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9 Tips for Loft Living

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Wide open living space is hugely appealing, at least until you have to figure where to store your stuff, and how to separate the bedroom from the kitchen. Here are nine tricks gleaned from the Dwell archives.
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  Up-and-coming Slovakian firm Gut Gut recast the ground floor of an early-90s apartment building as a stylish and scrappy family home. To keep open shelving from looking messy, the architects installed a modular plywood shelving system and kept it consistent throughout the space.

    Up-and-coming Slovakian firm Gut Gut recast the ground floor of an early-90s apartment building as a stylish and scrappy family home. To keep open shelving from looking messy, the architects installed a modular plywood shelving system and kept it consistent throughout the space.

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  Custom design elements elevate a space from empty white box to home. For their Warsaw loft, the homeowners/architects stacked ornate concrete blocks to screen a storage area in the kitchen while letting light through. Photo by Andreas Meichsner.  Photo by: Andreas MeichsnerCourtesy of: ©Andreas Meichsner

    Custom design elements elevate a space from empty white box to home. For their Warsaw loft, the homeowners/architects stacked ornate concrete blocks to screen a storage area in the kitchen while letting light through. Photo by Andreas Meichsner.

    Photo by: Andreas Meichsner

    Courtesy of: ©Andreas Meichsner

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  Paint nooks and semi-enclosed spaces in dark colors to play up the difference in scale. In the sleeping loft of this Stockholm apartment, stained casework with storage contrasts the bright white sheets and walls. Photo by Per Magnus Persson.

    Paint nooks and semi-enclosed spaces in dark colors to play up the difference in scale. In the sleeping loft of this Stockholm apartment, stained casework with storage contrasts the bright white sheets and walls. Photo by Per Magnus Persson.

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  Add a ladder to circumvent a space-hogging stairway and access high places, be it storage or a sleeping alcove. In this Pittsburgh loft, sleeping space is adventurously tucked away in an alcove above the kitchen, accessible by a track ladder that slides along a rail mounted above the counter. Photo by Roger Davies.  Photo by: Roger Davies

    Add a ladder to circumvent a space-hogging stairway and access high places, be it storage or a sleeping alcove. In this Pittsburgh loft, sleeping space is adventurously tucked away in an alcove above the kitchen, accessible by a track ladder that slides along a rail mounted above the counter. Photo by Roger Davies.

    Photo by: Roger Davies

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  And on that note, elevate your bedroom to make space down below. “Wonbo had to be able to stand in the sleeping area,” architect Kyu Sung Woo says of his son in regards to their New York City loft. “By combining two dimensions—the height of the bed and that of the closet (the top of which forms the bedroom floor)—we made that possible.” Photo by Adam Friedberg.

    And on that note, elevate your bedroom to make space down below. “Wonbo had to be able to stand in the sleeping area,” architect Kyu Sung Woo says of his son in regards to their New York City loft. “By combining two dimensions—the height of the bed and that of the closet (the top of which forms the bedroom floor)—we made that possible.” Photo by Adam Friedberg.

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  Add a central volume to fill out the space—bonus points for organic materials, like wood. The tactic paid off for this Cali­fornia couple who worked overtime for two years to tackle their all-in-one loft renovation. The wooden box is as functional as it is finely crafted, with room for clothes up top. Each niche holds treasures from travels, family keepsakes, books, and more. Photo by Drew Kelly.

    Add a central volume to fill out the space—bonus points for organic materials, like wood. The tactic paid off for this Cali­fornia couple who worked overtime for two years to tackle their all-in-one loft renovation. The wooden box is as functional as it is finely crafted, with room for clothes up top. Each niche holds treasures from travels, family keepsakes, books, and more. Photo by Drew Kelly.

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  Add and subtract space with flexible furnishings that stow away when not in use. When it’s time to eat or do homework in this renovated New York City flat, the adults lower the tabletop, revealing a dozen book cubbies. Photo by Raimund Koch.  Photo by: Raimund Koch

    Add and subtract space with flexible furnishings that stow away when not in use. When it’s time to eat or do homework in this renovated New York City flat, the adults lower the tabletop, revealing a dozen book cubbies. Photo by Raimund Koch.

    Photo by: Raimund Koch

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  Consider going bold by kitting out the space with an entirely different geometry, like how Openshop|Studio designed a hivelike structure in the middle of a Brooklyn loft to be chrysalis of comfort for a couple and their baby. A large OSB structure with skylights, a bathroom, enclosed baby’s room, and master sleeping alcove dominates Ryan and Showalter’s Brooklyn loft. Photo by Jesse Chehak.  Photo by: Jesse Chehak

    Consider going bold by kitting out the space with an entirely different geometry, like how Openshop|Studio designed a hivelike structure in the middle of a Brooklyn loft to be chrysalis of comfort for a couple and their baby. A large OSB structure with skylights, a bathroom, enclosed baby’s room, and master sleeping alcove dominates Ryan and Showalter’s Brooklyn loft. Photo by Jesse Chehak.

    Photo by: Jesse Chehak

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  Last but not least, make a major statement and designate separate living areas with the help of shipping containers. Two San Francisco art and travel addicts overhauled a loft—and customized a pair of shipping containers—to carve out a guest quarters and home office. Photo by Drew Kelly.  Photo by: Drew KellyCourtesy of: Drew Kelly

    Last but not least, make a major statement and designate separate living areas with the help of shipping containers. Two San Francisco art and travel addicts overhauled a loft—and customized a pair of shipping containers—to carve out a guest quarters and home office. Photo by Drew Kelly.

    Photo by: Drew Kelly

    Courtesy of: Drew Kelly

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