H.O.T Design Studio recently completed the renovation of a 34-square-meter residence in Weinan, Shaanxi. Although affordable housing projects launched by the government and developers have solved the housing problem of many residents, some problems gradually appear such as too limited floor area and unreasonable layout of living units. Industrialized batch interior design cannot satisfy an individual’s demand from the perspective of aesthetics and utility in this age. Creating a warm, comfortable and practical modern living space according to the needs of the owner is the challenge for H.O.T Design.
▼室内空间一览，Overview of the interior space © 刘俊男
Background of the Project
The project is located in Dongfujingyuan Community in the old city district of Weinan, Shaanxi Province. The exact floor area of the apartment is only 34 square meters. Therefore, in response to the owner’s specific demands and detailed circumstances, it is necessary for the designer to provide tailored design. The owner of this apartment is a single woman who is engaged in the profession of a teacher. She likes to read at home and does not have many social activities. At the same time, much storage space is needed due to the small size of the room. After fully understanding the owner’s profile and requirements on the residence, the designer decided to choose the wooden furnishingswork as the main style to create a simple, warm and compact “homestay” that integrates multi-functions.
▼房间轴测图，Axonometric drawing of the room © 炽造设计工作室
The initial layout of the room is not ideal: the bathroom is close to the entrance without natural ventilation and lighting; the kitchen and laundry balcony are arranged in parallel on the south side, which greatly heavily obstructs blocksthe natural lighting of coming into the living room and bedroom; the remaining width of the bedroom, living room and dining room is only about 5 Around meters, the corridor is also extremely narrow, and the entire space is compact and closed. For the first scheme, we wanted to modify the wall layout, specifically including moving the kitchen near the entrance, and widening the balcony to allow the living room and bedroom to enjoy more natural light and better view. However, after communicating with the property management office, we were told that there should be no adjustment or damage to the interior wall. Thus, the renovation design of this project is based on the existing wall layout.
▼房间初始状态 – 入口空间、客厅，阳台，卫生间，
Overview of the initial status – The entrance, living room, balcony, bathroom © 炽造设计工作室
Although the apartment is small, we should not neglect the entrance space and need to create a unique hallway for switching between interior and exterior scenes. The entrance space combining suspended ceilings, wall panels, a shoe bench, and shoe cabinets is constructed with the use of melamine faced boards. The shoe bench and the bedroom bed are cut obliquely. On the one hand, the diagonal element leads the eye to the living room, which also greatly breaks the homogeneous atmosphere of the space; on the other hand, it skillfully expands the width of the hallway and allows the closet not too close to the bed.
Entrance © 刘俊男
The entrance space with beveled bench © 刘俊男
The entrance area is designed with a full-length mirrored closet door, behind which high and low power distribution boxes and other equipment are hidden. The shoe bench and shoe cabinet provide large space for storing items, maximizing the storage space of the entrance.
▼全身镜带来的光影反射，Reflection brought by the mirror © 刘俊男
Living & dining room
较小使用面积使得住宅的卧室与客厅、餐厅融为一体。业主在房间的大部分时间为独处状态，对社交需求较少，如果按照传统家居空间设计手法，将床体、沙发与餐桌等功能塞进5m X 3.6m的空间，那么每一个功能区都显得无比紧张局促，使用体验大打折扣。
The bedroom is integrated with the living room and dining room because of the small floor area of the residence. The owner spends most of the time in the apartment alone and has less need to host activities at home. If the bed, sofa and dining table are arranged in a usual way, then every functional area will be extremely small in this 5 m X 3.6m room, resulting in a less comfortable experience.
The dining table serves as space not only for meals but also for communication with visitors © 刘俊男
▼集衣柜、收纳柜、玄关、冰箱柜、抽屉等功能为一体的客厅木作区 © 刘俊男
The wooden frame in the living area integrating wardrobes, storage cabinets, the entrance, refrigerator cabinets, drawers and others
The living/dining area without a traditional sofa set © 刘俊男
Therefore, we avoided the adoption of the sofa set widely used in a traditional living room. The bed is placed in a north-south direction, and the foot of the bed is extended to serve as seats, forming a functional module with the dining table. When there are visitors, the combination of the foot of the bed and dining table can accommodate up to 5 people for resting, communicating and having meals together. This greatly increases space efficiency and maintains adequate reception capacity.
