When you think of lofts, your mind may go to those you’ve seen in movies or TV shows—large open spaces with high ceilings, huge windows, exposed brick walls, and few, if any, interior walls. If this style intrigues you, read on to find out more about lofts and their availability in the Triangle.
The formal definition of a loft is a living space carved from a structure whose original purpose was something else. The loft image most of us have comes from the industrial-type lofts that originated in New York City’s SoHo district back in the 1960s and 70s. Factories and manufacturers had moved out of the urban center, leaving huge empty warehouses.
Artists and other creative types were drawn to these large spaces as places to work and (sometimes secretly and illegally) live. They were also inexpensive then, although that, unfortunately, is no longer the case!
Lofts are still a popular style of home, even as they have evolved to accommodate more interior dividers and softer finishes. The local inventory is not huge and the price per square foot is comparable to single-family homes, but they certainly do have style!
All lofts in our area are set up as condos so there is an HOA and monthly fees to consider. The HOA takes care of the building maintenance while the owner “owns” the space from the "paint in" and maintains HVAC systems, indoor plumbing, and electrical.
So, whether you’re thinking of a space where you can ride a bicycle from one end to the other, or you’re looking for a more modern look with a spacious feel, Raleigh/Durham has options.
Both! In Raleigh, there are old buildings that have been converted from mills, such as Caraleigh Mills and The Cotton Mill Condos. In Durham, Bullington Warehouse was created from a historic tobacco storage warehouse.
Downtown Raleigh also features more modern looking lofts such as The Fairweather.
And while most lofts are primarily located near downtown in Raleigh and Durham, there are some lofts in the suburbs and some in smaller towns such as Saxapahaw, about 20 minutes from Chapel Hill. The Saxapahaw Rivermill is another converted cotton mill on the banks of the Haw River.
One group interested in lofts, especially near downtowns, is retirees and empty nesters who want to live near city centers. Low maintenance housing with access to entertainment and dining make lofts attractive to this group.
The other main buyers we see are young professionals, who appreciate the modern amenities they’ve grown up with but also love the touch of the past in the historic features.
Some loft dwellers creatively divide their space with flex walls, curtains, or other room dividers. Others use furniture placement to make defined areas of the loft.
Many of the revamped lofts offer fitness centers, club rooms, pools, dog parks, and other 21st century amenities.
In lofts that have been repurposed from older industrial buildings and not completely renovated, huge windows and open space can mean higher utility bills. And while you can certainly replace outdated windows to make the loft more energy efficient, that is an additional cost to consider.
Some folks love the idea of designing the interior space from scratch, but remember, having no defined “rooms” also means no closets, kitchen cabinets, or other storage.
The large open spaces mean that both sound and smells easily travel from one end of the space to the other. There is a lack of privacy, so if you’re a family or looking to share a home with a roommate, this can be a drawback.
And because most lofts are governed by HOAs, getting approval for renovations can be an issue, and there may be building rules that limit entertaining. So just because it’s possible to easily fit 100 people inside your loft, doesn’t mean you can or should!
If you’d like to start looking now for your perfect loft home in the Raleigh/Durham area, check out our listings below.
Listings provided courtesy of Triangle MLS, Inc. of NC, Internet Data Exchange Database. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. © 2021 Triangle MLS, Inc. of North Carolina. Data last updated .