Making the most of the space we have when space is at a premium

Living in comfort in a large home with a garden and a dog and not-quite-a-picket-fence-but-you-get-the-reference, yes that’s the ideal. But starting out in a city which has widely been heralded as “the third most expensive city in the world” is no easy feat – especially when discovering that what would cover a months rent in my Uni city, barely covers a week in London for the same size space.

I’m not sure if it’s my interest in architecture or the fact I’m in the midst of attempting to find a flat that isn’t a cupboard and that I can actually afford, but seeing this tiny two-roomed apartment in Berlin (with an external toilet!) transformed by design team John Paul Coss and architecture studio Spamroom into a bright and airy and (most importantly) liveable space has made me wonder if it’d be possible to employ such designs within our capital.tinyapt7

Although not as chic and stylish as this 86sq feet Parisian micro-apartment
by architecture firm Kitoko Studio – which drew inspiration from the concept of a Swiss Army Knife, the 266sq ft ‘Micro-Apartment Moabit’ is focused around a central core unit housing a 22sq ft bathroom with a sliding door.

As you can see, along one side lies a corridor-style kitchen area lit by natural light from large windows, whilst on the other lies a pull-down wardrobe and a steel staircase up to the mezzanine level which serves as a sleeping area. All of the apartment has benefited from pale neutral colours and light wood which only serves to reflect light across the cosy space making it look larger and more open.

I don’t know about you, but having a 266sq ft studio apartment in London would still be priced at a premium (not least because of the versatile use of space and the sheer amount of natural light) but I have to admit that this example (and that of the Parisian design created by Kitoko) really has opened my eyes as to what can be possible in terms of using up all the space available – even if my space is more than likely going to be 8/9ft by 6/7ft.

Let me know what you think!

All photos credited to: Ringo Paulusch

Hivehaus’ honeycomb design helps first-time buyers build a home

Three years after 52-year-old builder, Barry Jackson started considering how to create a “man cave” in his back garden (to house his photography equipment and drum kit), Hivehaus – a series of hexagonal room forming a personalised building – has grown to host the potential to revolutionise the housing market; offering first-time buyers an alternative (and much cheaper) way of getting modular3onto the property ladder.

The honeycomb design (theorised to be an example of ‘nature’s efficiency’ by the Ancient Greeks), costs approximately £55’000 for three units, and can be erected in less than a week by three builders. Admittedly, it requires planning permission if owners are looking to live within the structure, but the flat-pack, Scandinavian-style buildings have a wide range of potential uses such as, for example: a garden room, office, gym, conservatory, studio and (as allegedly suggested by one London post-production house) film editing suites.

The wooden frame floor’s ‘feet’ can be adjusted to compensate for uneven ground, but (for me) the key feature of this house is without doubt the interlocking shape system. As you can see in the video below, as well as the main hexagon spaces, Barry has also designed smaller diamond-shaped rooms with bathroom fittings, and similarly shaped patterns for an outdoor decking area.

“With this idea, every module is the same size and you think of the module as a space which you use for whatever – if you need another bedroom, you add another module”, says Jackson, making the units perfect for a young couple who could then add to the structure with more units as their financial circumstances improve.

Hivehaus‘ simplistic and minimalistic stye might not suit everyone, but with the way the housing market is going, the Hivehaus is innovative enough to pose as a significant and (most importantly) affordable option for first-time buyers – something that has been a key motivator for Jackson.

“A lot of young people won’t ever have that chance that I had. They are still living with their parents in their 30s. It delays having families because people don’t feel that they belong anywhere, because they are stuck in some rental trap.

“The more I developed this idea, the more I saw that this could be developed for good and hopefully help people who can’t get on the housing ladder.”