The ceiling, linear floor lamp, and downlight near the dining table © 刘俊男
The room’s ceiling height is low, with the maximum height is only 2.6 m, so it’s not meaningful to install the suspended ceiling for the whole room. Therefore, we designed the suspended ceiling in combination with storage cabinets close to the top of the wall. This provides more storage space without sacrificing the height of the room. Moreover, accent and ambient lighting can be provided for the room.
The table can also be used as a work table satisfying living/working demands © 刘俊男
Close-up of the multi-functional living room © 刘俊男
The study area was originally a balcony for washing and drying clothes. If all of this 1.5 m X 2.4 m space is only used for laundry, it would be too “luxury”. Therefore, we re-arranged the washing machine and drainage into the kitchen area when renovating plumbing and electrical systems. As an extension of the living space, this balcony area becomes a small-scale private study room.
The study area is transformed from the laundry balcony, which enhances the sense of extension of the space © 刘俊男
The wooden suspended cabinets are extended from the living room and bedroom to the study area and “fall” vertically to integrate with the desk. It strengthens the unity and compositeness of the elements and design methods used in the space, and it also acts as a cover for the air-conditioning piping in the living room extending to the outside. The drainpipe from the upper floor cannot be removed. We decided not to cover it with a veneer but completely expose it and let it go through the table, presenting a sense of the reality of the spatial relationship.
The tatami in the study area can be used for sleeping, reading, and storage © 刘俊男
The study area is small in size, so we also decided to put tatami mats here. On the one hand, it can serve as seats, and on the other hand, it can also provide extra sleeping areas and more storage space. The floating bookshelf set on the wall allows more space to store books, objects and decorative artworks.
Close-up of the experience in the study area © 刘俊男
Close-up of the floating bookshelf set © 刘俊男
We created a “sleeping area” with tatami mats, bookcases, and wall cabinets in one. Because the owner has the habit of reading in bed before sleeping, we combined the bookcase with the bed, and designed adjustable-angle spotlights on the wall to provide reading lighting and night lighting.
The bookcase is integrated with the tatami bed for reading before going to bed © 刘俊男
The tatami bed frame is extended from the mattress area. This area can not only be used as a “seat” when changing clothes and resting in daily life, and it can also be used to place items conveniently. Moreover, it enlarges the storage capacity of the space under the bed to accommodate large-sized objects. The wardrobe area is connected with the entrance and corresponds to the bed from a distance, and it integrates the TV, refrigerator, etc. into a complete and unified interface, which considerably highlights the efficiency and conciseness brought by the spatial layout.
detail of the bedroom © 刘俊男
There is no natural lighting and ventilation in the bathroom, so it can only rely on a mechanical ventilation system. In order to maintain the sense of cleanliness of the space, a white color theme is chosen including white waterproof oak boards, aluminum gussets and floor tiles. The black bathroom hardware is in harmony with the beautiful black seams of the tiles, creating a clean and elegant sanitary space.
The white bathroom © 刘俊男
Due to the irregular shape of the cabinet and the owner’s cost budget control, this interior renovation did not choose the customization for the whole apartment, but was mostly built on-site by carpentry. Master Xu, an extraordinarily careful and responsible woodworker, accomplished the superb woodwork at a high level with the use of the traditional tenon-and-mortise technique.
▼家具细部，details of the furniture © 刘俊男
▼平面图，plan © 炽造设计工作室
Project name: Renovation of a 34-square-meter apartment in Weinan
Design: H.O.T Design Studio
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Leader designer: Xiang Wang , Ke Yan
Technical consultant: Xunan Wang
Woodworker: Liang Xu
Project location: Weinan, Shaanxi
Project area: 34 m2
Design period: 2019.11-12
Construction period: 2020.07-10
Main materials: melamine faced board, wooden floor (Der), latex paint (Nippon), smart toilet and bathroom ware (Faenza), felt bag and accessories (TransAxis)
Photography: Junnan Liu
Post-processing: Junnan Liu, Yuzhe Bao