Traditional Design Techniques Make This Apartment a Lot More Spacious Than It Should Be

More and more people are opting to live in micro apartments in big cities across the world, mainly due to rising real estate prices and rents. The problem is that small spaces can very quickly begin to feel cramped, but with some clever design solutions even this challenge can be overcome. Which is exactly what the Australian designer Nicholas Gurney managed to do in the renovation of this tiny apartment.

The apartment measures a very modest 258 sq ft (24 sq m) yet it has been transformed into a cozy home for a newlywed couple. The designer succeeded to make it such by following a set of Japanese organizational principles known as the 5S. These are, “sort, straighten, shine, standardize and sustain” (seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke). This methodology was developed in Japan after World War Two to maximize efficiency in manufacturing, but has since been integrated into other areas like health care, education, and government as well. The first step in applying this method to the apartment design involved Gurney tasking the clients with creating a list of possessions that they could not live without, so that the space and storage areas in the apartment could be adapted to it.

The home is now fitted with custom-built cabinets, which are extra-deep, so the fact that they contain “stuff” is not apparent at first glance. The things contained within them are also stored according to different levels of priority, meaning that the important stuff is stored at the front, and the less important stuff at the back.

They kept the main area as open as possible, adding a table on wheels which can be placed where it’s needed, or rolled away under the kitchen counter to make more space. The kitchen consists of two areas, namely a wet and a dry one. The wet area features a sink that is tucked away out of sight. There is also a perforated screen door which separates the living room from the bedroom and which also supports the flatscreen TV. The screen can be rolled away so the couple can watch TV from either the bedroom or the living area. The bathroom is placed into a corner space in the apartment and separated from the rest of the space by a mirrored door, which effectively hides it and makes the space appear larger.

The governing principle that was applied to this design was “a place for everything and everything in its place”, and they succeeded. This is a great example of how much can be done with very tiny living spaces!

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