The late architect David Ming-Li Lowe, who died in 2013, couldn’t have foreseen the events of the last year that required many to shelter in place, but the Venice, CA, live-work loft that he built for himself is certainly well-suited to our times.
The 1984 build, zoned as a live-work space for an “artist in residence,” is the ideal work-from-home compound, and sits just three blocks from Venice Beach. The modern, glass-and-steel space is available for $4.45 million. At that price, the buyer is more likely to be a Hollywood player than an oil painter, but that’s allowed.
The zoning requirement stretches the idea of an “artist” to include buyers who work as insurance agents, attorneys, and computer software professionals, along with more traditional creative pursuits.
Whether you’re a filmmaker or a rainmaker, the designation authorizes you to receive employees and customers at your home.
“It’s very, very rare,” says the listing agent, Brian Linder with Compass. “In L.A., there isn’t much live-work space.”
Of course, many people’s homes became their office by default during the pandemic lockdown. But traditionally, those who opened a home business with multiple employees were always at risk of complaints from neighbors about parking, noise, or other hassles.
In this setup, the zoning actually requires a commercial space, along with living quarters. And it’s already got everything you need for your business venture or artistic endeavor.
“It’s perfect for people who are working from home but have staff,” Linder says.
And unlike the blurring of work and living space that many people endured during quarantine, this place allows you to have your business space separate from your residence.
From the street, the property with its red, roll-down security gate looks like a storefront. Once rolled up, a grid of industrial-style windows signal a commercial setting. Inside, find two three-story, mirroring buildings that surround a private courtyard that brings natural light into the main floor.
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The studio space and garage with a workshop are on the main level, and feature translucent walls and a bar, as well as a large work area. Upstairs, a sleek kitchen and dining area connect by bridge to the living room. Inside each of the two towers are the master suites. The wood deck from glass doors on the second floor, as well as the courtyard below, provide outdoor space.
The sellers, who used the space for both working and living, as intended, have owned the home since 1999. Over the last two decades, they’ve installed a designer Boffi kitchen as well as updated the bathrooms. The original footprint, with its structural steel and translucent wall panels, remains as the architect envisioned.
The place is blocks from the shops and restaurants of upscale Abbot Kinney Boulevard, as well as the beach and bike path.
While on the higher-priced side for a two-bedroom, the flexible design and its vision to combine professional and living space may prove tempting to buyers.
“We’ve had a lot of interest,” Linder says. “I think it will sell quickly, it’s so unique.”
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