written by:
photos by:
October 18, 2010
Originally published in Live/Work

Jeff and Larissa Sand cut their commute down to a few flights of stairs when they moved their industrial design studio, architecture office, and metalwork shop into the first two floors of their home in San Francisco.

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  The first floor houses a machine shop--where prototypes for LED lighting and folding glass facades are fabricated for Larissa's architecture office, housed on the second floor along with Jeff's industrial design studio. The third story is the couple's and their seven-year-old daughter's living space, making for an ideal commute.  Courtesy of justin fantl photography.
    The first floor houses a machine shop--where prototypes for LED lighting and folding glass facades are fabricated for Larissa's architecture office, housed on the second floor along with Jeff's industrial design studio. The third story is the couple's and their seven-year-old daughter's living space, making for an ideal commute. Courtesy of justin fantl photography.
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  The 1940s-era building was scheduled for demolition before the Sands purchased it in the early aughts and transformed it into their workshop, offices, and home. The space was nearly in ruins when the couple bought it and they used recycled or salvaged materials wherever possible in the renovation and even fabricated the metal work in the first-floor shop.  Courtesy of justin fantl photography.
    The 1940s-era building was scheduled for demolition before the Sands purchased it in the early aughts and transformed it into their workshop, offices, and home. The space was nearly in ruins when the couple bought it and they used recycled or salvaged materials wherever possible in the renovation and even fabricated the metal work in the first-floor shop. Courtesy of justin fantl photography.
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  On the second floor, Larissa's office space looks over the workshop via a 20-foot-tall glass-enclosed shaft that lets lights in and accommodates behemoth projects.  Courtesy of justin fantl photography.
    On the second floor, Larissa's office space looks over the workshop via a 20-foot-tall glass-enclosed shaft that lets lights in and accommodates behemoth projects. Courtesy of justin fantl photography.
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  Upstairs, the Sands' home feels a world away from the offices and metal shop below. But even downstairs, Larissa says, it's not the whines of the grinders and machine tools that are the loudest but the volume of the radio.  Courtesy of justin fantl photography.
    Upstairs, the Sands' home feels a world away from the offices and metal shop below. But even downstairs, Larissa says, it's not the whines of the grinders and machine tools that are the loudest but the volume of the radio. Courtesy of justin fantl photography.
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  The open plan, high ceilings, and white walls all amplify the light that streams into the living room, accented with a Barcelona Couch by Mies van der Rohe for Knoll and two Blythe Pony Cube ottomans by Gus Design.  Courtesy of justin fantl photography.
    The open plan, high ceilings, and white walls all amplify the light that streams into the living room, accented with a Barcelona Couch by Mies van der Rohe for Knoll and two Blythe Pony Cube ottomans by Gus Design. Courtesy of justin fantl photography.
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  A long hallway from the living room separates the public and private sections of the home and extends the distance between the living quarters and work spaces.  Courtesy of justin fantl photography.
    A long hallway from the living room separates the public and private sections of the home and extends the distance between the living quarters and work spaces. Courtesy of justin fantl photography.
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  The hallway terminates in the bathroom, flooded in natural light.  Courtesy of justin fantl photography.
    The hallway terminates in the bathroom, flooded in natural light. Courtesy of justin fantl photography.
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Multi-floored housing complex in San Francisco, California
The first floor houses a machine shop--where prototypes for LED lighting and folding glass facades are fabricated for Larissa's architecture office, housed on the second floor along with Jeff's industrial design studio. The third story is the couple's and their seven-year-old daughter's living space, making for an ideal commute. Image courtesy of justin fantl photography.

It’s a known fact that the best commute is no commute at all. So when Jeff and Larissa Sand rescued a decrepit 1940s warehouse in San Francisco from demolition in the early 2000s, they realized this ideal by living above their shop.

The couple’s third-floor apartment is one flight up from Jeff’s industrial design studio and Larissa’s architecture office, which in turn hover over the ground-floor machine shop that is viewable through the glass-enclosed shaft cut between the two floors.

As workers fabricate furnishings and fixtures for Larissa’s various projects and tinker with new concepts—from LED lighting to folding glass facades—the buzz of activity below is joined with that of the electric motorcycle being developed by Jeff’s office.

What some might find distracting, the Sands and their collaborators 
find energizing—at least most of them. “Jeff’s poor sales-and-marketing guy was finally driven upstairs to the third floor,” Larissa says. “The whine of the machine tools made him crazy.” For the couple, however, it’s all part of home office, sweet home office.

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