After owning the Lippincottage for years, my friend Paul sold it and bought the Worm Factory, a 19th C. brick industrial building in an alley near Allan Gardens in Toronto. It earned its name because for a time during its highly varied career it was the central depot for Toronto's many earth worm collectors; trucks would distribute the collected worms from there to the worm buyers who presumably used them for everything form bait to biology.
The unusual interior required some unusual and creative work, which I was happy to do. With a self imposed moratorium on any additional drywall, we opted for mostly panelling and woodwork. Most of the ceiling in the open space was left with the original joists and roof underside exposed and I installed track lighting and ceiling fans carefully such that they attach to the bottom edge of joists and the electrical conduits are unobtrusive. In the kitchen area, bedroom, study and bath I made panel ceilings with a pine 4 x 4 foot grid and honest plywood for the panels. I demolished an awkward laundry area left by the previous owner, built the kitchen there including a 4 x 6 foot glass brick window with wire shelves for the glassware and multi-purpose built in "island". The island I designed and built includes spaces for the pantry, fridge, cupboards, and on the other side shelves and a utility closet that holds cleaning supplies and computer LAN components like the router, NAS and printer.
The building's contemporary pine stair case, while beautifully crafted, had to be brought up to code with uprights for both the steps and banister; I was able to do that and maintain the mid-Century open feel by making step uprights with holes to let light through, and banister uprights made of hook-eyes, steel wire and turn-buckles. I designed and built in custom pine floor-to-ceiling bookshelves for the study and replaced the six structural interior roof posts in the otherwise open rehearsal space with unhewn tree trunks, carefully and one at a time.
I had a radical plan to build a steel I-beam pyramid that rests on the flat roof's brick parapets. I could then remove the six interior support posts altogether and instead suspend the roof's wood beams from the steel pyramid above with steel cables. The steel pyramid could optionally be used to make a fence, trellis or privacy screen for the roof garden, or glassed in to make a huge conservatory a la La Louvre. One might install a grand spiral staircase up from the former top floor perhaps. Unfortunately Paul's generous but limited budget has yet to reach such heights!