This Madrid Home Morphs From Studio to Two-Bedroom Apartment With the Push of a Finger

A Madrid couple make the most of just 750 square feet with movable walls and furniture.

In Madrid, Spain, local business owners Gerardo and Pilar decided to downsize and renovate an apartment they owned next door to Gerardo’s well-known restaurant in the Barrio de las Letras neighborhood. With Pilar’s son Guillermo finishing school and leaving to pursue a master’s degree abroad, the couple decided it was a practical time to downsize.

Cutting their living space in half was challenging enough (they were moving from a spacious apartment over 1,600 square feet in size), but the extremely compact city apartment had a host of other obstacles that would require creative problem solving. The space was long and narrow, with low ceilings and only four small, short windows facing the street. Because of this configuration, the entire apartment was severely light challenged, and it would be a critical objective to get light from the small front windows into the interior space.

Gerardo, who owns a restaurant in Madrid, and Pilar, the owner of a local bakery, both were passionate about having a top-of-the-line kitchen as the heart of the home.

The dining table folds out from the wall to provide cozy seating for two, and it can be further extended to accommodate larger dinner gatherings for up to eight.

Since natural light is limited, the design team favored a neutral, white palette throughout the apartment to maintain an airy and open feel.

A vibrant living wall brings nature and organic warmth into the space. An idea first proposed by the owners, the vertical garden was further designed and developed by Cónica Studio.

To come up with a creative design that would make the most of the challenging layout, the couple enlisted Madrid’s Enorme Studio. The team worked closely with Gerardo and Pilar, who they call "strategic partners." "They were really open and clever, and also confident that we could help them in getting the best out of such a difficult and limited space," says the Enorme team of their clients. After a year of planning and design work, the group arrived at an unconventional approach where almost all of the interior walls would rotate for ultimate functional flexibility.

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When closed, the wall adjacent to the central living room can create an additional bedroom.

When the bedroom wall is kept open, the couple can enjoy the benefits of a more generously-sized living space.

Almost every wall of the apartment is movable, making the compact space exceptionally multifunctional. The mobile elements are set on small wheels, so they can be manually transformed in seconds.

Gerard and Pilar’s requirements for the space were two bedrooms—one for them, and one for when Guillermo came to visit—an open living space for parties and entertaining, and a top-of-the-line kitchen to accommodate their love of cooking. Perhaps most importantly, the couple wanted the flexibility to navigate between different use cases, so that the entire space could be kept open when not hosting guests or visitors. "The real change of the house is that it fits our needs, and not the other way around," explains the Enorme team.

The design team made the most of the tricky, long and narrow space, allowing it to function as a studio, a one-bedroom, or a two-bedroom apartment—with no single configuration being permanent.

The bedroom facing the street and adjacent to the home's only windows was a natural spot for Pilar's son Guillermo. Since Guillermo would only be visiting intermittently, the bedroom wall could be kept open most of the time, allowing unrestricted light to penetrate deep into the interior space.

Rejecting the excess of "empty rooms," space is only used when it is needed. The non-traditional approach to designing allows for a much more efficient and flexible treatment of a compact footprint.

Many of the essential elements required for modern living are tucked into the walls: desks, tables, TVs, ironing boards, and more.

The project, in its inception and design, was overwhelmingly experimental in nature. The way of viewing space as fluid instead of finite marks a shift in approach from more traditional building techniques. "It is a radical change in terms of attitude, philosophy, and state of mind. We’re convinced that this philosophy can make not only a tangible impact among traditionally built residences, but is a way of conceiving spaces that…[have] the power to improve our living standards," says the Enorme team. "Just as our lives change, our home changes with us."

One of two bathrooms is tucked into the back corner of the home. The bathroom walls are among the only permanent walls in the entire apartment.

The project took about a year to complete, with an overall cost of approximately €700,000.

The entire project hinged on the seamless functioning of the large movable elements, an integral design feature that was not without complications. When initially fabricated, the movable walls were rigid and heavy, requiring too much effort to move. The team had to re-engineer a harder wheel, which would not absorb as much friction from the floor.

The second of two bedrooms includes a hidden desk, a fold-out bed, and ample storage.

Furthermore, there is great potential for applications in dense urban areas. Space is scarce in highly populated cities, so packing increased function and livability into smaller spaces is a promising urban trend. "Cities need compact homes that consume less resources and optimize space to the maximum," emphasizes the Enorme team. For Gerardo and Pilar, they are happily able to enjoy the spacial benefits of a much larger apartment—all in only 750 square feet.

In the "open" configuration, everyday objects and possessions are hidden in clever storage modules.

In the "closed" configuration, dedicated space is given to two private sleeping quarters, with common living area in the middle.

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Enorme Studio / @enormestudio

Builder: Carpintería El Fuster

Civil Engineer: CARRSA

Landscape Design / Vertical Garden: Cónica Studio


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