Contemporary Lofts Enhance Life In The District

Next time you’re walking the streets of downtown Columbia, look up. Don’t let the old brick buildings of years past fool you. Inside many of them, luxury awaits. With residents ranging in age from 20 to 80, there’s no telling who you might meet in Columbia’s ever-growing community of upscale loft apartments — local artists, aspiring young physicians,  or even jet-setters who on occasion stop long enough to call Missouri home.

Small in square footage, these living spaces are big in style. With one-bedroom units that start around $1,100 monthly, they offer at least one amenity that residents will only find right here: the culture and charm of downtown Columbia just outside the front door.

Steel Yourself

Industry meets contemporary style in this handsome loft upstairs in the Berry Building on Orr Street. During its restoration, builders took special care to preserve the building’s historic charm. Many city residents remember the space back when it was Nowell’s Grocery Warehouse, a long-time family-owned operation that is now part of Columbia’s history. That name can still be found on the building’s exterior, but the interior is a world of modern luxury.

The living and kitchen areas are combined into one space, blending old factory fixtures and architecture with modern design. Custom cabinet builder Lou Swaker was the artist behind the kitchen’s sleek, modern look, completed in a mix of materials such as stainless steel, granite and wood. A small backdoor patio offers views of the North Village Arts District, the colorful buildings of St. James Street and Wabash Station.

Classic Rock

Step inside the front door of this one-bedroom loft and you get it. Bright red curtains provide a bolt of energy. New industrial furnishings mix with primitive antiques. A neatly arranged collection of photos and album covers from music industry greats says it all: This apartment rocks.

Located along Columbia’s Alley A between Ninth and Tenth streets, this loft puts a modern twist on what was once A La Campagna, a department store known and loved by many Columbians. That space today is home to Grace architectural salvage shop.

Old, imperfect plaster and brickwork along the front wall of the living room hints at the building’s history. Ironwork by local artist Don Asby provides a railing separating the unit’s elevated bedroom area from the living space below.

Original window architecture remains, opening to a rooftop patio shared among residents. Surrounded by neighborhood buildings, the outdoor space offers residents a small hideaway when it’s time to get away from the world.

Live On Broadway

Bright and airy describes this luxurious Alley A loft. With hardwood floors and plenty of natural light, the space is one of simple sophistication. The imperfections of the old, original plasterwork add charm to the room — bringing hints of Columbia’s past into the modern day.

No television is necessary in this home. With a magnificent window overlooking Broadway, no broadcast entertainment could compare to the hours of spectacular people watching offered at this luxury location. The original architecture surrounding the window provides a glorious frame for it all.

Currently occupied by a University of Missouri law school graduate student, this centrally located space is the ideal bachelor pad. Law school may be hard, but living in the heart of the city makes life a little easier. Just a quick 10-minute walk to campus, home is right in the middle of it all — great food, print shops, festivals, nightlife and the never-ending electricity known as downtown Columbia.

Find out more about downtown loft life at