Barcelona Apartment Packs a Whole House Into 258 Square Feet

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A penthouse resembling a giant puzzle box, with compartments filled with a tiny kitchen, a bathroom, and more



After I posted Gary Chang's 344-square-foot Hong Kong apartment, I thought I'd pretty much seen the pinnacle of morphing possibilities for TINY. Recently, when I found myself riveted by this video of photographer Christian Schallert's 258-square-foot Barcelona apartment (approximately 11 feet by 23 feet): a former pigeon loft re-envisioned by designer Barbara Appolloni. (Check out the "before" shots in the beginning!) I've seen this clever configuration of cubes likened to Legos, but I find the image misleading. This completely built-in, every-need-and-square-inch-considered space is like one of those Chinese puzzle boxes that suddenly open to reveal hidden chambers; everything is hidden behind walls until Schallert wants to access it. It is an "action apartment", given great charm by the stunning view and penthouse feel.

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Schallert says he was inspired by his childhood summer spent by a lake and the small, wonderfully designed boats he saw. Japan was another influence. Says Schallert:

At the end of the day, what do you really need for living? You need a nice comfortable mattress and nice clean sheets, running water, shower and a stove to cook on...You don't need to much stuff.

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This post also appears on The Improvised Life.
Images: Better Living Through Design

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Sally Schneider writes The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog about improvising as a daily practice. Her cookbook The Improvisational Cook is now out in paperback. More

Sally Schneider is the founder of The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog that inspires you to devise, invent, create, make it up as you go along, from design and cooking to cultivating the creative spirit. It's been called a "zeitgeist-perfect website." She is a regular contributor to public radio's The Splendid Table and the author of the best-selling cookbooks The Improvisational Cook and A New Way to Cook, which was recently named one of the best books of the decade by The Guardian. She has won numerous awards, including four James Beard awards, for her books and magazine writing.

Sally has worked as a journalist, editor, stylist, lecturer, restaurant chef, teacher, and small-space consultant, and once wrangled 600 live snails for the photographer Irving Penn. Her varied work has been the laboratory for the themes she writes and lectures about: improvising as an essential operating principle; cultivating resourcefulness and your inner artist; design, style, and food; and anything that is cost-effective, resourceful, and outside the box.
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