In many cities across the globe, the shortage of affordable apartments has led to more and more people living in micro, or shoe-box apartments. London is one of the cities facing the worst of this housing shortage crisis, and the local architecture studio CIAO recently redesigned a tiny apartment into a spacious home, which is now big enough to host guests.
The apartment in question measures just 376 sq ft (35 sq m) and is located in a Victorian-era house in the Islington area. The apartment has high ceilings which is a plus when it comes to micro apartments. They kept the layout of the home open and with the help of clever convertible furniture they were able to transform this place into a comfortable home. The workspace which the client uses during the day can be transformed into a sleeping area for guests when needed with the help of a pull-out trundle bed. The lounge is also in this area, and features a corner sofa.
A half-height bookcase separates the main living area from the bedroom. The bed is placed atop a custom-built platform which hides the roll-out trundle guest bed. The platform is accessible via a couple of stairs which contain storage drawers. Higher up, in the mezzanine area there is another, larger storage space. The home also features a small, but functional bathroom.
The apartment also features a kitchen, which is fitted with lots of metallic COR-TEN steel that gives it an interesting industrial look. This look is nicely balanced by the warmer, natural wood elements elsewhere in the apartment, such as the table and shelving, as well as the brick wall in the living area which was left in it’s original condition.
This is definitely another prime example of how even a micro apartment can be transformed into a comfortable home with a few clever space saving techniques, and some outside the box thinking.
The tiny house firm Escape has just released the so-called Traveler XL Limited, which is an upgraded and expanded version of their 2015 model of the same name. The new model is bigger than the original and can sleep up to 10 people, which is very impressive for a tiny house.
The Traveler XL rests atop a triple-axle trailer an is 30 ft (9.1 m) long. The interior measures 344 sq ft (32 sq m). the home features plenty of large windows, which let in lots of light making it appear even more spacious. Much of the ground floor is taken up by the living area, which includes a sofa bed. Next to this is the kitchenette, which features regular sized appliances, including a fridge and a range cooker. There is also a good amount of counter space and a sink.
The bathroom is located on one end of the tiny house and is big enough to contain a 5 ft (1.5 m)-long tub, which is impressive. It also has a toilet, sink and cabinet, and enough space to install a washer/dryer unit.
The standard configuration of the home has 2 bedrooms. The master is on the ground floor, with enough headroom to stand up in. The second bedroom is in a loft, which is accessible via a ladder. The company offers the option of adding a second loft, which is large enough for several beds. In this case, and with the sofa bed, the house Is big enough for ten people to sleep in. This would get a bit cramped, I imagine, but is still quite a feat to get that much sleeping space out of a tiny home.
They also offer a number of add-ons to take this home off-the-grid. They offer two solar power packages. The first has a 500 W solar panel array, which is connected to a 200 Ah battery storage unit. They also offer a version with a 1 kW solar panel array that is linked to a 400 Ah battery storage unit. The home can also be ordered with a normal RV hookup for electricity, and customers have the choice of installing a composting toilet.
The standard version of the Traveler XL Limited costs $78,500.
Building a home takes time, even if you opt for a pre-fab option. But with the newest offering by the UK firm Ten Fold Engineering all you have to do is press a button and your home is built within ten minutes. How futuristic is that? Not to mention awesome. Ten Fold Engineering offers a range of such modular, self-deploying structures which can be erected without needing builders, cranes or foundations.
The core of these unfolding homes can be transported anywhere on the back of a standard truck. Once on-site, the unit unfolds to three times the size it was for transport. It also already features all necessary fixtures, and is ready to live in right away. The whole process is also reversible so that the home can easily be moved to a new location.
As for the interior layout, each unit offers the ability to set it up according to your needs and wishes. This is done with the help of folding partitions, which can be used to freely design the number and size of rooms one wants. Each of the units can also be fitted with a range of modular pods which make it possible to install off-grid power systems, water-filtration systems, and more.
The units can also be scaled up by interlinking them in a number of combinations to create larger homes or even hotels. In addition, the company has also created a number of customized fold-out units. One of these is the so-called “Tree House” which is a cube that opens into a winged, floating tree house. The “Moot Hall” on the other hand, looks like a giant A-frame tent.
At this time, many of the designs are still in the concept stage, while the company perfects their unfolding technology. They are looking for architects, engineers and manufacturers interested in using the technology in exchange for a license fee.
The core unit seems to be close to production, and they estimate that the starting price of one of these units will be about $130,000. The company is hopeful that the production costs will eventually decrease, driving the price down as well, so that the units can also be used as affordable housing or disaster relief housing.
Repurposing and renovating old, disused buildings is still one of the most sustainable forms of architecture. So it is always nice to see such projects being successfully completed, as is the case with this old office building in Lisbon, Portugal, which has been turned into an apartment complex by the local firm Waataa. The offices were transformed into cozy and functional studio apartments, which feature clever multipurpose furniture in order to maximize the available space.
The original offices had high ceilings, which is a great advantage when working with small spaces and the architects used it to the fullest. The original spaces also had large windows, which let in plenty of natural daylight. The apartments were fitted with cabinets in the walls, and they feature modules painted in bright colors to add some vibrancy to the studio apartments. The colors are also used to designate the function of each module. Blue is for the sleeping area, which is where the Murphy bed is hidden. Yellow was used for the kitchen, above which is a mezzanine level intended as a lounge, a work area, and an entertainment area.
The mezzanine level is accessible via a set of alternating tread stairs, which were made out of particleboard. The bathroom is quite spacious and it is located below the mezzanine level. A skylight lets plenty of natural light into it.
The tables and beds all need to be folded down to be used, which can be a nuisance for some, but does save a lot of space. It also serves to bring the inhabitant closer to his or her living space, since there is constant interaction with it. These apartments are great for students or young professionals, and should offer an affordable living arrangement in a city where rents are quite high.
Norway is getting the so-called Bygda 2.0, or Village 2.0, which is a new sustainable development in a rural, seaside area of Norway. The project will focus on developing modern Norwegian houses that will be sustainable, and will form a village of sorts, complete with spaces for doing businesses and research activities. As the people behind it say, “It will be a place to live, work and enjoy.”
They’ve already built two houses, with the second one having been complete only recently. It’s called Hadar’s house, named after the assistant manager of a nearby beach bar who lives in it. The house measures just 500 sq ft (46.5 sq m), yet it appears a lot more spacious than that. The firm Assante Architecture and Design of Stockholm designed it.
The interior features a large open plan living area, which consists of a dining/work area, living room and kitchen. The bedroom is located in a loft, which is separated off from the rest of the home by a wooden wall to offer some privacy. The house features quite a large bathroom, which also contains a tub, and a large window next to it so you can enjoy the view while taking a bath.
Perhaps the most interesting part about this house is the modern low-energy heating system. The whole house is heated by a wood stove called “kakelugnspannan”. It’s a modern version of a traditional Scandinavian wood stove and is comprised of a 600 liter tank in which water is heated by burning wood, or by the rooftop mounted solar panels. This water is then circulated to the radiators placed around the house, as well as used for washing. Apparently this system runs at 87% efficiency.
Hadar’s house is located near the beach, and offers breathtaking views of the sea. It is made entirely of wood, as is the case with most traditional Scandinavian houses. The façade is build out of burned wood, so it is maintenance free.