Hard vs. Soft Lofts

Recently, I was speaking with a client of mine, looking through condo listings, chatting about the details & designs. I told him “if you are looking for more of a hard loft feel we should check out the Toy Factory Lofts.” Following my statement my client didn’t ask me where the Toy Factory Lofts is, he didn’t ask what the prices were like, he asked “what is a ‘hard loft.’ In this moment, It dawned on me that no everyone knows the difference.

There are many misconceptions about lofts.

When I was younger I thought the term loft referred to any two-storey apartment.

A lot of people when they hear the word loft only think of studio spaces.

In reality, lofts come in A LOT of shapes and sizes.

Real Talk: 

Not all lofts are studios,

Not all lofts are old,

Not all lofts have two-storey’s.

Lofts can be old or new

Lofts can be studios but can be up to 3+ beds

Lofts can be one-storey or 2 storey, or 3!

If you are looking for a loft unit, chances are you are after specific design features; High ceilings, exposed brick or concrete, exposed beams or pipes.

When narrowing down your search it is important to know that lofts come in two forms:

Hard or Soft.

HARD: 

A hard loft is a building that has been retrofitted into a residential condominium. Meaning that the building used to be something else. In most cases hard lofts were once a factory or warehouse. This is why hard loft buildings are typically low rise, with fewer units than your average condominium.

Typically, the high ceilings & large windows are a product of the original structure. When retrofitted, many developers keep the brick or concrete, HVAC and pipes exposed to give the space that unique character.

Hard lofts have a more authentic grit in their design. When you are in a hard loft you can smell and feel the history behind the unit. Take a look at these hard lofts & tell me you don’t agree:

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– Foundry Lofts – 1100 Lansdowne Ave
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– Toy Factory Lofts – 43 Hanna Ave

I think it’s important to note that since the original structure was not intended to be residential, we find that most hard lofts have minimal amenities (though there are exceptions).

Another point to consider is that hard lofts are in limited supply. There are only so many opportunities to convert old buildings into residential units. As a result, hard lofts usually come with a heavy price tag.

My favourite hard lofts:

MASSEY HARRIS LOFTS – 915 KING ST W

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TOY FACTORY LOFTS – 43 HANNA AVE

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SOFT:

In contrast, a soft loft is a condominium that was originally constructed as a residential building. Soft lofts are intentionally designed to mimic the unique characteristics of a hard loft.

When shopping for soft lofts, there is a broad spectrum. We see some units that are very unique, well designed with all the qualities of an authentic loft. But we also see some lofts look like regular condominium units but with an exposed concrete ceiling.

With soft lofts there is opportunity to build higher, house more units & build lots of amenities. That’s why we see more soft lofts units available in the Downtown, than we do hard lofts.

My favourite soft lofts:

ELECTRA LOFTS – 1029 KING ST W

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FASHION DISTRICT LOFTS – 10 MORRISON ST.

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There are many more lofts available in Toronto, contact me today to book some private viewings!

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