12 Luminous Lofts That Pull Off the Industrial Look

From converted warehouses to live/work retreats, these unconventional homes demonstrate why loft living is so “in.”

Lofts and live/work spaces evoke the bohemian lifestyle of the city-dwelling creative. Often industrial in flavor with open floor plans, lofts allow their inhabitants to wake up paces from their workspace and indulge "aha" moments mid-morning routine. The template is perfect for a bespoke blend of work and home life. 

This kind of freedom has had broad appeal, inspiring some to carve out homes in atypical places. From the Dwell Magazine archives, we bring you myriad iterations of the modern loft.

1. A 17th-Century Paris Loft

Author and French designer Daniel Rozensztroch's industrial loft was a 17th-century manufacturing plant in the Marais, a historic district that abuts the Bastille. A row of vintage iron cabinets, mostly recovered from doctors’ and dentists’ offices, separate the kitchen from the dining area. The Gervasoni table was designed by close friend Paola Navone. Architect Dominique Perrault and designer Gaëlle Lauriot-Prévost are responsible for the the tubular pendants over the dining table, which resemble old subway lamps.

A courtyard divides the live/work space of architect Masaaki Higashi and his wife, artist Esther Mir. For inclement weather, a steel panel and a glass door open beneath a triangular canopy, providing covered passage from the main living space to the office.

Architect and metalworker Christi Azevedo transformed a 93-square-foot brick boiler room—from 1916—into a loft-like guesthouse. She made the most of the vertical space to unleash the potential of the petite project. 

In 2013, Mark Berryman bought and renovated an apartment in an 1864 factory building on the western edge of Manhattan. He tore down several partitions and raised the ceilings to give the 1,800-square-foot space a roomier feel. 

In one of the last industrial pockets of West Town, UrbanLab’s Martin Felsen and Sarah Dunn created a modern live/work space that speaks to the neighborhood’s history in form and function. The Dukane Precast concrete panels were acid-etched for a more finished look.

Morten Bo Jensen, the chief designer at Vipp—whose headquarters are located in Islands Brygge—and his partner, graphic designer Kristina May Olsen, bought a loft space in the former Viking pencil factory in 2011. They bought the loft from its previous owner, one of five investors who purchased the circa-1910 factory building, roughly a decade ago, in a very raw state. 

Beverly O’Mara, an artist and teacher, and Mark Uriu, owner of a residential painting and finishing company, needed a place to work from home. So, in 2014 the couple embarked on transforming a 2,700-square-foot loft located in an 1890 Wells Fargo horse-and-carriage facility in Jersey City, New Jersey, into a flexible art studio and residence.

Shop the Look

Offi Mag Table

The multifunctional Mag Table (1999) serves as a table or stool that holds magazines in its "elbow." And that’s not all this hybrid furniture form can do – position it vertically, so it’s standing on its narrow end, and it works as a laptop stand you can use when you’re seated. A continuous sheet of molded birch plywood forms this bentwood table. The wood veneer or white laminate surface is durable and easy to maintain. The Mag Table offers an inexpensive yet distinctive solution for home or office; use it next to a bed or sofa, or as a compact workstation for computing. Made in Latvia. Photo Courtesy of Design Within Reach

Muuto 70/70 Table
The 70/70 table is a study in geometric forms and identifies the dimensions for a well-balanced table. It has an almost anonymous expression but with careful detailing. The table is based upon two cast aluminum squared frames with the dimensions 70 X 70 centimeters (27.4 inches).

Designer Paola Navone transformed a 200-year-old factory in Umbria into an inviting home for Andrea Falkner-Campi and her husband. Once a tobacco-drying plant, and before that a silkworm farm, the home sits 90 miles north of Rome. 

Exposed structural beams are a historic nod to the loft’s previous life as a 19th-century warehouse and shipping dock. For the Copes, inspiration for creative projects never draws far from home; they named Calico after their cat, Irie.

Metamorphosis House in Charleston, Virginia, was transformed from a cinder-block duplex into a New York-style loft. The transformation of a 1950s eyesore into an elegant, gallery-like home was a creative challenge for architect Kevan Hoertdoerfer and all involved. 

SOMA Residence by Dumican Mosey Architects was an auto repair garage in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood. Klari Reis and her partner Michael Isard made space for an art gallery, studio, and office in the 1923 structure, making it the perfect live/work retreat.

Linda Hutchins and John Montague hired Works Partnership Architecture to turn a former Portland, Oregon, warehouse and auto repair shop into a versatile live/work space.


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