Saturday, July 25, 2015

Small Dwellings in Phoenix Get Creative With Under 50 Sq. M.

Rent to Small spaces force us to simplify. But these apartments are not just simple, they are chic!

A few years ago, Benjamin Hall found himself living in a 250-square-foot studio in Copenhagen—an experience that revolutionized the way he thought about space. “It taught me how to live cleaner, more organized, and to depend on a community,” he says. He drew on those lessons last year when he designed White Stone Studios, an experimental luxury complex with six units that each measure just 468 square feet.

The apartments are located in an up-and-coming stretch of downtown Phoenix, where many young professionals have recently flocked. “They’re perfect for individuals who appreciate finely crafted spaces and honed design sensibilities, but might not be at a place in their life to buy or commission their dream project yet,” Hall says.

Concrete blocks form an all-in-one exterior and interior wall that eliminates the cost of paint and drywall. They contain a white admixture that helps bounce heat off the outside of the building while brightening the inside. The blocks are also filled with spray foam for insulation.

Hall left the concrete foundation bare—a cost-effective and durable choice for flooring. Textured wooden doors offset its coldness. “Oak has a forgiving, aging quality and warmth,” he explains. The apartment comes stocked with an Ikea rug, a Hans Wegner shell chair, and barstools from Overstock.

“The biggest thing when you’re designing a small space is to constantly ask yourself, ‘How would I live here?’” Hall says. He found that functional storage was essential. The kitchen island not only serves as a bar, but it also doubles as a workspace during the day. Small slots hide computer cables, and a center storage tray acts as a catchall. The fixtures and cabinets are from Ikea, and the pendant lights are by Bocci.

An open plan helps the apartment feel larger. Translucent curtains that act as room dividers, allowing a measure of privacy while still letting light pass through. They also hide the double-stacked Maytag washer and dryer from view.

Hall paid special attention to details like custom light switches and door latches, since they tend to stand out more in small spaces.

In the bathroom, glazing around the American Standard tub lets in light, though outer walls are positioned safely around it for complete privacy. “You literally feel like you are showering outdoors,” Hall says. “It’s really a serene experience.” The faucets are by Moen, and the sink and medicine cabinet are by Ikea.

Sheltered from the harsh Arizona sun, a north patio serves several important functions. It extends the apartment’s footprint, encourages airflow, and provides a private corner for residents to relax away from the city buzz. “Physical connection to the outdoors is paramount in a small space. It’s physically and mentally healthier,” Hall says.

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