Student's Micro-Loft is Redesigned Out of Historic Attic in Milan

An old attic space in a historical building is transformed into a cozy, functional 150-square-foot living space in Milan, Italy.

chambre de bonne micro loft nonestudio living space

Never Too Small

Older buildings in cities often have a storied, historical past that makes them great candidates for preservation and readaptation for new uses. In many cases, preservation is preferable to demolishing and constructing something from scratch, as we know that the greenest building is usually one that is already standing.

Città Studi (literally "studies city" in Italian) is one such historical neighborhood in Milan, Italy. In this area chock-full of universities, an older building has been converted into student apartments, one of which was redesigned by local architecture firm nonestudio – transforming an existing space that was cluttered and awkwardly laid out into one that is functional, clean, and open.

chambre de bonne micro loft nonestudio Sara Magni
Sara Magni

Dubbed Chambre de Bonne (or "maid’s room" in French), this 150-square-foot (14 square meters) tiny loft apartment is located in the attic of a historical building, which is typically used as a service space in Italy's traditional buildings. It has now been completely revamped to make a cozy, modern living space for a university student. One of nonestudio's architects, Giulia Menestrina, gives a detailed video tour of this clever micro-loft (via Never Too Small):

The architects explain their balanced approach to redoing the space:

"Our challenge was to create a cozy and functional apartment... without having to give up the comfort and pleasure of living, even if it is certainly a minimum one. We wanted to guarantee all the uses of an apartment with 'normal' dimensions: cooking, eating, relaxing, studying, working and sleeping. And we wanted every use to have its own dedicated space, in order to make every square centimeter important and useful."

The architects' new scheme involved moving the kitchen and wardrobe from the main space into the entrance area, in order to expand the living area more. Even though the entrance is barely larger than a walk-in closet, the kitchen still has a sink, portable stove, mini-refrigerator, microwave and even a washing machine, all on either side of the entrance zone. Some of the former kitchen equipment and materials have been reused, to keep in line with the studio's aim for a more sustainable design approach.

chambre de bonne micro loft nonestudio Never Too Small
Never Too Small

The closet has space for hanging clothes, integrated slide-out drawers and even a mirror.

chambre de bonne micro loft nonestudio Never Too Small
Never Too Small

Past the red curtain that separates the kitchen from the rest of the apartment, we enter into the main living space.

chambre de bonne micro loft nonestudio
Never Too Small

The loft's old ladder has been replaced with a dark metal staircase that has a skeletal, geometric design, which helps to create more openness and permanence. Materials like ash wood panels have been used to lend a sense of warmth and Japanese-inspired minimalism, while the floors have been painted in one color to unify all the spaces together.

chambre de bonne micro loft nonestudio
Never Too Small

Underneath the stairs is a multifunctional platform that serves as an upholstered sitting area, facing a wooden ledge and shelving. The platform also has a pocket for the sliding door leading into the bathroom. There's also a table that can fold up here, transforming the living room into a dining room for two.

chambre de bonne micro loft nonestudio
Never Too Small

The space is topped with its crowning feature: a motorized skylight that not only permits lots of sunlight to come in, but also opens up for fresh air, a must in any small space.

chambre de bonne micro loft nonestudio
 Never Too Small

The multifunctional platform also hides a number of generous storage drawers, some of which are used as steps that lead up to the geometric stair.

chambre de bonne micro loft nonestudio
Sara Magni

The bathroom itself isn't large, but has all the necessities: a sink, storage, toilet, a shower under the roofline. Everything is done in lighter colors, to help give an illusion of greater space.

chambre de bonne micro loft nonestudio bathroom
Never Too Small

The sleeping loft above is only 43 square feet (4 square meters), but has space for a full-sized bed, and a long storage element that's seemingly held in place by metal pieces linked to the staircase.

chambre de bonne micro loft nonestudio bedroom loft storage
Never Too Small

The designers wanted to have a bed that didn't need to be folded up and away every morning, to reduce the effort needed during daily routines. There's even a convenient charging point for gadgets here.

chambre de bonne micro loft nonestudio bedroom loft
 Never Too Small

This is a thoughtful redesign that adds much more functionality to a very small space. While such a tiny apartment won't be a fit for everyone, the architects point out that:

"In a dense city such as Milan, where the housing market is so overrated, giving a second life to this kind of small apartments is not only important, but also necessary. We have a lot of users, especially in this area, that do not spend a lot of time in their houses, according to their work or studying timetable. That fits perfectly the idea of designing a minimum space to their needs."

To see more, visit nonestudio and their Instagram.