- Hard loft and soft loft – what is the difference between the two?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of living in a loft in general?
- Why are lofts such a hotcake in the real estate market?
Do you envision living in a spacious and unique home that brings your creativity to play? A loft may be just what you need.
What is a Loft?
It is a building that was built for industrial purposes but is later converted to a modern apartment. As such, it spots tall windows and high ceilings with exposed pipes, beams, and brick walls. There are very few (if any) internal walls. It can be likened to a studio apartment only that it is larger and more spacious.
The idea to create lofts was born in the 1980s in New York and Paris after small factories within residential areas moved or closed shop and there was a need to creatively and cheaply utilize these spaces to bring in profit and conform to the neighborhoods – without demolishing them. The trend picked up quickly and dozens of such buildings were converted into living spaces (hard lofts). The market was not a let down either, as people were intrigued by their spacious designs and uniqueness.
However, there were not enough of such buildings to accommodate the growing market demand. Therefore, the commercial construction sector came up with an ingenious idea to build newer complexes (Soft Lofts) that emulated the look and designs of the original version.
Hard and Soft Lofts: Differences
Hard Loft: Specifications
As mentioned earlier, hard lofts are buildings that have been converted into living spaces from commercial units such as factories and warehouses. You can ‘therefore, expect an older building with rustic finishes such as exposed brick walls. Hard Lofts also lack discernible room dividers. They scream ‘different’ from their designs, elements, and original wooden posts, beams, and floors. You will rarely find any of their attributes in modern buildings. Among their most distinguishable features, are their ceiling heights, with some going up to 20 feet high. These are unique and make the rooms appear more spacious.
However, there are a few drawbacks to hard lofts you should take note of. To begin with is their poor energy efficiency due to age. It can be quite expensive and inconsistent to heat and cool the available spaces. The high ceilings only make matters worse as they create more room.
It can also be an uphill task to achieve sound separation since the brick and wooden beam construction allow for gaps that facilitate the transmission of sound.
Moreover, most hard lofts do not have outdoor living spaces such as a balcony or gardens as commercial spaces rarely need such. Also, considering they were initially commercial spaces, their location may be marginal or at the heart of downtowns.
Soft Loft: Specifications
These are buildings that the modern construction world has come up with to ‘steal’ the beauty and convenience of hard lofts and add modern touches to make them even more ideal. Just like hard lofts, they feature high ceilings, oversized windows, and exposed concrete and ducts. However, unlike hard lofts, their owners benefit from their raw urban features and modern upgrades. Note that, sometimes they may spot design elements like exposed bricks or ductwork these are not original by-products of function.
Soft lofts also include modern sought after amenities such as balconies, outdoor gardens, underground parking, deeded lockers, state of the art fitness facilities, and the like. Second-story mezzanines are also well-thought-out. These usually contain bedrooms or a study room overlooking the living area and kitchen on the ground floor. This design enables owners to still enjoy a portion of two-story vaulted ceilings.
Besides, their location is pretty much convenient as they can be found in several residential areas – they are not confined to a given area.
Generally, soft lofts are designed to meet the tastes of those who desire a loft-like feel but with today’s onsite amenities, that enhance the quality of life. Nevertheless, despite their modern touch, some people consider them as wannabes. They lack the character and ambiance brought about by hard lofts and come short of the history and authenticity a hard loft may boast of.
All Things Considered: Hard Loft or Soft Loft?
It is of no surprise as to why more and more people prefer to live in Lofts. These buildings are enormous and have got plenty of room to spare compared to common apartments. They are also trendy, unique, and provide flexibility when it comes to interior decor. For these reasons, people with families or those who are creative and innovative find them ideal.
When it comes to pointing out which is the better deal between soft lofts and hard lofts, it all comes down to an individual’s preferences – bearing in mind the differences listed above.