Toronto lofts are synonymous with open-concept living. It’s easy to see why open-concepts are all the rage when you see well-designed, well-furnished spaces like our client’s Unit 201A in the Wrigley Lofts pictured above (recently sold). Open-concept interiors make rooms appear larger, offer great sight lines, distribute light better and they’re ideal for entertaining. Guests can easily flow from space to space and carry on conversations from different rooms.
But just because they’re popular, doesn’t mean open-concept lofts are for everyone. When viewing Toronto lofts for sale, it’s important to remember that sellers’ spaces are almost always staged to look their best. You’ll need to be honest with yourself about how you live day-to-day and whether or not that perfectly primped Toronto loft offers the right style of space for you.
When you’re looking at open-concept lofts for sale in Toronto, here are some things to think about.
Photo: Corynne Pless Photography © 2014 Houzz
Open concepts require more planning than traditional, walled layouts (which eliminate guesswork). With open lofts, you need to carefully plan the division of space, furniture placement and positioning of lighting and electrical. You may even have to replace some of your furniture or buy additional pieces such as consoles and open shelving units which make great room dividers without closing off a space completely, as seen in the Manhattan studio pictured above.
For those of us who love design and decorating, tackling a wide-open space is a dream. If however home decorating and furniture shopping isn’t your thing, a blank canvas of a loft space can get your heart racing, in a bad way. If you’re not prepared to take the time to properly plan your floor layout or you can’t afford to hire a professional to do it for you, think about whether open concept lofts are really right for you. You may be better off in a more traditional space that doesn’t leave room for interpretation.
Sadly, there’s no skirting this issue. Open concepts lofts are not great for messy homeowners. And guess what? There’s no shame in that. There’s no rule that says we all have to live in showroom-worthy spaces all the time. For some, the idea of not letting dishes pile up in the sink and having to line-up your shoes neatly at the front door each day is really stressful. And your home shouldn’t be a stressful place; it should be a place of repose. If your idea of sanctuary doesn’t include a daily tidy and ensuring everything has its place, then you may benefit from a space with walls where everything isn’t in plain view.
Open-concept living and privacy don’t really go hand-in-hand but for most loft-lovers, having the majority of the home open-concept is the whole point of loft-living, providing that the most private of rooms (the bathroom) is walled. Having bedrooms walled off is also common. Remember though that the areas that are the most desirable for buyers interested in open-concept spaces can actually become the hardest to live with if you’re not used to open spaces–the kitchen, dining and living room.
Loft kitchens that are open to the living and dining rooms are just asking for guests to come on in and mingle while you’re cooking. If having people underfoot while you’re trying to sauté or having dirty dishes in plain sight from the dining room table is the kind of thing that drives you nuts, then you may want to consider a space with a more traditional, divided layout.
This Vancouver loft by Oliver Simon Design is far from bland but its uniform floors, white walls and consistent furniture & décor style unifies the space. © Houzz, 2014.
When I say “less-is-more” I’m referring not to the number of items in your loft (although a clutter-free home with lots of storage certainly helps) but instead the importance of having a consistent style throughout. It helps to create flow, like each room is a natural extension of the other.
A cohesive-looking, open-concept loft doesn’t have to mean streamlined and minimalistic however. There are lot of great “filled-to-the-brim” spaces such as the Vancouver loft pictured above. This home looks full and lived-in but still reads visually as clean because of the unified design aesthetic. Each area of the loft makes sense as part of the larger whole.
If instead of streamlined you like to experiment with lots of different design trends, you should consider a more traditional home layout with room separations that allow for greater design experimentation.
While we believe in a “no rules” approach to decorating, what you love should trump what’s accepted practice by design professionals, there are some practices that are popular in open concept decorating because they work the majority of the time. One of these is painting all of your walls white or another light, neutral colour like a soft grey, greige or taupe. Darker colours can be overwhelming in open concept spaces. Likewise, trying to fake divisions where none exist with different paint colours can make a loft look small and piecemeal, negating the benefits of open-concept. Division is almost always better created through lighting and furniture placement.
That said, neutral walls doesn’t mean boring. Don’t forget that art and wall décor is a critical part of decorating and can add a whole lot of colour and personality to your loft. We love the eclectic look of our client’s home below, Unit 204 in the Telegram Lofts, recently sold.