Architect John G. Reed and interior designer Marisa Solomon-Reed used to live in a traditional California community, which meant they spent 45 minutes to an hour each day driving to their office.

“We lived in a suburb where you had to get in your car to go everywhere,” the architect says. Thanks to their new live/work project in the heart of Venice, Calif., their commute has been slashed to about 1 minute.

Securing a 34-by-117-foot lot about seven blocks from the beach, the couple proceeded to design a loft-style building with a 785-square-foot office on the ground floor and two residential units above. The new structure is sited on a prominent pedestrian-friendly corner, so the design included contextual urban materials such as brick, structural steel, and concrete.

“We wanted the first 30 feet of the building to blend into the Venice neighborhood and look like a warehouse renovation,” the architect says.

The office space features clean lines, white walls, and concrete floors, but the couple wanted the residential portion of the project to feel “modern but warm,” so they specified exposed bow-string trusses and Douglas fir ceilings to give the front two-bedroom unit a comfortable feel. Exposed ducts, brick, and radiant-heated concrete floors add the modern component to the space.

Grand Award

Category Live/Work project
Entrant/Architect/Builder/Interior designer/Landscape designer Reed Architectural Group, Venice, Calif.

A second two-bedroom unit in the rear is a contemporary residence situated around an 18-foot living area. Twelve-foot-tall windows that wrap the room allow light to flood the entire volume.

The new project, the firm says, adds to the already rich Venice urban fabric, but feels as if it has been part of the surrounding neighborhood all along.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.