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Why Lofts in Chicago

I moved to Chicago from Austin Texas and have lived in lofts for more than seven years. Chicago lofts have changed my expectations, not only for lofts, but also for living spaces in general. Anyone who’s lived in Chicago can tell you the city has an identity like no other, it’s huge, though at times feels like a small town. People are friendly and you never have to go far to get what you want.

There’s a certain similarity between how a city should be and how a home should be. Big and roomy, but not so spread out that it’s impersonal; a closeness to good people, but not without a place for peace and quiet. My first loft in Chicago was nice. It was small, but didn’t seem like it due to the high ceilings, big windows and open floor layout. I had three neighbors, all of whom helped me with my move, either lugging boxes out of the truck or cooking a housewarming meal.

For many reasons my loft was different and better than my old loft in Austin. It seemed bigger, though it technically had less floor space (my second loft was all around bigger). More importantly, it had the ‘loft feel’ I was looking for. Brick walls, big industrial pipes passing through the ceiling beams (shiny silver!), and tremendous windows. My neighbors and I built a few small garden boxes on the roof that summer and grew tomatoes and peppers. It was a great place to live.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of living in lofts in Chicago is the excellent public transportation. Not only was I twice able to find a loft in the neighborhood I wanted to live in, but could easily get to another part of town in no time. With the ‘el, busses and Metra, you can get around town easily for just a few bucks.

Another nice thing about Chicago lofts is they come in every size imaginable. Whether you are looking for a tiny space to sleep and eat, or want a big place for your band to live and rehearse, or even want a loft-style home for your family, you can find it. Many lofts offer multiple bedrooms with semi divided rooms—walls that go part of the way to the ceiling. Others have multiple floors and make great places for artists to combine living and studio space.

Lofts really give you the opportunity to be closer to an area of interest than you are likely to find looking for houses or apartments. You can usually find a place within walking distance of your favorite bars or restaurants or your workplace. I was worried about finding a place where I could bring my dog, but it turned out that not only were there plenty of places like that, many included yards or dog runs with plenty of space for exercise.

Lofts vary not only in size but also in amenities. I personally prefer the more rustic places that resemble their old selves. But many folks are looking for places that have all the modern conveniences. Many lofts in the Windy City offer exercise rooms, doormen, cleaning services, indoor parking and an array of other services. With so many large buildings being vacated by manufacturing companies, investors are moving in, gutting and rebuilding these old places. Some of these lofts give the Michigan Ave hotels a run for their money!

Whatever your preference, you’re likely to find the loft you want. Chicago has so many great neighborhoods and so many giant old buildings, it is likely they will be building new lofts for years to come.

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

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