Lofty Living: High Ceilings, Exposed Brick & More

By Catherine Sherman

If you love mixing old and new, rustic and modern, a loft conversion may be the place for you. This week on NBC reality show American Dream Builders, the top-five designers worked on lofts in the Nate Starkman Building, a 1908-built factory in downtown Los Angeles.

Converted factories or warehouses typically feature high ceilings, exposed brick or pipes and open floor plans. These features offer a bare-boned canvas ideal for a contemporary or minimalist living space, though space planning and lighting can be a challenge.

To see some standout lofts in terms of style and functionality, we've gathered a few contenders currently on the market across the country. Click on the links below to see photos, square footage and more.

Atlanta, GA

500 Means St NW Apt H, Atlanta, GA
For sale: $169,900

Atlanta, GA
A true artist loft, this 1-bedroom was previously owned by resident artist Steve Penley. The building has been renovated while preserving the architectural integrity of Atlanta's historic Allied Factory that dates back to 1900. Notable features include soaring ceilings, wood beams and contemporary finishes throughout.

Chelsea, MA

960 Broadway Apt 10, Chelsea, MA
For sale: $249,000

Chelsea, MA
"These lofts were converted in 2004 with every modern convenience," the listing states. A 2-bedroom unit on the top floor is available for just under $250,000 with 872 square feet of living space, 11-foot ceilings and hardwood floors.

Chicago, IL

1231 N Honore St Apt 3, Chicago, IL
For sale: $525,000

Chicago, IL
In 1992, this old paint factory was converted into four lofts by internationally-recognized architect Mark Sexton. His work is known for being beautiful, environmentally efficient, and both visually and functionally enduring over time. This 1,850-square-foot loft is no exception with a high-end, modern kitchen and a statement fireplace complemented by exposed brick and overhead beams.

Santa Clara, CA

1777 Lafayette St STE 124, Santa Clara, CA
For sale: $529,800

Santa Clara, CA
Described as a New York-style warehouse-to-loft conversion, this historic building used to be a factory that produced Blue Diamond walnuts. In 2005, it was converted into 43 live/work lofts with beamed ceilings, wood-plank floors, galvanized metal siding and spiral staircases.

Brooklyn, NY

110 Clifton Pl Apt 2H, Brooklyn, NY
For sale: $900,000

Brooklyn, NY
A former Ping-Pong ball factory, this open floor plan loft is "a clever combination of industrial chic and old-school tradition," according to the listing description. The main entertaining space has original columns and historic casement windows. Each of the 2 bedrooms has a wall of windows and large closets; the bathrooms have been renovated to include a deep soaking tub, walk-in shower and custom vanities.

    Catherine Sherman, a real estate writer for Zillow Blog, covers real estate news, industry trends and home design. Read more of her work here.
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