Launch Slideshow

The 25-foot-long Airstream currently is parked on a residential site in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Live/Work Spaces

Live/Work Spaces

  • Rame and Russell Hruska's live/work studio in Houston receives plenty of natural light.

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    Rame and Russell Hruska's live/work studio in Houston receives plenty of natural light.

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    Don Glentzer

    residential architect
    May-June 2011
    intexure architects
    houston
  • The studio area of the building.

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    The studio area of the building.

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    Rame Hruska

    The studio area of the building.

  • De Tine's workspace occupies the lower level of a 6,000-square-foot 1854 brick and sandstone carriage house, which used to be a stable and workshop for building and maintaining lobster traps.

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    De Tine's workspace occupies the lower level of a 6,000-square-foot 1854 brick and sandstone carriage house, which used to be a stable and workshop for building and maintaining lobster traps.

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    Trent Bell

    residential architect
    January-February 2011
    carriage house studio architects
    portland, maine
  • Elements such as salvaged wood and stone preserve the historic character of the space, but steel and glass doors add a modern touch and create a mini vestibule to the office.

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    Elements such as salvaged wood and stone preserve the historic character of the space, but steel and glass doors add a modern touch and create a mini vestibule to the office.

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    Trent Bell

    Elements such as salvaged wood and stone preserve the historic character of the space, but steel and glass doors add a modern touch and create a mini vestibule to the office.

  • Architect Carol De Tine, AIA, at her Portland, Maine, studio.

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    Architect Carol De Tine, AIA, at her Portland, Maine, studio.

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    Trent Bell

    Architect Carol De Tine, AIA, at her Portland, Maine, studio.

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    Bill Timmerman

    residential architect
    2008 RADA
    xeros residence, phoenix
    project of the year
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    Bill Timmerman

    A sumptuously curving stairway serves as the studio's grand flourish.

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    Bill Timmerman

    A splash of tomato red brightens a shower on the mezzanine level.

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    Benjamin Benschneider

    CUSTOM HOME
    November-December 2010 
    The Public/Private House
    Street Smart
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    Benjamin Benschneider

    The husband, who uses a wheelchair, gains access to his office by going outside, up the sidewalk, and through this rear entrance.

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    Benjamin Benschneider

    Two pocket doors on the street side of the ipe container allow for two-zone heating and divide the public and private realms.

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    Benjamin Benschneider

    An exterior view of the building.

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    Sharon Risedorph

    CUSTOM HOME
    November-December 2010 
    The Public/Private House
    Alley Adaptation
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    Sharon Risedorph

    Ground-level garage doors lift up, creating inviting sidewalk space for the Blue Bottle Coffee kiosk. ?

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    Sharon Risedorph

    The new third-story mezzanine holds a kitchen/conference room at the top of the stairs.

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    Sharon Risedorph

    The kitchen/conference room opens to an outdoor terrace, as does the studio across the atrium.

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    Ed Massery

    residential architect
    June 2008
    workspace
    studio d'arc architects
    pittsburgh

    Gerard Damiani, AIA, NCARB, and Debbie Battistone wanted their new live/work locale to embrace Pittsburgh's urban fabric. So they scouted for an empty lot close to downtown. The ample glazing lets the husband-and-wife team forgo artificial lighting during the day—a big plus for the eco-conscious firm.
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    Ed Massery

    Materials also were chosen for their low-impact practicality. For desks, plan racks, a printer shelf, and a model display table, Damiani used maple butcher block “with a thickness that could cantilever, so pieces fly into the space.”
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    Bill Timmerman

    residential architect
    January-February 2008
    workspace
    Ibarra Rosano Design Architects
    Tuscon, Ariz. / www.ibarrarosano.com

    A 650-square-foot studio occupies the backyard of husband-and-wife architects Luis Ibarra and Teresa Rosano, RA, LEED AP.
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    Bill Timmerman

    Inside the studio, everyone sits together at one table. "We're all working in a close, collaborative manner," Rosano says of the plan.
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    Bill Timmerman

    The building's public entry connects directly to the street, bypassing the house completely. But a low window in the living room of the main house alerts the architects to a client's arrival.
  • The painting studio in this Whidbey Island, Wash., home also serves as a performance venue for chamber music concerts.

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    The painting studio in this Whidbey Island, Wash., home also serves as a performance venue for chamber music concerts.

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    Benjamin Benschneider

  • An operable, interior garage door separates the painting studio from the living room.

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    An operable, interior garage door separates the painting studio from the living room.

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    Benjamin Benschneider

    An operable, interior garage door separates the painting studio from the living room.

  • When the studio door is open, it highlights the home's double-height ceilings and loft-like feeling.

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    When the studio door is open, it highlights the home's double-height ceilings and loft-like feeling.

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    Benjamin Benschneider

    When the studio door is open, it highlights the home's double-height ceilings and loft-like feeling.

  • The studio's Homasote walls boost its acoustical qualities.

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    The studio's Homasote walls boost its acoustical qualities.

