Downsizing doesn’t always mean a reduction in design possibilities; far from it, in fact. Making something out of nothing – or at least, making something that feels big out of a small space – can be one of the greatest design challenges of all, but also one of the most satisfying to complete. As those who have lived in flats or houses with limited floor space will know, there’s nothing quite like the sense of fulfilment that comes with stumbling across a sofa that’s just the right width for that one particular area in your home that will just about fit it, or discovering the perfect vintage screen to transform one room into two.
The good people at Tim Diekhans Architecture are clearly extremely familiar with these particular delights. Having created Loft Box117, they know a thing or two about making the most out of what they’ve got. This compact apartment in Berlin is an entirely open-plan space where literally everything except the toilet itself is out on display. Perhaps rather strangely, there would actually be space for the apartment to be divided up into rooms, albeit fairly small ones; so the decision to make it into an oversized studio was not one made out of necessity. But it certainly makes the space seem broader, less claustrophobic than it might otherwise be, and above all brighter. See for yourself below.
This angle is probably the one that comes closest to offering a full view of the apartment, although part of the living area is concealed around the far corner. There’s still plenty to look at from here, though. On the right-hand side of the photo we can see the bathing and showering area, partially hidden behind that low white dividing wall; then the sleeping area directly in front; then, moving our view across to the left-hand side, we come to the dining area and, behind it, the kitchen; and finally, in the very background, the beginnings of the living room are just visible.
This is literally just that; an area in which to sleep. To call it a bedroom would certainly be an overstatement. And yet the bed is big and comfy, there are lamps just where you need them and the occupants will never have to worry about tidying this space, because there’s nothing to tidy.
Only one person, or a couple who were 100% comfortable with sharing absolutely everything, could live in this apartment. Bathing and showering become public acts here. Only a glass door stands between the shower and the bed, and the bathtub is barely concealed behind its little wall.
Around the corner are the kitchen and the dining area. Both are modestly outfitted in the basic, understated style one would expect based on the rest of the apartment. What seems like acres of blank white wall remain uninterrupted here, with tiling in the kitchen kept to a bare minimum – and kept white, of course.
The permanent furniture here consists only of a sofa, armchair, coffee table, rug and fireplace. The most essential living room essentials. This shot also happens to show off those wonderful ceiling lights, so perfect for the space, to their best advantage.
Another angle of the living room gives a better sense of its stripped-back furnishings; more importantly, however, it gives us a really good look at the huge windows and broad French doros that let so much light diffuse throughout the entire apartment.