There are all sorts of approaches to small space living. Some go minimal, others maximal. Some create different zones, others go for one big open space. Let’s take a look at how different designers have approached spaces of less than 400 square feet.
Above and below, check out a space by designer Lyndsay Caleo of Brooklyn Home Company. Caleo and her colleague Fitzhugh Karol, both designers with backgrounds in art and furniture design, tackled this 400-square-foot studio apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn by creating distinct zones, including an entry way, a bedroom and a separate living area.
One clever idea was to use a lathe theme as a separation between bedroom and living room. The lathe keeps everything feeling airy and open and the texture and patina help to give the space character. It also allows a wall on which a small console can rest, providing the perfect landing strip for keys and other items. Here’s another view of the bedroom:
The kitchen keeps things feeling open and airy, as it features only one wall of cabinets. A sculptural island makes for an artsy transition from living room to kitchen and can also serve as a workspace.
This 350 square-foot Manhattan studio takes a similar approach of creating separate day and night zones, this time using an Expedit bookcase from Ikea as a see-through wall.
What these first two homes have in common is a reliance on light bright colors to keep things airy, and a rigorous order.
But it’s not always possible to section off a studio. And this is where the opposite strategy comes in — leave everything right there, together, in one open floor plan. For instance, this 260 square foot Barcelona studio is simply too small to contemplate divisions of any sort. And that’s where photographer Christian Schallert and architect Barbara Appolloni came up with clever built-ins to make the space functional and beautiful. Below is a view of the dining room. The dining room table can flip up and the bed can flip out in this same area:
The kitchen and refrigerator are embedded in a storage unit on one side of the studio:
On the other wall near the entrance is an open shower, and across from the wall encompassing the kitchen is the entertainment center. The toilet is the only private space — in a small room with a little window, behind a hidden door next to the sink:
The bed can be pulled out of the area nearest a sunny balcony:
And what makes this microscopic apartment totally livable is the 65 square foot balcony, right outside the living area:
So you see, there are a multitude of ways to tackle small space living. Creating divisions with “removable” walls or creating built-ins are two great options for making a small space just as comfortable as a large apartment.
The gorgeous Tennyson Point Residence in Sydney, Australia has a common problem.
Like so many houses in the suburbs, the views to the sides needed to be reduced somewhat.
CplusC Architectural Workshop solved it with an giant wooden “bonnet” that shades the view out to the coast.
This double height wooden structure is supported on steel struts.
These giant struts also help to define the huge exterior spatial volume.
This huge shading device also protects the viewer from the harsh antipodean sunlight.
This wood used is a sensuous rich dark Australian hardwood.
It’s also used in cladding the street side of the house. Read the rest of this entry »
Like many buildings in Japan, this wooden house in Aichi is closely surrounded by neighbouring buildings with neither light nor views to the sides.
So mA-style Architects added skylights around each side of the flat roof.
To create light and a feeling of space, filtered light is brought down and bounced off the perimeter walls.
Interestingly, the skylight is not the entire roof, but just the perimeter.
And even this perimeter filters the light with the beams.
The result is an extraordinary amount of filtered light creating a spacious and pleasant dwelling.
Changing light conditions reveal a constantly changing pattern of dappled light coming down through the ceiling.
The rooms are enclosed boxes within the larger space, more like buildings in a small village than a house.
The sense of being within a village is enhanced by the wide openings to the exterior, more like a village lane than a corridor. Read the rest of this entry »
OYO have created a house that has the somnolent charm of a Vermeer painting in the old Belgian town of Wijgmaal.
Quaint and unsophisticated curtains echo the clouds in this bluest of Belgian skies.
By contrast with the floor to ceiling glazing facing the back garden, bedroom windows to the street are few and small.
The house is essentially a cube: a glass box with a concrete top half.
The simple space has a very clear and organized layout.
The space is furnished in quietly retro fifties modernism, but set within a more contemporary cubic volume.
When it comes to decorating advice, we’ve heard it all. A lot of what we hear seems intuitively correct, and other things we hear sound downright silly. But every now and then, we hear something that we don’t expect and that we find actually works. We’ve decided to share a few of those tips with you here:
Tip No 1 : Install your door knobs at 34 inches — a bit lower than the usual 36 inches. It breaks up the doors into a prettier, more relaxed proportion. Richard Bories and James Shearron. We’d never heard this one before, but it makes sense as it echoes the ideas of the ancient Greeks who believed in the Golden Ratio for beauty of 1:1.618. When we’ve seen doors with lowered knobs, we have to admit — they look better!
Tip No 2: Strong clear colors are easier to live with in the long run than pale color. Soft colors get boring more quickly — Richard Keith Langham. We never thought about this, although we do have a preference for strong clear colors like red or orange. Vibrant bold colors feel youthful and energetic and timeless while more muted colors often feel subject to the vagaries of fashion. For instance, the living room below features a bold blue wall that we could enjoy for many years to come.
We feel the same way about this bold yellow couch, which wouldn’t have the same timeless appeal in pale pink or blue:
Tip No. 3: Don’t hang a mirror between windows. The void it creates distracts from the view. Don’t fall prey to using mirrors in every room over every mantle. Mirrors are not art, and a room needs art. — Carey Maloney. Here’s some advice where we can totally get on board. Yes mirrors are nice, but they will never have the energy and interest of a beautiful painting. So hang one mirror, but fill the rest of your home with art! The room below just wouldn’t have the same oomph if a mirror stood in place of the dramatic and moody tree painting.
Here’s another view of the same room:
Tip No. 4: If you have a painting that looks too small above your sofa, don’t center it. Offset it a few inches to the left. The negative space called “ma” becomes part of the image. — Richard Mishaan. We hadn’t thought about this before but it makes total sense. Off-centering a small painting completely disguises mismatched proportions. Check out the painting over the mantle below. If it had been centered, it would have appeared too small.
Tip No. 5: Small abstract sculpture is an instant way to modernize a traditional room. It could make J.P. Morgan’s death chamber look modern.” — David Netto. Sculpture is not used as often as it could be, and it’s a real shame. Nothing can activate a room, be it modern or traditional, like a dynamic modern sculpture.
Tip No. 6: Once you’ve used a fabric in a room never use it anywhere else in the house. Do not match your fabrics! Do not let your fabrics make your room look too decorator-y. Garrow Kedigian. We’ve all seen those decorator showhouses with matched chintz drapes and sofas. Nothing looks more old-fashioned. The freshest interiors these days are much less studied, throwing in mismatched patterns and colors in free abandon. In the home office below, a variety of fabrics are used. They are related, but they don’t match.
Tip No. 7: Best dog-proof floor covering: cowhide. Cannot beat it. Cannot hurt it. — Jill Sharp Brinson.
We have had personal experience with this one and we have to absolutely agree that it’s true. Cowhide is resistant to spills, accidents, stains, dog hair, mud, or whatever.
Tip No. 8: When it comes to bookcases, stick to books. Nothing is more chaotic than 46 shelves filled with random ‘stuff.’ —J. Randall Powers We’ve seen a lot of bookshelves filled with objects and tchotchkes, but if you have a sizeable bookcase, it’s true that filling it with random objects is going to look messier than a clean wall of books, as below.
And some parting words of advice from designer Erin Gates: “Definitely do not do all your shopping in one store or catalog. Don’t order a couch, coffee table, and bookshelf all from one place. Have patience. Take your time, and look at different sources like flea markets and antique shops. You can’t do it all in one day if you want the space to look like you and reflect your life. Move slow—wait for what you love. People rush, then feel uninspired and wonder why. That’s why.”