how to live with urban grit

July 23, 2012

Creative ways to modernize the unfinished loft aesthetic

Large factories and warehouses from the era of Industrial Revolution have reemerged as structures ripe for urban living. Defined by architectural and textural elements such as high ceilings, extra-large windows, exposed brick walls, and shop-worn wood floors, these spaces can bridge the past and the present. Here, ten ideas to bring out the beauty in the raw, unfinished look for modern living.

  1. Bring out the best in a space’s bones. A rough brick wall can be a work of art in itself, so install CFL or exposed filament bulbs to highlight the texture and color.
  2. Use industrial elements such as cabinet doors on rails to showcase function with form.
  3. If privacy isn’t an issue, keep windows free of treatments to let natural light flood in. At the very least use sheer, ceiling-to-floor textiles for maximum effect.
  4. Select statement light fixture that speaks to you and says a lot about the look you’re working to create. Then give it a staged setting so it receives all the attention it deserves.
  5. Loft living was born out of low-rent necessity for many up-and-coming artists. So if exposed brick walls aren’t available, embrace your inner artist and create textured walls with layers of plaster or paint.
  6. Raw concrete, plywood, reclaimed wood or tiling—embrace your existing flooring by cleaning up what’s already in place.
  7. Acknowledge and celebrate the diversity of urban environments by mixing pieces you’ve picked up from travels abroad.
  8. Touches of metal—as small as mesh metal storage or as large as a riveted moveable wall—can reference sparks flying in a metals workshop.
  9. Balance rough hewn textures—whether metal, wood or concrete—with softer textures like linen bedding and wool rugs.
  10. Large warehouse lofts, which were not originally intended for everyday living, require unique floor plans and multi-purpose furniture. Use a sofa and pair of chairs to create a room within a room and think creatively about storage.

CATEGORIES: design lab