This apartment's built-in 'function wall' maximizes a small space by incorporating sleeping, sitting and storage.
One of the best ways to make a small living space feel much bigger is to hide any visual clutter, and to incorporate built-in storage to create a more seamless look. In redesigning a 322-square-foot, 1920s Art Deco studio apartment in Sydney, Australia, designer Nicholas Gurney goes for the ultra-contemporary look, inserting a minimalist, metal-clad bed-and-storage unit, which keeps the interior space more open and flexible. Watch this short tour via Never Too Small:
As Gurney explains in the video, much of the original layout of the Tara apartment was kept in the new scheme, but updated with a new look and with some extra functionality added. Incidentally, the client was inspired by the compact, transforming New York LifeEdited apartment of TreeHugger founder Graham Hill.
Instead of having a bulky, static bed in the corner, the star of the show is this custom-made wall unit, or "function wall" that encompasses shelving, cabinetry, and space for an interchangeable fold-down bed and sofa. The whole thing is clad with a subtle layer of easy-to-maintain metal, which lends it a sleek and modern look when combined with the white walls and light-coloured oak flooring. Gurney writes:
Utility is entirely concealed and has been shifted to the perimeter walls to create a large, central circulation space and to ensure the view to the window is completely unencumbered. The bed and sofa are a single, adaptable unit.
There is only one window in this part of the apartment, and to maximize and reflect that light further into the apartment, Gurney chose to use a durable, white-coloured counter for the kitchen. To give the illusion of a wrap-around corner window, as well as a "giant lantern" effect, there are bright lights installed over the stove area. All appliances are compact-sized and deliberately hidden from view.
The bathroom also has its own window, and to "borrow light" from this room for the main living area, a frosted glass door is used. The bathroom has been covered with the same tiles, to make it look much larger than it really is. The shower has a concealed strip light to illuminate and enlarge it.
The redesign seems simple, but a lot of care has gone into refining the details to make it a cohesive and attractive space -- something that is vital in ensuring that older buildings are preserved and readapted with long-term sustainability in mind, rather than going through the energy- and resource-intensive process of building new, says Gurney:
The apartment overall presents as a very simple solution, but in fact, there's a great deal of consideration that goes into getting all of the details right... It's very important to make use of existing building stock and improve upon that so that people are comfortable living in our cities.