Creating a Home-Like Setting for Your Business

From on February 06, 2009 in Locations

loft-shot.jpgThe concept of living and having a business in the same building is a familiar one, but it seems to be resurging these days. In addition, the interest in utilizing residential properties for housing businesses may be on the rise as well. After establishing the requisite approvals regarding zoning regulations, some business owners are choosing home-like settings for their workplaces – with the blessing of the buildings’ owners, who cover the zoning approvals as a welcome aspect of attracting new tenants.

Laura Ortiz writes about this growing trend in a feature for The Future of Real Estate called Some Businesses Go for Home-Like Settings. One of the business owners she interviews for the piece talks about having lived in Europe for 20 years, and how common it is for small business owners to have their shop or office on the ground floor, with their residences upstairs. This arrangement has also been popular in most U.S. cities, especially in the times up to the early 1900s.

“Live-work spaces are generally located on well-traveled roads and include work space on the lower level and living accommodations upstairs,” writes Ortiz. She writes of a new development live-work community designed on this model that has been successful in attracting an artist, an antique dealer, a jewelry designer, a seamstress who specializes in wedding gowns, and hair and nail salons.

Another example features a married couple, both attorneys. They leased the entire eighth floor of Detroit’s 93-year-old Lafer Building, which has mixed-used zoning that allows residences and businesses to comingle. With nearly 4,000 square feet, the space has two private elevators, as it was originally intended as two residential lofts.

This couple, reports Ortiz, “is among a growing group of business owners opting for loft-style work environments. As developers struggle to sell condos and lofts to potential buyers, more are offering to lease these spaces to individuals and businesses. And because these units were originally meant to be residential, businesses are getting good deals on office space.” Not only that, but this couple’s new office comes equipped with lots of cozy rooms, two kitchens, and two full bathrooms.

loftoutside.jpgMany bed and breakfast inns have been created on the live-where-you-work theme. You can search among thousands of B&Bs at Bed and, where these unique lodging alternatives are listed by state or region as well as according to most popular destinations. They’ve even got a special members-only section for innkeepers, where issues, including living and working in the same place, are addressed. Clearly, the lure of combined home and work environments has attracted many business owners who love the home-like setting so much that they’ve designed their professional lives around it.

A drive through the fringes of downtowns in most cities and towns will show a variety of homes that have been converted for business use. In many cases, these houses have been renovated for commercial purposes and no longer serve as residences. Yet they offer the graciousness of a home-like setting to the business owners and professionals who work there, and the clients whom they serve. With the opportunities for landscaping and private parking, these converted homes offer many benefits that commercial buildings can’t. Considering the high value of creature comforts in today’s turbulent times, it’s not surprising that so many business owners are opting for the comforts of home-like settings for their enterprises.