of its proximity to everything. Plus, Decatur’s downtown is really safe, he said.

“I just prefer it,” he said. “I like to be near the restaurants and just enjoy downtown. You can get out and walk at night. You’re not concerned.”

Glenna Jones, who owns property in downtown Decatur, said a number of people have expressed interest to her about living in loft apartments downtown over the years.

She had planned to build lofts on Second Avenue until the fire that seriously damaged the city block last fall set those plans on the back burner.

The outside of Shereé Sutton’s business, Emporium Etc., and her loft apartment on Second Avenue Southeast.
The outside of Shereé Sutton’s business, Emporium Etc., and her loft apartment on Second Avenue Southeast.
She and her husband expect to build the loft apartments eventually, though it probably won’t happen for at least a year, she said.

People young and old often want them for their convenience and for the sense of community they offer, she said.

“They want to kind of be where the action is,” she said.

In the move from the cities to the suburbs, something was lost, Sutton said.

“I think we lost a little piece of apple pie when we did that. It’s that small-town atmosphere that attracted me to this and it’s everything I thought it would be.

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