Tasked with transforming a 93-square-foot brick boiler room, built in 1916, into a guesthouse, architect and metalworker Christi Azevedo flexed her creative muscle. “I like the ideas of a bed as an alcove, natural light on two sides of a room, varying ceiling heights, and different levels of privacy,” says Azevedo. The three levels of the house transition from public to private: The ground floor is composed of the kitchen and living-dining area; the bathroom and closet occupy the mezzanine; and the sleeping loft hovers a couple steps above.
This San Francisco home in the Theatre Lofts building, built in 1926 as a movie palace, was given a sophisticated upgrade by LOCZIdesign. "The couple work opposite schedules yet both live fascinating lives so they wanted a house that they could co-exist in," the architect says. "They needed a divided space that still felt open and communal when they were sharing time together."
New York City is the nation’s capital of cramped quarters. But for a select lucky few, scant square footage adds up to a cozy home to call one’s own. Resident Wonbo Woo's father, architect Kyu Sung Woo and his namesake firm recreated a cramped, poorly lit loft into an efficient, porous one. "He’s good at puzzles,” says Wonbo Woo of his father.
A few years ago, SHED Architecture & Design was approached to remodel a decrepit, standalone garage in Seattle that seemed beyond salvation. But the dilapidated auto shop was reborn as an efficient studio rental. “It had a dark and creepy vibe,” principal architect Thomas Schaer recalls. “A northwest tremor could have easily toppled it.” The compact yet airy rental now features plenty of wooden ledges, nooks, and shelves for keeping belongings organized. A triangular, open room beneath the gable roof provides a cozy space for sleeping.
When Oslo-based architect Marianne Borge was approached in 2004 by a client who wanted an actual cabin rather than a second home, she was instantly inspired by the challenge of working on a smaller scale. The small prefab cabin in Norway now offers an alternative view on the concept of luxury. The living room's double height makes the space seem larger that its actual size. Stairs next to the open fireplace lead up to the sleeping loft.
When JAC Interiors was commissioned to revive an old 1,200-square-foot Hollywood home, the residents requested the firm find a way to transform the space with as little construction as possible. They wanted a place with a modern edge, but not a scheme so outlandish that the novelty would fade quickly. Loud wallpaper brings a splash of visual interest against warm wood floors and white walls. JAC also incorporated a new loft railing and ladder to climb to the next level.
Johanna Molineus doesn’t initially come across as the poster girl for rule-breaking. But the Washington, D.C.–born architect’s 678-square-foot central London apartment is a testament to how bending, breaking, and even burning the rule book is sometimes the best way to create a remarkable home. The first rule that Molineus tossed aside was the bedrock assumption in the oversubscribed London property market that two bedrooms are always better than one. However, she did add a discreet sleeping loft above the kitchen for guests.
On an island 20 miles off the coast of Maine, a writer, with the help of his daughter, built not only a room but an entire green getaway of his own. The interior is clad exclusively in white pine, the diagonal orientation adding visual interest to the neutral palette. The resident's designer daughter sourced utilitarian features like cattle fencing and plumbing pipe for the loft sleeping area.
Globetrotting Belgian architect Julien De Smedt carved out a space to call his own in a converted industrial loft building in Brussels. As in his own architectural practice, De Smedt likes to connect the indoors and outdoors. A skylight allows the space to fill with daylight, while on clear nights, De Smedt heads upstairs to his sleeping loft to stargaze.
Family retreats allow multiple generations to spend quality time together, but sometimes that can be too much of a good thing. The ideal family retreat, then, should allow for time together, while also making it possible for individual space, which is precisely what Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter’s Micro Cluster Cabins aim to accomplish. The cozy escape features a central living area and two private wings. The auxiliary cabins contain the sleeping quarters. A ladder leads to a sleeping loft underneath a gabled ceiling.
With clever storage and a retractable skylight, a London apartment feels larger than its 576 square feet. To make the most of the small footprint, Ullmayer Sylvester Architects opted to remove all the internal walls and knock through the ceiling. The latter move created a mezzanine bedroom, giving resident Simone ten Hompel more than 178 square feet of additional floor space, and doubling the height of the living room to 16.4 feet at its highest point.
Architect Christoph Kaiser turned a dismantled grain silo, purchased online from a Kansas farmer, into a cozy studio in Phoenix, Arizona. The 190-square-foot space is outfitted with a highly customized interior that serves as a comfortable home for him and his wife. Inside, Kaiser crafted a curved interior that matches the silo's circular footprint. Upstairs is a sleeping loft, accessible by a spiral staircase.
What happens when the guest house becomes home? Retired couple Suzanne and Brooks Kelley found out when a pair of brainy New Haven architects breathed new architectural life into the property they’ve inhabited for over 30 years. A lofted sleeping space was made possible when the architects raised the ceiling to create a triangular skylight. The move carved out enough headroom to make the second-floor space usable, while still keeping the cottage in compliance with strict local zoning rules for “accessory” buildings.