To minimize material and visual clutter in a small space, creating recesses for lighting or storage is a handy solution.
Copenhagen-based architect Martin Kallesø was tasked with a simple program: create a freestanding guest room so that visitors have a private place to lay their heads. The interior is small, but comfortable. It fits a double bed, coffee table, and chair. The bed is recessed into the wall so as not to waste any space.
Boston-based photographer, Kent Dayton acquired a partially built-out 1,500-square-foot loft with the intention of consolidating his life and work. With plumbing fixtures, concrete floors, and ceilings firmly in place, architect Michael Grant devised a plan that, through the clever use of transformable elements and mass-produced materials, fulfilled both Dayton’s needs and Grant’s notion of an urban Usonian. Grant explains that the recessed orange wall with built-in storage shelving is a counterpoint to the view of Boston in the opposite direction.
Like many apartments in early 20th-century row houses, architect Philip Ryan’s Brooklyn abode was the epitome of spatial inefficiency before reconfiguring the space. “If you put a lot of small things into a small space, it can feel twice as small,” Ryan says. “If you have an object with heft and mass, it makes everything feel larger. It seems contradictory, but it works.” This philosophy inspired space-saving techniques throughout the apartment, including the quirky window sill flowerpot recess.
Graphically inclined Parisian, Mathieu Vinciguerra’s comic book collection is massive, and when he purchased his first apartment in 2007, at age 28, he knew it would be a challenge to accommodate them. H2O Architectes used curvy cutouts in the space’s central column to draw the eye around its corners. A clever recessed cupboard conceals the TV screen.
In Auckland, New Zealand, architect Michael O’Sullivan and his partner Melissa Schollum braved a miniscule budget, withering looks from friends, and nasty nail-gun injuries to design and build their perfectly proportioned family home. O’Sullivan spent many hours creating the wooden joinery and the intricate ceiling. The cedar weatherboard ceiling in the living pavilion features triangular recesses for lightbulbs.
A minimalist approach to design can make spaces feel thoughtful, bright, and more spacious than they really are—qualities that are paramount to a recent project in Poznań by Polish architecture firm mode:lina. The architects employed several tricks to make the home feel more spacious. Among them, mirrors were installed to visually enlarge the room, and smart storage spaces—even a recessed dog house—were built directly into the home’s walls.