The modern lifestyle is about open spaces, urban living. It is about contemporary design and the fashionably poor. It is about gathering in places that are teeming with life, and not necessarily the places that the public perceives to be trendy. True housing vogue, real urban chic, is about a room with a view, about ceiling to floor windows that let in great shafts of light, washing your modern furniture with the kiss of a beautiful sunrise, a new day. It is about wide expanses inside and out. It is not about having a kitchen, two bedrooms and two baths, separated into boxy, cubicle-like prisons. This is why when given the choice, artists choose to live in the capacious sanctuary of a downtown loft.
Over half a century ago, people chose loft living not as a trend, but as an economic necessity. Unable to afford the media perpetuated suburban ideal, families stowed away in turn of the century converted factories and buildings left abandoned by the end of the industrial revolution. It wasn’t until the sixties and the postmodern art movement that loft living became what it is today. Many young adults flourished in the open spaces and industrial feel of the loft, particularly in metropolitan cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
Contemporary loft living is not just a mode of residence, it is a lifestyle. The proximity to urban nightlife and employment allows you to work and play within a stone’s throw. During the day, the most powerful corporations in the world are reachable by cab or subway, their steel giants sequestered just outside the artistic confines of your loft. At night, whether it be the cafes, performance arts, or trendy indie bands, the industrial neighborhood comes alive, each alley and street the veins and arteries of a contemporary existence. When the bars and shows close, that life moves to the lofts and high rise apartments, where the vast floor plan makes it perfect for parties and social gatherings. The wide open space is also ideal for any artist, whether it be to prop up large canvases or sculptures under the 14 foot ceilings, or spread out the piece on the broad factory floors. The architecture makes a loft ideal for acoustical elements, as every note from your speakers are instruments will reverberate with pitch perfect sound.
Many lofts are old warehouse and factories converted into living areas, and as a result are far more expansive than a conventional house or apartment. Many downtown lofts can come in upwards of 2500 square feet, and are the ideal bezel for your gems of urban accessories and modern furniture. Some are even multi-leveled, equipped with stairs and a mezzanine that fosters an aura of grandness without the cost of a high rise condo. However, lofts can be altered and designed to fit your specific tastes and interests.
Most artists who choose the loft lifestyle find it lends well to an urban design with neutral colors. Juxtaposition of white and black, soft contrast, or gritty urban browns help accent the room with a minimalist but stylish canvas. Small blotches of color can be added through cushions, rugs, and decorative art. While generally lofts are for young adults and singles, the loft can also be converted into a family space, with modern kids furniture partitioned by creative use of Eastern foldout walls. The furniture should be a reflection of yourself, your style, what makes you the person you are. As an artist, you should not feel constricted by what society deems industrial. At the same time, being unique doesn’t necessarily lend to desirability. With concrete or hardwood flooring and a decidedly urban feel, if you decide to choose loft living, you should have some preference for open spaces, big lighting, and modern furniture with clean, streamlined angles.
Choosing to live the loft lifestyle means choosing a place that compliments your urban hobbies and preferences. It allows you to be comfortable and comfortably hip, while at the same time providing the ideal inspiration for your art. As we spend more and more time in our homes, having a space that accentuates who we are is a vital part in determining how we’d like to live. The loft not only serves to highlight your inner chic, but nurture it as well.