With the cost of housing and the uncertainty of the job market, more and more people are living in smaller housing, including “micro apartments.” These types of units are more common in highly populated cities, such as Barcelona and Paris.
One woman, architect Valentina Maini, decided it was time to downgrade to a smaller space.
Adorable Barcelona micro apartment
Maini, who lives and works in Barcelona, wasn’t interested in living in lofted sleeping quarters or murphy beds. She instead wanted to condense necessities and amenities into a “micro apartment.” So, she upgraded a 269-square-foot apartment, which now serves as both her home and office.
To check out the upgraded space, Maini took writer Kirsten Dirksen on a tour of her new home, which you can see in the video below.
Dirksen has been filming these unusual living quarters for years, including a Lego-style transforming flat and a unit with a fridge-in-a-drawer and walk-thru shower. She also filmed a very tiny space where the architect cut a hole in the roof to make way for an indoor/outdoor shower.
“In New York City, I’ve filmed even smaller units: one of which I dubbed a ‘microstudio’ in 2009, playing off the Spanish term ‘micro-piso.’ International press called it ‘Manhattan’s smallest apartment’ until I filmed another at just 78 square feet. All of my tiny homes are featured in my YouTube documentary (for free): ‘We the Tiny House People,’” according to Dirksen.
Sliding dining table
As an architect, Maini knew exactly how to get the most out of her new tiny apartment. First, she asked a carpenter to craft a dining table that slides over a matching bench. This allows her to accommodate more guests when they visit. In fact, she said she recently hosted 20 people in her tiny apartment for a wine and cheese gathering.
Even more ingeniously, the bench slides over and reveals a bathtub underneath, which she dubs her “micro-spa.”
Another functional design choice was to use traditional zen tatami chairs. Maini uses the chairs at the dining table, which sit on top of the sliding bench that covers the bathtub. Because these chairs are mobile and don’t have legs, she can move them around the room to suit her needs.
Raised bed allows for hidden closets
To avoid having to turn a couchbed back and forth into a bed each night, Maini came up with a wonderfully innovative solution. She raised her mattress higher up, built pull-out closet drawers, and placed them under the bed.
She was able to use three large cabinets from her old workplace to build the closet drawers.
“The same bamboo that covers the under-the-bed closet unifies the entire apartment,” according to Dirksen.
The bamboo makes up the dining table frame, the bench above the bathtub, and the floor covering, making the entire room appear more cohesive in its design.
Tiny bathroom includes overhead shower
While Maini’s bathtub sits in the middle of her one-room tiny apartment under the dining table, she also has a small bathroom off to the side of the room. It’s an all-in-one toilet, sink, and shower. The shower’s drain is in the middle of the floor.
Maini’s tiny apartment is perfect for her lifestyle.
“So, in a way, this is a sense of freedom because you don’t need to worry too much about your belongings,” Maini said of living in her tiny apartment.
Maini enjoys sitting in one of her zen tatami chairs in front of her patio window and gazing down on the public square below.
“I love the fact that my private space is small … it’s easier and it’s economical,” Maini added.
In the future, she’s considering adding a guest bed area on one side of her tiny apartment.
Watch the video below to see Maini walk you through her amazing tiny apartment.
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