Designing small spaces can be tough and often might even seem impossible. With professional space planning and forethought though, the tiniest space can become functional and eye-catching.
In this article let me show you how we transformed a twenty-five square meter, two-bedroom condo unit in Quezon City to be functional for a family of three (and occasional guests).
It all began when I met the homeowners, Zeus and Koala, who were both working abroad at that time, through my Instagram page: KDG.Interiors. We hit it off from the start. I appreciated their effort in seeking professional help to design their unit, but I appreciated them even more for trusting me with the design and the design process.
When I first saw their unit, there was a big concrete wall that separated the
living/dining area from the bedroom (refer to picture insert). The only space for the TV was by a wall between the kitchen and the bathroom — an area which was about 80 centimeters wide. To be fair, I believe that the property developer designed the space very well in that they maximized light and ventilation the best way they could. The concrete wall was not floor to ceiling. There was space from the ceiling to let some light in from the bedroom window. They even thought about a dedicated laundry area in the bathroom.
Here is the typical floor plan of a two-bedroom unit side by side with the layout tailor-fit for Zeus and Koala
As a designer, I always find ways to improve the space. I always think about my clients and obviously want the best for them. I make it a point to interview and ask them what they need, what they want, and ask about their lifestyle. Zeus and Koala’s requirements were simple: a clean design, with lots of storage; and to maximize the unit space for them and their baby. They also needed additional sleeping areas for whatever family members/friends would come over.
The first thing that we did to achieve this was to demolish the unwieldy concrete wall that separated the baby’s bedroom and the living area and replace it with a sliding glass partition. This helped extend the bedroom into the living area when needed. We installed curtains in the bedroom for privacy.
We were able to let more natural light and ventilation in the unit. Natural light is beneficial to our health as it helps us be more productive, happier, healthier, and calmer. Natural light also helps make the home cleaner as it reduces the amount of mildew and mold growth. Plus, it also gives energy-saving benefits!
We were able to fit the baby’s room with a crib and some drawers under a bunk bed! Beside all of this is a tall cabinet for all the baby’s essentials, as well as a futon. Since the room opens up to the living/dining area—it is very convenient for Zeus and Koala to take care and watch over their baby.
For the master’s bedroom we replaced the swing-in door to a sliding barn door This way, we were able to sneak in more usable space. We installed shelves for the couple’s collection of mugs. We also installed a shoe cabinet where the door used to swing.
An optimized bedroom needs a bed, a side table, a writing desk, and cabinets. Imagine that we were able to put all of these and more in just about 7sqm of space! The vanity functions as a side table and a writing desk. For convenience, we installed wall sconces with dimmers and a reading light.
We installed textured wallpaper for beter acoustics. This also made the room cozier! Consider a unifying color to make the room look bigger. Go for plain bed sheets for a cluter-free look!
The kitchen had about 3sqm of space to work with. The property developer designed this so well that we just changed the cabinet doors, installed additional drawers for cutleries and installed subway tiles for backsplash. We used white palete as a way to create the perception of a cleaner and larger space. Subway tile is a classic choice for a kitchen backsplash. Its glazed finish makes it stain-resistant, easy to clean, and reflects light.
A little over 5 sqm served as our canvas for a living room, dining room, home office, and guest room. We relocated the TV from the 80cm wide wall to the wall beside the main door. This way, the TV could be viewed from multiple angles. The TV of choice was also large enough that it can even be viewed from the kid’s bedroom.
The secret to all of this is to make use of multi-functional furniture. In the living room, we used a regular height table so that this area functions as both living and dining space. We also placed a sofa and ottomans here for seating.
Behind the sofa was a narrow table that serves as the home office where the couple can do their work. We partnered this table with ghost chairs. Because the chairs are transparent, it helps make this area look less cluttered and larger.
Aside from having multi-functional spaces, the furniture here works double time! Behind the TV wall is a narrow shelf for brooms to be kept.
The ottoman in the living/dining area as well as the one in the master’s bedroom functions as additional storage space.
The sofa can be converted into a sofa bed. The dining table has a drawer for cutleries and table napkins.
The master bedroom’s queen size bed has drawers on the sides for storing extra blankets and sheets! A futon function as both lounge chair and single bed.
Shoe Racks were also added in various places for added storage.
Hiring a licensed interior designer helps maximize a space; but living in small spaces is a lifestyle that needs to be fully understood. There are many tips and tricks a licensed designer can utilize, but after the construction work is done, it is always up to the homeowners on how to maintain the space. Having the desire of reducing one’s footprint on the environment, recognizing what is valuable, cherishing the few things that matter, and conscientiously tidying up greatly helps! Being based abroad, this is the lifestyle that Zeus and Koala espouse. D+C
WORDS: IDr. Peaches de Guzman Grey
IMAGES: Owen Reyes