Tag Archives: hard loft
For many, moving to an urban apartment is about tapping into the excitement and cultural opportunities of the big city and can also mean a shorter commute to work. But finding a place in the city can mean sacrificing the larger living spaces found in the suburbs or country. Increasingly, urban dwellers are finding that loft apartments offer the location and opportunities of city life with far more space than average condos or apartment homes. What’s the idea behind lofts, and why are they so popular?
Lofts have a certain allure. With high ceilings, open floor plans, rough-hewn floors, and brick walls, they are a hip housing alternative for many urban professionals. Today’s loft dwellers embrace new-age metropolitan living in all its glory.
Those who buy these unique dwellings have shaken off long daily commutes, granting them more personal time, more cultural and entertainment possibilities and an active, city lifestyle. If you crave something eclectic, out of the ordinary and convenient to all the city has to offer, a loft may be for you! Select from newly constructed (soft) lofts, or restored historical building loft conversions (hard lofts).
One definition for a loft found on the Web is — An appeal against convention- convention in thinking, convention in building and convention in living. They are a celebration of open concept living and unconventional spaces brought about by the considered application of imagination and a rejection of mass-market housing.
The origin of the word loft comes from the Old Norse lopt which means “upper room “or “air”. In 19th-century English usage the word came to mean “the upper stories of a warehouse or factory”. The modern boom in the conversion of such spaces into living areas came in the 1940s in the SoHo District of New York City. By the 1970s so many of these conversions had been done that the city was forced to re-zone the area to make such conversions legal.
By the 1980s the concept was spreading first across the United States and then to Europe and Asia. As the trend grew it caught the attention of developers identifying a new market. Developers being developers did not let a lack of owning an existing warehouse or factory building to convert stop them from moving into the new market. Thus the new word loft began to be applied to units in ground up new construction. Needless to say the term grew fuzzy.
By 2005 the term loft has matured. Lofts created from spaces in existing buildings are called hard lofts or true lofts. Lofts built new from the ground up are typically referred to as soft lofts or new lofts or loft-inspired or mezzanine suites. Whether created out of an existing building or built ground up new, all lofts have certain common elements or they are not lofts.
Lofts are part of the Postmodernism movement in architecture. Postmodernism is a counter- reaction to the strict and almost universal modernism of the mid-20th Century. It embraces elements from historical building styles incorporating them without a rigid adherence to one style. It also does not as policy try to hide the structural or mechanical elements of a building but often uses these in the design.
What is a “hard” loft?
A true loft is a conversion of a vintage factory or warehouse. They have a harder edge as they are usually constructed of concrete or “mill” construction of exposed brick, original wood posts, beams and floors. Typically, these lofts have an open floorplan and unfinished ceilings that are at least 10′ high with exposed ducts, plumbing and electrical. Examples include the Merchandise Building, Liberty Lofts and the Toy Factory Lofts.
What is a “soft” loft?
In recent years developers have built new buildings with some of the characteristics of a hard loft such as high ceilings, big windows and open floorplans. 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.
What is an “artist live/work” loft?
Toronto bylaws allow for the development of buildings with “artist live/work” zoning. The first of these developments appeared on Shanly Avenue (near Queen and Gladstone) and most featured minimal finishing, 16′ ceilings and steel frame construction. The City’s zoning restricted their use to people who were engaged in a precisely defined list of artistic activities. Over time these buildings have come to be occupied by people who simply enjoy the loft life.
Here are some of the unique joys of the loft life:
* 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.
* Open, flowing floor plans
* Minimal uses of interior walls to define space and doors to close off areas
* High ceilings – some definitions set minimum ceiling heights at twelve feet or it is not a loft just a condo with high ceilings
* Exposed piping, ductwork, structural elements
* Large windows
* Access to the sky often with roof top gardens or decks
* Easily merges living and work space, blurring the lines between workplace and residence
* Mixes traditional mediums with modern finishes- concrete, metal, stone, brick, wood used freely alongside of drywall, ceramic tile and viny
Contact the Jeffrey Team for more information – 416-388-1960
Laurin & Natalie Jeffrey are Toronto Realtors with Century 21 Regal Realty.
They did not write these articles, they just reproduce them here for people
who are interested in Toronto real estate. They do not work for any builders.
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Excerpt from an article by Elvira Cordileone – Toronto Star
Creation of new communities is revitalizing when old areas are getting new residents
Have lofts become urban trailblazers for revitalization of older neighbourhoods?
