Loft Living

by : Kevin And Gretchen Koitz

Loft living has become synonymous with a trendy urban lifestyle, and many developers are responding to the demand with loft-like or loft-styled options. Traditionally lofts were industrial spaces converted to residential spaces by artistic types. The appeal to artists, so the story goes, started in Paris in the mid 19th-century when large canvasses required high ceilings. In North America, starving artists began inhabiting abandoned warehouse spaces, but the trend really took off in New York, where commercial areas started transforming into residential areas en mass in the 70s. Lofts have since spread to every major city, and become a symbol of hip, urban life in popular culture.

Lofts are characterized by open spaces and large windows, beams and columns; exposed ducting and brickwork; high ceilings and wood or concrete floors. Since they are often found in city centers and converted industrial areas, many lofts offer dramatic views of the urban skyline. Because of their popularity and the lack of true loft spaces, many developers began creating loft-style apartments that mimic some of the traditional loft characteristics: large windows open floor plans. In Washington DC, for instance, developers had few old warehouse and factory spaces to work with so many lofts here are converted schools, row houses or simply new construction with a loft-like design.

Part of the loft's increased popularity is the repopulation of city centers. Wanting to avoid a time-sucking commute from the suburbs, many professionals are choosing to move into urban centers. This influx of population has put pressure on many downtown cores to increase the services and commodities offered in urban areas. Once the realm of nightlife and cultural activities (museums, galleries, and theatres), today's urban landscape often includes parks, grocery stores and gyms. For many, the convenience and excitement of living downtown outweighs some of the drawbacks (like pollution or the cost of living).

No longer just for young people, urban residence is becoming increasingly popular with the older generation. The simplicity of loft and condo living is attractive to people who don't have the time or ability to keep up the rigorous responsibilities of traditional home owning.

Loft living isn't for everyone - if you don't live in an urban area, need a bigger space or simply can't afford a loft, you can still draw inspiration from the look. When remodeling, you can incorporate the style by using elements like steel, brick and wood. Loft style is often sleek, minimalist and modern -there are many exciting design ideas to draw from on the Internet so look around and have fun.