Ideas from the Live/Work Experience

by WOHe

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.

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