News Home & Design Two Designers Convert Small Villa Apartment Into Multifunctional Home Everything they need is here in this efficiently revamped space. By Kimberley Mok Kimberley Mok Twitter Writer McGill University Cornell University Kimberley Mok is a former architect who has been covering architecture and the arts for Treehugger since 2007. Learn about our editorial process Published May 25, 2022 02:00PM EDT Fact checked by Katherine Martinko Fact checked by Katherine Martinko Twitter University of Toronto Katherine Martinko is an expert in sustainable living. She holds a degree in English Literature and History from the University of Toronto. Learn about our fact checking process Share Twitter Pinterest Email Never Too Small News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive Smaller living spaces can often present a challenge for people who live in them. Such spaces are typically more affordable in cities where the cost of living is increasing, but it can be tricky to make them work for their inhabitants. Often, one needs to get creatively clever in order to make sure there is enough storage or to ensure there is a good flow and integration between all the things that might be needed to make it livable, such as having a designated space for sleeping, eating, and cooking. One solution is to make furnishings serve more than one function, in addition to integrating the outdoors with the indoors, and carefully planning and using every single square inch. These are some of the strategies that were used by Barcelona, Spain-based designers Diana Martin and Max Enrich, who converted a cramped, old villa apartment into a well-designed small space that they and their dog can call home. We get a tour of this thoughtfully renovated residence via Never Too Small: Martin, who is a creative director and copywriter, and Enrich, who is a furniture and object designer, have meticulously tailored the space to fit their daily routines and tastes. The villa where the small apartment is located actually dates back to the 1930s and is a conglomeration of six separate apartments, each named after their former owners. Villa Monserrat's 484-square-foot (45 square meter) footprint has now been completely transformed by Martin and Enrich, who demolished all the old partitions to open up the interior. Never Too Small The interior, which once had separate rooms for each function, now has all the various zones seamlessly integrated into one main living space. Here we can find a place to sit, a home office, a place to cook and do laundry, as well as various nooks to store and display design objects that the couple collects. Never Too Small Starting with the entryway, which is defined by pale blue walls, we have here a spot to hang up coats. The couple decided to make a cut-out in the door, in order to let more natural light in. Never Too Small Stepping in further inside, we see a mustard-yellow wall that acts as a place to put the television, in addition to prominently displaying various design objets-d'art here. An open set of shelves serves as the couple's library, as well as a way to give more visual privacy from the entry area. The lower built-in cabinets are also places to store more books and objects. Never Too Small In the center of the main living space, we have a custom-designed couch that has a lower profile, so that it doesn't block the flow between the different zones. Never Too Small Behind the couch, we have a long counter that can fold up or down, if more counter space is needed in the kitchen. Never Too Small The kitchen occupies most of the other wall and features white cabinetry above and below. There is a small sink here, as well as an induction cooktop and a dishwasher hidden behind one of the white cabinet doors. Never Too Small Every square inch of usable space has been filled here, as we can see with the kitchen extending over to the nook on the other side of this wall. A small refrigerator and oven can be found here, in addition to a laundry space tucked behind a door set under the stairs. Never Too Small To the right, there is a small work area that has the same "design language" as the kitchen, allowing it to blend in seamlessly with the rest of the elements on this side of the apartment. The desk has a glass top that allows the couple to display their intriguing collection of antique scissors. Never Too Small Beyond the main living space, we have the bedroom, which can be closed off with some sliding doors. Never Too Small The bedroom has a generous amount of storage for clothing and shoes, all located along one wall. Never Too Small The other side of the bedroom is actually where one can find the bathroom. The couple chooses to seamlessly integrate the spaces to let more natural light in, as the shower has an automated skylight, and the sink has a window above it. Never Too Small But there's more: back into the main living space, at the other end, we have the glass-walled enclosure where the dining table sits. This clever setup allows more sunlight to come into the ground floor apartment, as well as giving the impression of a larger living space. Never Too Small Going outside and up the stairs, we arrive at the rooftop terrace, which the couple uses almost year-round. Equipped with custom-made furnishings and plenty of plants, it has been redone in a way so that it feels like another "small house" that allows the couple to extend their living space into the outdoors. Never Too Small As the couple explains, cities would be better served by rehabilitating older buildings such as the one they currently live in, which is also greener than building anew: "Barcelona has its expansion limited by its geographical context. There are still plenty of small spaces to be refurbished to make more housing for people. We think these inner city dwellings are suitable for couples, young families, and even the elderly. For the moment, it is just the two of us living here, and [our dog] Bilma, of course. This villa has everything we need, in a small space."