Tour an Industrial Atlanta Loft in a Factory Tower

Blending modern minimalism and industrial design, this luxurious loft inside a 19th-century brick tower takes style to new heights.

September 09, 2020

Photo By: Brandon Sutton

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Terrell Clark

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Brandon Sutton

Photo By: Brandon Sutton

Photo By: Brandon Sutton

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Terrell Clark

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Brandon Sutton

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Brandon Sutton

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Terrell Clark

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Zach Toth

Photo By: Zach Toth

One-of-a-Kind Design

Atlanta is home to many architectural gems, but the utterly unique Stacks Tower Loft housed in an historic textile mill is undoubtedly one of the most unusual living spaces the city has to offer. From the exterior, the one-of-a-kind building is clearly special, but a step inside will show you everything this luxurious loft has to offer. This unconventional space could be yours for its current asking price of $750,000.

A Minimalist Approach

It's inspiring to view the space with all its gorgeous details. The behemoth beams bridging the lengthy walls of the tower, the creative mix of windows flooding the space with light and the stunning exposed-brick walls all fight to take your breath away. Owner Brandon Sutton has taken a minimalist approach in furnishing the space, allowing the architectural details to shine through.

Grand Plans

Brandon purchased the loft in 2006 but has lived in the space since 2002. "In 2006, the developer began the process of converting the property to condominiums. Those of us who were renting got the first chance to purchase our lofts," notes Brandon. "I jumped on the chance to own it and immediately reached out to my friend Joel Kelly, a well-known residential architect, to discuss plans for a renovation."

Back to Barebones

With Joel by his side, Brandon moved forward with the renovation of the loft. The combined vision was a barebones version of the space that stripped away all the drywall and exposed the beautiful brick. In Brandon's words, "Basically all the [drywall] came out, except for the outer walls. We were essentially starting over, creating a totally new space from scratch."

Design Destination

Seeing the space now, it is hard to imagine it any other way. The contrast of the rough, exposed-brick walls with the glimmer of the polished concrete floors feels like a natural avenue of design. The grandeur of the space is grounded by its organic sensibility.

A Dramatic Focal Point

The eye is irresistably drawn upward in the main living area. The impressive tower boasts 71-foot walls lined with brick from top to bottom. Grids formed with massive beams offer a break in the open space and a nice architectural detail. The two levels of beams frame the view of the ceiling nicely and are perfectly complemented by the arched windows nestled within.

A Nod to Nostalgia

"The beams are essentially for visual effect, but I'm sure they do provide a bit of structural support," says Brandon. "The original beams provided support for the two large water tanks that were held in the tower. There are nine beam pockets at each level, which were needed to house the massive beams that supported the immense weight of 18,000-gallon tanks. After the fire, they put in a few crossbeams to give a nod to the original contents of the space."

Up In Flames

Those 18,000-gallon tanks were part of the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill that dates back to 1889. However, the aforementioned fire didn't occur until over 100 years later. "During construction in 1999, a massive fire engulfed the entire building and it burned to the ground while a crane operator was trapped high above the flames. The infamous helicopter rescue that ensued was an incredible example of human ingenuity and perseverance," adds Brandon.

The Tower Survives

"After the fire, this building was rebuilt with what remained of the original façade. Fun fact: the tower itself remained intact while other exterior brick walls lost much of their original bricks. The north-facing wall of the building collapsed entirely," Brandon tells HGTV. "All of the wood beams, floor decking, roofing, concrete, etc., were all brand new after the fire in 2000."

A Social Spot

The rich history and distinctiveness of the tower make the loft a go-to spot for parties and other social events. With brilliant forethought, Brandon and Joel took this into account when designing the space. The minimal furnishings that allow the space to remain open and provide ample flow make it perfect for large gatherings, while Brandon's addition of a disco ball suspended from the beams lends a light, fun atmosphere.

Entertaining In Mind

The entire space is set up with entertaining in mind. For instance, the simple addition of a gallery wall opposite the loft's kitchen sets the space up to host a variety of art events. Directional lighting casts a glow on the wall and is sure to put whatever you hang on striking display.

The Perfect Party Pad

We're willing to bet parties at the tower are can't-miss events. For one thing, Brandon, a former DJ, seems like the guy that knows how to throw a perfect party, but the disco ball and speakers suspended from the exposed beams are also good hints. "Within a couple of weeks of moving in, I rented a scissor lift and installed the disco ball and spotlights, as well as the speakers that hang from the main beams. We had a party the night before Thanksgiving that year, which is still one of my favorites!" Brandon says.

Surreal Living Experience

Once the parties are over, the space becomes a calm retreat. In a building with so much history and such an abundance of architectural intrigue, it can be somewhat surreal to view it as your home. "In the early years of living here, I would often lay on the couch staring up into the tower and imagine what it was like in here when it was built," says Brandon. "There are so many interesting details that provide clues to how the original tower was oriented."

Window to the Past

The back wall in the main living area is home to many subtle details that make the whole space feel unique. The openings positioned above the desk are like little windows into the room's past use as part of the textile industry. Each subsection of brick in the space is slightly different and suggests a different time period in the building's evolution.

Over-the-Top Opulence

One feature we loved instantly was the arched brick opening that leads out of the main living area. Something about the over-the-top width of the walls within the opening suggests an opulence that you rarely see in today's cookie-cutter buildings. This detail, paired with the subtle arch at the top, turned out to be a great design combination.

An Eye for Design

Brandon likes to stay away from mass-produced furniture pieces, so it's safe to assume that the majority of pieces in the loft have a good story behind them. The desk, for example, is made of steel and was stripped and refinished by Brandon. "I wanted that modern-industrial look with old, solid pieces that had history," says Brandon. "The desk, in particular, was a rare find! I wanted a raw steel desk, so I kept an eye out for one. I found this one in a vintage furniture store and fell in love immediately."

