Lofts!

Not just cool urban spaces

Tiny homes
Micro Houses
Trailer living
Vanlife
Repurposed Urban warehouses

What do they all have in common? Lots of cool LOFTS!

At SQFT Studios we love lofts. They are super cool fun spaces that promote feelings of secret getaways, great views, summer naps, and childhood stunts. So many of the great Tiny House projects we see rely on lofts for sleeping areas, which makes perfect sense! The classic VW camper or RV sleeping loft always makes me think of getaway vacation days or overnighting somewhere gorgeous.

So it’s no surprise when people ask us to include a sleeping or other type of loft in their Home Studios and ADUs, and we are happy to help! However making this dream come true just became a little more complicated; the codes have been updated and require lofts to be just like any other second story space.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have your loft and sleep in it too! It does mean you have to provide specific protections and means of access and egress, just like in your home. A second story requires these key things to be code legal:

  • Stairs that meet the following standards;
    • Railings that end at a post or wall so things don’t get caught on them and cause a fall, and meet size and location requirements
    • Steps with 9” minimum tread (flat part where your foot goes) and 8” maximum rise (distance from one tread top to the next), and a nose between ¾” and 1 ¼”.
    • Headroom of 6’-8”
    • Width of at least 36” between walls or spiral stairs 26” wide from the post to the edge of the treads.
  • Guardrails along open sides at least 30” high and no openings over 4”
  • Headroom of at least 6’-8” for 50% of the area
  • Minimum floor area of 70 sqft
  • 1 egress window for every sleeping room

As you can see, these hurdles are not insurmountable, but they do affect the look and feel of these spaces. Stairs can have a relatively huge footprint in a small building. The headroom requirement is also difficult to achieve if you are building is limited in height, for example if you are building within the setbacks of your property.

One nice side benefit of not building a loft – vaulted ceilings are awesome.

For further reading and great visual explanations of these codes check out the Bureau of Development Services Brochures here and specifically these articles:

Stairs

Converting Attics […] to living space

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