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Have We Reached Peak Loft?

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Once upon a time, loft homes had real edge: they were carved out of true warehouses or factories and the trailblazing artists who made it happen were breaking the law doing so. These days, "loft" is more like an ultra-buzzy word that can describe all kinds of things. Brand-new luxury apartments! Shoppable design goods showrooms! A shared housing setup for fledgling Silicon valley entrepreneurs! Does "loft" really mean anything anymore? Other than something perceived to be hip?

Today's loft-enthusiasts should tread carefully: developers may be quick to call their properties "lofts," but not all are worthy of the name. Last year, Brooklyn-based writer Kyle Chayka wrote a fascinating overview for Medium on how the loft as we know it has gone from authentic live-work sanctuaries created by '60s artists in SoHo to a sort of "fetishized commodity" emblematic of success in the big city.

Original lofts popularized by the artist-types were characterized by the marks of DIY renovations, preexisting—maybe graffitied over—exposed brick and concrete, and cast iron columns. Looking at listings today, though, it seems all that it takes to be a "loft" are high-ish ceilings, big windows, and some degree of an open-plan layout. Take a look at a few lofts featured around the Curbediverse. If you had to judge, would these homes pass your loft test?

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In the end, no one gets seriously hurt from the dilution of the loft (hopefully) but this editor can't help but feel like kind of a sucker for giving everything labeled a "loft" a harder look. Darn it, real estate branding! Anyway, anyone else experiencing loft-fatigue? Sound off in the comments.

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