Minimalist multi-use unit creates more intimate studio apartment in Sydney

Catseye Bay
© Catseye Bay

Most of us have probably been in small studio apartments where the bed might literally be a few feet away from the kitchen. That's the rub with small spaces; they tend to have everything happening in one space, with little delineation between different functions like sleeping, eating and work.

But with a bit of thoughtful wrangling, it's possible to reconfigure a tiny space to feel less cluttered and more like a home with defined and organized spaces. Sydney-based design studio Catseye Bay created this scheme for a 387-square-foot apartment in the city, epitomized by this custom-built, birch plywood centerpiece that not only acts as a partition, but also incorporates storage and hides a bed behind it.

Catseye Bay© Catseye Bay
Catseye Bay© Catseye Bay
Catseye Bay© Catseye Bay
Catseye Bay© Catseye Bay

Catseye Bay founder Sarah Jamieson explains on Dezeen her process for designing for small spaces:

Understanding in detail how you live in and use a space is always important. It becomes critical when designing a tiny space like this, where everything is happening on top of itself.

It's important to work out how to separate functions where necessary, or layer them, and make the experience of being in the space more nuanced, and delightful. Avoiding the 'what you see at first is all there is' syndrome common to one-room apartments, this studio now functions as a one bedroom living space, revealing its delights and small moments slowly, over time.

The slanted placement of this 6.5-foot high multipurpose furniture unit now defines an entry area that has a view into the kitchen to the right, and a workspace under the window to the left. In addition to echoing the building's existing Art Deco flavour, the unit's curved edges welcomes the eye and movement into the rest of the apartment.

Catseye Bay© Catseye Bay
Catseye Bay© Catseye Bay

On the other side of the unit is the bed, shelving and a built-in upholstered bench, creating a more sheltered place for sleeping and sitting, rather than in a totally exposed, open space.

Catseye Bay© Catseye Bay

A similar approach is taken with the kitchen's new curved counter, which serves as a prep and informal dining space.

Catseye Bay© Catseye Bay
Catseye Bay© Catseye Bay

We see so many modern spaces with hard angles that it's nice to see an ultra-minimal space with a bit of an old-school curve to it. But be it modern or old, multi-use furniture is one easy way to help partition off and repurpose a small space in a variety of ways, creating much more functionality. More over at Dezeen and Catseye Bay.

Tags: Apartments | Australia | renovation | Small Spaces | Sydney

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