Live-Work Units

search entire Mouzon Design site


   Live/Work Units are a new name for an old building type. These are the Main Street buildings where you live over the shop. Once, most Americans who didn’t live on the farm either lived or worked in a Live/Work Unit, or both. There are several important rules for successful Live/Work Units:

   [1] Mouzon Design Live/Work Units are designed carefully around the sizes and proportions of the best Main Street buildings. There are unusual dimensions, by residential standards. For example, the height from the first floor to the second is usually in the vicinity of 16 feet. Some think that’s excessive and want to reduce the height to save money, but there are many reasons for that height that are too long for a one-page discussion.

   [2] Access to the living unit is very important. You probably want visitors to enter from the Main Street, but want to enter yourself from the garage at the rear. And what if you have rented out either the living space or the shop to someone else? There are only a limited number of known ways of doing this successfully. We believe we have identified them all, and use them where each is appropriate.

   [3] Light is important in the living space, just as it is in Townhouses and Mews. We have an additional method of getting light in when the roof slopes gently back to the rear. In such cases, you will often find light wells near the centers of Mouzon Design plans that get natural light into areas that would otherwise be the darkest. Please do not let anyone talk you into cutting them out for cost reasons.

   [4] Some cities allow galleries or balconies to project over the sidewalk. If yours does, strongly consider adding one. And let us know if you’d like one; we may have one designed already that would work with your unit.

   [5] VERY IMPORTANT: Some jurisdictions treat Live/Work Units like townhouses, and allow you to purchase stock plans like the ones an this website and use them to build with. Other jurisdictions treat Live/Work Units like larger mixed-use buildings and require a locally licensed architect. This usually happens when you are building several units as a single construction project. Please verify this with your jurisdiction before doing anything else! Steve Mouzon is a licensed architect in some states, but chooses not to provide full commercial services in order to pursue Mouzon Design’s other initiatives. In those instances, you need to hire an architect. Steve might be able to serve as a design consultant to your architect, however, if you like the ideas you find in these plans... depending on his availability and on the rules of your state’s regulations regarding architects and design consultants.

© Mouzon Design 2014