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Loft-style apartment, 1998

A living room in 1998 at the Geffrye Museum

A loft-style apartment in 1998 photographed by Chris Ridley

The conversion of commercial buildings into domestic living spaces or ‘lofts’ was first undertaken in London during the 1970s in redundant riverside warehouses. It has since become one of the main forms of housing development in inner London. This room is typical of an architect-designed loft in a nineteenth-century warehouse, with the kitchen, living and dining areas all in one, open space. The mezzanine over the kitchen allows space for a bedroom while the bathroom (to the right) is designed with a back-lit, glazed wall to provide light in the areas furthest from the windows.

The main features associated with this style of interior are bare wood flooring, white walls, sparse furnishings and modern furniture. Colour can be provided by the upholstery, a few decorative objects, such as coloured-glass vases, and a large contemporary painting or print. Sometimes, as shown here, a section of wall is picked out in a bright, accent colour. The style has spread from lofts to ordinary houses, where it has become fashionable to install new wood flooring and contemporary furniture. Perhaps the most enduring feature of lofts has been the inclusion of the kitchen within the main living space and many townhouses have since been opened up inside to create a large ‘living kitchen’ where all of the family and friends can gather.

Explore our 360 view of the Loft-style apartment or take the Virtual Tour of the Period Rooms and Gardens.