Houzz Tour: Ingenious Built-in Furniture Maximises a Small Flat
This apartment has all the features of a much bigger space thanks to multi-functional units and clever design thinking
Encouraged by a couple of friends who happen to be interiors professionals, the couple chose the second option and bought a maisonette made up of two studios on different floors that had been joined together. It was then up to architect Elodie Gaschard of Atelier Miel and interior designer Mickaël Martins Afonso to turn the apartment into a comfortable, high-functioning home.
Who lives here? A young couple who are first-time buyers
Location In the heart of the historic centre of Bordeaux, France
Size 52 sq m
Date of work 2014
Designer Mickaël Martins Afonso
Architect Elodie Gaschard of l’Atelier Miel
Project budget €140,000 (around £121,000)
Photos by Mickaël Martins Afonso
The flat is in a building made of local stone in the centre of the historic city of Bordeaux. The previous owner had created the maisonette by illegally joining two 26 sq m spaces on the building’s first and second floors – the legal issues have since been addressed.
The young couple fell in love with the home’s location and bright interior, which gets light from 10 windows on two sides of the building.
The first storey houses the open-plan kitchen and living room. A wooden staircase leads to the bedroom and bathroom on the second floor. Both spaces have the same configuration: a rectangular room with three large windows, and two small, box-shaped spaces – with their own windows – on two sides.
Inspired by this unusual layout, the pros proposed taking advantage of every nook and cranny to recreate, on a smaller scale, all the rooms one might find in a normal house.
“It was so small that we decided to build everything into it, including the furniture,” Mickaël says. “The constraint of limited space guided us towards the solutions we needed, helping us to come up with new ways to use the space.”
The choice of finishing materials was also crucial, since they had to place an order for 200 sq m of panels. They selected a solid rubberwood glulam (engineered wood), which is useful for its stability, mechanical qualities and, of course, lower cost.
The storage units above the work surface are cantilevered. “To prove they were properly secured, I lay down on top of them on the day the project was delivered,” Mickaël says with a smile.
Behind the kitchen, blinds conceal the entrance to the tiny utility room located in one of the two protrusions of the original room.
Made of pale wood and MDF dyed black to the core, this unit combines the functions of a bookcase, TV cabinet, storage area and dining table, and even extends into an office. A 55in flatscreen TV is concealed behind the doors of the four central modules.
Inside, four large, 90cm-deep drawers provide ample storage space. Cables and electrical outlets are hidden between the platform and the bookcase.
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The plasterwork banister that extends from the boxing of the extractor fan connects to the lower, wooden banister with a tidy recessed joint.
The door frame, threshold and all wooden bathroom features – such as this stool pictured here, designed by Mickaël himself – are made of chestnut.