By CATHY MOUNCE, Register Staff Writer
Downtown Gainesville loft living was highlighted during Saturday’s Loft Tour sponsored by the Gainesville High School (GHS) junior class.
Three loft apartments owned by Chad Henderson, Whitney Galubenski and Johnny and Mary Lou Leftwich offered visitors a unique perspective of downtown living.
“The junior class sold 100 tickets and made $500 for their senior projects next year including the senior prom,” said Henderson, Gainesville Independent School District media relations,
Representatives for the GHS junior class were on hand to assist on to sell the $5 tickets between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Walking though Whitney Galubenski’s eclectic two-bedroom home which she shares with her son is an adventure filled with antique collectibles and her son’s baseball memorabilia.
Living in the apartment for three years, Galubenski teaches ballet in Gainesville and is currently working on her degree at Texas Women’s University where she is majoring in kinesiology and Spanish.
Henderson has refurbished a loft over the old KXGM radio station on the west side of the Cooke County courthouse. The entrance through a back stairway opens up to a long hallway with original brick walls and wide plank wooden floors. Henderson said it took four years to get the loft to its present state, adding that he still plans to finish out the floor.
“I want to put in a new stairwell that will allow an entrance from the interior downstairs,” he said.
Johnny and Mary Lou Leftwich have spent years renovating the approximately 3,000 square foot space over their business, Dustin Office Machines. An elevator in the business building on the first floor is used to gain entrance to the second-floor southwest-flavored apartment. Stuccoed walls, leather valances and western art are featured. Additional stairs in the back of the building allow for another entrance if needed. Two apartments are also rental property in the building and are rarely empty Leftwich said.
“We have spent lots of years getting their place to where it is now and love the natural lighting from the large windows as well as the sky lights down the hall,” he said.
The Leftwichs have a long association with the historic building.
“ I came to work for Mr. Frank Dustin back in the ‘50’s and acquired the business in 1980,” Leftwich said. “ Mr. Dustin originally bought the building so he could have a door that opened on two streets, California and Dixon. The top floor where we live now used to be a storage area.”
This is the second year for the popular loft tour.