A capacious loft above Main St. Montrose lets the outdoors in.
On a recent Thursday afternoon, the Montrose street fair known as Main in Motion was getting ready to open. A local band did their best Metallica imitation as a warm-up; the lead singer adjusted his Ray-Bans.
Though Main Street is closed to everything but foot traffic and vendors during street fairs these summer months, there is an unlikely place right in the midst of it where you can take in all the bustle from a level above.
That place is The Loft.
The first surprise is that it exists at all. Through a discreet doorway tucked next to DeVinny Jewelers on 3rd Street, and up a flight of stairs, here is an aerie directly overlooking Main Street, with 12-ft. ceilings and a series of eight pillar-like windows facing out at the goings-on. The first thing you see when you enter the loft – in addition to that row of tall windows – is the kitchen. This one, with its fire-engine red stove, exposed brick wall and warm wood table, encourages conviviality. You immediately think: this is a place I would like to cook in. Until you spot the leather barstools lined up against the granite counter and your mind completes the thought: “Or have a drink while someone else cooks.”
It is a warm, compelling space. The soaring windows bring the outside in and supply the action. On this particular afternoon, the windows were open, and the sounds of Main Street wafted up (they could have been closed, and the scene would have played out in peaceful pantomime). “There’s good parade-watching at Christmas,” said The Loft’s owner, Jennifer Prock, nodding toward the window. Or, for that matter, on the Fourth of July. There is also good street sightseeing on summer Thursdays, like tonight. Or all year long, during the First Friday art stroll.
A year and a half ago, Prock and her husband, who own the Kinikin Elk Ranch 10 miles southeast of town, were looking for an investment property. They were about to purchase a small house when her mother, a Montrose real-estate agent, insisted Jennifer first take a look at this apartment, which was up for auction. She did, and two days later, she won it.
If the first surprise is that a loft exists above Main Street at all, the second shocker is how big the place is: the kitchen flows into a huge living room, with spacious, leather, slouch-and-settle-in seating, a prominent flat-screen TV on an exposed-brick wall, and at the end, a massive oak billiards table. The light, and the layout, draw you in.
There are four bedrooms here, three with their own baths; the master bedroom features a jacuzzi that seats six beneath a sizable skylight. The apartment sleeps eight comfortably, though 10 could overnight here if they used the living room couches (and frankly, if they brought their sleeping bags, 15 or so could stay over without bumping into each other).
It is a sprawling 3,000-sq.-ft. space, and the biggest surprise lies at the end of a long hall: a home theater, with seating for 10, replete with a huge screen. “This is the only room we really changed,” Prock said. It had been “kind of a sunken room,” rather like a spare living room; she raised the top floor, and put in four stair-stepped-platforms – theater rows – leading down to the screen. Stacks of several dozen DVDs lay on the counter above the control- equipment. It was easy to imagine the possibilities: a group of adults repairs here after dinner for a film. Or, a group of adults sends the children here to watch a movie or cartoons in their very own theater while the grownups linger in the living room and kitchen. A room with two bunk beds is across the hall from the cinema. “Kids love it,” Prock said.
Visitor comments on the property-booking site VRBO, where Prock advertises The Loft, remark that the photos don’t do this place justice, and they are right. The feeling of openness – the soaring windows overlooking Main Street from the living room and kitchen, the high ceilings, and the fact that the place just rambles on and on – is the chief source of its appeal. It seems an ideal hub for families to come and go from during the holidays or summer travels to the Black Canyon, or Ridgway State Park, or Ouray. It would be a perfect spot for hunters to retreat to after a day up on the Uncompahgre, or for fishermen or skiers, who could easily spread out wet gear to dry, as well as for visitors who prefer familial, atmospheric quarters to a characterless motel room on their way to and from Telluride. Also appealing are the rates, which vary, depending on the number of people (“I’m pretty flexible,” Prock said). In high season, for groups of seven or more, the tariff is $350 a night (it was $250 this spring); for two people, the cost is $150. Quite reasonable when you consider you can also save on restaurant costs by cooking your own meal in a lovely kitchen. On the other hand, why would you? For breakfast, Great Harvest bakery is maybe three feet away from the front door, and Daily Bread Bakery is also close by. Indeed, downtown’s dining, art galleries and shopping emporia are just steps away. “My father jokes that all we need is a bridge to take us straight over to Colorado Boy” without having to dodge traffic, Prock said, pointing out the window. The restaurant, renowned for its craft beers and artisan pizzas, lies directly across Main Street.
If You Go
The Loft is available to rent for parties and events as well as overnight. Prock works with a pair of local chefs to provide catering. She also rents a lodge in the middle of her ranch that accommodates 20, and The Outpost, a four-bedroom, five-bath lodge with a three-bedroom log cabin next door, located 20 minutes outside Norwood. What you are getting with all these properties is not only a place to spend the night, but local knowledge, because Jennifer Prock grew up here. If you’re wondering about where to go or what to do, ask. For more information, visit stayandplaymontrose.com.