We’ve all heard that 9 to 5 doesn’t exist anymore. With the increase in self-employment, digital related careers, and limited commercial space throughout Greater Vancouver, many are looking towards non-traditional solutions. Working from home has become a reality for many. This shift has changed what many are looking for in a home.

“Increasingly, we are seeing people looking for a space to work from home. Ten years ago, extra closet space or an extra bedroom were a top use for extra space. Now, people are looking for offices and working spaces. They’re also looking for amenities that can be used to meet with clients, and easily accessible entrances. We’ve included live-work spaces in our product mix to meet this growing need.” says Joey Coupland, Wesgroup’s Director of Sales.


Driven by the need for more options, live-work spaces are designed and built specifically to function as integrated living and working spaces. Live-work spaces are typically sought after by entrepreneurs, remote workers and artists who are attracted to the idea of integrating their living and working spaces together, rather than paying for two separate spaces. Besides a nice home, a few other things on the must-have list include:

Visibility: An easy to see ‘storefront’ that their clients can find. Walk-up entrances that are easy to see from the street are preferred.

Walkable: A pedestrian friendly neighbourhood, with a good amount of foot traffic and easy access to shopping, eateries and coffee shops to make working solo more social.

Meeting spaces: If meeting clients, having more space than a small home office and desk space is helpful.

Designed for balance: Professionally designed spaces that comfortably house both dwelling and business spaces, and layouts that separate living space from work space such as split-level suites to suit business needs.

Access: An underground visitor/live-work customer parking lot with access through an indoor corridor.

Internet: Being connected is important. River District is a fibre neighbourhood which provides up to 150mbps symmetrical internet speed – fast internet without any delays for those working from home

“The live-work concept is still not common throughout Metro Vancouver, but when people learn more about it, they realize the potential these spaces have to create exactly the balance between work and personal life that works for them. At River District, one buyer is a photographer who will use it as his studio. Another is a lawyer,” explains Coupland.


The ability to have a live-work designation is predetermined at the Development Permit stage and assigned to select units that meet specific design standards. To be designated live-work, the space must be designed to function both as a dwelling or living space, and also as a space suitable for work. Certain types of uses are suited to live-work spaces and live-work buildings can have a variety of different zonings.

Live-work spaces are different than a typical condo or townhome space by giving you the ability to choose whether you want to use it as a home only or live-work space. There are different types of live-work spaces. Generally, live-work spaces at River District allow the following uses:

  • Dwelling
  • Work:
    • General office (any office, including Digital Entertainment and Information Communication Technology, but not a financial institution)
    • Health care office
    • Barber shop or beauty salon
    • Photo finishing or photography studio, or
    • Artist studio
  • A combination of above

When choosing a live-work space, a few things to keep in mind:

  • Financing: Because live-work spaces are usually zoned differently, it’s important to speak with a mortgage professional to understand differences in financing requirements compared to pure residential financing.
  • Taxes: On the other hand, live-work spaces mean that your home-based business may qualify for enticing tax deductions and write-offs. Sample deductions include a portion of utilities, maintenance, repairs, property taxes and mortgage interest costs. Talk with a tax advisor to find out about your specific tax situation.
  • GST: GST is payable on brand new suites but if you have a GST number and will be working from the unit, deferring the tax on the purchase of your unit is possible.

Choosing a live-work space can make it easier for you to run your small business at home, with the comfort of living upstairs, away from your work space so say good bye to your commute and hello to balancing your life on your terms.