Want to convert your own home into a live-work space?

It may be easier than you think, depending on where you live. Within the city of Minneapolis, there are no regulations addressing live-work spaces specifically. But regulations regarding a "home occupation" or home-based business are "fairly generous," said Brad Ellis, interim manager, zoning administration. "You can do quite a lot with your home."

The recent recession sparked interest in home-based commerce, according to Ellis. "When the recession hit, we got a lot more inquiries," he said. "People were laid off, and a lot started small businesses out of their homes."

Home-based businesses in Minneapolis are limited to one nonresident employee, and to no more than five clients or customers per day, per dwelling unit.

Owners of duplexes also are prohibited from converting them into one unit for living and the other for working, such as eliminating the kitchen and bedrooms in one unit, Ellis said.

And a few specific types of businesses are prohibited in home settings, because of their potential impact on the surrounding neighborhood. Such prohibited businesses include motor vehicle repair, service or painting; a barbershop or beauty salon designed to serve more than one client at a time; firearm sales, leasing or trade; sexually oriented uses; and headquarters or dispatch centers.

But beyond these restrictions, Minneapolis homeowners who want to do business at home have considerable leeway — "as long as events aren't excessive," Ellis said. "We operate on a complaint basis. If they're not bothering anyone, we're not going to investigate."