Just Merveilleux

Life at № 42

What makes a home?

 

Work on the flats is well on its way. We’ve started with floor plan changes. That meant knocking down a couple of walls because the room distribution in two of the apartments wasn’t ideal. We’re also taking a bedroom from one apartment and giving it to the one next door.

I’ve been studying design solutions for small spaces for the two studios and the one bedroom, hence the Scandinavian sofa-bed above. It’s a good looking and simpler alternative to the traditional pull out sofa-bed. I’m putting it in the one bedroom so the renter has the possibility of having a guest stay overnight. The colour scheme for the one bedroom is cream and grey. We’ve chosen its kitchen, compact and simple:

The kitchens for the studios are tiny, and the colour scheme for them is white with details in navy blue.

To increase counter-space, instead of a normal height table we’re putting in tapas tables with stools (like I have in my own kitchen.) I chose a version with shelves for additional storage.

Table de salle à manger haute en bois blanc satiné L 120 cm

So now my questions:

What do you think is important in a small space? I’m not sure about beds in the studios.  Basically, we can put in a banquette (a sofa that’s also a single bed). That’s the most attractive option:

 

Or a normal double bed- but then no sofa at all, or a lit-gigogne which is a single bed that becomes a double bed. What’s the best option and why? If you lived in a small space, what would the important factors be to you? What would you find indispensable? What would make the place easier to live in?

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27 comments on “What makes a home?

  1. john zande
    November 15, 2015

    Why furnishing them in the first place?

    Like

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      November 15, 2015

      Higher rents and lower taxes. Plus I think that making a small space viable and attractive is heavily dependant on good design 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • john zande
        November 15, 2015

        Fair enough. In that case, go with the couch option and let it be known you can store it should the tenant want to put in their own bed.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hariod Brawn
    November 15, 2015

    “What do you think is important in a small space?”

    Light, light and light, in that order.

    Like

  3. makagutu
    November 15, 2015

    A sofa-bed, a compact kitchen and a reading table. Those would be sufficient for a studio so the place doesn’t feel so crowded but at the same time not lacking in essentials.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ruth
    November 15, 2015

    “What do you think is important in a small space?”

    Storage

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Cara
    November 15, 2015

    When I was a teenager, our house was quite crowded (my parents, grandfather, me, my two sisters) and I had the smallest of the bedrooms. A traditional double bed would have taken up the whole room. So I opted for a daybed (or trundle bed) which looked like a sofa, but was also a twin bed. Rather than a cot (for guest) stored under the bed, I used that space for shoes, which I had neatly lined up & our of sight.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. acflory
    November 15, 2015

    I had a ‘bed-sit’ in my 20s that consisted of one, good sized room, with a chunk taken out of it for the tiny bathroom, a kitchenette at one end and a miniscule, glassed-in verandah as the entry/lounge. Looking back it really was tiny, but even so I had a proper double bed in there.

    For me, a comfortable bed that I can just collapse into at the end of the day is critical. None of this messing about with bedding when you’re tired. Beautiful surroundings are important but not as important as a good sleep!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      November 15, 2015

      Interesting! That’s my instinct too. I’d rather have a good bed instead of something that doubles as a sofa. I wanted to test how many people would say what you’re saying…

      Like

      • acflory
        November 16, 2015

        Hah! Great minds. 😀

        Like

  7. theoccasionalman
    November 15, 2015

    For me, the important thing was the illusion of a larger space: the open floor plan was essential to living in a studio for two years. And a good design scheme: the sofas at that compound always made me want to vomit, so I got a few yards of fabric to drape over mine. Some of my colleagues preferred making their spaces smaller so that they could imagine themselves in different rooms – a defined TV room and bedroom, for example – but with my claustrophobia, it was always more important that I have a big open space in the middle of the apartment, so I could do my Zumba and gaze on a different void than the one in my soul.

    Like

  8. karenjane
    November 17, 2015

    I’ve been trying to work out what I’d like best…space or a decent bed, but both are essential to me, so it’s almost impossible to choose. I think the bed would just win, as if you had a sofa bed where would you store the bedding? And imagine having to put the sheets etc on every night.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. For me one of the most important things are drawers. Kitchen drawers firstly. If all I had for kitchen cabinets was effectively two cabinets side by side, I would take one of the cabinets and make it all drawers.

    Bathroom storage would be next. I believe you have said that you are targeting lower income people for tenants. Income smimcome, even lower income ppl have a lot of bathroom stuff. Even if you just built out a narrow box with simple shelves and hung a curtain rod & pretty curtain in place of doors at least everyone’s bathroom stuff is not all hanging out in the open. Women need some kind of closed storage in a bathroom to keep their feminine hygiene products, we don’t want that sitting on open shelving in our bathrooms. Additionally in the bathroom I would much much much rather have a micro sized sink and a bigger counter top surrounding that micro sink than a standard sized bathroom sink. You want to put your hairbrush down, your toiletries etc, instead of having counter top space for your stuff, small bathrooms instead use standard sized sinks and you end up with no counter top space. I don’t need a big sink to spit my tooth paste into or to wash my hands or face.

    Hooks! I love hooks, so practical for storage and so handy and easy to use. When you open a door and the door swings into the wall, that wall space is excellent for hooks because actually because of the door casing it doesn’t actually swing flat up against the wall, there is just enough of a gap to hange 3 rows of hooks. I really love hooks and I like them painted the same color as the wall color, they blend in well that way.

    A two basin sink in a kitchen is a top priority, even if the basins are small, one basin kitchen sinks are very impractical. I lived with a one and a half basin sink and it almost drove me crazy.

