Lofts Allow Urban Homebuyers to Tap into Their Creative Side
- At first glance, it looks like the type of dwelling a 7-foot-tall basketball player could embrace. The combination of wide open space and ceilings which seem to stretch into the stratosphere might appear to be a perfect fit for the more elevated types among us. However, this kind of home, known as a loft, is quite popular among homeowners who are comfortable living in inner urban areas – especially in the nation’s larger cities.
- So, exactly what is a loft? Basically, lofts come in two flavors – adaptive restorative, and newly-constructed. The adaptive restoration variety is the type housed in old historic or industrial-type buildings, whereby the unique architectural characteristics of the structure is maintained, and the building itself is preserved. Thus, walls, supporting columns, and the original plumbing are not changed when the building is converted to lofts. Newly-constructed lofts, on the other hand, are more standardized – much like condominiums — and each loft unit in a building will more likely be identical to its neighboring unit. In addition, many of these types can be found outside of downtown areas.
- Lofts can be likened to condominiums (condos) in that they share common walls with other lofts in the same building; the buyer owns the dwelling itself, but not the land it sits upon; and a homeowner association is present, which takes care of grounds maintenance and the roof. And, as with condos, the owner is responsible for upkeep and maintenance of the actual dwelling. In addition, there are often shared amenities — such as swimming pools and fitness centers – available to loft residents.
- That being said, a typical loft resembles the typical condo about as much as an SUV resembles a convertible sports car, as far as its overall look and layout are concerned. This can be attributed, mainly, to the origins of the buildings which house the lofts. Developers looked at turn-of-the-20th-century historical, commercial, and industrial buildings and saw their potential as living spaces. They realized they would lend themselves very well to loft conversions. Thus, soaring ceilings (sometimes 14 feet or higher), huge supporting concrete columns, massive industrial-sized windows, and even an occasional freight elevator are common loft features. Actually – owing to their out-of-the-ordinary origins — no two lofts (the adaptive restorative type) are identical.
- In addition, lofts exude a certain rustic, undeveloped charm. Many, in fact contain ductwork, brickwork, and concrete still exposed. A commonality among lofts is the immense open layout of the place. Lofts traditionally have no actual rooms – many only contain three-quarter high dividers to differentiate one area from another. Others are simple one gigantic room with no dividers at all. This expansiveness of undeveloped space attracts many residents who enjoy expressing their creativity via the conversion of this emptiness into unique living space reflecting their individuality and values.
- Who’s buying them? Lofts particularly appeal to young urban professionals, young singles and couples, couples with no children, and artist types. They enjoy the aspects of living in thriving urban areas within easy walking distance to all of the things they love, and which are hard to come by in the suburbs – for example, cultural venues, such as theatres, museums, restaurants, art galleries, opera, ballet, and music halls maintaining symphony orchestras.
- Likewise, they very much enjoy a vehicle-less commute to work. In fact, many loft buyers end up selling the SUV or sedan, altogether, upon moving into their new downtown digs, since they can get around just fine without a car. They also relish the idea of absolutely no yard work. Most loft owners prefer spending their time and energies into more creative pursuits than fretting over crabgrass and chinch bugs causing havoc with the front yard.
- And, despite very close proximity to one’s neighbor, there is a surprising feeling of privacy, owing to features such as ten-inch thick concrete floors, and double-insulated walls, which prevents neighbors’ loud music or raucous party noise from filtering into earshot.