Ultimate houses & smart spaces

As our population increases and the demand for resources and space are stretched an emerging trend is developing towards more sustainable and low maintenance living. People are living in smaller houses and the elements of clever design are coming to the fore particularly around storage, versatility and multi-purpose spaces.

Space saving ideas

Though space saving ideas are not a new invention (designs like the “Murphy Bed”, also know as a wall bed or pull-down bed is a bed stores vertically and folds into the wall, have been around since 1900) the changing demands of our lifestyle require a fresh look at how we live.

Murphy bed

Murphy bed #2

Custom Joinery

Leading the charge in the challenge to meet the evolving needs of those in small spaces is the clever design and application of custom joinery. With a general move to a more open plan living style this is certainly carrying over to small spaces where making a larger space serve multiple uses, rather than carving off smaller dedicated rooms, makes sense.

This innovative “Party wall” by Michael K Chen Architecture serves demonstrates how a small space can be transformed by manipulating its clever integrated joinery. It functions as a display case, a bar and pulls out to form a dining table.

1 Party wall closed

2 Party wall open

Another efficient use of space with custom built joinery by the same architect is the “Unfolding Apartment”. Rather than dividing a small apartment up into even smaller dedicated rooms, the idea was to create a Joinery unit to one side of the apartment that could be manipulated and folded to create a bed, work station, room partition etc.

wall unit

This smartly converted garage utilises a central joinery cube to house storage, a work desk, sofa, bathroom and a bed on top.

garage a2

garage 1

garage a3

garage a5

garage a7

This black joinery unit accomodates multiple types of storage and acts as a room partition.

Black joinery #2

Black joinery

Where space restrictions would not accommodate the depth of a traditional bookshelf, this fin bookshelf stores the books at an acute angle, reducing its depths and making the spine titles easier to read in confined spaces.

Fin bookshelf

Fin bookshelf #2

Ribbon apartment

This innovate project by Alan Chan features a clever unifying element of the concrete ribbon meandering its way through the apartment acting as bench top, bath tub, bench, floor, seat and desk. Carefully designed built in joinery line the walls leaving the central space for multi-tasking. Comprising a Murphy bed and a specially designed table that slides in a recessed track in the floor functions as a dining table, additional work surface or tucks under the concrete ribbon desk when not needed.

concrete bath

ribbon desk

ribbon table

Other Great Ideas

A glass floor in this compact two storey project allows light from the large skylight to filter through to the ground floor.

glass floor

When inhabiting small spaces storage is highly valued so every available nook and cranny needs to be utilised, like these stylish under stair cabinets.

under stair storage

Defining space

Moveable walls, that hide away while stored, can be a great way to make the most out of multi-purpose areas.

stackable partitions

Semi-porous or see through dividers can be a great way to let through light and define spaces without enclosing individual rooms.

porous bookshelf

porous wall

see through doors

Aside from moveable joinery, spaces can also be defined by alternate elements like this decorative wall feature and ceiling bulkhead

wall feature ceiling bulk head