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Cuts commute with smaller home in live/work walkable complex

Stan Leopard used to spend nearly two hours in the car each day commuting from his home in Mill Valley, CA to his office in San Francisco. Since he runs a small business and can choose where to locate the office, bought a live/work townhouse in a neighboring town and cut his commute to a flight of stairs.

There are 12 live/work townhomes in the Florence Lofts community in Sonoma County. Leopard bought the one next door to his ex-wife. They cut a hole in their shared wall to connect their homes via the bathroom. Now their two children no longer “commute” from one home to another; instead, they stay in their bedrooms downstairs and simply use the stairs to go up to the living space of whichever parent has custody for the week.

Downtown Sebastopol is a five minute walk, but given the built-in retail space- including a yoga studio and organic restaurant/coffee shop, Leopard says he rarely needs to leave the complex.

Leopard downsized from a 5 bedroom home into the townhome where the living space is just 974 square feet (this doesn’t include the 593 square foot office below where his daughter has her room), but doesn’t miss the larger digs. He finds the use of space here to be much more efficient and he doesn’t miss keeping up a yard.

The Florence Lofts communal “yard” is very sustainably maintained. They host the county’s largest gray water bio-remediation system where water from laundry, bathing and cleaning supply 100% of the water needed for the landscaping.