The '70s were a great time – when it came to music, civic movements and, depending on your personal tastes, even fashion. What they're not too renowned for, and rightly so, is architecture. Largely brutalist in style, structures in that era were defined by concrete blocks that were as imposing as they were ugly.
The house in focus today was built in the 1970s, and while it was by no stretch of the imagination as foreboding as Soviet-era architecture, it definitely was not the most welcoming space. Today, it has undergone a complete revamp, courtesy of Brazilian architects Tia Arquitetura, to make it a warm and bright home for a young couple. While some of the original features have been retained, the formerly dark interiors have been transformed into a space filled with natural light. Here is a great example of what can be achieved with seemingly untouchable spaces when imagination is given free rein!
The architects were confronted with a long narrow space which, owing to its brick walls and constricted walls, came across as way too dingy. So one of the first things they did was to knock down several of the internal and external walls, in order to create a free-flowing space where plenty of light could stream in. They also installed sliding glass doors (a feature reminiscent of Japanese design) that create a continuity between the courtyard and the living room.
Very often, we are confounded when faced with slightly narrow living rooms such as these. Do you put all the furniture on one side of the room so there's room for movement or do you spread it out? And how many things do you have to forego when working with a limited space like this? The architects here have done a great job of incorporating more elements than you'd have thought possible while still leaving enough leg room and space for movement. This has been largely achieved by backing up the furniture against the wall.
Speaking of furniture, notice how the modern chaise lounge and TV console beautifully complement the vintage chairs and bar. The exposed brick wall is also a throwback to the 70s, but the architects built in strip lights above it so as to not allow it to darken the room.
Once again, you see the blend of vintage elements with modern features. The exposed brick wall continues here, but it's the repurposed mechanic's table (that the couple found in a scrapyard) doubling up as a dining table that takes centerstage here.
Our favourite feature here though is the clear yet subtle demarcation between the dining and cooking space. The blue and white linoleum tiles! What might seem at first glance as simply another funky design element, is actually a rather smart move to separate the two areas in a small space like this. Oh, did we mention that linoleum tiles are a 100% easier to clean? If you want more ideas, get in touch with our experts.
You don't expect to see a his-and-hers sink in smaller bathrooms, but here you go! The architects have smartly worked with the space available to them; instead of building in a compact standalone sink, they opted to put in a huge marble slab which encompasses the unobtrusive storage space underneath. The effect is instant: elegance at its best.
The large frameless mirror, horizontal lines and the predominantly white colour theme also creates the illusion of a larger space – always a good idea when working with compact bathrooms.
Who wouldn't want to wake up here? The trouble might be just that you don't want to haul yourself out of bed what with that view and all!
Even though the bedroom space is very limited, the architects have made the best use of it, primarily by choosing not to clutter it with unnecessary things. You'll only find the bare necessities here – a bed, a small storage cabinet and a vintage coat rack. The main feature here is the wall-to-wall glass sliding door that makes the room appear larger than it actually is and is a source for all that gorgeous light.
To get more ideas for making the most out of small spaces, read 10 creative ways to live big in a small space.