Ideas from the Live/Work Experience

The Live/Work 2001 project, covered in the April issue of KBDN, is a unique approach to urban redevelopment that was showcased at the International Builders Show in Atlanta in February. In January of 2000, our design group was invited to join the design team for this project.

"Smart growth," which refers to responsible land development that preserves green or open areas, including urban redevelopment, is paramount in new home design and construction today. In response to this, a team was brought together, headed up by architects Andres Duany, DPZ, renowned for his work in traditional neighborhood design (TND), and Gonzalo Romero from Beazer Homes, a foremost production homebuilder. Duany developed the Live/Work concept with three models to be built in downtown Atlanta.

Designed to appeal to three different buyer profiles, each unit had space to live and space to work under one roof, with unit size, amenities and costs ranging from moderate to more generous. All fit loosely within the parameters of a production builder. The exteriors were carefully planned to blend with the existing community, and both inside and out, products were selected to make best use of current technology, with finishes chosen to make a strong design statement.

The Loft
The Loft was designed for a young single professional. He/she would need a work studio as well as living space with a low price tag.

The Loft workplace is mapped as a studio setup, where the number of co-workers would be minimal and walk-in clients would not be typical, allowing the relationship between the workspace and residence to be very casual and open. The residence is visually separated from the workplace only by a half wall of cabinetry, and the kitchen is designed with the work center facing the workplace for maximum contact. Tall pantry storage and closets for the TV and washer and dryer help keep the kitchen and living areas organized and clutter free.

The workspace continues to the second level with a desk overlooking the studio below, and only a curtain separating the bedroom from the desk. The powder room would need to be shared by guests and any coworkers or clients, and a second full bathroom would serve the private bedroom area.
Materials for this unit were chosen to create an industrial appearance true to a loft, with a minimal budget. In the kitchen, this look was achieved with stainless steel appliances and accessories, laminate counters with a brushed metal appearance, and a stained concrete floor and brick wall. A minimalist style in natural maple cabinetry with a square slab door further reinforces the industrial look.

The master bath includes a metallic vanity sink set into a curved solid surface top extending into the shower and above the toilet to provide additional shelving. Glass blocks separate the vanity from the shower, with darker green ceramic tile on the shower floor and walls to complement the glass block.

The Liveabove
Planned for a couple with young children, the Liveabove includes a retail office or storefront and room for four in the home. Though the budget is a little more flexible than the Loft, the needs are greater as well, so every penny counts.

The relationship between the Liveabove workplace and residence is very different because the two areas are completely separate from each other. As its name suggests, the living area is above the workplace, creating "a psychological transition between work [downstairs] and family [upstairs]." The workplace utilizes the entire main floor, and the residence is designed on the second and third floors. The workplace and residence have separate entrances, and the street entrance to the residence is not easily visible. This relationship leads to a very large workplace with unlimited flexibility and use.

This workspace is designed for a variety of people coming and going. To help facilitate this, it has its own kitchen and full bathroom. A top-mount refrigerator is combined with a sink, cooktop component and microwave. The workspace incorporates several universal concepts, including a knee-space below the kitchen sink and restroom lavatory, a no-threshold shower, and slip-resistant tiles throughout bathroom.

A courtyard separates the garage from the main building, and the back stairs leading from the courtyard to the residence may easily become the primary entrance for the family. Therefore, the kitchen and laundry areas are configured to create a "family foyer" by the rear entrance. Materials were chosen for easy maintenance and durability. Design details such as lockers for children and niches for pet feeding support the concept of family. The two floors intended for living include a powder room for general use, a master bath and a children's bath. Finishes and styling include warm woods and Craftsman details.

The Lifespan
The Lifespan targets a worldly couple, established in business with either no children or grown children. Their needs would include a floor plan suited to entertaining, room for a professional office and features to enhance aging gracefully in place. The budget and space for this home would be generous.

While the workspace and living space share the main floor, they have total separation, including separate entries. The workspace faces the street, with a front entry and a generous space intended for professional offices. It includes a kitchen and powder room, and the style is quiet elegance, appropriate to the mature professional.
The living space includes both formal and informal areas, each with its own entrance. The formal area could easily be converted to a home office, separate from the designated workspace. The primary living space is on the main floor, with guest bedrooms and baths on the second floor.

Subtle finishes and materials enhance the sense of casual elegance. Products used in the kitchen and bathrooms are more upscale and refined, with details more often found in a custom home, such as integrated refrigeration, under-mounted sinks in stone tops, artistic bath fixtures and fittings, and custom oversized shower.'

Working with these units, we were challenged to consider issues of privacy and traffic that arise from combining public working space with personal living space. This can inspire alternative paths for kitchen and bath design.