Trending in Multifamily: The Work/Live Model
Written by Daniel McGuire
Imagine waking up steps from your office. Envision commuting in slippers, untethered to timeliness or traffic. Picture professional space sectioned off by the contours of your living room. There are no receptionists or bubblers or corporate kitchens here – only the merger of office and home into one. No, this isn’t the stuff of dreams. This is a new trend in multifamily units called the work/live model. Designers are synthesizing professional and personal life to get the most out of both without lessening either. This is becoming increasingly popular as technology offers more opportunities to work remotely. The creative potential of the work/live model is unlocked through interior design. Model apartment staging allows barren, unrealized space to breathe new life. Businesses must be streamlined and organized, while a home must be tasteful and functional – the work/live model must be both.
Old Dog, New Tricks
The work/live model is sometimes called an artist loft. The name does not derive from paint-stained workaholics, but instead from mid-19th century artisan craftsmen. The idea to work and live in the same building is far older. When homes, farms, and family units were the economic engines driving society, people lived in rustic dwellings. As industrialization progressed, homes got taller and businesses diversified. Farms became factories as laborers became merchants. The same trend exists to this day.
The information age brought immense change to professional and private life. Businesses adapted by allowing employees to work remotely. Why commute when fiber optics are faster than cars? The Bureau of Labor Statistics reveled that 24 percent of workers in 2015 did some or all of their work from home, up from 19 percent in 2003. These statistics prove why the artist loft is trending in multifamily units. Technological advancement will only make the work/live model more attractive as the years go by.
The Interior of an Idea
Interior design is a lot like love – it’s what’s inside that counts. Tall ceilings, smooth surfaces, and large windows are little more than canvas for the artistic interior designer. Model apartment staging functions like an optical oasis, offering beauty in otherwise deserted space. Pleasurable aesthetics satisfy something deep in humans, especially where we live and work. Nothing puts the mind at ease better than coming home from a long day at the office. People feel happiest surrounded by their own things. Good feelings mean better work. Working from home increases productivity if the conditions are right. It is up to the interior designer to maximize the benefits of this unique opportunity.
The design must fit the needs of the business and the home in equal measure. The workspace and living areas should be separate, and if they converge it must be tasteful and aesthetically pleasing. Carpenters may want big, romantic countertops to work with while a painter might prefer shiplap styling. Interior design can service it all. The work and home sections of the model are brought together through functional uniformity. They meet needs exactly as designed with unmatched elegance, charm, and usefulness.
The Highs and Lows of the Work/Live Model
There is a lot to get excited about with the work/live model. Even so, there remain some serious hurdles for prospective converts. Hybrid commercial/residential spaces often bend to the whim of local governments, constraining profit through taxation or zoning laws. There might also be limits to the number of vendors, delivery vehicles, and employees a business can legally have. People who see work as a refuge from a chaotic home life would be out of luck; those who work a little too hard might have trouble stopping when professional lines become blurred. The work/live model services a specific kind of person with a compatible business.
The artist loft is perfect for creative endeavors. Web developers or other IT professionals find great success with the more synchronized, focused, and laid-back atmosphere. Internet connectivity also changed when people work – flex hours, overtime, and lunch breaks all meld well with the work/live model. The majority of people would jump at the opportunity to work from home… especially if the home is staged with a gorgeous business wing. The positives outweigh the negatives. What’s better than a business feeling like home? A business being home!
There is no doubt that the work/live trend in multifamily units is going to continue. Data points to businesses becoming increasingly personal, both in the office and out. Technology continues to shift where, when and how people work. Changes in home and professional life present a perfect opportunity for model apartment staging to grow. There is no better industry to capture the eye than interior design.