Trendy lofts evoke visions of converted warehouses filled with artists and musicians living and working in shared space, forgoing modern conveniences for Bohemian communal living. Modern lofts, however, have more to offer than exposed brick, industrial elevators, and visible pipes. In fact, the term “loft” might appear in marketing for anything from remodeled warehouses to revitalized historic apartment buildings and newly constructed high-rises in urban areas

The appeal of loft living

No one demographic has the corner on loft living. Young professionals look for proximity to work, nightlife, and recreation while empty-nesters want to reduce the requirements for upkeep, yard work, and maintenance. In both urban and smaller community downtown/uptown settings, loft-style housing offers easy access to shopping, medical care, theatres, and public transportation. When the distance from work to home to recreation and nightlife decreases, the opportunity to experience events and socialize with workmates and friends increases.

An advantage of live-work loft-style housing is the sense of camaraderie and shared interests with the other residents.

Choosing a loft style

With the growth in popularity of loft living, actual warehouse and commercial loft conversions cannot meet the demand. Industrial lofts no longer make up the bulk of loft offerings on the market. So-called “soft lofts”—new construction in the style of a converted loft—has all the modern amenities, energy-savings, and conveniences of other newly-built housing that replicates some features and atmosphere of traditional lofts. These newer buildings take advantage of lower cost utilities with energy-efficient windows, insulation, and heating and cooling systems. Many soft-lofts install surfaces made from recycled glass, wood, and plastic or use renewable resources.

Different from the completely open-concept industrial loft space, modern loft models have built-in closets and walled bedrooms but typically offer completely open living spaces, high windows, and even exposed ductwork to give the loft aesthetic.

Another type of “loft” is the revitalized historic building. Sometimes it’s a hotel past its glory days. It could be a former library or office building. Perhaps an aging residential building needed a new life. If living in a bit of history appeals to you, this type of loft should be on your list. Typically, much of the original architectural detail remains including marble columns with decorative capitals, soaring ceilings, marble or hardwood flooring, vintage elevators, leaded glass windows, and sweeping staircases. New to these buildings you’ll find upscale appliances set in gourmet kitchens, upgraded bathrooms, and secure entries. 

To learn about loft conversions or soft-loft buildings available in your area, contact a local real estate expert.

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