Launch Slideshow

The workspace occupies the entire ground floor.

family business

A remodeled San Francisco building houses work and living spaces for a creative and enterprising family.

family business

A remodeled San Francisco building houses work and living spaces for a creative and enterprising family.

  • The living quarters practical simplicity makes an appropriate backdrop for the owners creations and inspired architectural details, such as the live-edge shelf/sill at the windows overlooking the street.

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    The living quarters practical simplicity makes an appropriate backdrop for the owners creations and inspired architectural details, such as the live-edge shelf/sill at the windows overlooking the street.

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    Puliatti Photographic

    The living quarters practical simplicity makes an appropriate backdrop for the owners creations and inspired architectural details, such as the live-edge shelf/sill at the windows overlooking the street.

  • The building's exterior.

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    The building's exterior.

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    Puliatti Photographic

    The building's exterior.

  • Corrugated metal siding signals the buildings light industrial character, while red cedar accents hint at the residential half of its dual personality.

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    Corrugated metal siding signals the buildings light industrial character, while red cedar accents hint at the residential half of its dual personality.

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    Puliatti Photographic

    Corrugated metal siding signals the buildings light industrial character, while red cedar accents hint at the residential half of its dual personality.

  • Different cabinet styles offer practical storage solutions in the home's living quarters.

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    Different cabinet styles offer practical storage solutions in the home's living quarters.

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    Puliatti Photographic

    Different cabinet styles offer practical storage solutions in the home's living quarters.

  • Cabinets in the living/dining/cooking space are a mix of store-bought, custom, and antique.

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    Cabinets in the living/dining/cooking space are a mix of store-bought, custom, and antique.

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    Puliatti Photographic

    Cabinets in the living/dining/cooking space are a mix of store-bought, custom, and antique.

  • Sculptor Agelio Batle located his work table near the front door of his studio, purposely within view of sidewalk passers-by.

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    Sculptor Agelio Batle located his work table near the front door of his studio, purposely within view of sidewalk passers-by.

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    Puliatti Photographic

    Sculptor Agelio Batle located his work table near the front door of his studio, purposely within view of sidewalk passers-by.

  • The workspace occupies the entire ground floor.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp1A36%2Etmp_tcm48-824130.jpg

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    The workspace occupies the entire ground floor.

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    Puliatti Photographic

    The workspace occupies the entire ground floor.

  • The second-floor apartment centers on an open cooking/dining/living room.

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    The second-floor apartment centers on an open cooking/dining/living room.

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    Puliatti Photographic

    The second-floor apartment centers on an open cooking/dining/living room.

Generations of Americans grew up “living over the store,” but Agelio and Delia Batle encountered some obstacles in pursuing that model for their family. “They looked long and hard for a building that would have the potential for mixed use,” says principal architect Ned White, eventually locating a San Francisco building that seemed perfectly situated. Project architect Antje Paiz notes, “Everything uphill from their house is residential, and downhill everything becomes light commercial.” Remodeled to balance both commercial and domestic concerns, the building houses such a rich and vital family life that it makes us wonder why we don’t all live this way.

The family business, Batle Studio, produces art objects for sale in museum stores around the world. And while the Batles do not cater to a retail trade, “They really wanted to be part of the neighborhood,” Paiz says. Accordingly, the building’s new façade telegraphs its dual character, softening the edge of its corrugated metal siding with red cedar trim. Welded plate-steel planter boxes step downhill along the façade; a cedar-paneled entry with a steel I-beam awning above invites passers-by to the gallery area that occupies the front of the workspace. Inside, a stained topping slab covers the existing concrete floor, stretching through an open volume that contains studio, production, shipping, office, and kitchen areas.

A stair accessible from both the studio and the street leads to the family’s second-floor apartment. At 1,000 square feet, living space is modest for a family of four, but the owners opted not to expand the existing space. “They wanted something that felt humble, not something that looked like a modern loft,” Paiz notes. “Cost was a factor, but it wasn’t the vibe that they wanted.” The plan concentrates space in a kitchen/dining/family room that stretches the width of the building and overlooks the street. The owners’ penchant for found objects shows in the live-edge continuous sill of the room’s three windows and in the collage of antique furniture pieces that fills an adjacent corner. A four-riser difference in floor elevation helps separate the front room from the apartment’s single bath and its two compact bedrooms, sized for sleeping rather than hanging out.

In any case, and according to plan, life routinely overflows into the workspace below. “Delia runs the business side of the operation, and very often the kids are downstairs dong homework or art projects,” White observes. After hours, the studio is available as a home theater, getaway space, or party room. As a result, while the building supports a thriving commercial operation, it is the household upstairs that sets the tone. Even in work areas during work hours, White says, “There’s really a family atmosphere.”