Types of Lofts

By Brian


Loft Living

For many Torontonians, moving to an urban apartment is about tapping into the excitement and cultural opportunities that a big city has to offer. It can also mean a shorter commute to work and the opportunity to spend more time with friends and family. Increasingly, urban dwellers are finding that loft apartments offer the location and opportunities of city life with far more character and open space than your average condo or apartment. The Toronto Loft Market has been continuously developing over the past decade. Hence, you should know the difference between hard loft and soft loft.

Hard Loft

A true loft is a conversion of a vintage factory or warehouse. Hard lofts have a harder edge as they are usually constructed of concrete or “mill” construction consisting of exposed brick, original wood posts, beams and floors. Typically, these lofts have an open floor plan and unfinished ceilings that are at least 10′ high with exposed ducts, plumbing and electrical. Hard lofts are of high demand in the Toronto Loft Market  with short supply compared to soft lofts and condos.

Soft Loft

In recent years developers have built new buildings with some of the characteristics of a hard loft such as high ceilings, open floor plans and large windows. These lofts typically have a softer edge……no exposed ducts and plumbing, carpet in some areas and upscale kitchens and baths. Soft lofts have more in common with traditional condominiums than a true hard loft.

Live Work Loft

A live-work space combines personal living space and professional workspace in such a way that neither is compromised. The most common way of creating a live-work space is to renovate commercial lofts or warehouses, although some live-works spaces are designed from scratch. An area of the loft or warehouse is usually retrofitted with all of the necessary plumbing, heating and electrical utilities needed for a private living space. Conventional room designs may be used, or a more open floor plan may prove more feasible. Areas of a large room may be designated for different functions, and curtains or partitions may provide privacy.

The work side of a live-work space may also be retrofitted for the needs of the worker or business. Instead of simply installing a computer in the corner of a bedroom, an entire working office can be installed in the work space of a loft or warehouse. Specialized tools and other equipment can also be brought in to provide the worker with everything he or she might need. Most live-work spaces are not used for major production work or retail sales, so they shouldn’t inconvenience neighbors with excess noise, dirt or customer traffic. One of the most common uses for a live-work space is an artist’s studio.

Some Benefits of Loft Living

  • Industrial buildings.
    The term loft began in New York and Chicago when renters and owners began turning old industrial buildings into living spaces. The original tenants were artists who craved the high ceilings, large windows and open floor plans typical of converted warehouses and factories.
  • Open spaces.
    The primary benefit of loft living is the large open spaces that allow you to live and move how you want, rather than having your movement defined by a permanent floor plan of walls, doorways and rooms.
  • Define your areas.
    In a loft, the floor plan can be fluid and ever changing. You can set up a sleeping area in one part of the space, then move it somewhere else if you have guests or if you just need the area for another use. Kitchens and bathrooms are more permanent, of course, but temporary partitions, hanging curtains, or even changes in floor covering can define other spaces.
  • Eclectic style.
    Another nice aspect of many lofts is the opportunity for eclectic design and decorating. For example, a loft might feature soft, delicate window treatments on reinforced factory windows, or a modern couch sitting on a hundred-year-old hardwood floor. This mixture of old with new and practicality with comfort can form a wonderful esthetic that makes the most of a loft’s mixed-use nature.

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