written by:
December 20, 2010
In this new, exclusive series for Dwell.com, Linda Taalman of Taalman Koch Architecture will track the hands-on renovation of her and her partner's live-work space in Los Angeles. Week 3 project: Creating a work space, and finding a live-work balance.

Consolidating live and work programs into one space has many advantages. No more wondering if that book is at home or in the office, no more driving to work in the morning and home in the evening, no double tea and coffee sets—one powerhouse espresso machine. We've experienced a couple live-work arrangements before: some were like working in your house, while others were like camping in your work space. We sought to find the balance of having a functional work space between 9 and 5, and a cozy live space off-hours.
taalman renovation post3 1

When we set out to find the ideal office arrangement, the first task was finding a space that was conveniently located for our staff. Luckily this place is in central Hollywood, walking distance to lots of lunch places, and had adequate parking for office visitors. Beyond the location, the most pressing problem we faced was making the space work for both live and work purposes, and finding a way for them to co-exist without over-contaminating each other.

The Courtyard Apartments lend themselves nicely to an ideal live-work situation due to its two-level parti. The downstairs, with its concrete floors, kitchen, and powder room works for chairs on wheels, lunch and coffee breaks, and keeping the personal private. The upstairs space, with the bedrooms and other 2 bathrooms, is relegated to 100% private. The challenge was how to make the office fit comfortably without taking over the entire downstairs, and leave room for dining and lounging.

taalman renovation post3 2

We decided early on to utilize the long brick wall on the north side, opposite the fireplaces and kitchen. The connecting hallway between the original two units, created when the units were joined, was almost six feet wide—overly large for a hallway but not big enough for a ‘room’. We built a single 33-foot-long desk along the brick wall, big enough for five workstations and a central hub. The dining table doubles as a conference table and a spillover work space.

taalman renovation post3 4
taalman renovation post3 3

To minimize the office's downtime, we needed a custom desk solution that could be built quickly. Anderson Plywood in Culver City stocks an amazing range of plywood and hardwood materials that they can cut in-house and have ready pretty much overnight. Complete assembly took only two days from the prefab parts. We slimmed the desks to 24 inches wide, not only to maintain a generous walking space from front to back but also to maximize our chosen material: pre-finished phenolic-coated euro ply.

taalman renovation post3 5

Each desk is made from a 1.5-inch light brown top, the color of the brick wall, supported by a series of three-quarter-inch dark brown fins. The extra plywood we had left over was used to make cubbies for each workstation. Each desk would have a space for books and files and a small shelf for personal items.

taalman renovation post3 6
taalman renovation post3 7

We also said a sad goodbye to our Aeron chairs. They were simply too bulky and visually obtrusive to work in our living room and kitchen/dining room. Our Project Architect, Rebecca, had brought in her own rolling “Capisco” stool by HAG and we noticed that it tucked nicely under the desk, so during off hours it was basically invisible. Our other employees tried them out for a week and decided that they could work comfortably without the Aerons and so they went out the door via Craigslist.

taalman renovation post3 8

Through a simple lighting change the space shifts over at night to living space. At night the row of lights directly above the desk are turned off and the chairs tuck underneath and the long desk disappears into the background.

 

Read Week 1 here.

