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maximizing function, minimal footprint, architect-on-demand, advice-without-strings

Recently, a friend asked for my help with a design of an apartment she is looking to set up as a vacation spot for her family in Batumi, Georgia. Excited with a challenge at hand — maximizing function within a minimal footprint — I set out to create a compact unit that offers its guests all the comforts of a luxurious hotel room.

maximizing, function, minimal, footprintThe existing shell is narrow (9’-10”) and long (27’-6”). I doubt one can appreciate a scenic view off the balcony as soon as they enter the unit. But the light (at the end of the tunnel) draws you in. Regardless of its minimal footprint, mere 285 square feet, this apartment has to have the amenities of a home away from home: bathroom with bathtub, washing machine, and eat-in kitchen.

The obvious way to plan a space like that is to stack each function in a row and to connect them with a circulation spine. Thus bathroom, kitchen, bedroom/living spaces are all their own distinct areas lined up neatly one after another. This type of a plan is oderly, yet spatially chopped-up.

maximizing, function, minimal, footprint

To make it feel much larger, I need to thread all of the elements together, acting as one. What if I allow the light to filter through all the way to the entry door? That’s it! Partition walls should appear ephemeral, not solid! They can double as design elements. As such, I proceed to separate bedroom and kitchen with a glass-incased-in-wood panel. To function as a headboard, glass is replaced with continuous wood at the bottom. As seen in the diagram below, the next layer is introduced between kitchen and bathroom. Following, is a glass insert between entry foyer and bathtub.

maximizing, function, minimal, footprint

Maximizing function in spite of minimal footprint means packing every nook and cranny with purpose.

Expanding minimal footprint is accomplished by specifying good quality materials and well-designed appliances/fixtures intended for small space living.

maximizing, function, minimal, footprint

Duravit offers what I am looking for in the bathroom.

Wall-mounted Toilet: 14 5/8” x 21 ¼”:

Wash Basin: 20 ¼” x 13 1/8”

Bath Tub: 59” x 29 1/2”

As far as appliances are concerned, there are some very good resources in this article. The kitchen layout is complete with under-counter refrigerator, sink, 12” cooktop, plus a washing machine that is placed under the kitchen counter, but faces the bathroom. Open shelving as well as upper cabinets will provide ample storage. There will be a place to sit down for a meal at the table (wooden extension of the stone counter).

maximizing, function, minimal, footprint

Strategically, custom-made cabinets will incorporate a translucent glass panel between kitchen and bathroom. In addition, there will be an interior translucent glass window installed between bathroom and foyer. Therefore, the light will be carried through to the end (or the beginning) of the space — a crucial design move in the process of maximizing function despite minimal footprint. Questions? Please write to me here.


  • Irina Zheveleva
    May 1, 2018

    WOW!! Alla it looks great. I really want to visit this spot now 🙂 Can’t wait for this project to be done and may be travel there one day to enjoy the comfort and Black Sea beauty, if your friend allows 🙂

    • Alla DIY Ally
      May 3, 2018

      Irochka!!! My friend is your friend, nu!

  • Mia S Kazovsky
    May 3, 2018

    Alla, International DIY Ally!

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