One of the most romantic buzzwords in the condominium world today is “loft.” The concept of living in a condo suite that is somehow higher, more open and/or more trendy than the ordinary appeals to an increasing percentage of the marketplace. But what exactly is a loft?
The definition has changed and expanded over time. The term used to be reserved for the spaces that result from converting existing industrial buildings and repurposing them for residential use. They include exposed concrete and brick, and are typically one-level living spaces with high ceilings. There are, however, only so many older buildings to be restored in Toronto, and condo developers also offer brand new lofts among their choices today.
If you’re considering a loft, be sure that during your search you ask how each particular developer defines the concept. After all, you want to compare apples and apples, and you’ll hear terms being tossed around such as hard lofts, soft lofts and two-storey lofts.
A loft in one building may be defined by 10- or 11-ft. ceiling heights, which constitutes a type of soft loft. In another, it could be a high-ceilinged space with commercial windows, exposed columns or ductwork and no interior partitions except for bathrooms — a hard loft. Some new buildings are designed to replicate the authentic hard loft look of a genuine conversion by leaving floors and ceilings concrete and exposing some ductwork.
Some modern lofts are designed to incorporate two storeys, with the main living area open to the full 16- or 18-ft. height, and stairs leading to a bedroom that overlooks this dramatic space. Many buyers prefer this loft effect, because the double-vaulted elements offer vertical space that makes their suite seems less like an apartment.
Purchasers often ask about resale potential. There’s a tremendous demand for lofts in the resale market. They’re trendy and hip, and appeal to a wide range of buyers looking for something different in an open concept design.
But your decision to purchase a loft should be based on your own preferences.
If you have lofty ideas, go for it!
Linda Mitchell is Vice-President of Marketing, High-Rise for Monarch Corporation. In 2005, Linda was presented with the coveted OHBA SAMMY (Sales and Marketing Member of the Year) award.