New Year, New Office Space

This is the first post in the #ArchiTalk series for the 2016 calendar year.

The name of our office gives away the location of our office. In the tech world, it's actually something that many would like to have: a Palo Alto address. 

So many tech companies have either started, or built up their fortunes by being located in notorious Palo Alto. At the heart of the Silicon Valley, Palo Alto has been or is still home to companies like HP, Google, Facebook, Palantir, and so many more. Our "office" has been more of a home office but we've also shared a suite downtown in an old industrial building.

This is a picture of my shared office space downtown. The well tower is neat landmark, but so is the building itself, which used to be the trolley barn. 

This is a picture of my shared office space downtown. The well tower is neat landmark, but so is the building itself, which used to be the trolley barn. 

Any guesses at what this building used to house? I'll give you a hint, the wireless network is called "TrolleyBarn." Yep, when trolleys used to run up and down University Avenue, the trolley barn and repair house, was located inside. You can begin to see the old remnants of trolley openings on the building façade. 

Now here's a picture of our actual "home office." 

What a mess. Bills, plan check comments, baby wipes, graphic standards...  

While it's nice to keep a dedicated office space/desk downtown, as you see, we really need to so something about the home office. Not only is it a mess, but we lack a lot of desk space, not to mention an additional desk for spreading plans and dedicated sketching. 

With rents all throughout the Bay Area going up, we're not certain if we'll keep the dedicated space downtown. One of the reasons we decided it was a good idea to have a separate office space was the fact that there are so many distractions at our home office. With the construction of our Contemporary Cottage project, the garage is being built as our new home office. 

Welcome to Palo Alto Design Studio, 2016:


Do you like my freehand trackpad sketch? (I'm being sarcastic, apologies.) The "garage" was kept pretty small, only to meet the minimum planning requirements. At 10'x20', it will fit a single car, or it will also be an awesome office space.

While it's still being used for construction storage, this will be our new office!

While it's still being used for construction storage, this will be our new office!

Separated from the dwelling portion of the house, yet close enough to home, I'm really looking forward to gaining more office space. If it works out well enough, it will only give us more reason to save money and not rent the additional space downtown.

The participants of this ArchiTalks blog post series are asking you to help a friend of ours who is dealing with a family tragedy. Rusty Long is an Architect based out of Portsmouth, Virginia, whose son Matthew is fighting for his life. Here is Matthew’s story, as told by his Dad, Rusty:

Matthew Long was born May 29th, 2013, happy, and seemingly healthy. Less than two days later his mother and I found ourselves in an neonatal intensive care unit waiting room, listening to a rushed intensive care doctor explain how our son needed immediate dialysis to save his life. The disease, he briefly explained, was one of a group of disorders called Urea Cycle Disorders, which impact the way the body breaks down protein. We later discovered that Matthew's particular variant is called OTC Deficiency, a particularly severe form of it in fact, which results in a rapid rise of ammonia in the blood, called hyperammonemia, resulting in devastating neurological damage. This form of OTC is so severe, Matthew has virtually no peers who have survived it. Once the immediate crisis was arrested, we came to find out more about the disease and the impact of this initial event.

The disease is inherited, and the damage is permanent. Treatment consists of a combination of medications, low protein medical diet, and ultimately a liver transplant. Matthew was fortunate to experience no additional hyperammonemic events in the following fifteen months of life, and had a liver transplant on August 24th, 2014. The cure for the disease, a transplant, isn't so much a cure as trading one condition for another. While we will never risk the chance of another ammonia spike, Matthew is on a half a dozen or more medications at any given time to avoid rejection. Despite these challenges, intensive daily therapy for cerebral palsy (a result of the initial damage), limited motor function, and various other challenges along the way, our son is remarkably happy and has changed all our lives for the better. He's taught us to be stronger than we ever thought possible, to have faith beyond human understanding, and the immeasurable value of life.

The #ArchiTalks community is hoping to raise $5,500 to help Architect Rusty Long and his family reach their financial goal on If each reader of this post contributes a small amount, our impact will be massive and we can make a difference for Matthew’s family. Click here now and donate $2.00

Check out the other blog posts on the same topic. Roll Call!

Enoch Sears - Business of Architecture (@businessofarch)
New Year, New Community on Business of Architecture

Bob Borson - Life of An Architect (@bobborson)

Matthew Stanfield - FiELD9: architecture (@FiELD9arch)
New Year, New CAD

Marica McKeel - Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
New Year, New Adventures

Lee Calisti, AIA - Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
new race new year new start

Mark R. LePage - Entrepreneur Architect (@EntreArchitect)
New Year. New Budget.

Lora Teagarden - L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
New Year, New Goals

Collier Ward - One More Story (@BuildingContent)
New Year, New Business

Nicholas Renard - dig Architecture (@dig-arch)
New Year, A New Hope

Jes Stafford - Modus Operandi Design (@modarchitect)
New Year. New Gear.

Cindy Black - Rick & Cindy Black Architects (*)
New Year, New Casita

Eric T. Faulkner - Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
New Year, New Underwear

Rosa Sheng - Equity by Design (@EquityxDesign)
New Year, New Era

Michele Grace Hottel - Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
"new year, new _____"

Meghana Joshi - IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
New Year, New Plan

Amy Kalar - ArchiMom (@AmyKalar)
New Year, New Adventures

Michael Riscica - Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
New Year, New Life!

Stephen Ramos - BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@sramos_BAC)
New Year, New Home

brady ernst - Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
New Year, New Adult Architect

Brian Paletz - The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
A Little Premature

Sharon George - Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge)
New Year, New Business

Brinn Miracle - Architangent (@simplybrinn)
New Year, New Perspective

Emily Grandstaff-Rice - Emily Grandstaff-Rice AIA (@egraia)
The New New

Jarod Hall - di'velept (@divelept)
New Year New Reality

Anthony Richardson - That Architecture Student (@anth_rich)
New Year New Desk

Greg Croft - Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)
New Year, New Goals

Jeffrey A Pelletier - Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
New Year New Office

Aaron Bowman - Product & Process (@PP_Podcast)
New Year, More Change

Jared W. Smith - Architect OWL (@ArchitectOWL)
New Year, New Reflection

Rusty Long - Rusty Long, Architect (@rustylong)
New Year, New Direction