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4 New Live/Work Housing Design Solutions

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House Plans

4 New Live/Work Housing Design Solutions

Live/work designs are nothing new, but they have a fresh relevance due to the coronavirus

By Larry W. Garnett, FAIBD, House Review Lead Designer July 28, 2020
Kevin L. Crook Architect's design for live/work housing
This detached live/work infill design from Kevin L. Crook Architect is located in a traditionally commercial neighborhood. | Rendering: courtesy Kevin L. Crook Architect
This article first appeared in the July/August 2020 issue of Pro Builder.

The concept of living above your store is actually an old idea found in most small towns around the nation. Over the last few years, we’ve witnessed a reemergence of buildings with residential living above office and retail space, and during the current pandemic, the ability to run a business or work from home has taken on even more significance as people have struggled to discover a secluded nook or cranny at home where they can find a moment of privacy to join a video conference. 

Although nobody really knows the long-term effects, there seems to be little doubt that work patterns will change for many of us. The slow-paced development of live/work projects is likely to accelerate now that the concept has been tried and proven to be successful for many workers. 

The following plans present thoughtful solutions to the challenges of designing and developing live/work projects.


Live Work SFD

ARCHITECT: Kevin L. Crook Architect, Kevin Crook, kcrook@klcarch.com, 949.660.1587

DIMENSIONS: Width: 24 feet, Depth: 37 feet, Living area: 1,998 sf


This detached live/work infill project (shown, above) is located within a traditionally commercial neighborhood. Each three-story detached home has approximately 250 square feet of work space at the ground floor, a flexible area that can either serve the owner as a home-based business or be leased out to a business tenant and locked off from the residence.

Each home is about 1,998 square feet, with primary living space on the second floor. The dining area opens out to a generously sized private deck. The third floor is composed of bedrooms, baths, and a laundry.

Each unit also has a two-car garage as well as an adjacent uncovered parking space and additional guest parking on the street. 

Contemporary-style elevations feature a combination of stucco and siding to create a street scene that adds variety and value to the neighborhood.


Kevin L. Crook Architect Live Work single-family dwelling floor plans


A  Work space on ground level

B  Private powder room

Work space private entry

Shared entry to living area, work space, and garage

E  First-floor living space features common areas

Second-floor living space is dedicated to bedrooms/private areas


Kevin L. Crook Architect Live Work single-family dwelling site and floor plans



Common drive

Common open space

Private yard area

Work space

Two-car garage

Guest parking





ARCHITECT: Todd Hallett, AIA, TK Design & Associates, thallett@tkhomedesign.com, 248.446.1960

DIMENSIONS: Width: 18 feet, 2 inches, Depth: 42 feet, Living area: 750 sf (office) plus 407 sf (roof terrace); 1,780 total sf

Running a business out of the home has become increasingly popular for working professionals and entrepreneurs. And, with advancing technology and the ability to telecommute, this option has become even easier.

This live/work unit makes it possible to keep work and everyday living separate, as the entry level has a designated area devoted entirely to business space, with a convenient, accessible entry for clients.


exterior of Clair live/work housing designed by TK Design & Associates



TK Design & Associates' Clair design lower-level plan and second-floor plan


A  Office at the front of the lower level with separate entrance for clients

Private powder room for office 

Open entertainment space on second floor

Third level contains private spaces, including laundry

Spacious rooftop terrace provides additional space for entertaining


TK Design & Associates Clair design roof level and third-floor plans



Homeplace Townhome

DESIGNER: Seth Hart, DTJ Design, shart@dtjdesign.com, 303.443.7333

DIMENSIONS: Width: 20 feet, Depth: 52 feet, Living area: 2,090 sf


Live/work has taken on an entirely new meaning in the last few months. As many of us have been forced to work from home, we find ourselves reevaluating the home office. With laptops and tablets allowing more mobility and flexibility, large dedicated office space is less of a priority than it once was.

This townhome plan utilizes two small offices with pocket doors, which enable the spaces to live larger when the doors are open and provide quiet when privacy is needed. 

The slightly larger office has additional space for a printer, coffee maker, and extra storage, while the smaller office is more of a flex space that can accommodate working from home part-time or doing schoolwork. 

Solid-core doors and sound-deadening insulation in the 6-inch-thick walls make for perfect Zoom conference rooms.


DTJ Design Homeplace Townhome live/work housing design


Zoom room/flex office with additional soundproofing and solid-core door for privacy

Slightly larger pocket office ideal for working from home

Glass pocket doors help offices live larger when open or closed and do not take up space when open

Transom windows over doors provide natural light and visual connectivity

High window between rooms brings natural light into the pocket office that is not on an exterior wall


DTJ Design Homeplace Townhome live/work housing design floor plan



Plan 3

ARCHITECT: Dahlin Group Architecture | Planning, emily.bonato@dahlingroup.com, 925.251.7203

DIMENSIONS: Width: 26 feet, Depth: 46 feet, Living area: 1,734 sf


These three-story townhouses offer a live/work option targeting sole proprietors as well as those looking for a dedicated work-from-home space. They are part of a master planned community located on the brownfield redevelopment site of the former Fort Ord military base on California’s Monterey Peninsula. 

The ground-floor work space faces the street like a storefront, welcoming customers and clients with full-length glass. It’s a stark contrast to the living space entrance, which is set back to be less obvious and more private.



exterior rendering of Dahlin Group's Plan 3 design for live/work housing


first and second floor plans of the Plan 3 live/work design by Dahlin Group


Street-facing work space provides visibility to vehicle and pedestrian traffic

Separate entry to the living area is set back and has contrasting finishes

Work space with private bathroom

Dedicated storage for work space, with access to rear-loaded garage

Main living located on second floor in an open-concept layout 

Third floor features the master suite, maximizing privacy from both the main living and work spaces


Dahlin Group Plan 3 live/work design third floor plan

Access a PDF of this article in Pro Builder's July/August 2020 digital edition


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