Tiny Apartment by A Little Design

Located in Taipei, Taiwan, this tiny 190 sq ft apartment has been recently completed by A Little Design.

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After renovating the 22 m2 flat in Taipei, many people who own tiny living units have tried to contact us and made us realize that this type of living space is more general than what we acknowledged. The renovation project of the 10-year-old flat started in this context. The square footage of the flat is 17.6 m2 and net height is 3.4 m in the living space and 3m in the area of kitchen and bathroom due to the pipes under the upper floor. There is a concrete beam going through between to two parts, therefore, the condition is more restricted and challenging than the 22 m2 flat in horizontal and vertical dimensions.

For the nature of her job, the flat owner has frequent opportunities to live abroad for a long term with an allocated flat and come back to Taipei when having holidays or for demand of her work. Therefore, different from most people, saving commuting time when coming back to Taipei is her first consideration for a place to stay. The former occupant of this flat use it as a piano studio for teaching, therefore, locating in the convenient city center, it is not with the complete functions of a residence. Although the owner does not need a big flat, the 17.6 m2 unit is too small to have other living space and sufficient storage after placing a queen-size bed before it was redesigned. Besides, the bathroom was relatively big compared to the small square footage of the whole space and the kitchen lacked practicability for it was even too small to have space for a fridge.

In consequence, redistributing the proportion of all functions is the first step to renovate the flat. After the original position of kitchen and bathroom were exchanged, the entryway and kitchen come into a continuous space which increases the openness of the area. And the two solid walls of the kitchen provide adequate space for requisite equipment such as washing machine, fridge, and an electric stove, plus, the work surface is increased thus improves the practicability of the kitchen. The shelves and cupboards above and under the working surfaces could contain the commonly used kitchen and table wares while the higher cabinet provides extra storage for items for rarer use. On the other hands, the new location of the bathroom gives the humid space better ventilation and sufficient sunlight and the slightly reduced room is still adequate. The indent wall with shelves is used for storage and the sliding mirror door makes the bathroom more spacious and brighter visually.

In this flat, all functions are adjacent but clearly separated. For example, the stairs not only make the path to the sleeping mazarine but also increase the accessibility to the cabinets in the wall. Under the stairs, the higher part contains fridge and cupboard which extend the kitchen cabinets while the lower part provides the storage for the sofa area. The wardrobe demarcates the entryway and sofa area and comprises a space for dressing with the shoe cabinet. The sofa area behind the wardrobe is a small cozy corner which makes up the regret that not having a living room. The sofa could also be used as a single bed to host a guest and the deep drawers below complement the storage. The foldable table which could be adjusted in size provides working or dining function for the sofa area and storage for small stuff. The rise of the floor which is also a cabinet near the sofa resolve the obliquity of the stairs and the rise of the bathroom floor after moving the pipe. Then the book shelves, also a side table, make the sofa area a relaxing reading corner. The window originally extended to the ground, the adjustment of the height of the windowsill makes those functions mentions earlier possible. The beam which goes through the flat becomes the separator of service space and living space and the room under the beam is converted to wall cabinet and shapes a simple tabletop and drawer for the sleeping area at the end of the stairs.

The 22m m2 flat is a 20-year-old residence and 17.6 m2 flat was build more than 10 years ago. These small dwellings have been existing in the city for decades. However, prevalence of micro flats is not our answer for the high-housing-price issue in Taipei City but is the result of living issue’s long-term evolution and the tasks the clients bring to us. And before the issue is ameliorated we hope the attempt of design could provide some schemes and possibility for this living type.

Photography courtesy of A Little Design

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- by Matt Watts