Arguably one of the most popular urban dwellings, lofts offer homeowners the best of all worlds: living in an energetic downtown location while enjoying the open space that often eludes you in the day-to-day hubbub of city life.
While a loft can be the ideal abode for urban denizens, creating a loft that meets all your needs can be a delicate balancing act. You need to a place that is convenient and spacious, yet offers distinct zones for living room, cooking, sleeping and bathing. By zoning you can easily convert a once cavernous space into one that is spacious, yet intimate.
Don’t think you have to go it alone either. Some of the world’s leading designers have come up with a few essential tips for creating the ideal loft space.
Of course, the public zones of the loft – the living room, dining area and kitchen – have the most flexibility because there’s no need for privacy. A low wall can define these areas perfectly without a lot of design work or retrofitting.
Another way to define these spaces without using walls is to vary the heights of the ceiling and floor to create separate spaces. Creating a dropped ceiling over a kitchen area or entertainment space, for instance, can create the intimacy you seek without blocking views or walling everything off.
Using Color and Texture
Color and texture can also separate spaces visually while adding impact to your overall décor. For example, you can infuse warm woods into your dining room while finishing the adjacent kitchen with a more industrial feel using granite and stainless steel. Flooring can also delineate spaces. A simple transition from one color of tile or wood flooring alone can mark off the different spaces in your loft.
That’s all well and good for public spaces. But, what about bedrooms? An easy way to create privacy for your bedrooms is to place them on an upper level, either another floor or a mezzanine. This will move the bedrooms out of sight lines of the public spaces. Depending on the size of the loft, you can use the space on the main floor below the bedrooms for a study or seating area for entertaining guests.
Another way to gain privacy without walling off the entire loft is to use screens or partitions. These can even be mounted on tracks so you can open and close them as you need to. This will leave your loft feeling spacious while giving you complete privacy when you need it. If you want the let the light shine in, consider shoji-inspired screens that will close off an area, but not the natural light. Rolling partitions that are on casters is another smart design solution.
Let It Shine
One of the benefits of using screens and different levels to define spaces in the loft is that you can allow the natural light to fill the living space. If you have nosy neighbors who want to peer in at you from across the street, consider frosted glass windows where you want privacy. This lets the light shine in and keeps prying eyes out.
Enjoy The Architectural Elements
One of the great things about a loft is that ventilation ducts, electrical conduits and other construction elements are exposed, adding a lot of visual impact. While some loft lovers cover these features up, leaving them open not only enhances the feeling that this is a unique space, but it significantly reduces construction or renovation costs.
The framework of the building is what lofts are all about – celebrate its beauty. Remember, the buildings that are now lofts were built to take abuse as factories. The exposed brick, planking, beams and bolts add a sense of strength as well as a sense of history and continuity. Play off of them and build around them. The same can be said for the large doors and freight elevators. Softening these architectural elements is contrary to the very essence of what a loft is all about.
Following these simple tips will help you create a loft that is livable and lovely. Not only will the loft become a great space for living, but it will offer you all the benefits of urban living while providing you with all the comforts of home, in a space that is defined by unique industrial design elements, clearly defined open spaces and natural lighting.