Photos & Story by Cory Klein

Going Up

Story by: Don Argento

Photos by: Cory Klein

Don’t tell Bri DeRolph you can’t mix work and play. Especially when your home/office is cooler than most single homes or offices.

When DeRolph spotted an industrial building for sale on the south edge of the Brewery District, she immediately knew it was a perfect blank canvas for creating a unique living and work space to accommodate her, and her two burgeoning businesses—Sidecar Creatives and DriftIndustry.

Oh, and her motorbikes, dog, and honey bees too…

To make the vision a reality, a second floor was added to the building, a pivotal step in creating the lofty space she envisioned.

“There was nowhere to go but up—so that’s what I did,” she said.

The industrial architecture, décor, and feel capture DeRolph’s personality and predisposition perfectly. Motorcycles and bicycles are the window dressing for a massive, free-flowing space that is both a stylish showroom and a functional work/storage space. Nothing seems specifically situated, and yet nothing seems out of place—everything fits and makes sense right where it is.

On the garage side of the ground level is a fully stocked fabrication shop complete with table saws, drill presses, and other tools of the trade where DeRolph gets her hands dirty building projects for clients. A huge, two-paneled rustic, wooden bi-fold door she salvaged divides the shop from her residence.

In the building’s old office space, the accomplished designer converted the sparse first floor area into a living room, kitchen, and bathroom. The cozy living room features an old leather couch, retro chairs, and a functioning wood burning stove in the corner. Hiding behind a huge sliding barn door is an expansive closet and a sizable bathroom with a tiled walk-in shower and wooden tub—of course, hand-made by DeRolph.

Adjacent to the bathroom is an industrial style galley kitchen with modern appliances. At the end sits a row of black, vintage bar stools resting beneath a slice of a tree bar top. Its raw-edged earthiness is topped with a heavy coat of polyurethane for protection.

As you climb the steel treaded spiral staircase that flanks the couch in the living room, there’s a small cubby loft that peeks over the living space where “friends can crash.” At the top of the stairs is her office. There’s a bank of windows providing an unending glow. It’s equipped with an Apple computer and a monstrous Wacom touch-screen she uses for designing projects. Her ability to render 3-D models of what she’s proposing to her clients builds their confidence. “I can show them exactly what they’re going to get.” This approach takes more time up front, but leaves any guesswork out of the equation.

Adjacent to the office is the master bedroom—a large, open space with a huge headboard as the focal point.

“I found these old dyes in a salvage yard that I turned into a piece of art over the bed. They look like they’re made of metal, but they’re actually wood.”

A huge sliding glass door provides access to her rooftop patio with a nice view of the western sky. It’s complete with padded outdoor seating and a projector screen where she and friends watch movies on warm evenings.

On the east side of the rooftop resides a burgeoning beehive colony. Of course, the do-it-all DeRolph is dabbling as a beekeeper.

“I love honey… and bees are such fascinating creatures,” she said. What she doesn’t consume herself she passes along for friends to enjoy.

In addition to running her two companies and her colony, Brianne’s also a biker with a growing collection of vintage motorcycles including a ’73 Honda CB350, a ’72 Kawasaki 2-Stroke Enduro, and a ’79 Yamaha SX650.

“My dad rides and I suppose it rubbed off on me,” she said with a smile and a shrug. To that end, she’s racing in the fall MotoGiro in Asheville, North Carolina with him.

No rest for the wickedly daring and talented…

For more information on Brianne DeRolph, visit



By Cory Klein