As our largest cities grow more dense, residents across the globe are turning the keys to smaller homes, and with it, embracing the limitations of a reduced floor plan with endless creativity.
Pretty Small presents some of the innovative ways contemporary city-dwellers are setting up their spaces of solitude. A pub, a hotel, an office - at 150 years old, the Kings Arm Hotel in North Melbourne had many incarnations before IOA Studio was commissioned to turn it into a home. The brief: to transform the old, unloved building into a highly individual three-bedroom home that would act as a backdrop for the resident’s collection of mid-century modern furniture. The project was highly collaborative, with friends and family enlisted to help rip out sterile office fittings. In the process, they uncovered layers of history and many relics from the building’s previous iterations; from cracked plaster, to Oregon wood beams and bluestone lintels, all of which were absorbed into the house’s new form.
“Small spaces make you work a lot harder to achieve the feeling of space,” the architect says. “They demand an intimate knowledge of the site…As the space within is so precious, no part of the project can be left out.” Curved walls were key to hollowing out space, while stripping back the ceiling lining exposed the gable roof. This allowed enough room to create a third floor and bring extra height to the mezzanine.
The architect was particularly proud of the innovations forced by the limitations of the space, such as a pull-out kitchen bench made from recycled Blackbutt flooring, and a hidden reading area. Colors and textures delineate different zones, with green and gray concrete floors downstairs in the kitchen and living areas - which can be separated by a velvet curtain - and seagrass carpeting used for the upstairs floors and ceilings. “We used the small space to our advantage to create warmer, cozier living spaces,” says the architect, “while using the colors of the Australian bush to transform a sterile office into an exciting and unique place to be.”
From the best ways to manage storage, to adapting rooms for use at various times of the day, Pretty Small showcases the many opportunities homeowners have in becoming inventive with their space. Providing both inspiration and guidance on anything from hidden storage compartments, to ingenious bike mounts, and everything that lives in between - discover how design can deliver big comforts even in smaller spaces.