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    Tim Schlecht

    The studio's Homasote walls boost its acoustical qualities.

  • Alternating bands of gloss and matte white paint on the walls of the ground-level office bounce and reflect light, while fixtures made from circular fluorescent bulbs and contractor-grade porcelain sockets add a botanical touch.

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    Alternating bands of gloss and matte white paint on the walls of the ground-level office bounce and reflect light, while fixtures made from circular fluorescent bulbs and contractor-grade porcelain sockets add a botanical touch.

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    De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop

  • The ground floor features an office, wood shop, and a guest suite for summer interns.

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    The ground floor features an office, wood shop, and a guest suite for summer interns.

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    De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop

    The ground floor features an office, wood shop, and a guest suite for summer interns.

  • Simple finishes like drywall and white paint helped keep costs manageable.

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    Simple finishes like drywall and white paint helped keep costs manageable.

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    De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop

    Simple finishes like drywall and white paint helped keep costs manageable.

  • For economy, the architects chose common off-the-shelf materials and finishessuch as porcelain tile, pine plank floor, gypsum, and sealed concretebut detailed them to achieve a  custom look.

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    For economy, the architects chose common off-the-shelf materials and finishessuch as porcelain tile, pine plank floor, gypsum, and sealed concretebut detailed them to achieve a custom look.

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    De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop

    For economy, the architects chose common off-the-shelf materials and finishes such as porcelain tile, pine plank floor, gypsum, and sealed concrete but detailed them to achieve a custom look.

  • The firm's two partners were able to accommodate ample living space on the second floor of their live/work project.

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    The firm's two partners were able to accommodate ample living space on the second floor of their live/work project.

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    De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop

    The firm's two partners were able to accommodate ample living space on the second floor of their live/work project.

  • Architect Matthew Hofmann restored his Airstream's aluminum skin to its gleaming original state.

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    Architect Matthew Hofmann restored his Airstream's aluminum skin to its gleaming original state.

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    Matthew Hofmann

    residential architect
    May-June 2011
    shelter lab
    mobile hot spot
  • Bamboo coutertops and floors brighten the trailer's interior, as does a recycled-glass tile shower space.

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    Bamboo coutertops and floors brighten the trailer's interior, as does a recycled-glass tile shower space.

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    Matthew Hofmann

    Bamboo coutertops and floors brighten the trailer's interior, as does a recycled-glass tile shower space.

  • Hofmann's workspace also serves as his dining area and guest room.

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    Hofmann's workspace also serves as his dining area and guest room.

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    Matthew Hofmann

    Hofmann's workspace also serves as his dining area and guest room.

  • The 25-foot-long Airstream currently is parked on a residential site in Santa Barbara, Calif.

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    The 25-foot-long Airstream currently is parked on a residential site in Santa Barbara, Calif.

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    Matthew Hofmann

    The 25-foot-long Airstream currently is parked on a residential site in Santa Barbara, Calif.

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    John J. Macaulay

    CUSTOM HOME 
    CHDA 2012
    Studio for a Composer, Spring Prairie, Wis.
    Accessory Building
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    John J. Macaulay

    The walls, roof, and glass doors are highly sound insulating.

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    John J. Macaulay

    A green roof tops the lower level.

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    Tim Maloney

    CUSTOM HOME
    November-December 2010 
    The Public/Private House
    Wine, Dine, Live, Work
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    Tim Maloney

    A large wine refrigerator separates the living room and kitchen.

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    Tim Maloney

    The hospitality suite at Paul Hobbs Winery is everything the surrounding production buildings are not: crisp, refined, and detailed to a T.

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    Tim Maloney

    The wine-tasting room offers a vineyard view.

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    Tim Maloney

    Full-height pivoting doors flank a large wine fridge and lead to a professional-grade kitchen.

It’s a fact of life: The proliferation of laptops, smart phones, tablets, and Wi-Fi means more people are working almost 24 hours a day. It makes sense, then, that every dwelling also has a dedicated office, or at least space where work gets done. Some people take things even further by working out of their homes full time.

Just because you're working from home doesn't mean your work area has to be boring or conventional. For example, the late architect Stephen Kanner, FAIA, designed for Los Angeles-based clients a freestanding home office building inspired by a neighboring tree house.

On the other hand, Seattle-based Tyler Engle Architects turned a former storefront into a home for his clients, but he included two offices—one that can be accessed from inside the main living spaces for the wife, a personal assistant, and another for the husband, a real estate and software developer, accessed by going outside.

Of course, more architects have personal insight into setting up offices at home since the Great Recession, during which their unemployment rate doubled, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Whether out of necessity, frugality, or desire, architects occupy some of the coolest live/work spaces. And they can be found in a variety of unconventional locations and in myriad permutations. For instance, Portland, Maine-based Carol De Tine, AIA,  located her workspace in an 1854 brick and sandstone carriage house, and Sagan Piechota Architecture’s home/office encompasses a 6,000-square-foot former bakery.

Like to see more? Here are some other live/work spaces we find inspiring.