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Many Chicago loft and condo developments have transformed formerly run-down industrial areas into modern, chic enclaves that epitomize contemporary city living. Nowadays, lofts are often found in the most cutting-edge of neighborhoods like the West Loop and South Loop in Chicago. Hip and trendy, lofts represent a blend of modern living with an appreciation for the past. Significantly, Chicago lofts offer an abundance of space right in the heart of an ever-enlarging city. Read more about Chicago lofts below.
During Chicago's industrial golden age, the city was awash both with factories, pumping out both heavy and light manufactured goods, and the warehouses in which to store them. The onset of a new era, however, brought with it a changing economy. Greater efficiency and further mechanization meant that mass-scale manufacturing began to dwindle and was pushed overseas as skilled labor and an ever-growing service industry began to take hold.
Society’s continuous progression saw traditional manufacturing hubs like New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago witness a gradual abandonment of what were once highly productive work spaces. With so much raw space housed within what had become obsolete factories and warehouses, the million dollar question became what to do with these structures. The answer; recycle them. Hence began the conversion of these massive working spaces into living spaces, or, lofts.
While the original Chicago converted lofts date back to the early 1960s, located Chicago Lofts for salein warehouses and used conjointly with manufacturing plants, Areas like Printers Row in Chicago had some decades to go before they became trend-setters. Come the 1960s, loft living took on a new meaning. Beginning to separate from their association with industrial, old warehouses, lofts started to be recognized for all their benefits.
Artists living in Chicago's Printers Row were the first to inhabit these converted warehouse spaces. Wide open expanses, high ceilings, a superabundance of natural light, and raw brick walls and wooden support beams provided a perfect venue in which to create. The more people who took advantage of loft-living, the more the popularity of loft-living spread. Soon, it was no longer just artists and bohemians who inhabited lofts but a variety of urban professionals and others, all of whom saw the undeniable advantages of loft living.
While it is generally accepted that four main features define a loft (high ceilings, big windows, open spaces and exposed building materials), there are several subcategories that further distinguish certain loft types. Raw lofts, soft lofts, timber lofts and concrete lofts all posses general loft features at the same time that each boasts its own defining characteristics.
Raw lofts, as their name suggests, are the most unfinished of all. Quite sparse, raw lofts are simply open spaces minus any facilities. The downside of raw lofts is the lack of such creature comforts as toilets and sinks but, on the plus side, raw lofts are terrific for ready-to-go art studios. Equally, they are an open canvas and are therefore completely customizable.
Soft lofts are slightly more finished than raw lofts. Soft lofts have all the facilities of a standard condo but instead of having fully separated rooms, floor to ceiling walls, soft lofts typically feature partial walls; partial in that they don’t reach the ceiling. Additionally, soft lofts are often times not converted but are new construction, stripping them of them of some of the intrinsic character found in the hard lofts of reused warehouses. A benefit of this style loft is that you get more privacy than you would in a raw loft, as well as a more finished feel.
Timber lofts differ from concrete lofts in their mediums. As their names imply, one is constructed with timber, the other concrete. Uniquely, Chicago is home to a significant number of vintage timber lofts, a fact that few, if any, other cities can claim. Timber, a material seldom used these days, adds a warmth to lofts which at times can, due to their sheer amount of open space, feel cold. Conversely, a benefit of concrete lofts is their sound-proof nature. Since lofts have been known to easily transmit noise between units, concrete can help quell this problem. Additionally, concrete lofts have a truly industrial feel, a quality that is very much in keeping with the origin of lofts and one which adds to their desirability.