Thriving Micro-Living Model

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photos by:
July 22, 2014
Originally published in Small Space Big Design
as
Little by Little
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  • 
  From the mezzanine of his 450-square-foot apartment at La Esquina, an eight-unit live-work building in San Diego’s Barrio Logan neighborhood, designer, artist, and Woodbury University professor Patrick Shields chats with fellow professor Hector Perez, who spearheaded the project.

    From the mezzanine of his 450-square-foot apartment at La Esquina, an eight-unit live-work building in San Diego’s Barrio Logan neighborhood, designer, artist, and Woodbury University professor Patrick Shields chats with fellow professor Hector Perez, who spearheaded the project.

  • 
  Designer and digital fabricator Shawn Benson shares his 595-square-foot second-floor space with his wife, Jessica, and their daughter, Roux. The 15-foot-high ceilings allow plenty of room for a full-size ocean paddleboard.

    Designer and digital fabricator Shawn Benson shares his 595-square-foot second-floor space with his wife, Jessica, and their daughter, Roux. The 15-foot-high ceilings allow plenty of room for a full-size ocean paddleboard.

  • 
  The Bensons’ patio is semi-privatized by horizontal slats.

    The Bensons’ patio is semi-privatized by horizontal slats.

  • 
  The building’s exterior includes a 3-D mural of Cesar Chavez conceptualized by Perez’s son, Adrian.

    The building’s exterior includes a 3-D mural of Cesar Chavez conceptualized by Perez’s son, Adrian.

  • 
  Perez’s son, Adrian, also helped his dad with the multicolored doors.

    Perez’s son, Adrian, also helped his dad with the multicolored doors.

  • 
  Upstairs, tenants and friends gather outside sculptor Chris Puzio’s apartment.

    Upstairs, tenants and friends gather outside sculptor Chris Puzio’s apartment.

  • 
  Like the other larger upstairs units, Puzio’s includes two loft spaces flanking the kitchen, whereas those below have one.

    Like the other larger upstairs units, Puzio’s includes two loft spaces flanking the kitchen, whereas those below have one.

  • 
  The living room is tucked beneath one of the lofts, which are accessible by a steep ladder-like staircase and fronted by pegboard.

    The living room is tucked beneath one of the lofts, which are accessible by a steep ladder-like staircase and fronted by pegboard.

  • 
  La Esquina Floor Plan A    510-Square-Foot Corner Unit  B    450-Square-Foot Unit C    525- and 595-Square-Foot Units D    Bathroom E    Kitchen F    Terrace-Courtyard

    La Esquina Floor Plan

    A    510-Square-Foot Corner Unit 

    B    450-Square-Foot Unit

    C    525- and 595-Square-Foot Units

    D    Bathroom

    E    Kitchen

    F    Terrace-Courtyard

  • 
  Creative brainstorming sessions often take place in the building's outdoor spaces. "Generally we open the porch doors all the way to have any meetings or [do] collaborative work," explains designer Shawn Benson. 

    Creative brainstorming sessions often take place in the building's outdoor spaces. "Generally we open the porch doors all the way to have any meetings or [do] collaborative work," explains designer Shawn Benson. 

  • 
  "Food generally plays a part in the exchanges," explains Benson, "so the adjacent kitchen plays its part in lending to that [collaborative] atmosphere."

    "Food generally plays a part in the exchanges," explains Benson, "so the adjacent kitchen plays its part in lending to that [collaborative] atmosphere."

  • 
  "When it's time to put our noses to the grind stone and produce work, we head upstairs," Benson says. "Myself and one or two fellow designers will chip away at things in the loft into the evenings."

    "When it's time to put our noses to the grind stone and produce work, we head upstairs," Benson says. "Myself and one or two fellow designers will chip away at things in the loft into the evenings."

  • 
  "The simple volume of the space and large openings let light and air flow freely," Benson says. "The environment is always pleasant even without air conditioning or heating."

    "The simple volume of the space and large openings let light and air flow freely," Benson says. "The environment is always pleasant even without air conditioning or heating."

  • 
  "Most of us overlap on informal and formal ventures all the time," Benson says. "I'm currently working on some pro-bono work with one of the downstairs neighbors on design research. The parking lot serves as a living laboratory at times as well."

    "Most of us overlap on informal and formal ventures all the time," Benson says. "I'm currently working on some pro-bono work with one of the downstairs neighbors on design research. The parking lot serves as a living laboratory at times as well."

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