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The design of lofts encompasses many different styles ranging from the traditional (often pre-war) feeling to a minimalist, modern style. Here we highlight some wonderful lofts and provide you with inspiration for your new loft, or the renovation of a loft you already own. Our links page (see above menu) can help you source the various components in decorating. We have also included some thoughts about the different elements of design that you should consider:
Choose Your Design Scheme
What should your loft look like? You can be as creative as you like! (And working with a qualified interior designer can be invaluable.) There are so many options, and unlike structured apartments, the space won't limit your ideas as much.
A good beginning is to look at as many design/interior books and magazines....tear out anything that appeals to you and create a 'story-board' of thoughts. Here you can see a multitude of ideas and design schemes. Choose what you find most appealing, that fits your lifestyle, and use this as a point of departure. The 'bones' of your loft could dictate what is or is not possible, or what the space lends itself to best. Luxuryloft living allows you the freedom to let your imagination run wild: Styles vary from classic, pre-war, contemporary, modern, minimalist, industrial, to? The possibilities are endless.
Colors, Textures, etc.
Solid white walls, or color, or different complimentary colors, or varying shades of one color: The options are all yours. Smooth and matted, or slick and glossy, or earthy with stone, or the industrial feel of concrete. Color is by far the most inexpensive design tool at your disposal that can affect the overall look of space (sometimes more than any other design element). Let your color choices also reflect the level of light in the loft. Some colors brighten up space. So many options and possibilities. When in doubt, go back to your 'scheme' and use that which best fits the general theme and feel of the space you are trying to create. A single color can be dramatic if achieved through different textures and materials. And don't forget your budget either, as it can be easy to spend limitlessly. Consult your Feng Shui consultant to understand how color effects mood and environment...
Configuring The Space
What are your specific needs from the space: Do you need 3 bedrooms or 1 bedroom. Do you want 'rooms' as in an apartment, or 2/3 height walls, frosted glass walls, or moveable walls? Or no walls at all, just one big open space? How important is the kitchen to you? Will your lifestyle revolve around the kitchen? What kind of bathrooms do you want and how large? Most interior walls of existing lofts are non structural: they can be moved and removed. You should note any structural beams. Where is the source of light? And how does each area or room benefit by the light? Remember that lofts are unlike conventional apartments or houses: you do not have to adhere to rules. Treat the space so that you retain the feeling of openness and spaciousness...that is after all why you live in a luxuryloft! If you are working with an existing space that just requires furnishing, always start with a scaled floor-plan of the space. With a rough idea of your seating/living/sleeping needs, cut out scaled furniture items (always work with measurements so you don't over or under-size your furniture) and start placing them on your floor-plan. Always create a 'master plan' so that you buy into your plan. Major pieces first, accessories later. If you feel un-qualified doing this, why not hire the services of a decorator or space planner? This could save you time and money....and aggravation.
Wood floors are the most common floor type in lofts, often in conjunction with floor rugs. Often the woods aren't the most attractive: staining wood a new color gives it an entirely new look and feel, from matted ebony, to pickled light naturals, to colors such as green and reds. Staining options are limited only by your imagination. Often wood floors can be generic and dull. Replacing with re-cycled wood floors from old homes can produce a more rustic effect. Some really beautiful, unusual effects can be achieved this way. Wide plank wood floors are an expensive option, but less costly depending on the type of wood and the length of the planks. The overall expense of wood floors is not that much more than quality carpeting.
Re-sale is always a consideration, however, so neutrality has it's value. Floorings should always take usage into consideration: Carpeting in the kitchen could be very impractical! Polished concrete, granite, slate, limestone and other natural stones are options. Leather floors are quite beautiful too. Synthetic floorings are becoming increasingly desirable, and new high-tech floorings may well be the future of luxury lofts. Carpeting is mostly desirable in bedrooms, and should be used selectively.
Lighting + Technology
Lighting options range from lamps to recessed lights, to track lighting and floor lights. The variations on each of these categories is vast. Again, refer back to your theme and use the lighting method/s that best suit the look you are trying to achieve. Use dimmers as much as possible! Try to retain as much natural light as possible. Natural light has value! Fluorescent light has a tendency to distort color and skin tones: try to avoid it! If you MUST use it, try a pink colored light....but dimmer switches can achieve similar power savings. Try Chromolux Full Spectrum Lamps: this source of pure light has many endorsements. Better than Prozac?
Keep the light switches unobtrusive, and on dimmers, so you can adjust the intensity accordingly. Indirect light in the form of picture lights or pin-spotted artwork provides light that is both dramatic and flattering. Many hi-tech systems exist to allow you to pre-program lighting throughout your home, controlling the entire network from one location.
Pre-wiring an apartment is always wise: opening up walls afterwards is always more costly and messy. The scope of technology is limited only by your budget: anything is possible, from entertainment centres to hi-tech security. Internet based systems that allow you to control every aspect of your home are now commonplace.
Your theme will guide you to your furniture styling, but you should determine your needs. What types of pieces do you need? How many people do you seat when you entertain? How many seating or congregating areas do you want within your entertaining space? How versatile does the space have to be to adapt from say a dinner for 4, to a gathering of 20+ people? How many beds do you need?
The scale of your furniture is critical: too big pieces in a not-big-enough loft can appear awkward, and visa versa. Obtain a scale floor-plan of the loft and make scaled cut-outs of the furniture pieces so that you can plan and place the furniture before buying. Most furniture takes at least 6-8 weeks to be delivered and you usually pay (and commit) in advance. For furniture ideas, search the suggested websites in our links page (from the above menu).
Space Dividing Options
The more storage the better. To keep clutter to a minimum and retain the spaciousness of the loft, use your storage options wisely. A wall of simple closets is more appealing to look at from the living room. The openness of the loft will ultimately determine the extent of built in storage you require.
Hire a closet consultant to engineer your existing closets: it is amazing how much good space is wasted through poor planning.
Storage can be either built-in, moveable, or an entire room. Storage can be disguised in a dividing wall, under a bed, behind living space, in the ceiling. Well-planned storage can be both functional and decorative. Wall unit air-conitioners can be encased in cabinetry that allows for extra storage while hiding the unsightliness of the unit. Plan for your needs.
Your loft usually will not allow you to change the style of windows. But the way you 'dress' them can alter their appearance dramatically. Painting the interior frames, blinds, curtains, drapes, etc can enhance a window, or disguise an ordinary one. Windows are the most obvious source of light, and often provide views. Installing electronic roller shades is quite common these days, with super-silent motors. E-glass allows you to dim or darken a window electronically with the flip of a switch.
Replacing old, badly sealed windows with quality windows is always a good investment. Always check that your building is not Landmarked as this would require a more intense approval process. If you are in a noisy location, installing CITYQUIET windows can reduce the noise significantly: Installing bullet-proof glass is equally effective.
A bad view can be enhanced in many ways. Imagine the view from a window is that of a bare wall with little light....Now imagine the same window with a sheer linen roller shade, dressed with silk extra-long drapes (illuminated at night) and outside the window a window box with a 1 foot high 'hedge' of evergreens. Let your imagination be your guide.....and if you don't have the imagination, hire a decorator.
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