Inside Treehouse & Cabin Turn Brooklyn Loft Into Two-Bedroom Space

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Photos: Shawn Connell and Katz Chiao

When confronted with a large open loft space, one's initial reaction may be to use walls or dividers to divvy up the space. Not so for architects Deborah and Terri Chiao of New York and Philadelphia-based design and research collaborative Katz Chiao. The pair eschewed the wall and turned a residential loft in Brooklyn into an intimate haven by building in an elevated treehouse and cabin, still leaving enough shared space for an open kitchen, dining/work area and mini-gardens.


With an irregular floor plan as the starting point, the concept centers around creating a "house within a house" -- or more accurately, a micro-house within a house. Each cabin has its own storage space: for the treehouse, it's below, and for the cabin, it's a hanging rack for clothes that's located out 'front'. According to their website:

The cabins are located in a former textile factory building with exposed brick walls and large windows. Rather than building floor-to-ceiling walls to divide the apartment into two bedrooms, the pitched roof of the cabin and elevated floor of the treehouse maintain the openness and character of the loft while also allowing sunlight to fill the entire space. As a result, living in the space can feel like living outdoors, in a small community of two houses. Windows in the cabin and treehouse ventilate the rooms and offer views to the rest of the apartment. The large entrances to both cabins, set slightly back from the building's windows, look out to the sky and down the street.

The results speak for themselves: instead of cordoning off areas, what we have here is simple, flexible and attractive. Like other micro-houses and multi-purpose transformer apartments we've covered, by adding these mini-houses within a house, the architects are able to get more functionality out of the available floor space, while creating more interesting and useful spaces in the process.