Puzzle box apartment

Posted on Thu, 18 Aug 2011 by midcenturyjo

38sqm. Yes 38sqm. This redesign of a one bedroom apartment in Potts Point is by Sydney architect Anthony Gill. This clever puzzle box of a space is home to a couple and their young child. A custom joinery spine runs the length of the apartment providing much needed storage while delineating individual spaces including a clever pull out bed which slips away under the raised child’s bedroom floor when not in use. Clever, funky and fab. Tiny spaces rule! Photography by Peter Bennetts.

danimal says:

If you look at the bookcase "spine" you see that the kitchen is only as wide as two of the six shelves, so I would assume that the bathroom is behind the other 4 shelf widths, across from the child's bedroom. I'd guess they just didn't show it because it appears to be a rather "normal" sized bathroom and therefore nothing really special to show when the rest of the space is so innovative.

Also, I would agree with a previous poster that the egress door is likely in the corner directly across from the drawer bed.

Overall this is a wonderfully conceived space. With so many tv shows (in North America at least) focusing on people having too much stuff, building bigger spaces, etc, it is refreshing to see more and more of these spaces designed to provide all the amenities necessary in a small physical footprint. Smaller spaces use fewer resources both for their production and for their operation as a dwelling and "forced" physical closeness has a positive psychological effect on a family unit, bringing them closer together.

I am sure I would miss certain elements of my 3-story brick farmhouse (the 14' wide mantle topping a magnificent brick fireplace and built-in bookshelves) I sometimes long for the simplicity and cleanliness of the days when everything I owned had to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle in one 10'x20' room, which incidentally had a wonderful fireplace tucked into one corner.

Ivan says:


thanks, you're right!

MadonnaofCoogee says:

Lovely to look at but what happens when: the child is running around like a crazy thing and you need to work; you have the flu and have to stay in bed; you have a party and child wants to sleep; or said child wants his friends to come and play or stay over. Hard to see this kind of in your face space as viable for everyday living that's not all neat and tidy.

rooth says:

I've always been curious about small spaces and how people actually make them work. Thanks for sharing this one!

LightDot says:

This amazing layout works as a two bedroom apartment with a separate kitchen and a separate living room. On 38sqm! The interweaved space of the kitchen / living room / parent's bedroom is amazingly efficient and it still appears spacey enough.

At the same time, it's naturally a compromise – children's room is adequate for pre-school children, while older kids would likely need more space and the privacy between parents and the child is thin, so to say.

But you know what… people have lived in much worse conditions even on bigger floor plans. This apartment can provide for a very happy and closely connected family.

Now, what I personally don't like: too much stuff. Waay too much stuff. Narrow living rooms and gazillion objects everywhere make me want to jump out of the window 🙂

I'd keep the parent's "bedroom" part as it is, and keep two vertical shelves left of the children's room door, but I'd remove the shelves left from that. I'd like to have a wider & spacier living room and use this bathroom wall space for a flat tv & music set.

I'm not sure if I'd keep the shelves that separate the kitchen at all. It's more likely that I'd opt for having an integrated dining table there, functioning as a kitchen work space at the same time. That would live more room for an existing work desk and open up the space even more.

I strongly dislike the rug and darker wood colour in the living room / kitchen / parent's bedroom. Space is small, I'd go for a clean white and strong touches of vivid colour on selected surfaces (sections of the wall, parent's "bedroom", kitchen, entrance doors etc.). I think lighter colours would make the apartment seem more spacious. Is the couch big enough for three? How about a small L shaped couch of a lighter impact, less texture? Children's room colours and textures seem very nice though.

Anyway, the colours are also a matter of taste… this just isn't mine.

All in all, a layout I'll remember. Amazing work!

Cussot says:

@danimal – yes, indeed, you must be right! Now it makes sense. Isn't it interesting that such a simple design can fire the imagination?

catchtag says:

great use of space!!

go says:

If they sold most of their books and got a kindle/ipad, there'd be even more space! 🙂

timmy says:

some interesting ideas, and one very beautiful carpet!

tom says:

no tv, shelves of books and magazines, comfy couch. top it off with what one would make out as a pot of vegemite? i want to be friends with these people. forgive me for projecting but from popping by for an unannounced cup to either an all inclusive casual cruise/chillout session sandwiched by a "stop and regroup", an exclusive opening to a pop up store/ restaurant implying either being left baby sitting the little one or not, to a pre get together leading to bloc party "bbq" at the park, an easy going, grounded, creative and youthful type people. one thing though, i would loose the pink ikea bunny chair, assuming that there are no emotional attachments to a… rather… mundane piece. may be an "industrial" sheet metal stool in either any hew or finish of yellow, or simply bare(personally, with the neoprene baby chair trajectory, a matt neon yellow). modern, contemporary, commercial or one of kind. now, switching gears in a more practical direction, an acrylic stool… like… what was the brand of… that "floating single square sheet of acrylic, draped over a cylinder; minus the cylinder, where the four corners of the sheet are the legs" stool in clear or solid white. a hyper glam origami version or even a simple block. this being cognisant of the make shift night stand quality that triples up as extra seating/booster. commitment to a side table (or plural) on the assumption that the owners are considering to move upon their child's future needs (more privacy, more storage, school districts, etc) and/or family needs, opens a whole different can of worms where stack-able mid centuries, diy repurposed wonders, and fringes of modal awes are surely tickling the owners subpsyches. over all… cool. plain and simple.

p.s. thank god they didn't make the shelves white

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.
Required fields are indicated by *