A question on the tip of every urbanist’s tongue is “How might it be possible to have a good standard of living in a small amount of space?” Publisher Gestalten exhibits a multitude of solutions and answers to this conundrum in their recent book, Small Homes, Grand Living.
The cumulative effect of investment in and thus, the densification of compact urban centers, house prices both rising and being determined per square meter, and ever present and growing sustainability concerns have meant that space is becoming more and more of a luxury. Whilst the images and headlines of cramped, overpriced and often damp studio apartments in coveted locations may seem all too familiar, there are people around the world coming up with veritable solutions and alternatives to the dank and claustrophobic rabbit-hutches of cities.
This new hardback takes the reader on a journey through diverse and innovative stories and solutions from architects, creative homemakers and designers who have embraced the challenge of creating something that makes a small space both livable and aesthetically pleasing. It carefully documents and interweaves specific solutions for all aspects of the compact home: from kitchens and bathrooms, to smaller details such as beds and staircases. These solutions are carefully interspersed with eight personalized and detailed stories about specific innovative approaches to tackling a small space.
One such story covered in the “Built-ins” section of the book, is that of a Brooklyn-based collaborative team of five architects who wanted to find somewhere to live together, but also wanted to be “able to have power over the space and not the other way around”. In this case, after much searching, the group inhabited a 150m2 ground floor warehouse loft, in which they slowly and organically designed and built freestanding structures that are not connected to the walls of the warehouse.
These are carefully designed buildings within a building, compartmentalizing a larger space into a functioning, unconventional home with both communal and private spaces. The project was named “The Miner and a Major”. It was done on an extremely low budget and is deemed by the inhabitants (the designers), all of which have lived there for at least six years, as a success.
Later on in the book, smaller “Outside the box” solutions are presented, such as the flop-down dining table that takes fold-out furniture to a new, more streamlined level and another dining table and benches that can be lowered from the ceiling.
Laden with the satisfying imagery of beautiful living spaces that have been cleverly slotted into every nook and cranny imaginable and filled with personal stories of those that live in and designed the spaces, Small Homes, Grand Living offers both the designer and the layman alternative ways of seeing the opportunities in everyday domestic spaces and interiors that are somewhat lacking in the size department. However, the real impact of the book lies in the diversity of solutions that it presents, from simple collapsible furniture to larger living units that house kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms and living rooms and from bigger to smaller budgets, making it more relevant and more applicable to a wider audience.
Small Homes, Grand Living: Interior Design for Compact Spaces
Release Date: April 2017
Format: 21 × 26 cm
Features: Full color, hardcover, 256 pages