Co.Design

What Life Is Like Inside A 129-Square-Foot Apartment

It's Paris! You could do worse.

Most micro-apartments tend to tout their design and they don't come cheap. The concept of using every square inch has been (rather brilliantly) exploited as an exercise in efficiency. (Or you can slant it as sustainable urban design.) To those of you who live in a 3,000-square-foot suburban home, the 300-square-foot design that won former Mayor Bloomberg's micro-apartment design competition might seem quite tiny. But 300 square feet seems positively palatial compared to this Parisian studio.

Filmed by Kristen Dirksen, whose site Faircompanies.com has been instrumental in popularizing tiny houses and apartments, this video shows, amazingly, that you can fit basically everything you need to survive properly into 129 square feet.

Tasked with turning a 12x12-meter space with no electricity into a livable space, architect Julie Nabucet pulled off quite a feat. Her biggest trick was in deciding on a central piece of furniture. It may seem unwise to solve the problem of limited space by installing a big wooden object in the middle of an apartment, but this particular structure serves so many purposes that it precludes the need for much else.

It's difficult to image a design that's more efficient. The kitchen is raised on a platform, and the bed slides underneath. Alternatively, you can slide the bed halfway in: Voilà, a couch. Pressed against the platform is a large, double-sided shelving unit that contains kitchen appliances and silverware on one side and books or anything else you'd stack on a shelf on the other. On the other side of the kitchen is the sink and a stovetop. The convection microwave doubles as an oven.

The bathroom is another story. It's frankly minuscule—far too small for a bathtub. Instead, it uses a "wet bath." (Amusingly, the French call this an "Italian shower.") So the toilet is inside the shower (yup), with a drain right in the middle. A short curtain keeps the toilet half of the bathroom from getting drenched when you take a shower. The sink, outside the bathroom, is smartly connected to the kitchen—it uses a wooden grate that lets some light through but which also gives you some privacy while you wash your hands.

Okay, so this pad probably isn't big enough to host a dinner (or cocktail) party, and it's a tight fit even for two people (or one!). But if you lived here, I bet you'd be pretty proud of your authentic Parisian apartment, which is not, we insist, not, a closet.

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5 Comments

  • 12 X 12 meters is 1550 square foot. I guess you mean 12 square foot (144 square feet).

    One day, Americans will switch to metric, like the rest of the planet...

  • David Maarten

    Brilliant, especially the bath mirror and half-transparent screen.

    Other, even more compact micro-homes, share the kitchen and bath sink, since there's not much reason for such redundancy in such a small space budget. Also, you can combine the shower/bathing area with the kitchen sink as well as the toilet-- to provide this fabulous benefit-- to cleanup from a messy meal, just hose the whole room down with the shower, and bring the dirty dishes with you into the shower! (Does require the dry and electrical kitchen parts to be separated). Also, why separate the toilet from the shower? Each shower can clean it, which keeps it from getting gross. All you need is a whole room exhaust fan on a timer, powerful enough to "blow dry" everything.