Read Week 2 here.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

San Francisco living room with Wassily chairs
Materials and furniture transformed the layout of this San Francisco house, without the need for dramatic structural intervention.
May 24, 2016
shiver me timbers tallow wood kitchen
A pair of married architects put their exacting taste to work on their own family escape in the Australian bush.
May 24, 2016
in the balance small space massachusetts cantilevered cabin glass facade
When nature laid down a boulder of a design challenge in the Massachusetts mountains, an architect’s solution elevated the project to new heights.
May 24, 2016
Wooden Walkways
A home in Ontario, Canada, demonstrates how factory-built housing can be as site sensitive as traditional construction.
May 24, 2016
15 icff 5
From Corian furniture to immersive installations, here are some of our favorite designs we saw at the 2016 shows.
May 24, 2016
gpphoto44
A home and community celebrate natural remove in unison.
May 24, 2016
With our annual issue devoted to the outdoors on newsstands, we did a lap of Instagram for some extra inspiration.
May 23, 2016
forest for the trees english prefab mobile home facade chesnut cladding
On the edge of a historic park in an English shire, a prefabricated home sets a new design standard.
May 23, 2016
tread lightly australia
A family home on Australia’s Mornington Peninsula is built to blend in with its lakeside setting.
May 23, 2016
jardins party dining room hay chairs local wood floor
A pair of architects help a client carve out an oasis of calm amid São Paulo’s bustle.
May 23, 2016
hwm6zf 1
No matter where you're located or what time of the year it is, having a fireplace in your home is a treasure that’s continuously sought after. Besides the obvious benefits of keeping a fire going through the cold winter months, it can also be a cherished asset that provides an extra level of year-round comfort—not to mention how it can help define the layout of a space by acting as a sculptural element.
May 23, 2016
An office Crosby Studios designed for NGRS in Moscow
Crosby Studios just cares about the essentials.
May 22, 2016
cold sweat seattle floating sauna gocstudio
A cadre of designers let off steam after hours by building and sailing a seaworthy sauna.
May 22, 2016
in the swim off the grid campsite healdsburg california swimming pool solar heat lap pool ipe deck loll designs lounge chairs
An off-the-grid house that is little more than a decked campsite—albeit with a roof—includes a swimming pool for a family that loves to enjoy the elements.
May 21, 2016
A print by Kristina Krogh
From flat to physical, Kristina Krogh masters every dimension.
May 21, 2016
scifi
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
May 21, 2016
beverly hills living room piano view
Architect Noah Walker, principal of Los Angeles–based studio Walker Workshop, shares completed and work-in-progress residential designs on his Instagram page (@noah_walker). Take a peek at some of the striking modern houses here, and tour the Venice House on the Dwell Home Tours on June 26.
May 20, 2016
ripple effect san fancisco small space yard outdoor monica viarengo pebble mosiac artificial turf slide
A San Francisco landscape designer finds a small-space solution that’s anything but narrow-minded.
May 20, 2016
Oslo living room with light wood floors and wood slab table
A pair of designers in Oslo, armed with tricks for introducing color and daylight, remake their compact late-19th-century apartment.
May 20, 2016
family affair backyard addition portrait
In coastal Massachusetts, a resourceful couple and their equally enterprising children use reclaimed materials to create a versatile 168-square-foot backyard building.
May 20, 2016
speed machine australian beachside prefab archiblox facade colorbond ultra steel cladding queensland blue gum wood
With little time to waste, an Australian firm erects an efficient prefab overlooking the ocean.
May 20, 2016
Christian Benimana at Design Indaba
When he was younger, there wasn't a single architecture school in his country. Now, as part of MASS Design Group, Christian Benimana shares how architecture can heal and inspire Africa.
May 19, 2016
01 1
This Italian villa is serenity incarnate.
May 19, 2016
michael cobb interior
Alternative materials help a house in California’s wine country tread lightly on the land.
May 18, 2016
13266797 1799532953608317 1984666518 n 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
May 18, 2016
Industrial kitchen built on a budget.
In Austin, Texas, architect Sean Guess forges an inventive industrial kitchen for a cost-conscious couple.
May 18, 2016
great danes dining area
In an up-and-coming area of Copenhagen, a pair of designers and their twin girls inhabit a converted loft, filling it with serious design savvy and a hefty dose of creativity.
May 18, 2016
25687 preview low 1633 2 25687 sc v2com
An 1885 house in Montreal dips a little into its backyard for spare space.
May 17, 2016
modern ecoconscious pavilion walkway roof
A couple’s retirement home on a nature preserve in Carmel, California, emerges as a series of eco-conscious pavilions that rest lightly on the land.
May 17, 2016
Formafantasma's designs for Alcantara's Touching Tales
In a 17-century palazzo, two young design studios explore a very modern material.
May 17, 2016