New York Loft Style Apartment

by | Nov 18, 2020 | Interior Design, Loft Design in NYC

What is a Loft in New York?

In New York a loft is an apartment within a building that was originally built for industrial, warehouse, or commercial use that has since been converted to residential occupancy. NYC Lofts often have distinct architectural features such as high ceilings, large open spaces, exposed brick, large windows, and iron or wood columns. 

I am Jorge Fontan an architect in New York and owner of Manhattan based architecture firm Fontan Architecture. I am going to review some of the key architectural features you can commonly find in lofts through examples from a few of our loft projects in NYC. We will also look at some design ideas for lofts that you may want to consider when designing and renovating your loft apartment.

 

New York Loft Style Apartment

Lofts were originally manufacturing and commercial buildings and their architecture reflects this. Their original character and qualities such as the high ceiling are what make lofts such a desirable type of apartment.

New York Loft Style Apartment

New York Loft Style Apartment in SoHo

 

High Ceiling Loft Apartments 

Loft apartments have a history in manufacturing buildings and this shows in their high ceilings which is common for industrial buildings and therefore common in loft apartments. The ceilings can be significantly taller than most apartments as in the apartment below which has an 18 foot ceiling in the living room.

High Ceiling Loft Apartment

High Ceiling Loft Apartment in Tribeca NYC

 

Open Loft Apartments

The most obvious architectural characteristic of lofts is the wide open space. Lofts tend to be on the larger size and usually are designed with an open plan and an open kitchen, dining, and living room combined as one great room.

Open Loft Apartment

Open Loft Apartment

 

Exposed Brick Loft NYC

Most loft buildings in NYC are built with brick exterior walls. These brick walls are often left exposed although not always the case. This is why exposed brick is considered such a key element to loft design.

Exposed Brick Loft NYC

Exposed Brick Loft in SoHo, NYC

 

Large Loft Windows

Lofts often have large windows to go with their large open spaces. The windows often feel quite proportional with the high ceilings and openness of the lofts. The windows are usually large double hung windows.

Large Loft Windows

Large Loft Windows in Tribeca, NYC

 

Loft Columns

Loft apartments often have either cast iron columns or heavy timber columns. If the loft building is narrow there may be no columns at all and the entire structure may be supported only by the brick walls. If the building has a larger floor plate there are sure to be columns. These can be left exposed or sometimes covered.

Loft Columns

Loft Columns in a SoHo Loft

 

New York Loft Style Interior Design

Designing a loft starts with assessing the existing features of the loft and determining how to address them. For example as we have discussed, lofts typically have brick walls along the perimeter of the building. One must decide whether or not to expose this brick as it will affect the entire feel and interior design of the loft.

The original occupants of New York City lofts were artists moving into vacant manufacturing buildings in neighborhoods like SoHo and Tribeca. This history of art is often present in lofts as they make for great display spaces for private art collections.

New York Loft Style Interior Design

New York Loft Style Interior Design

 

Material selection is important to any interior design especially in lofts. One can incorporate industrial materials into a loft design to emphasize the industrial history and create a more modern edgy space. The photo below is of a loft in the Financial District where we added concrete interior walls and used wood and steel to create a truly industrial space.

Industrial Loft Interior Design

Industrial Loft Interior Design in FiDi

 

Even if you are going with a more simple loft interior design theme such as all white and minimalist there are certain elements that always work within a loft such as black steel and glass. This is a classic look for loft apartment renovations. Accent walls can also be used to create a little drama in a simple space.

NYC Loft Apartment Renovation

NYC Loft Apartment in Chelsea

 

Open Concept Loft Apartment

Most lofts are designed with an open plan or open concept. This means you have a minimal amount of partition walls between the spaces, making the space feel larger and open. In an open concept loft you will see a great room where the living, dining, and kitchen are all open to each other.

Open Concept Loft Apartment

Open Concept Loft Apartment

 

New York Loft Style Living Room

The most important aspect of a loft living room is the open plan. The space should be uncluttered and not overly furnished. This makes it feel spacious and elegant.

New York Loft Style Living Room

New York Loft Style Living Room

 

 

New York Loft Style Bedroom

Loft bedrooms can be quite minimalist but often you will have large windows with long curtains. These bedrooms can be decorated with some type of artwork as the high ceilings create a lot of blank wall space. The furnishing and bedding should also work with the rest of the space to provide the right feel.

The loft bedroom below is of an exposed brick loft in SoHo.

New York Loft Style Bedroom

New York Loft Style Bedroom

 

This loft bedroom, also in SoHo, has sheetrock walls and no exposed brick. There are 14 foot high ceilings and long draping curtains. The walls have artwork to add a touch of decor but also avoid huge blank walls.

Loft Bedroom Design

Loft Bedroom Design in Soho, NYC

 

New York Loft Style Kitchen

Loft kitchens are usually large and open. They can have islands or peninsulas and sometimes counter seating. In an open kitchen, the kitchen itself becomes a centerpiece of design. Loft kitchens should be modern and high end using the top of the line cabinets and appliances.

New York Loft Style Kitchen

New York Loft Style Kitchen in a SoHo Loft

 

The picture below is a minimalist white kitchen in a Tribeca Loft.

Loft Style Kitchen

White Loft Style Kitchen in a Tribeca Loft

 

New York Loft Style Furniture

In lofts you may not want to over furnish and clutter the space. It is often best to favor a few large pieces to remain in scale with the rest of the apartment. The furniture should work with the overall feel of the loft, modern is usually the case in most lofts.

New York Loft Style Furniture

New York Loft Style Furniture with an Edra Sofa in a SoHo Loft

 

New York Industrial Loft

Since lofts were originally industrial spaces it is very popular to bring additional industrial elements into a loft as in the concrete walls below.

New York Industrial Loft

New York Industrial Loft

 

Loft Architecture & Design

New York Lofts are known for being a unique type of living space with very specific architectural characteristics. Their architecture comes from and a rich history beginning with industrial uses and the repurposing for artist live work spaces. Today lofts are some of the most luxurious residences in New York City. They can be unique, quirky, industrial, or minimalist but good design is purposeful, intentional, and should carry through the entire space.

Chelsea Loft Quirky Decor

Chelsea Loft Quirky Decor

 


Thank You for Reading Our Blog Post on New York Loft Style Apartments

I hope this was helpful. If you would like to speak with an architect about a potential project you can contact us at Fontan Architecture directly.

 

Contact Fontan Architecture

 

Jorge Fontan
Jorge Fontan

This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 15 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.