Livin' Large...In Small Spaces

There is something wonderful about well-designed small spaces...maybe it's because I grew up in New York City where space is at a premium.  Regardless, A well-designed small space is like a jewel box of sorts and it takes an extremely talented designer or architect to make it work.  Space-planning and programming on a project with limited/fixed square footage is like a puzzle and is far more challenging and demands a lot more creativity than just adding square footage to meet the client's needs.

Before I launch into a diatribe against the bloated size of American homes, I'll get to the point.  I was flipping through my tear sheets today, waiting for a spark of inspiration to hit for a blog post today I ran across this gem of an apartment in the March 2008 issue of Metropolitan Home.  Ironically, the apartment is in Paris, which is where I am heading for 2+ glorious weeks on Sunday.  The apartment belongs to chef and cookbook author Patricia Wells and her husband Walter.

Below is a floor plan on the apartment, which will give you a good idea for the economical use of space in the following images:

The Wellses only brought their bed and an antique armoire from their former residence; the rest of the furnishings were purchased with the new apartment in mind.

In the Living Room, gym equipment, books, and home office equipment are hidden behind beautifully detailed traditional paneled doors that, when closed, give no hint as to the clutter that may lay behind.

The hallway that joins the living room with the kitchen boasts exposed stone that is most likely structural and a hint at the age of the building, yet another delightful detail in many Parisian apartments.  Doors to the bathroom and bedroom are off this hallway as well -- note the additional storage high in the wall, just beneath the ceiling.

To maximize storage in the small bathroom, the architect designed sliding shelves that dissappear into the wall near the mirrors.

The bedroom is barely large enough to hold the Wellses king-sized bed and two nightstands.  The closet doors are designed to mirror the design of the windows directly opposite and the inlaid mirror gives the impression that the room is actually more spacious than it is.

The designer cleverly used shallow, lighted glass-front cabinets instead of traditional kitchen cabinets to keep the space feeling open and bright.  The kitchen's proximity (and access) to the Wellses garden only adds to the open and light effect and almost makes the inhabitants feel as though they were in the country.

Patricia and Walter Wells are pictured below, relaxing in their well-designed and extremely efficient kitchen.

The small space functions perfectly for the couple that splits their time between Paris and Provence, and reall, who needs a huge apartment when all of Paris awaits you on the other side of your front door!?

All photos courtesy of Metropolitan Home March 2008