News Home & Design Simple Space-Saving Solutions Expand This Rooftop Micro-Apartment A tiny 176-square-foot apartment in Beirut gets a simple but effective makeover. By Kimberley Mok Writer McGill University Cornell University Kimberley Mok is a former architect who covered architecture and the arts for Treehugger starting in 2007. our editorial process Twitter Twitter Kimberley Mok Published April 6, 2021 04:58PM EDT Marwan Harmouch Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices Renting an affordable place to stay while traveling to a popular destination can be a challenge, especially if one is looking to stay in a well-situated spot with ample access to amenities and activities. With the advent of online sharing platforms like Airbnb, it's gotten easier to find unique and affordable accommodations all over the world. Of course, there's a not-so-great flip-side to the Airbnb phenomenon. But, on the other hand, it does allow regular homeowners to earn some extra rental income on the side and can help boost the local economy. In Beirut, Lebanon, local architect Elie Metni was hired by a client looking to reconfigure an existing apartment into a compact and minimalist short-term accommodation. Located on the top floor of a period building in the city's historic Achrafieh district, the originally cramped apartment has been transformed into an airy and multifunctional space that can sleep two people, or allow for entertaining up to five people. As Metni explains on Dwell: "The intention was to create a powerful sense of pleasure, simplicity, ease, and efficiency in a 176-square-foot layout. The final design was a sort of response to what Beirut needed at that time — a counter-reaction to the chaos happening around us." Aptly nicknamed The Shoebox, Metni explains that the new scheme involves the installation of a variety of easy-to-use, built-in furniture pieces that serve more than one function: "Knowing that the Shoebox would be on Airbnb, the challenge was to make the space's different functions clear to visitors. I wanted to turn what is usually uncomfortable about a space into an unforgettable experience." To achieve that simplicity, Metni opted for a bright palette of materials and colors and arranged furniture toward the sidewalls, creating a space that feels less cluttered and more open. In addition, the micro-apartment's top-floor location and access to an outdoor terrace helps to expand the interior further beyond its four walls. There's also no mystery as to how each piece of multipurpose furnishing is to be used. For instance, there's the double bed that occupies one end of the apartment, which has a pull-out bin and open storage cabinets integrated underneath. Marwan Harmouch There are convenient electrical outlets integrated on ledges on both sides of the bed for guests to charge their electronics or place their belongings. Marwan Harmouch And of course, there's lots of natural daylighting and a great view out of the picture window at the foot of the bed. Metni notes: "One of the features that I really like is how bright the apartment is. Waking up in the morning and looking at Beirut's skyline throughout the panoramic window is super." Marwan Harmouch Right beside the bed is a desk for people to work from if needed, and it's also equipped with some cubbies and ledges to stash things. Slots have been cut into the rear part of the desk to make way for cables and chargers as well. Instead of a closet or a wardrobe, a space-saving rack has been attached to the ceiling so that guests can hang their clothes, without taking up too much space. Marwan Harmouch Like the bed, the built-in sofa also has integrated storage underneath. Across from the sofa, the addition of a television furniture unit and overhead cabinets allows for even more storage space. Marwan Harmouch The small kitchenette has a sink, mini-refrigerator, two-burner induction stovetop, washing machine, cabinets, and shelving — enough for a couple of visitors to cook and dine in if needed. Marwan Harmouch The compact kitchen also features a small table that has a convenient flip-out extension and a cube-shaped stool that can be pulled out to expand the dining space. Marwan Harmouch Interestingly, glass is the material chosen for the door to the bathroom. This helps to create visual continuity from the main space into the bathroom, without compromising privacy. Marwan Harmouch Inside the bathroom, a series of full-height frosted glass windows let in lots of natural light, which reflects off the room's big white square tiles, creating a space that feels larger. Marwan Harmouch By inserting some simple space-saving interventions, this tiny apartment has been completely transformed, making it perfect for guests seeking a bright haven overlooking a bustling city. To see more, visit Elie Metni and on Instagram, or rent this micro-apartment via Airbnb.