Urban pioneering is taking the best ex-industrial spaces and products to create unique, distinctive homes that reflect the marrying of the old and new, while protecting and utilizing the integrity of both. An urban pioneer looks for large empty buildings or spaces, to convert for their home or business while keeping the original elements that are safe, visually appealing, useful, and just plain fun. Many people are jumping on the industrial or urban style band wagon and are really enjoying the experience as well as their new space.
With the decline in manufacturing in the 1950's and 60's, empty warehouses, schools, factories, and office and retail spaces opened up the opportunity for cheap rentals. These spaces allowed for the first true urban pioneers to establish an imaginative and trendy style that is still alive and growing. By keeping the exposed brick walls, and wood or concrete floors, as well as the duct work and pipes that were left in the buildings, people began creating useful and inviting spaces. Since many of the building were equipped with large windows and lots of them, there was no shortage of light to flood the rooms, which was just another added bonus, in some cases.
Although renovating an old building can be daunting and expensive nowadays, it can be well worth the effort. Breathing new life into formerly unused buildings is not only good for the building, it brings a sense of uplifting pleasure to those who live and visit the home or business. It renews the neighborhood and the people who live there, adding beauty and style. It allows the owner and designer to keep a bit of historical architecture while using new processes to preserve them. It can even add new revenue to the neighborhood by adding a bar, nightclub, restaurant, or even rental venue for weddings and such. The opportunities are endless for these vacant buildings. Of course, planning and design are an important first step. You should know ahead of time just where any wall or plumbing will have to be placed for kitchen and bathroom fixtures, and you'll want to try and keep as much of the existing details and elements of the original building to stay true to the industrial/urban feel.
The style has led to the manufacturing and reproduction of industrial pieces that were popular in this bygone era. From lighting, to seating, to dining tables and accessories, there are a plethora of products that will look great with almost any decorating style. You can find fun pieces to incorporate into your home by looking for reproductions or shop the salvage and junk yards, garage sales, and flea markets for a special piece. An aged and worn look is what makes these pieces stand out and adds character and charm to any home when placed in just the right spot. Searching is half the fun, but the finished look of the room is what will grab the eye, so search for pieces that speak to you about the industrial times.
In today's Internet world, you can find people who will refurbish old finds or create new pieces to match old ones such as wall or ceiling tiles. Metal staircases, doors and pulley systems left in old buildings make a great addition to these spaces. Keeping everyone safe by removing lead paint and asbestos is certainly a priority and you should always have the property checked before making a purchase or renting one out. Needless to say, you will also have to apply for permission to change it to residential use if need be.
We understand that the industrial style is not for everyone. The fact is, most people like the look and feel of something new. Personally, I love holding on to a special aged treasure that reminds me of times gone by. I also really enjoy shopping for creative and imaginative items designed for today's spaces. Whatever your style, I hope you stay open enough to open your home to a bit of the past by seeking out a few urban elements or industrial furniture pieces.