I am one of those men and women who can’t help but drool over a loft. The industrial exposed ductwork, brick walls and banged-up hardwood flooring? Swoon! For me, living in a loft is like living at a page out of history. But the fact is, turning a loft into a home is a lot more difficult than it seems. A lack of walls, contemporary amenities and insulation may make these spaces uncomfortable, despite their exquisite bones. But with the perfect touches and a bit of TLC, some people manage to make even the most bare attic glow.

Take a look at these 10 stunning lofts around the USA and see what a little imagination did to these bright, open and historic spaces.

Chris A Dorsey Photography

Industrial and Organic at Brooklyn

Although it was constructed in the 1890s, this Brooklyn, New York, loft still has its original dividers, whitewashed walls and exposed ductwork. An eclectic furniture set and a working wood-burning cooker keep the industrial area from looking and feeling cold — especially important during New York’s snowy winters. The homeowner particularly enjoys her comfy hammock hanging next to the sofa. The trapeze bar hanging directly above it’s a popular with visiting kids.

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Jason Snyder

A fast Ride Up in Pittsburgh

The classic freight elevator — the sole means of entrance here — sets the tone for the remainder of this artistic Pittsburgh loft. The homeowner used sheets of metal alloy to define living spaces, mixing in his own abstract art and reclaimed wood furniture to create a quirky and masculine home.

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Esther Hershcovich

All-White Glam at Montreal

After a 1920s art deco building that housed a printing firm, this Montreal loft currently has a distinctly different aesthetic. The proprietor, an interior designer, once considered employing the spacious loft for her showroom. But now the structure is a pristine and elegant house for herself and her daughter, with a crisp, clean and contemporary palette.

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Jason Snyder

Original Architecture and Reclaimed Furniture at Pittsburgh

A 1980s remodel had changed this onetime bank to some dull, Sheetrock-covered office construction. Fortunately, a complete gut revealed its lovely bones: 15-foot-high ceilings, a load-bearing brick wall along with original walnut floors. A second bedroom serves as a game room, gym and guest space, because of an innovative setup. The homeowner constructed the 7-foot lofted twin bed shown here out of reclaimed timber, and set a couple of his favorite vintage pinball machines beneath.

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Adam Breaux

Antique Furniture With Youthful Touches in New Orleans

Despite a nearly all-antique furniture collection, this loft in New Orleans’ French Quarter still feels clean, funky and present. The building was an 1890s rice mill, but is now divided into many lofts and apartments. Original brick walls decades’ worth of paint layers bring added patina into the space. Classic tin letters spell out the owner’s last name, calling attention to her bedroom, lofted over the excellent room.

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Reiko Feng Shui Design

Classic and Modern Mix for Character

Ready for a new start, this mum with twin toddlers changed this loft into an open but comfy home with lots of personality. Original beams, windows and columns reveal its century-plus of history. A few modern additions — such as a darling sleeping nook for Mom — turned the industrial area into a practical home for this household.

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Adrienne DeRosa

Collected and Colorful Gallery Style at Pittsburgh

The tall ceilings and whitewashed bricks within this Pittsburgh apartment appeared to beg for partitions filled with art. Fortunately, this homeowner could fulfill the need. With every wall covered in personal, found and antique artwork, the open area shines with personality, warmth and color.

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Vintage Renewal

DIY Live-Work Loft at Colorado

For this Colorado professional, there’s no line between work and play — and that is how she likes it. Her spacious loft in Denver is devoted to working and living, with her house often working as a showroom to get her furniture designs.

Different nooks and crannies are devoted to different actions, such as this comfy and cozy sitting area, highlighted with vintage finds and the owner’s own cushions made of neckties and scarves.

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Corynne Pless

New Walls Break Things Up in Brooklyn

This proprietor loved the industrial appearance of his loft — once home to the New York Trolley Museum — he needed a tiny separation to make it work for his lifestyle. A couple new walls generated a separate dining room, two bedrooms and a living room. Leaving the rooms only marginally open to a another maintained the loft’s open feel. Reclaimed wood accents and shelves, well-appointed antiques and a couple of industrial components give the house an elegant but informal look which suits its history.

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Design Manifest

An Urban Jewel Box

Color, pattern and playful touches split this up former mill space according to function. A splash of blue, a swath of wallpaper and a dash of black paint visually split several nooks and short walls into well-styled work, relaxing and drinking spaces.

Refurbished classic finds, such as these dining chairs, add personality without overpowering the vibrant space.

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