Jeanhy Shim, president and editor of Urbanation, a publication that tracks the condo market in the GTA, thinks so.
“Lofts helped lead the way in creating new neighbourhoods in downtown, east and west,” Shim says, adding they are also helping revitalize such areas as the Junction, Roncesvalles Village and Leslieville.
One such example is Bloorline Lofts.
Bloorline Lofts was once a mattress factory. In fact, when construction started, crews unearthed metal springs buried all around the building.
Edwin Brdlik, who is marketing the Bloorline Lofts, says the conversion is finished and the building has been registered. Converting old buildings into lofts took off in cities such as New York and Chicago 50 years ago, Brdlik says.
The first legal loft conversion in Toronto (41 Shanly near Dufferin and Bloor Sts.) didn’t take place until 1982 when the city finally realized older buildings were simply going to waste.
People who buy a loft in a converted building choose it because they want the character and uniqueness of the space, says Brdlik.
The larger marquee buildings, such as the former Tip Top Tailors and the Toy Factory, have already been transformed, but he says the city still has a small supply of small to medium buildings ripe for conversion.
The Bloorline Lofts are “hard” lofts, units carved out of an existing, usually older building. (Hard lofts are considered renovations and aren’t covered by Tarion, the province’s new home warranty program.)
Shim says “soft” lofts – units in brand new buildings with the high ceilings, large windows and open-concept layouts of the genuine loft – came along after 1995, when the supply of authentic lofts was limited as the number of buildings that could be converted dwindled.
Brdlik says lofts, both hard and soft, cost $300 to $400 a square foot, compared to $265 to $350 for a typical condo unit. That’s because it costs more to convert an older building while maintaining its special character – which is its appeal – than it does to build from scratch, and the higher ceilings found in new loft-style buildings translates into fewer units than a comparable condo building, which drives up the per-unit price.
“Lofts in conversion projects do phenomenally well. They speak to certain types of people – mainly young professionals – with their openness, high ceilings and a bit of funkiness,” Shim says.
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Loft living is all about the city. The sights. The sounds. The endless choices and possibilities. And here at Broadview Lofts everything urban is at your doorstep. You’re actually part of three vibrant neighbourhoods: Queen & Broadview, Leslieville and The Studio District.
Each with its own vibrant and unique character. Hip cafes and restaurants. Funky furniture stores and shopping places galore. They’re all within walking distance of the Broadview Lofts. Never mind the fact that you’re close to Queen Street and the Don Valley Parkway. All the main arteries. Right in the thick of it. So close to anywhere you want to be… or be seen
At the Broadview Lofts we know what you want in a loft. You want history and modernity. Fashion and function. That’s why we’ve worked hard to strike just the right balance between the old and the new. So here you’ll not only get tongue & groove wood ceilings and exposed brick walls, you’ll have a landscaped central square, underground parking and great building amenities like a party room and roofdeck patio. Plus, we’re adding two floors of brand new lofts to our original, turn-of-the-century Rexall drug warehouse building for those who yearn for a truly contemporary space.
After the successful Broadview Lofts, The Sobara group have delivered another gem. This Development offers both sandblasted brick and beam hard lofts and trendy concrete soft lofts. Located at Eastern and Broadview, owners can slip onto the DVP and be uptown or downtown within minutes. Broadview Lofts‘s 177 units offer 10.5 ft ceilings and are stones throw from the new West Donlands Park which is sure to change this neglected neighbourhood.
A pioneering force with a 50 year history of excellence, the Sorbara Group is a fully integrated company active in real estate development, investment and management. The group has created some of the GTA’s most successful residential communities including; as developers The Village of Brooklin and Sherwood Village and as both developers and builders under the Orchard Ridge Homes banner they created Britannia Meadows and Bankside in Mississauga as well as Tanglewood in Oakville.
No stranger to Toronto’s east side, the Sorbara Group is a widely recognized leader in the field of sophisticated loft conversions and historical restoration. Their landmark Corktown project, the Brewery Lofts in a converted warehouse space on Sumach Street, is now regarded as a Toronto classic. Completed in 1999, it is presently home to some of the city’s designing elite. Next door to Brewery Lofts you’ll find Dominion Square, another award-winning Sorbara landmark of thriving commercial and retail space within a celebrated heritage building.
The Broadview Lofts, the group’s latest venture, the conversion of the historic Rexhall Drug warehouse is mere minutes from Brewery Lofts in the heart of downtown Toronto, and it promises to be yet another outstanding project worthy of the Sorbara name.
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