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.

The studio’s redwood siding was milled from trees salvaged from a road-widening project in Sonoma County, California. The hardware, “two-hundred dollars’ worth of stainless-steel screws,” says Deeds, was purposefully left exposed as an architectural detai
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
Originally appeared in Small Wonder
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Living small means evaluating what you really need. "Think about what you need rather than what your friends have," advises Michelle. Everyone uses their home differently and you can get rid of a lot of the excess. For example, we didn't need a walk in cl
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.
Originally appeared in Small in Seattle
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The kitchen was originally long, narrow, and completely closed off from the rest of the apartment. Miller opened up the plan to create a more spacious feel.
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.
Originally appeared in University Place Apartment
3 / 10
A drop ceiling defines kitchen and dining area and also provides storage. "It’s the basement we never had, hidden right in plain sight," says Rios. "The other thing that’s worked well about the dropped ceiling is that it creates a sense of intimacy when w
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.
Originally appeared in Casa H, Brussels
4 / 10
Small apartment in Manhattan, New York
"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.
Originally appeared in Hide and Eat
5 / 10
multi rooms with exposed wooden rafters
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 
Courtesy of 
©2011 DANIEL HENNESSY PHOTOGRAPHY, LLC
Originally appeared in A Couple Tackles Conversion Challenges and Builds a Modern Renovation
6 / 10
modern kitchen renovation with blue countertops
“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.
Originally appeared in A Little Apartment Gets a Solid Renovation
7 / 10
dining room with painted red walls
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 
Originally appeared in Tunnel Vision
8 / 10
main rooms separated by levels
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 
Originally appeared in Split the Difference
9 / 10
a creative apartment renovation in tokyo
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 
Originally appeared in This Shape-Shifting Apartment Lets an Architect Work from Home
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The studio’s redwood siding was milled from trees salvaged from a road-widening project in Sonoma County, California. The hardware, “two-hundred dollars’ worth of stainless-steel screws,” says Deeds, was purposefully left exposed as an architectural detai
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.

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