Lofts, Flats and Modern Spaces in the Washington Metropolitan Area

Lofts, flats and modern spaces in the Washington Metropolitan area—the phrase evokes all that is trendy, urban and new. But new doesn’t have to be a literal term. After all, modernism dates back more than a century and you’ll also certainly find condos for sale that have been repurposed from an old school, warehouse or other historic building.

Apart from actual age, what exactly are lofts, flats and modern spaces?

First, lofts refer to living space that is elevated from a main level and open on at least one side. The origins date back centuries—picture those extra sleeping quarters reachable by ladder in early settler cabins. But we typically equate them with contemporary times.

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During the 1980s, lofts became part of a pop culture trend in Washington DC, embraced by artists, musicians and other creative types. Often adapted from commercial and industrial spaces, these live, work and play places were at the vanguard of the District’s early revitalization trend, well before it became mainstream. But in time, many in the arts community were priced out of the area.

That led to the late 1990s Gateway Art District movement in Maryland along the Route One Corridor. The neighborhoods of Brentwood, North Brentwood, Hyattsville and Mount Rainer embraced the new arrivals, leading to developments like the Mount Rainer Artist Lofts, as well as galleries, cafes and other indie businesses.

Meanwhile, flats are single-floor residences, whether apartment rentals or condos for sale. The term has long been used in England but has more recently come into vogue in this country. It has become such a popular marketing angle, in fact, that an increasing number of new condo developments have affixed it to their name.

For instance, the Oronoco Flats is a stunning adaptive reuse of the former Sheet Metal Workers building in Old Town Alexandria. With huge window walls, square footage from 1600 to 3500 square feet, views of the Potomac River and so much more, these million dollar pads were snapped up like hotcakes soon after the project’s completion.

And then there’s The Flats at Union Row, an upscale eight-story complex in the U Street Corridor that is part of a larger overall condo community—the other component being The Warehouses. Interestingly, the entire project was awarded the “Best New Loft Condominium Community” by the National Association of Home Builders, due to the appealing industrial loft design of Warehouse residences. 

So we’ve covered lofts and flats, what about the modern spaces?

The term is a nod to the minimalist school of design that first came into being eons ago before coming back in waves over subsequent generations. It’s also very much the notion of something new and different. Put it all together and you get modern properties for sale with clean and efficient motifs that can also add the appearance of volume to interior living space.

A good example is the open room concept of living space. Not that long ago gourmet kitchens were considered chic simply by virtue of one less wall or a wall cutout, allowing a modicum of interaction by those preparing food and those hanging around to eat it. Before long, additional barriers came down.

The newest trend is the so-called “European kitchen.” This is the ultimate way to save space and blend environments.

Picture if you will, something barely noticeable along one side of an open space room. What is it, some kind of abstract art? But wait a minute, that’s actually a stainless steel Wolf oven built into a wall, and a recessed fridge that appears to be one with its surroundings! And there’s some green and blue mosaic tiles and a range built into a counter. That thing’s actually a functional kitchen!

Can you think of a more perfect place to drink artisanal cocktails and mingle with guests than right next to a kitchen artwork that complements the larger overall living-slash-eating space?

Modular elements are also a popular part of the new modernity, with lightweight moveable walls and screens that afford some semblance of separation or privacy for sleeping spaces without total confinement.

You can find lofts, flats and modern spaces or any combination thereof when it comes to properties for sale, throughout the Washington Metro region. It’s easy to equate these with DC neighborhoods like Dupont Circle or the evolving Mount Vernon Triangle, or in Arlington’s red hot Clarendon-Courthouse in the transit-oriented Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor.

But also don’t forget Falls Church or the new Mosaic District in Fairfax County, or rapidly trending suburbs like Franconia and Kingstowne in the northwestern edges of Alexandria.

The times they are a changing, and modern and contemporary lofts, flats and yes—even multilevel piggyback condos for sale—are here to stay. Call District Partners at Compass to learn more, 202-798-3600.

The listing content relating to real estate for sale on this web site is courtesy of MRIS. Listing information comes from various brokers who participate in the MRIS IDX.Properties listed with brokerage firms other than Compass are marked with the MRIS Logo and detailed information about them includes the name of the listing brokers.The properties displayed may not be all the properties available. All information provided is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified.All listing information copyright MRIS 2019.

Listing information last updated on June 19th, 2019 at 2:45am EDT.