One of the downsides of leading a life devoted to travel and culture is dooming yourself to nomadism. As Tazim and I prepare to move on from our temporary Calgary digs, we’ve been doing a lot of thinking about all of the places we used to call home. When we went to Vancouver to look for a place to call our own seven years ago, we quickly became discouraged. In a city of renters where the vacancy rate is chronically low—landlords stage elaborate games designed to weed out all but the strongest willed tenants. Renters are forced to put up with scheduled invite-only showings at very specific times, and sign over all of their personal information to perfect strangers, despite rents that are on par with New York and Shanghai.
Yet-when we finally found a home-sweet-home, we lucked out-at least to start with.
On the bad end of Commercial Drive, where a bohemian street home to Vancouver’s head shops and organic groceries turns to warehouses and rail-lines, is the ARC. In a live work building full of artist’s studios-we found a first floor converted loft. What used to be a warehouse was then a cafe, and then finally our home. With two floors, two washrooms, and two doors- it was the perfect place for us.
What made it so perfect?
Light, high ceilings, and best of all-a tonne of table space. It had a lot of the features we mentioned in our Top Considerations For Your Craft Room or Studio post:
A sink for washing up, in a second bathroom on the main level.
Desks to write and draw on.
Easel space to paint on.
Cabinetry and shelves to store paint, supplies, and completed work.
And most importantly—space to leave work out.
I can’t wait to find our next live-work home.
And wherever we end up, I’m sure we’ll engineer one that works out well for us.
Often when we think about the spaces we live, we think about walls, doors and windows—but the real trick to making your space work for you is programming.
The bare shoe-box of a loft space makes this obvious—with the freedom to put things anywhere, we allocated our space in accordance with our interest. You’ll notice our desk and work area is much larger than our living room.
We still had a cozy sofa to sit and read on, but every minute while we were at home, we had our work area in view—which meant that we were constantly enticed into creativity.
I think all of us have a tendency to want to hide our projects and our mess—but, if you want to be more productive at home, our advice is to forget feng-shui, and set up your home in a way that puts your work fron and center. Our top tip: shrink the area devoted to your television, or incorporate work-space into the same area (assuming you can watch while you work)!
Regardless of what walls are there when we move in, we’ve vowed to change our home back into a more productive workspace when we move on—after all, we’re in the fortunate position of loving our work, so we ought to make the most of it!