10 Smart Small Spaces

written by:
August 10, 2012

The ingenuity of architects and design-minded residents is often best showcased in designs for homes with less than ample square footage. These spatial savants found clever ways to circumvent confounding floor plans, and dark and closed off rooms, proving that a few smart moves—tearing down walls, adding adjustable partitions, and applying fresh coats of paint, among others—go a long way. Tour these 10 small spaces, ranging from a renovated apartment in Bratislava to an airy and Spartan home in a historic Brussels building to a shoebox-sized Seattle abode.

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  Sarah Deeds of Deeds Design and carpenter John McBride built this 120-square-foot office office and art studio in Berkeley, California. Constructed behind their 1906 Victorian, this small space utilizes a pentagon-like layout to maximize the interior.  Courtesy of: © Lenny Gonzalez 2010
    Sarah Deeds of Deeds Design and carpenter John McBride built this 120-square-foot office office and art studio in Berkeley, California. Constructed behind their 1906 Victorian, this small space utilizes a pentagon-like layout to maximize the interior.

    Courtesy of: © Lenny Gonzalez 2010

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  Location, location, location—the old real estate mantra rang true for architect and homeowner Michelle Linden, who made the most of the $25,000 and 600 square feet at her disposal in her dream Seattle neighborhood. Linden's space– and budget-saving techniques culminated in a cozy home and office.
    Location, location, location—the old real estate mantra rang true for architect and homeowner Michelle Linden, who made the most of the $25,000 and 600 square feet at her disposal in her dream Seattle neighborhood. Linden's space– and budget-saving techniques culminated in a cozy home and office.
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  Though you wouldn't know it by the clean stripped-down look, the remodel of this 800-square-foot apartment was anything but simple. "New York City apartments are very much like a puzzle," architect Matthew Miller says. Despite the project's complexity, Miller succeeded in opening the plan and brightening all of the surfaces to breathe life into the space. The results speak for themselves.
    Though you wouldn't know it by the clean stripped-down look, the remodel of this 800-square-foot apartment was anything but simple. "New York City apartments are very much like a puzzle," architect Matthew Miller says. Despite the project's complexity, Miller succeeded in opening the plan and brightening all of the surfaces to breathe life into the space. The results speak for themselves.
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  Located in the center of Brussels, Belgium, this 1,055-square-foot apartment boasts a newly bright and crisp interior inspired by the über-clean simplicity of European hotels. The renovation by Matteo Colombo and Andrea Serboli's Barcelona-based firm CaSA leaves no space untouched by natural light, a vital feature in a city with dark grim winters.
    Located in the center of Brussels, Belgium, this 1,055-square-foot apartment boasts a newly bright and crisp interior inspired by the über-clean simplicity of European hotels. The renovation by Matteo Colombo and Andrea Serboli's Barcelona-based firm CaSA leaves no space untouched by natural light, a vital feature in a city with dark grim winters.
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  "Architecture helps influence the mood and set the scene," architect Jon Handley of Pulltab Design says. That mindset is quite evident in this 700-square-foot Manhattan apartment, where a young couple now maximizes their small space with a clever, fold-away dining table.
    "Architecture helps influence the mood and set the scene," architect Jon Handley of Pulltab Design says. That mindset is quite evident in this 700-square-foot Manhattan apartment, where a young couple now maximizes their small space with a clever, fold-away dining table.
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  Architect Christi Azevedo, along with homeowners Lorena Siminovich and Esteban Kerner, transformed this 1,485-square-foot, multilevel, mid-century maze into a modern and efficient family home in just three months. “It was the craziest frickin’ thing,” laughs Azevedo. “It was like a Tetris game, putting it all together, trying to squeak out space wherever we could.” Purchased as if straight out of 1955, the home is now the ideal small space for Siminovich and Kerner to raise their young daughter, Matilda.  Photo by: Daniel HennessyCourtesy of: ©2011 DANIEL HENNESSY PHOTOGRAPHY, LLC
    Architect Christi Azevedo, along with homeowners Lorena Siminovich and Esteban Kerner, transformed this 1,485-square-foot, multilevel, mid-century maze into a modern and efficient family home in just three months. “It was the craziest frickin’ thing,” laughs Azevedo. “It was like a Tetris game, putting it all together, trying to squeak out space wherever we could.” Purchased as if straight out of 1955, the home is now the ideal small space for Siminovich and Kerner to raise their young daughter, Matilda.

    Photo by: Daniel Hennessy

    Courtesy of: ©2011 DANIEL HENNESSY PHOTOGRAPHY, LLC

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  “It was quite a sad place, with yellow painted walls and a strange atmosphere,” says architect Lukáš Kordík of his home in Bratislava. “But I had a feeling it could be easily turned into a cozy and open space.”  With a tight budget and just 516 square feet to work with, Kordík was able to manage just that. A few removed walls and some exposed charm later, the 1930s flat went from odd house to perfect home.
    “It was quite a sad place, with yellow painted walls and a strange atmosphere,” says architect Lukáš Kordík of his home in Bratislava. “But I had a feeling it could be easily turned into a cozy and open space.” With a tight budget and just 516 square feet to work with, Kordík was able to manage just that. A few removed walls and some exposed charm later, the 1930s flat went from odd house to perfect home.
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  To maximize every square inch in this Manhattan apartment, New York design firm LOT-EK knocked down walls, added dozens of recycled doors, and built in a bevy of secret compartments. “We compressed everything functional or mechanical into the middle portion so the living room and bedroom could be open spaces,” architect Giuseppe Lignano says. At 1,100 square feet, this small space has been renovated to its full potential.  Photo by: Nicholas Calcott
    To maximize every square inch in this Manhattan apartment, New York design firm LOT-EK knocked down walls, added dozens of recycled doors, and built in a bevy of secret compartments. “We compressed everything functional or mechanical into the middle portion so the living room and bedroom could be open spaces,” architect Giuseppe Lignano says. At 1,100 square feet, this small space has been renovated to its full potential.

    Photo by: Nicholas Calcott

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  Unable to add a second story to this century-old Montreal house, architect Marc-André Plasse got creative instead and squeezed out another 500 square feet with a multilevel addition. The series of levels provides the house with a greater sense of separation between the main rooms and plenty of exploration space for the homeowners' daughter. See the kitchen, bedrooms, and more here.  Photo by: Alexi Hobbs
    Unable to add a second story to this century-old Montreal house, architect Marc-André Plasse got creative instead and squeezed out another 500 square feet with a multilevel addition. The series of levels provides the house with a greater sense of separation between the main rooms and plenty of exploration space for the homeowners' daughter. See the kitchen, bedrooms, and more here.

    Photo by: Alexi Hobbs

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  A little fluidity can be a good thing, such as this 940-square-foot modern Tokyo apartment owned by architect Yuko Shibata. Initially, Shibata wanted to remodel it to include a home office where she could base her firm. That was not exactly a viable option, however. “My husband wanted to come back to a home, not an office, and I needed a switch of some sort when work was over,” she says. The result is a shape-shifting home/office with a whole lot of character.  Photo by: Ryohei Hamada
    A little fluidity can be a good thing, such as this 940-square-foot modern Tokyo apartment owned by architect Yuko Shibata. Initially, Shibata wanted to remodel it to include a home office where she could base her firm. That was not exactly a viable option, however. “My husband wanted to come back to a home, not an office, and I needed a switch of some sort when work was over,” she says. The result is a shape-shifting home/office with a whole lot of character.

    Photo by: Ryohei Hamada

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