    Can’t you do better on the kitchens in the studios? My mother has one of those units almost exactly as shown, refrigerator under the two burner cooktop with the small sink. She lives in a senior citizen apartment that also provides all her meals. However when I go stay with her I cook for myself, usually I am there for two months at a time, I have to end up using that kitchen unit and it is a real PIA. In particular I hate bending down to get into the refrigerator. Because the refrigerator is so small, every square inch must be managed. To put the groceries away I end up sitting on the floor because I have to pull things in and out to get everything in there and it hurts my back to bend over and do that so I end up sitting on the floor with my groceries in bags on the floor. That is the worst part, the tiny refrigerator and the bending down to get into it. I lived with the two burner stove and the tiny sink and I did make that part work, not the easiest but I managed.

    Like

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      November 19, 2015

      Thanks for that! Those are exactly the sort of practical notes I’m looking for.
      I’m going to go over the plans and see what I can do to incorporate those ideas.

      The mini-kitchens for the studios are going to fit into a ‘kitchen wall’, that means they’ll have a counter to each side to increase work space and also shelves for dishes/glasses etc. If someone wants to they can put the mini fridge on the counter.

      Like

      • If the mini fridge is removable, then okay, just count on everyone taking it out and putting it on the counter top. Hopefully there will be an electrical outlet up on the counter top for them to be able to do that. Ok now call me crazy, but why not take out the mini fridge and place it next to the stovetop/sink, raise it up from the floor maybe 2 feet, then build the counter top on top of that? So that part of the counter top would be higher than normal, so what, would give visual interest, would still be usable to put a coffee maker or microwave on top of it.

        You can maybe find something small on wheels, some small shelving with kitchen baskets, on wheels to use in the space where the refrigerator was. ppl need a space for onions & potatoes & bread that would work. Why not just right from the start, you take out the refrigerator & place it in a different spot and build the surrounding counter tops with that in place?

        Like

  10. This is still the best designed studio I have ever seen. Recently I had a few e-mail exchanges with the architect. She told me that in Stockholm space is very limited and so many people loft the bed. She said that she didn’t like lofts where you ended up hitting your head on them and thus that was her main objective when she lofted her bed, she lofted it, but not to high.
    Notice her use of hooks throughout the studio, we bonded over e-mail on the joys of hooks.
    http://www.dezeen.com/2014/06/04/karin-matz-stockholm-apartment-renovation/

    Like

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      November 19, 2015

      It is gorgeous 🙂 but there’s a little bit of a cheat in it. Size-wise it’s 36m2, that corresponds to a large-ish modern one bedroom. Average room size these days in urban areas is 12m2 for bedrooms (in big cities sometimes as little as 9m2.) A decent studio these days is 25m2 (like this one: http://www.parisattitude.com/fr/louer-appartement/centre-george-pompidou,appartement,studio,4368.aspx#.Vk2qfvmrTNM ) which is the sort of size I’m working with. A whole 10m2 smaller than the one in the magazine 🙂

      Like

      • acflory
        November 19, 2015

        I love the look of that Parisian studio but the bed really doesn’t look comfortable. I think I’d ditch the sofa and just have a proper bed – maybe one with built in storage underneath,

        Like

      • Mr. Merveilleux
        November 19, 2015

        I’ve spent ages looking through studio rentals in Paris, London & NY to get ideas. I think that Paris one is a decent mix of style and practicality- EXCEPT for the folding sofa/bed. You’re absolutely right. I just don’t see the point. If you live in a studio and you want to have friends over, well, I doubt anyone would mind sitting on a bed…

        Like

      • acflory
        November 19, 2015

        -giggles- Exactly! It’s not as if you’d be inviting your boss over for cocktails and nibbles. 😀

        Like

      • Sleek studio in Paris, but did you notice how high up that microwave is? I think I am a little more flexible with counter top height than most people. Chopping & pealing can be done at a table. If it meets a space & design need I am agreeable to a higher than standard counter top height.

        Thanks, I do see the difference in Square Meters between the Stockholm studio I linked to and the one you linked to in Paris. Space, the ultimate luxury.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. roughseasinthemed
    November 22, 2015

    Totally disagree withstr8. 🙂 anyway, if you have a good sofa, you don’t need a sofa bed. Over the past year, I have slept very well on my sofa which is a similar age to me ie 50+.

    What’s important in small space? Not much. My priorities have always been a good cooker, a fridge, a washing machine. Anything else is a bonus.

    Good paintwork, excellent handmade curtains and interesting art. I live in a small space. Could you?

    Like

    • Mr. Merveilleux
      November 23, 2015

      In other words a good kitchen is your priority. That’s what Mike thinks (which is surprising as he doesn’t cook!)
      My first apartment in Marbella was small. I miss opening the curtains and seeing the sea, but I don’t miss the size. The thing is that no matter how big the house, the room, the sofa- it all feels small when there are three dogs on top of you…

      Like

      • roughseasinthemed
        November 23, 2015

        Actually, a good cooker is my priority. A fridge is essential here, although not in UK in winter (apart from cold alcoholic drinks), and I can’t wash things by hand so I *need* a washing machine. We tend to live in our kitchens as I am invariably cooking. In the UK we had a Rayburn so it was scrumptiously warm in there. We ordered it, and before it arrived, I taught the dogs to ‘lie in front of the Rayburn’. Big mistake. I couldn’t get to it without falling over one of them 😀

        Sea views are nice. We can see the Med from the finca. In Gib we’ve got a typical Rock view as we are in town in an older building. I am the classic ‘location’ person. I always go for a poor property in a good street. It’s instinctive. I didn’t even know the Gib flat was the Jewish quarter, but it’s established and a safe investment which is what matters. We can sort the inside out at some point!

        Like

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This entry was posted on November 15, 2015 by in Mazamet and tagged , , , , .
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