Lofts and Flats For Sale in the Washington Metropolitan Area
What is the difference between lofts and flats for sale in the Washington metropolitan area? At the simplest level, a loft refers to a living or workspace, often open on at least one side, directly under the roof of a building. In other words, a loft could be as simple as a small sleeping space that you climb a ladder to get to in an old log cabin (remember “Little House on the Prairie?”) or as spacious as an artist’s studio in a cavernous warehouse.
Loft, Flats and Modern Spaces
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A flat, on the other hand, is a term for a one-floor living space. The word has traditionally been used in Great Britain and other parts of Europe to mean apartment, and comes from expressions like "a flat slice from a tower block.: Recently, there has been a hipster marketing trend in Washington Metro real estate circles to label apartment-style units as "flats."
In some cases, however, the “flat” label has really become more than just a catch-phrase. A good example is the Oronoco—adaptive reuse of an old office building in Old Town Alexandria featuring an unusual modernistic series of 60 stacked luxury flats, designed by architect Shalom Barones, These spacious units list from $1.6 to $3 million, and can be as large as 3,500 square feet.
Meanwhile, across the Potomac River in the District are a number of new flat developments, including The Flats at Il Palazzo—a repurposing of a former Italian Embassy in the Adams Morgan area, or the M Street Flats—a boutique condo building in the Mt. Vernon Triangle.
As for lofts, they are seemingly anywhere and everywhere. The trend began with artist loft “live and work spaces”, often inside converted warehouses and other industrial spaces, decades ago. Once the trend caught on for condos for sale, however, many in the arts community found themselves getting priced out of Washington, DC.
In the late 1990s, four small Maryland communities banded together to do something about the arts exodus. Mount Rainer, Brentwood, North Brentwood and Hyattsville formed the Gateway Arts District along a two-mile stretch of the Route One Corridor. Residential/workspace developments include the Mount Rainer Artist Lofts—44 affordable units for creative types and their families.
In the broader sense, however, loft condos for sale can be found throughout Virginia, Maryland and Washington, from Arlington’s trendy Rosslyn/Clarendon/Courthouse corridor to the District itself where more than 100 buildings feature residences with lofts. And then there’s developments such as The Flats and Warehouses at Union Row where you actually get your choice—a luxury flat or a warehouse-style multilevel unit with a loft on the top floor!
Also worth noting is the schoolhouse trend, where onetime institutes of learning now house upscale loft living. Converted school buildings in the District include Bryan School Lofts, Berret School Lofts, Pierce School Lofts and Wormley Row. So whatever your choice—loft, flat or something in-between, condos for sale in Washington Metro have something for everybody, from small to palatial and affordable to ultra-expensive.