There are boundaries throughout our social environment; and houses are no exception. The distinction between the front and the back is one of the salient boundaries. The front region of the house is a place where a performance is given. It is relatively well-decorated in order to show social status and claim prestige. It is a place for display, maintaining and embodying certain standards. The back region, on the other hand, where informal behaviour and activities take place, is for domestic affairs. Bathrooms and bedrooms are located at the back of the house or upstairs so as not to be disturbed by people who are not family (Goffman, 1959). My own previous research on the English house (Ozaki, 2003) reported how the design of a person’s house has acted as a systematic marker of social status and social relations. It showed people’s strong status consciousness is reflected in the presence of space for ‘front’ activities (e.g. dining and entertaining), separated from space for ‘back’ activities (e.g. cooking, washing and sleeping). This ‘front-back’ distinction in the internal layout and domestic activities is linked to social relations within the household (e.g. between men and women, adults and children, and family members and servants). The use and configurations of domestic space have changed in accordance with changes in domestic social relations and family structures. Since the middle of the 1990s, a new house type, called ‘loft’ (or ‘loft-style’), has gained popularity in a certain section of the UK housing market. Industrial building conversion projects and urban developments typically have an all-in-one style of the living room (where the kitchen and dining space are integrated into the living room). This means the traditional boundaries in domestic space (e.g. the front vs. the back) and cultures which create these boundaries are no longer present in this type of housing. These new trends would mark a significant break from the traditional suburban middle-class ideal of the UK. Suburban housing had become a symbol of a distinction from housing in dirty and poor districts in the city and also of traditional family values with the separation of home and work and separate conjugal roles over a century ago; and its design still remains a model of contemporary house design (Burnett 1986).Zukin’s (1982) detailed analysis of loft apartments in New York City has shown that living in a conversion flat was a reflection of changing tastes and lifestyles of the American middle class, along with other factors like finance and policies. Loft residents in New York City tend to be highly educated, professional people and their socio-economic status comes in the top 20-25 per cent of the city’s population. They tend to be singles and couples without children. They found the loft, previously occupied by poor artists, attractive due to its artists’ ambience, authenticity, historic aura, and the space because it could be appropriated as an expression of individuality. Furthermore, the open plan has eliminated the hierarchy within the household; the kitchen has evolved into an integrated living room that expresses greater equality in the home. Thus, cultural and demographic factors akin to those identified by Zukin (1982) may explain the popularity of loft-style flats in the UK. Also important is urban locality of these flats. Literature shows that being urban has to do with centrality, diversity, reflexivity, and material/cultural consumption; there are people who attach importance to these factors and choose to live in the urban area (e.g. Butler, 1995, 1997; O’Connor and Wynne, 1996). Thus, it appears that urban locality affords certain physical and social functions that are different from those found in suburban living. In this regard, urban locality challenges the suburban middle-class ideals, as does loft-style housing with the open floor plan. This paper will report on findings from a research project which explores the meaning of this new housing form in the urban setting, with particular reference to social relations and social identities. The research is conducted using the concept of boundaries – i.e. exploring spatial and psycho-social boundaries, and cultural codes that create such boundaries. By examining boundaries in urban loft dwellers’ everyday life (e.g. the way in which people draw, or do not draw, boundaries in their daily activities, and how they use their space in and around their home), the meaning of living urban loft will be investigated. The fieldwork focuses on loft-style (both conversion and new) flats in inner London. Thirty loft dwellers will be interviewed. In the interview, life history technique is applied so that people’s social relations and identies, which lie behind their choice of living in urban lofts and of having different lifestyles, will be identified (see Bertaux-Wiame, 1981; Thompson, 1988). In the analysis, a particular form of thematic approach, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA; Smith, 1991), will be used; this is to enable the acknowledgement of dual perspectives of this research – i.e. ‘the phenomenological worlds of the participants and the conceptual framework of the researcher’ (Speller et al., 2002, p.47). In addition, the outcomes will be reported back to the industry through the production of ‘practitioner briefing leaflets’ to provide a better understanding about consumer trends in the urban area and to make some recommendations to contemporary urban housebuilding.