By Amy Burger | Special for post-shipment
Sam Eckholm calls his light-flooded apartment in the Woodward Lofts of Forest Park Southeast as “the hangar” – a nod to his love of aviation and his work as an officer in the United States Air Force . The long entrance wall leading from his front door to the open living space is lined with large framed photos of military planes that Eckholm himself took when he was an Army photographer of the air traveling the world with the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team.
A native of Dallas, Eckholm graduated from the Colorado Springs Air Force Academy in 2018, following in his father’s footsteps, a former Air Force pilot. He was initially stationed in Virginia, where he got his first apartment – although he never furnished it as he traveled 300 days a year to places such as Dubai and Singapore to do air shows. Growing up with social media, Eckholm enjoyed making videos and began his journey as a YouTube content creator documenting his experiences in the Air Force.
In January, he was posted to Scott Air Force Base in St. Clair County, but being young and single, he knew he didn’t want to live in accommodation on the base, which is usually occupied by families.
“I didn’t know anything about Saint-Louis, except that there was an arch,” he says. “When I found out I was posted here, I immediately started looking for cool places to live and booked a trip to find an apartment. I visited a dozen different apartments and was blown away by all the different neighborhoods.
When he visited Woodward Lofts in Forest Park Southeast, also known as Grove, he knew it was perfect for him. Developed in the historic old building of Woodward & Tiernan Printing Co., which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the lofts combine historic industrial architecture with modern amenities, including common workspaces, a fitness center and a rooftop pool.
“This building had everything I was looking for and is in a perfect location,” Eckholm explains.
“What I love about The Grove is that it’s not overwhelming, but it still has some amazing locations and nightlife. I like being able to walk to restaurants and brasseries.
The space itself appealed to him as well, with a wall of industrial-style tile windows, 15-foot ceilings, and a modern kitchen in shades of gray and white.
“I have always been in a bright environment, I like its lightness. It has character but is also very modern, ”he says.
Amid the pandemic, many of the building’s amenities were still closed, so Eckholm focused on appropriating the space with new furniture and decor that spoke to his passions and sense of style.
“I couldn’t wait to design this space. I had nothing when I got there and slowly started building each section, ”he says.
The open plan kitchen / living room is elegant and elegant. Eckholm had long coveted Restoration Hardware’s Cloud sectional sofa, but the size it needed would have cost around $ 20,000. While researching online, he was able to find a Florida-based manufacturer called City Furniture that was making an almost identical one for a fraction of the cost. The deep seat white fabric sectional sofa is the perfect centerpiece of the space. He complemented it with a gray and white shag rug from Overstock which is so soft and comfortable that he often sits on the floor.
The windows face the railroad tracks, but the a foot thick walls keep noise to a minimum, and Eckholm says he’s got used to watching the wagons go by, wondering what they’re carrying.
The most important area for Eckholm is his “Creation Station” – a designated space along the back wall of the living room that functions as a mini-studio where he creates his YouTube videos. It’s anchored by an Autonomous AI black-and-white smart desk that can be raised and lowered with the push of a button, paired with a state-of-the-art ergonomic chair from the same company.
Along with all of its technical necessities, including an adjustable ring light, 32 inch swivel monitor, and professional microphone, the crown jewel of the setup is a bespoke neon that says “Creation Station” in red and blue. flamboyant, created by Dale Sign Service of Ballwin.
“I’ve always liked neon signs, but wanted the authentic glass tubes, so I asked them to make me a custom sign. I love it, ”Eckholm says. “I spend 90% of my time in this space when I’m at home.”
A nearby shelf is well organized with items of personal importance to Eckholm, including a custom Lockheed Martin F-35 plane model, Air Force ring, saber, and Air Force Academy yearbooks. As a nod to his love of all things “Star Wars” he also has a small bust of Darth Vader, a linear floor lamp next to the shelf that reminds him of a lightsaber and treadmill in the hallway with the Millennium Falcon.
Having the apartment finished exactly as he envisioned it allowed Eckholm to further expand his YouTube content and other interests while exploring all that St. Louis and the Grove area has to offer.
“I really like the change of pace because I can put a lot more on the personal side of things and do my 9 to 5 job, but then come home and focus on my own business,” he says. “Love the area, but the setup is all I wanted. I’m so happy with the way it turned out.