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Loft History


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Loft History
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Lofts in Chicago
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Lofts History and Chicago

Dating back to the 1900’s, the original converted lofts were located in warehouses and used in conjunction with manufacturing plants or as storage spaces in the city’s industrial areas

Living in lofts did not actually become chic until the early 1960’s when artists in New York City's SoHo district began inhabiting converted warehouse spaces. The high ceilings, exposed brick and wide-open spaces with lots of light made them perfect creative work spaces. The edgy neighborhoods also meant low prices ideal for starving artists.

Today what was once formerly associated with industrial, old warehouses, represents not only abodes for artists and bohemians but also hot properties sought out by urban professionals from all walks of life.

More contemporary units, specifically designed for loft-style living have been appointed in newer buildings. In contrast with their warehouse predecessors, they often are constructed to replicate the original handsome features of exposed bricks and wooden beams while being more mindful of the acoustic and structural elements.

Overall, the driving force to create more loft spaces in urban areas, has positively been viewed by experts as helping to revitalize older neighborhoods, raise the property values and overall improve the quality of living.

Loft developers say the four main features that define a loft are: high ceilings, open spaces, exposed building materials and big windows.

Others take this a step further to include: an adherence to the original look of the building to maintain its industrial style of exposed heavy timber beams, ducts, plumbing, concrete flooring, corrugated steel or masonry walls; an open floor plan defined by partitioned areas; and in some instances, the preservation of an old freight elevator.

Yet, nowadays it may prove extremely cost prohibitive not to mention against building code to construct properties in such an outdated manner. Hence, though most current loft projects in development lack the ‘raw’ retro feel of what has formerly been considered a true loft, developers strive to compensate by incorporating modern amenities.

Some common loft terms which with to become familiar:

  • Hard loft: The space is open except for the bathroom.
  • High ceilings: 14 feet or higher from floor to ceiling.
  • Raw loft: Unfinished space doesn't always include a toilet or sink.
  • Soft loft: Has 3/4-high walls that do not reach the ceiling but yet enclose the bedroom(s). Typically, soft lofts include some, but not all, elements of a hard loft design.
  • Moderate loft: Has mid-priced kitchen and bathroom finishes.
  • Upscale: Has high-quality kitchen and bathroom fixtures and finishes.

When considering purchasing a loft property, the two primary considerations should be given to framework and construction options:

  1. Do you prefer a renovated aka conversion| rehabbed property or a brand new loft | new construction?
  2. And second, of what Do you prefer your loft to be of concrete | masonry or timber | wood construction?

Overview l Loft History l Lofts in Chicago l Interior Design l Design Principles l Sizing & Pricing l Location Guide l Buying Steps
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