News Home & Design Small Parisian Apartment Revamped With Clever Space-Saving Staircase A tiny studio apartment in Paris gets a much-needed makeover. By Kimberley Mok Kimberley Mok Twitter Writer McGill University Cornell University Kimberley Mok is a former architect who has been covering architecture and the arts for Treehugger since 2007. Learn about our editorial process Updated March 12, 2021 12:47PM EST Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process Share Twitter Pinterest Email Studio Beau Faire News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive Major cities around the world have an existing stock of older buildings that might be centrally located, but often have interiors that are in some state of disrepair. While some may say this is a chance to demolish outdated and inefficient structures and to build anew, others may argue that it's actually an opportunity to retrofit and renovate instead. That's because there's a lot of embodied carbon (also known as upfront carbon emissions) that are already "baked" into those old buildings during their initial construction, so in many cases it makes more environmental sense to preserve them, rather than build from scratch. In the thirteenth arrondissement (administrative district) of Paris, France, interior designer Sabrina Julien of Studio Beau Faire recently undertook the complete renovation of a 183-square-foot (17-square meter) apartment on Boulevard Arago. The existing space of this studio apartment was quite cramped, and consisted of a main living area that had a sleeping platform lofted above. There was a lot of old, mismatched tiling on the walls in the main living space, and the overall layout was awkward, with a tiny walled-off alcove serving as the kitchen space, and the ladder up the loft placed in an inconvenient spot. Studio Beau Faire To begin, Julien replaced the odd tiling with clean and brightly painted walls. With such a small space, it helps to create a sense of openness using lighter colors and to minimize any visual clutter on the walls and within the space. A modern gray couch was chosen to augment the sense of homey comfort, and the use of smaller pieces of furniture with slimmer profiles (such as the miniature coffee table) were used to further reduce clutter. Studio Beau Faire The star of the show, however, is the lovely metal-framed staircase leading up to the mezzanine. It feels more permanent and luxurious than the old rickety ladder, and it has a clever space-saving idea built into it: the last few steps have been constructed as a mobile wooden unit, which can be tucked away when it's not needed, and also doubles as a handy table and storage container. As Julien says: "[The staircase] is the heart of the project." Studio Beau Faire Nearer to the entrance, the previously problematic layout for the kitchen has been resolved by getting rid of one of the alcove's partitions, clearing a larger, continuous space for the kitchen. Now, there's generous counter space, as well as an actual stovetop and oven, a larger sink, and cabinets and drawers for storing food and other items. The darker color palette of the cabinetry here contrasts crisply with the pale-colored walls and wood flooring. Studio Beau Faire A compact, round dining table has been placed underneath the apartment's windows. Even the old radiator has been transformed into a little display shelf with the use of a wooden plank. Above that, a sliver of the apartment's bizarre tiled walls remains, displayed like a decorative piece of art. Studio Beau Faire The previous hinged door leading to the bathroom has been replaced with a much more space-efficient sliding door, which has translucent glass in it to let light in. Similarly, the opaque door leading out to the apartment's balcony has been swapped out for a glass door that lets much more natural light in. Studio Beau Faire Inside the bathroom, the itty-bitty sink from before has been exchanged for a larger one – with even more sink space freed up by installing the fixtures onto the wall. The shower stall has been opened up and upgraded with a built-in storage shelf, a glass door, and a tiny window up top, creating a much more well-lit bathing experience. Studio Beau Faire By skilfully making the most out of a tiny space, this cleverly designed project is a great example of how older buildings in many cities could be preserved, and instead revamped to better accommodate residents who want to remain close to their beloved cities. To see more, visit Studio Beau Faire and Instagram.