Lofts, Flats and Cutting Edge Spaces

When searching through condo listings in the Washington, DC area, you’ll often notice terms like flats, lofts, and cutting edge spaces. Some cutting edge spaces are also described as industrial chic, modern, retro, factory-style, or anything else designed to catch the reader’s eye. It’s all part of marketing, but the catch phrases also serve legitimate purposes when it comes to identifying particular types of properties. Whether you’re interested in luxury, waterfront, penthouse, historic, or new construction condos, there’s a pretty good chance that lofts, flats, or cutting edge spaces will come into play at some point. Let’s examine each of these descriptions in greater detail.

Lofts are one of the oldest ways to add an additional level of living, work, or storage space. Some of the early examples include American A-frame log cabins with ladders leading up a sleeping space under the eaves, French artists’ ateliers in the mid-1800s, and New York City warehouse storage lofts in the early 1900s. By the middle of the 20th century, out of use warehouse lofts in urban cities were gaining popularity with artists, often as cost-effective places to both live and work. By the 1960s and 1970s, this had become a staple of pop culture, portrayed in film and magazine pictorials as part of a creative lifestyle choice.

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It was inevitable that working artists and musicians would get priced out of their cavernous loft spaces and equally inevitable that lofts would become part of a new development trend. A few examples of popular loft condos include the Wooster and Mercer Lofts in Rosslyn, 2424 Lofts in Adams Morgan, Delancey Lofts in Adams Morgan, 2020 Lofts in the U Street Corridor, Bryan School Lofts on Capitol Hill, Landmark Lofts on Capitol Hill, and Kalorama Lofts in Adams Morgan. And while it’s easy to imagine all lofts as being genuine extra levels that are open on one side and overlooking a living area below, it has become increasingly fashionable to market single-story condos that are simply a little more cutting edge as “loft-style.”

Flats are another example of an increasingly common catch phrase, meaning an apartment-style residence with a single level. It’s a term that originated in England, describing apartments in heavily populated blocks of tall buildings as “flat slices.”  If you come across a listing for a flat, it only actually means one thing, a one-level condo. But it is now often equated with modern, open-space layouts and a certain stylish, cool vibe. A few examples in the Washington, DC area include Parker Flats at Gage School in the LeDroit Park neighborhood, Flats 130 at Constitution Square in NoMa, the Oronoco in Old Town Alexandria, the Flats at Il Palazzo in Adams Morgan, and the M Street Flats in Mount Vernon Triangle.

As for condos with cutting edge spaces, it’s another way to point out certain types of layouts or interior designs. Think, for instance, of the overhead exposed ductwork and sliding barn doors at a place like the Yale Steam Laundry in Mount Vernon Triangle, or the super hips units at Adams Alley, formerly a Colorstone Printing Building. Here you’ll find soaring 22-foot ceilings, gigantic windows, jutting room shapes, and floating stairs. The Rainbow Lofts in Logan Circle is a historic former auto body and pain shop that brings lofts and cutting edge concepts together, with exposed brick walls, sleek Euro-style kitchens, and private outdoor spaces. As with most marketing copy, one catch phrase doesn’t always mean just one thing. But sometimes it does!

To learn more about lofts, flats, and cutting edge spaces in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, please call Andre Perez at District Partners at Compass, 202-400-3040.

Realtor Andre Perez

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