Micro-apartment redesigned like a 'toolbox' in heritage building (Video)

Never Too Small
Video screen capture Never Too Small

There have been a number of green-minded projects coming out of Melbourne, Australia -- from tall, cross-laminated timber towers to thoughtful preservation projects that convert older buildings into new micro-residences.

From Never Too Small, we get a look into this charming, minimalist redo of a 24-square-metre (258 square feet) apartment in an Art Deco building known as the Cairo Flats. Originally constructed in 1935 by architect Best Overend, it demonstrated the minimum flat concept, which which "[provided] maximum amenity in minimum space for minimum rent" and featured transformer furniture and the newest appliances of the era. In his renovation of what is his own residence here in Cairo Flats, architect Nicholas Agius has refined the concept further, adding a integrated kitchen unit that functions almost like a "toolbox." Watch:

Never Too SmallNever Too Small/Video screen capture

Never Too Small© Never Too Small

Dubbed Fitzroy, Agius' redesign keeps more distinct zones rather than having one big multipurpose space, which suited him and his partner and his dog better:

I was interested in creating a suite of different spaces, rather than completely clearing out wall and doors and turning it into one big space, and to draw focus on the existing details of the building, which I didn't want my design to compete or overtake. I wanted to complement [these existing details].

Never Too SmallNever Too Small/Video screen capture

The hidden kitchen is one point of major focus in the design: conceived as a toolbox that opens up, and built with farmhouse-inspired structural system, it opens up to reveal a sink, gas-burner stove, oven, an overhead dish-drying rack and storage.

Nicholas Agius Architects© Nicholas Agius Architects

Never Too SmallNever Too Small/Video screen capture

Never Too SmallNever Too Small/Video screen capture

Never Too SmallNever Too Small/Video screen capture

Intriguingly, one of the walls swings open, while the other slides out to the side, becoming a mobile partition that stores books on the other side and closes off the adjacent bedroom. Thanks to the high ceilings, the bedroom has a picture rail above, creating a cozy space for slumber.

Never Too SmallNever Too Small/Video screen capture

Never Too SmallNever Too Small/Video screen capture

Never Too SmallNever Too Small/Video screen capture

The lounge is also cozy; the balcony windows face north so there's plenty of sunlight year-round (remember, this is the southern hemisphere, so optimal sun orientation is the opposite of what it would be here in the northern hemisphere).

Never Too SmallNever Too Small/Video screen capture

The lovely bathroom retains its original 1930s layout, with a dressing room area to one side.

Never Too SmallNever Too Small/Video screen capture

Never Too SmallNever Too Small/Video screen capture

Never Too SmallNever Too Small/Video screen capture

Aguis kept the materials palette as minimal and as continuous as possible throughout the apartment to keep it visually clean and uncluttered. Despite the small space, it feels like a cohesive whole that functions smoothly and comfortably. To see more, visit Nicholas Agius Architects.

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