They're called live/work apartments, and have sprouted in urban centres across the UK. They are targeted at the pioneers of home-based working, and usually feature cutting-edge architectural design.
But now hundreds of purchasers who use them entirely as a residential space, face eviction following a clampdown by council planning departments.
The London Borough of Hackney has already issued 600 "planning contravention" notices, and other councils across the country are watching the situation closely.
Two weeks ago, the 75 homeowners of Union Wharf, a trendy-looking block a stone's throw from Hoxton, N1, woke up to open an innocuous-looking letter from Hackney council.
It was from an official, telling them they were all in breach of planning regulations and had to either leave their homes or apply for residential planning consent within 28 days.