Authentically Lofty


Virginia Postrel composes an ode to lofts, real and fake.

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  1. Here in Denver, old industrial buildings are torn down to make way for “lofts”, even though these lofts don’t have any of the architectural attributes associated with lofts, and often aren’t even in the downtown area. I guess folks have a tough time parting with several hundred thousand dollars for an “apartment”, and a “condo” sounds too 1970s-ish.

  2. Meh. Can I have my five minutes back?

  3. The strange thing about this whole discussion is that “loft” is not a technical term invented by bohemian artists in an opium induced act of sheer creativity but simply a nice sounding word invented by real estate agents written on martini napkins trying to sell drafty old office and storage space as residential living space.

    Truly surreal.

  4. So true. This is a reoccurring theme with cityphiles. They put this premium on “authenticity” (which they redefine at their convenience).

    Like this article I was reading by some Seattle faggot. It was all about how he rode his bicycle past the city limits and described the horrors of suburbia ala Margaret Mead. He was apoplectic about how coffee shops “tried to look urban” but were less crowed, more comfortable, and built to be coffee shops instead of repurposed hardware stores. Every improvement was a deliberate act to deprive it of it’s authenticity, and should therefore be a capital crime.

  5. I live in an upstairs quasi-loft in a building constructed in the 1850s. At one point, it housed a bank that was robbed by Jesse James. I love it, even with the 13-foot ceilings, 10 foot windows, and the attendant silly utility bills.

  6. In school for a while I lived in one of those big victorian homes you often find in student ghettos. It sounded a lot cooler to say I lived in a loft rather than the attic.

  7. That said, a similar space with better insulation wouldn’t be bad at all. The age of the building, and the accessibility of it’s history,are cool. But the reason I live there is the space, not some vague notion of authenticity.

  8. I wish I could afford a loft. Seriously, lofts in NYC are now the property of
    1. bohemian types who were lucky enough to buy 30-40 years ago
    2. rich banker types who bought them from the bohos for millions in the last ten years.

    Damn you, most of America, with your so-called “affordable housing”. *sigh*

  9. “We want to be urban, so we’re bragging about our fake lofts,” wrote Jaimee Rose, an Arizona Republic reporter. Rothe, the Scottsdale-based lighting designer, laments the “non-genuine characteristics” of Phoenix’s built-from-scratch buildings, which lack “the creaking floors and the smell of history.”

    Words change meaning, Jaimee. Things invented get copied and modified, Rothe. It’s called “progress.” Get over it.

    How many “ranch” houses are anywhere near cattle?

  10. Words change meaning, Jaimee. Things invented get copied and modified, Rothe. It’s called “progress.” Get over it.

    That is so ironic. I am nonplussed over her literal dismay.

  11. Yeah, Manhattan lofts are inhabited by bankers and outer borough lofts are inhabited by hipsters – both species best avoided. All the starving-artist types I know live in shitty little apartments in sketchy neighborhoods.

  12. When I think of “loft” I think of a partial upper floor where you put hay or, in house, let the children sleep. So I deride the inauthenticity of the city slickers’ “lofts.” And their California “champagne.” And their Mercedes Benz “sport utility vehicles.”

    As if they’re ever going to drive a hundred thousand dollar vehicle in a place the paint might get scratched.

  13. There are no lofts (or basements) in Californicate.

  14. There are, however, expensive SUV’s that are not driven off road.

  15. Like this article I was reading by some Seattle faggot.

    warren, warren, warren.

    couldn’t you have put that any better?

  16. Strictly speaking, a loft is a former industrial space with ceilings so high you can construct a second story within the unit.

    My old loft was built that way, and then a hole punched through to the next, shorter story. But the second story had two walled-off bedrooms, and the third had its own walled-off bedroom.

    Lots of stairs, but the wall of my bedroom and living room went directly down the wall of a canal, and I could feed ducks from my couch. The mill across the canal was still in operation, so I could sit there and watch guys drive forklifts.

    Point? Uh, no, not really.

  17. the popularity of lofts in stl has been great for our downtown. they are in actual old warehouse buildings in a former garment district. they’re good for the city and consequently, i love them. these conversions have been the savior of many great old buildings that would otherwise have met the wrecking ball by a short-sighted city. many people moving in are empty-nest types tired of mowing lawns but wanting more than some boring tract-condo.

    i agree that the term has largely been expanded to mean generally any large open-space apartment with high ceilings.

    i too, have no point.

  18. Loft people don’t need points.

  19. agreed. yet i don’t live in one for a number of reasons unrelated to how good they’ve been for the area. i’d say they average about $200K-$300K. some of the older buildings are also being reused for residential – but adopting a more conventional style as not every buyer is looking for a loft-style, and realization that a loft aesthetic cannot be shoehorned into any old building.

  20. “claiming loft” has been a trend that i’ve noticed in a few new mixed-use developments around the area that put large open floor planned apartment/condos above street-level retail. 2-3 stories max. generally in low density urban areas (think inner-ring suburbs) and even in the downtown areas of smaller towns.

    they’re billed as “lofts” but i’m not sold that they are.

  21. I don’t live in one because they’re very inconvenient with kids.

    Down the hall, up the stairs, down the hall, up the stairs, out the door, through the garage is fine if it’s just you. It’s find if it’s just you and the wife. It’s not fine if it’s you, the wife, the baby, the car seat, the stroller, the bag, and the other bag.

    Fun while it lasted, though. GREAT entry-level real estate.

  22. It’s find if it’s just you and the wife.

    Yeah. Hide and seek. Great game.

    But I agree. When we had a six-year-old and a two-year-old we lived in a Pennsylvania row house for a year. Basement, first floor, second floor, attic. Had to park down the street. Lots of exercise.

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