Keeping It All in the Family

Much like the vintage steel desk, the dining table has a story that goes along with it. The live-edge piece was made by Brandon’s cousin's furniture company and custom-designed to fit the space. "We had talked for many years about him making a table for this space. I got serious about it back in 2017 and one day he called me telling me about these beautiful pecan slabs that he had seen," says Brandon.

The Perfect Table

It's almost hard to believe given the immense size of the table, but Brandon informs us that the original slabs were even longer than they are now. "We cut them down so that the table would fit in the elevator!" he says. "It's incredibly heavy and solid; something that will last a lifetime. It is the perfect table for bringing people together for a variety of occasions."

A Natural Addition

When Brandon says it’s the perfect table, we agree without hesitation. A space this grand needs a table to match. Not only does the size adequately fill the space and provide room for guests, but the gorgeous finish and use of the pecan is highlighted by its surroundings. From the warmth of the brick to the glow of the window’s light, the beautiful wooden table is a natural addition to the room.

Cozy Kitchen Space

As you exit the main living area via the elegant arched brick opening, you enter the home's kitchen. Though an admittedly more reserved branch of the unique loft, the clever kitchen is a prime example of the design genius of both Joel and Brandon.

Modern Minimalism

To your left as you enter what seems to be a hallway, you see the gallery wall with Brandon's current art of choice glowing beneath the directional spotlights. On the right is the entirety of the kitchen. The whole area is modern minimalism at its finest.

Mixing in the Modern

Luxurious custom maple cabinetry glows in the light and offers a welcome contrast to the darker tones in the space. The modern design of the flat-front cabinets is matched by modern appliances and fixtures that complement the historical aspects of the architecture surrounding them, an aesthetic that Brandon says he has “always loved.”

Number Crunching Changes

When viewing the kitchen, it all seems so perfect that it is hard to imagine it any other way. However, Brandon mentions that the open shelving started as a way to meet his budget and turned into something he loved. "The open shelving was something I suggested when the budget was getting crunched," he says. "I actually like having open shelving as opposed to all enclosed cabinetry. It's much more open feeling and it provides versatility and ease of access that cabinets cannot match."

All's Well That Ends Well

It all worked out in the end. The open shelving not only makes the space feel bigger, but it offers a gorgeous view of the maple backsplash that extends to the top of the kitchen's ceiling. The whole space benefits from the clean, modern finishes that work together to create a jaw-dropping aesthetic.

Main Bedroom Bliss

Directly behind the kitchen is the loft's main bedroom. The room is the epicenter of the home's cozy serenity. Much like many other areas in the loft, the bedroom benefits from the organic ambience of the exposed-brick walls and other architectural oddities.

Interior Window

The two window-like openings in the tower walls actually open into the bedroom and allow picture-perfect views into the tower from the bed. Because the windows are positioned so high on the walls, the bedroom maintains its privacy, while feeling at one with the rest of the space. However, Brandon chose to dress up the larger of the openings with curtains and hanging decor.

Light Up the Night

Lengthy black-out curtains tucked behind the bed are necessary due to the massive windows that the tower loft boasts. When closed, one might expect the bedroom to feel dark and closed off, but the high-ceilings and the polished floors make the space feel larger than life. The varied texture of the old bricks create a unique surface for the room's light fixtures to reflect.

Finding Balance

The dark, masculine space is not something Brandon has tried to change or mask. If anything, he's pressed into the space's natural inclinations with heavy curtains and bedding. However, the room features a few key art and decor pieces that help to balance out the overall moody, industrial look.

Golden Glow

To the left of the bed is the doorway leading into what Brandon refers to as his favorite spot in the home: the master bathroom. The flow of the polished concrete floor from the bedroom to the bathroom offers a feeling of continuity while the floor's glossy surface is balanced by the bathroom's warm finishes.

Bespoke Beauty

Once you step into the bathroom you begin to get an understanding of why Brandon calls it his favorite spot in the loft. He says it best: "Something about the texture and colors of the brick walls combined with the maple cabinetry, custom concrete vanity and travertine and frameless glass shower enclosure creates a Zen experience that's hard to beat."

Natural Beauty

On the door wall, the brick Brandon refers to meets the gorgeous travertine tile. The effect the two finishes have on this particular vignette just couldn’t be replicated with standard drywall and paint. In fact, every finish in the bathroom plays a significant role in the space’s overall atmosphere.

Unexpected Coziness

The shower itself feels surprisingly private. Even with the frameless glass enclosure, the little bit of wall that wraps around the area contributes to an unexpected coziness. It's plain to see why this is Brandon's favorite spot to unwind. "The deep soaking tub with a glass of wine after a long day with chill music playing overhead creates a perfect environment for relaxing," he explains.

360-Degree Views

The 360-degree views from the tower are unparalleled. The gorgeous blend of the greenspace and cityscape that embodies Atlanta's historic Cabbagetown neighborhood (once home to the mill workers who labored in the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill) surrounds the one-of-a-kind loft and makes for a wonderful backdrop to the home's interior.

Street Art Hub

The loft offers a prime view of Atlanta's Hulsey Yard, a railyard that borders Cabbagetown and acts as a hub for street artists in the area. Impressive murals and artworks line the south wall.

Time to Move On

"As you can imagine, this is a once-in-a-lifetime space," Brandon says. But after 18 years, he has decided to put the loft on the market so he can move on to pursue other interests. He has two hopes for the next owner. The first is that they will make use of the blank canvas that is the tower by taking on a second-stage renovation. Secondly, he adds with a smile, "I just hope they will invite me back when it's done so I can enjoy it one last time."

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