Loft living

A growing number of loft apartments and condos are available throughout St. Louis. 

Many people find these lofts an attractive style of urban living and working.

Hard loft--open space except bathroom; often original beams and ductwork retained

High ceilings--floor to ceiling measures 14 feet or more

Raw loft--unfinished space may not include toilet or sink

Soft loft--has walls, but often 3/4 so do not reach ceiling

Lofts can be found in old warehouses and factories now converted into unique open spaces.  Other lofts are found in newer buildings designed to retain an open floor plan, yet provide improved acoustic and structural elements.  Floor plans for today’s lofts include floor to ceiling windows, high ceilings, exposed ductwork and electrical conduits, and few walls or doors. 

The history of lofts goes back to the early 1900s.  But it was not until the 1960s when artists in New York City began using these lofts as studios that their popularity took off. 

150 best loft ideas.
New York : Collins Design, 2007.
Lofts designsource
Ana G. Cañizares.
New York, N.Y. : Collins Design, c2006.
Loft living as an international urban trend can be traced to 1960s New York, according to a Barcelona writer/editor of interior design books. As Canizares' multiple color photos of 89 loft designs illustrate, the concept has evolved into quite diverse forms of the minimalist, industrial living space. Images in the 5.25 x 7.25 " book include brief captions and the architect's name and location. Annotation #169;2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
25 apartments and lofts under 2500 square feet
James Grayson Trulove.
New York, NY : Collins Design, c2006.
The apartments and lofts featured here highlight the latest architecture and design innovations, with an emphasis on open space and materials such as glass, plastic, steel, and stone. The book explores the joy of living in carefully designed spaces, showcasing a range of styles from modern to traditional. This exciting collection includes innovative and exciting designs sure to inspire and amaze.
Loft : design/decor Philippe Saharoff & Inès Heugel.
New York : Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2006, c2005.
Lofts present residents, architects, and decorators with design considerations unlike those in more traditional houses and apartments. Because lofts are inherently "decompartmentalized," the organization of discrete spaces within the open environment is a design priority. The control of natural light likewise assumes unusual importance in spaces where windows are large and interior walls are few. These challenges, however, underscore the ingenuity of "Design/Decor: Loft," a book that focuses, in turn, on each of the loft's internal subdivisions: spaces for living and working, cooking and eating, sleeping and bathing. Detailed attention is paid to harmonizing all the aspects of each interior: windows, floors, and partitions; cabinetry and other built-in elements; and furniture, lighting, and appliances. Also receiving special emphasis are the transitional spaces -- stairs and mezzanines -- that can make lofts so visually compelling.
L.A. lofts
Barbara Thornburg ; foreword by Michelle Ogundehin ; photographs by Dominique Vorillon.
San Francisco : Chronicle Books, c2006.
This volume shows 20 homes in the diverse L.A. loft style, with descriptions by Thornburg and photographs by Vorillon. Types shown are traditional open-plan, demi-lofts, and new luxury lofts mostly in the downtown area, with some in West Hollywood and Venice. The lofts are in art deco, dojo, country, modern, urban, Zen, and other styles and display interiors with explanations of their decor, layout, and how owners remodeled and designed them. The book measures 10.5x12.5". There is no index. Thornburg is senior editor for home design for the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine. Annotation #169;2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Lofts 2
edited by Cristina Paredes Benitez.
New York : Collins Design, 2006.
This compilation features the projects of architects and interior designers from around the world, in color photos with brief descriptions, as a guide to ideas for those decorating or building lofts. Illustrations are of lofts with levels, industrial details, the use of color, and panels and partitions. No index or bibliography is provided--only a directory of addresses for architects and studios is included. Annotation #169;2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Lofts provide the resident with space, light and volume.  Designers use these attributes to create living and working space that reflect the resident’s lifestyle.  Creative opportunities exist for the family wanting kid’s play space incorporated into the floorplan, the artist seeking a gallery, or the first-time buyer wanting to combine home and office.

Leasing or purchasing a loft takes time.  References for developers and management companies need to be checked, building codes and local ordinances examined, along with a detailed review of property values and the building association's stability.

Regardless of where it is located, whether it was a old warehouse or converted factory, or whether the resident is a first-time buyer or seasoned homeowner, today's loft is part of the excitement and freedom of urban living in St Louis.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff