A living room, a dining room, a bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchen, laundry closet, mechanical closet, clothes closet, home office, television; in an 600 square feet apartment. And make it spacious and uncluttered. And filled with light. In other words, make the seemingly impossible, reality.
The first step towards a viable solution was a matter of definition, literally and figuratively, when we dispensed with the notion of rooms in favor of function within the larger context of space. The client’s desired use of the space was key to the design solution. An attorney who alternated between cities, this would be his primary workspace in Washington, therefore he required a fully equipped office space. This any many specific use requirements emerged and incorporated in the design.
Architecturally, the space is subdivided in five zones, each of which has primary and secondary functions. These are:
1. Entry, kitchen, dining
2. Bathroom, laundry, mechanical
3. Living, workspace, storage and library
Small spaces tend to be claustrophobic and dark; therefore most walls and doors were removed to maximize the amount of natural light in the space. The choice of materials and finishes was kept to a minimum and used throughout. The resulting continuity gives the illusion of larger space. Every element in the space is both functional and architectural. Full height cabinetry enhances the height of the space, which at times slightly higher than the minimum code requirements because of existing ductwork and sprinkler lines. In the living/workspace, built-in cabinetry maximizes the use of the demising wall, supports the functions and provides architectural interest.
Furniture is kept to a minimum, color is used architecturally, and large pieces of art were selected to occupy key focal points. This design represents a paradigm shift in which bigger is better. Carefully designed small spaces provide everything needed to live comfortably. This apartment represents key components of sustainability in the context of residential architectural interiors: reduce and reuse.
Photos by Geoffrey Hodgdon