Loft (lôft) noun.
"floor consisting of a large unpartitioned space over a factory or warehouse or other commercial space."
The conversion of buildings to lofts - result in what is known as the "hard loft." These are buildings with history and character. They have a harder edge of either concrete construction, or "mill" construction of exposed old brick and original wood posts, beams and floors and / or heavy timber construction. They will have the original exposed ductwork, electrical, and plumbing which are features used to complement the décor.
Soft lofts are usually found in newly constructed loft buildings. They have the elements of a hard loft but with softer edges. The softer edges may include carpet covering the floors and drywall encasements hiding the ductwork, electrical, and plumbing. Some may have walls that may not reach the ceiling, which are sometimes called three-quarter length. Soft lofts will tend to look more like traditional apartments and are usually more energy efficienct than a hard loft.
The open concept loft will have no walls and high ceilings. This concept creates the ability to design your own environment within your living space. The open concept is one of the most attractive features of lofts. It provides you with the freedom to construct your space suitable for a variety of functions. Your space is defined by use rather than by walls. Without walls all the rooms share space from their neighboring rooms, which will then percieve a larger total living space.
In order to be a true loft, there must be vertical space -- High Ceilings! Existing tall ceilings came from the original conversion of old factories and warehouses. Large floor to ceiling windows were also part of this original construction which highlights the vertical nature. The High ceilings and large windows emphasize the vertical nature of the loft and creates an overall feeling of spaciousness.
New Hard Loft
With the high demand for lofts... and the lack of available buildings suitable for authentic industrial style loft conversion, we now have "new hard " lofts. Loft developers say the four main features that define a loft are the high ceilings, open spaces, exposed building materials and big windows. Developers are now replicating these main features. New hard lofts will duplicate the authentic details of a hard loft with the additional improvement of being more energy efficient.
Duplex / Bi-Level Loft
A duplex or bi-level loft is a loft that has a second mezzanine level that overlooks the floor below. A loft does not necessarily have to have 2 levels.
A loft space that is unfinished. A raw loft may not include a kitchen, toilet or sink. If the loft lacks a bathroom then communal facilities would be available. Most newly renovated "raw" lofts include their own bathroom. Raw is used to describe a loft with no or few amenities. In a raw loft everything from heating and plumbing pipes to brick walls and wiring will be exposed.