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Why have a loft?

From Montreal to Minneapolis, lofts are the hottest thing in the city right now. What makes them so cool? Well, to begin with, not everyone thinks it’s cool. There are definitely pros and cons to living in a loft, and you need to take that into account when deciding what type of home is right for you.

One of the things that people love about lofts is the open space. Large windows offer incredible views and natural light that fills the soul. You could never feel claustrophobic in a loft as the ceilings are high and the space is open. You can work in one part of the house and not feel isolated from any of the other areas.

In addition, they have an artistic touch. The walls can easily fit huge pictures. The large space begs you to have an art studio in one corner, or maybe a small dance floor. They are great for parties, as none of that can happen in another room. You can see and enjoy all your guests at the same time, and the music in one corner reaches the whole party.

However, that open space can have its drawbacks, especially if you like privacy. While room dividers create affective visual privacy, sound can easily travel in those open spaces. If you have children, or frequently have guests in the house, you may want to look for a loft with a separate bedroom. Some people have chosen to hang things from their ceilings to create confusion, a way to disperse sound and prevent it from reverberating throughout the house. The rugs on the floors have a similar calming effect and can also help add warmth, leading me to another downfall of the loft concept.

In colder climates, the open space can be a bit difficult to keep warm. Because the heat increases and the ceilings are so high, this can be a challenge for loft dwellers. Portable heaters help direct heat exactly where you want it, rather than baseboard heaters where heat rises up the wall. I recently saw an innovative and artistic way to keep warm in the form of stone sculptures that fit inside them with a small tea light candle. The candle heated the stone, which could then be placed at the feet under a desk or on a low shelf near a chair. I think this is a classy way to add extra warmth where you need it. Also, as I mentioned, having rugs keeps your feet from getting cold in a home that typically has hardwood or concrete floors.

One more way to avoid being bothered by the cold is to look for a loft with a mezzanine, a kind of loft within a loft. Typically, a mezzanine is a way to have a private bedroom in a loft, offering a second floor to your open space. Because it is higher up and therefore closer to the ceiling, heat will not be lost as easily as on the lower deck. If you live in a really cold city, maybe your mezzanine could be your living room and your bedroom in the winter months. Convenient, maybe not, but there are many reasons why a loft is worth it, if you value them.

One loft resident says it still feels great after spending a whole day inside, because it has a high ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows to help it get that outside feel. Another advantage is the passive solar heating created by the large windows. Look for a south facing loft to maximize this. Warning, you will need blinds for the summer months, but in winter the warmth of the sun will be lovely. And all the sunlight means you turn on the electric lights less. That could well offset the additional heating costs.

Also, consider this: get a projector and watch your favorite movies on the ultimate big screen, your massive white wall.

Opportunities for custom interior décor abound in a loft, because they are typically sold with very few finishing details. So you have the opportunity to finish the place as you wish, or leave it raw to appreciate the true nobility it has. Either way, if loft living is something you think you would enjoy, there is plenty to choose from in any city in the world.

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