ntrance, living room, bathroom, kitchen and bedroom all in a twenty one sqm apartment. This is what our young student, who owns this studio apartment in Moabit, an inner city neighbourhood north of Tiergarten in Berlin, asked architects Paola Bagna and John Paul Coss, experts in renovating small spaces. On the fourth floor of a period building, this apartment was altered considerably over the last century, ending up looking more like a bathroom surrounded by a couple of square metres than a home.
The refurbishment was extensive. By taking all the internal partitions down, the architects built a central core with an iron structural frame, which has built-in cupboards plus kitchen on its perimeter wall. And there’s a tiny bathroom inside. The service core stops short of the ceiling, precisely so a mezzanine bed could be built above it. Having a central structure frees up space around a second window, which in turn brings more light to the room.
The main theme of this project was to use every inch of space, even height-wise. During the refurbishment, the architects decided to clad the damaged original ceiling with a plasterboard false ceiling, which reduced the room to 3,21 m high. The bathroom ceiling was made as low as possible, and a particular load bearing structure with shorter beams was chosen. This left an 83 cm-high crawl space, the bare minimum to squeeze into bed. Built-in cupboards stick out enough to form a parapet.
Also the staircase in 5 mm bent steel has been stripped to basics. It was mounted on the wall to make it more stable. The 52 cm steps are just wide enough for a person.
Generally, studio apartments are filled with multipurpose convertible furniture. But, our young owner wanted her tiny apartment to feel like a proper home, where she didn’t have to move or pull-out a single thing. So, opting for fixed furniture and clearly defined areas became a real design challenge for Paola Bagna and John Paul Coss. Paola and John managed to fit in such a tight space all the required functions by overlapping and slotting them together, either vertically or horizontally, using up every available inch. The outcome is a perfectly functional light-filled apartment with a great vibe. It was definitely worth it!
Renovation of a mezzanine apartment
Location: Berlin Moabit, Germany
Size: 21 sqm + mezzanine
Interior design project and lighting design:
Spamroom and John Paul Coss
Contractors and partnerships:
Inhouse Berlin, Noé Metal Design,
PA-Tischlerei, Astrid Kaltenborn
and Thomas Bandura
Copyright Ringo Paulusch