Dwell’s Top 10 Small Spaces of 2017

Dwell’s Top 10 Small Spaces of 2017

By Dwell
Small but mighty, these compact dwellings prove that limited square footage doesn't preclude great design.

As people continue to pour into crowded metropolitan areas, residents are feeling the squeeze. A modestly sized apartment doesn't have to make for a boring home, however, as demonstrated by our most popular small spaces of the year. Listed below, these ingenious designs show how residences as small as 194 square feet can be bright, modern, and comfortable. Take a look at the small spaces that made the biggest impact this year. 

10. Smart Storage Systems Maximize Tiny Budapest Studio Apartment

Budapest design studio POSITION Collective employs clever storage solutions, including a wardrobe rack, modular walls, and a storage-filled bed, in order to maximize functional space.  Though the 323-square-foot studio is now being leased out on a long-term basis, the clients had originally wanted to turn the small apartment into a stylish and memorable space for design-loving travelers visiting Budapest.

In Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood, where space is tight and the cost of a home averages close to $1,000 per square foot, architect Chris Greenawalt of Bunker Workshop dug up some room for a minuscule apartment. See what he was able to do with a little excavation.

House in Suwamachi is a minimal residence located in Tokyo, Japan, designed by Kazuya Saito Architects. The site is narrower than most, and are sandwiched between two busy roads, as well a railroad tracks. As a result, the architects wanted to limit line of sight, noise, and wind. The result is an interior with high-ceilings in order to open up the space and maintain natural light, as well as an airy entrance area.

A lesson in efficiency, this flexible, 237-square-foot apartment in Slovakia uses custom-made storage and furniture to its full advantage.In Trnava, Slovakia, a young couple enlist local studio Minimalic to renovate a small space with a budget of €15,000, or about $17,400.  The emphasis lies on simple, natural materials that are easy to clean: poured concrete floors that are painted white, natural oak veneer wardrobes, cement-bonded particle board, and a Cor-Ten steel entry door and shower.

Along a cul-de-sac in the densely populated Vietnamese capital of Ho Chi Minh City, a 194-square-foot plot slotted tightly between two other buildings becomes the site for a family's bright and lofty home. Created by KHUÔN Studio in collaboration with architect Phan Khac Tung, this compact home broke the convention of being built around a single vertical core. Instead, it works around the site's height restrictions to create three floors (a mezzanine level, reading loft, and terrace). 

A tiny apartment in a Hong Kong high rise is named Mini Tree House Residence after its little lofted bedroom.
Located in the residential neighborhood of Ho Man Tin in Kowloon, Hong Kong, this apartment was designed with a box-loft bedroom that's suspended above the main living and dining area. The little nook looks out to views of tree canopies along the hillside where the condominium is sited.

A software engineer outfits his tiny apartment with flexible design ideas.  Max’s modestly scaled loft, for which he designed and made many of the furnishings, sits on the top floor of a 1908 building that went condo in 2006, offering homeowners a no-frills berth in the heart of San Francisco’s downtown. Just outside the front door awaits a dizzying array of shops, theaters, and corporate offices, including Twitter’s, as well as a robust population of street denizens. 

Following the influential saying adopted by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, "less is more," this Hong Kong apartment taps into the principles of origami by using highly structured and angular plywood features to make a simple yet elegant design statement. Designed by Hong Kong-based practice MNB Design Studio, the living area of this 780-square-foot apartment has a large, multifunctional plywood-and-wood veneer wall that's linked to two sliding doors—one that opens to a storage room and another that opens to the kitchen.

In the heart of Poblenou, a neighborhood in Barcelona that was once the epicenter of industry in the 19th century, rising real estate prices mean that people are finding better ways to maximize small apartments.  One such apartment is Poblenou in 3 acts. Like a play that unfolds in three scenes, this 807-square-foot apartment is divided into three functional zones that each have their own story to tell. 

After living for four years in a small, dark apartment in the Palermo section of Buenos Aires, architect Hernán Landolfo and his girlfriend, Lucia Gentile, were looking for a new home where they could eventually start a family.  They had rejected a number of options when they found an opportunity they couldn’t resist: an apartment on Melián Avenue in Belgrano R, a residential district characterized by British architecture, thanks to its proximity to the railways and train station, which were built mainly by English immigrants. 

To see more of our Top 10 lists, click here.


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