A 1-bedroom apartment becomes a 2-bedroom family home full of smart storage ideas
The redesign of this compact apartment in a 1980s building in Bucharest, Romania, was the last project designer Dana Kallo tackled before relocating to Ireland. The owners had chosen it for its great location rather than its looks, and it badly needed updating and improving. “We came up with a design that would accommodate a young family in need of a functional home, with plenty of storage and an extra bedroom,” Kallo says
This small one-bedroom flat was cleverly converted into a two-bedroom home for a couple expecting their first child. The living room is now a multifunctional open space with a kitchen and dining area, while the old kitchen became a small but cozy bedroom. “With the baby in mind, we tried to keep this room as uncluttered as possible,” Kallo says. “So all the furniture was designed to go around the walls, leaving plenty of free space in the middle.”
装修前的图片 Before Photo
BEFORE: “The apartment was lived in before the clients bought it, so it had visible marks of time and usage,” Kallo says. “As it was built so long ago, the electrical and plumbing systems had to be replaced and adapted to suit modern appliances and devices.”
This is how the living room looked once Kallo and her team had gutted it. “The hardwood floor was also in very bad shape and had to be replaced, and in the end, all the interior finishes had to be renewed,” she says.
AFTER: “One of the most significant interventions was redesigning the living room as an open space that includes a relaxation area with a generous sectional sofa, a cooking area and a dining area,” Kallo says. “In short, the new living room became the focal point of the apartment.”
The sofa came from a local retailer. “The main idea was that it was L-shaped, to create a lot of seating space and to zone the seating area, dividing it a little from the dining table,” she says.
Another key change was to turn the old kitchen into a master bedroom with a walk-in dressing area. Colorful wallpaper brings personality to the space, while the long custom mirror helps boost light levels and the sense of space.
The pipes by the bed are still in service and had to remain. “They were white,” Kallo says. “We thought, ‘We can’t hide them, so let’s be playful with them and paint them a bright color.’”
The first major change was to move the plumbing that ran between the old kitchen and living room. “It ran within that partition wall,” Kallo says. “We were lucky that we just had to move the access points to the pipework, but kept the pipes in the same position. If we had had to completely move them, it would have required a lot of permits and permission, and that would have complicated the project.”
The next step was to create the extra storage space needed for rarely used objects, including out-of-season clothes and books. “The master bed is designed to sit on a raised floor to create storage space for the owners’ vast collection of books,” Kallo says. “The bed mattress was placed directly on top of this raised floor to amplify the space in the room.”
The raised floor in the master bedroom also has box spaces designed within it, under and around the bed. They are easily accessible by lifting their lids.
“We worked with a local carpenter who made most of the furniture around the house, including the kitchen units, the living room units, the wardrobe in the baby’s bedroom and the hallway storage,” Kallo says. “These pieces are all our designs, created so that every little corner would be used to its full potential.”
A projector in the ceiling above the sofa works with a screen on the wall next to the door. “It was a special request from the owners, and because the room is rather long, there’s a good distance between the projector and screen, so it works,” she says.
In the kitchen, the appliances were integrated, and the backsplash was created with a printed glass. “In the last few years, a lot of young Romanian couples have got back into the idea of cooking and making traditional dishes at home, rather than eating out,” Kallo says. “So it was very important to give the owners all the appliances they needed.” They have an oven, a microwave, a full-size sink, a cooktop with hood and a fridge-freezer.
BEFORE: This balcony was next to the old kitchen before being converted into a walk-in wardrobe off the master bedroom.
AFTER: Kallo installed an open-shelf modular storage structure to create the spacious walk-in wardrobe in the former balcony. “Instead of doors, we used airy white drapes to hide the structure and preserve the nice natural light that was coming into the room through the large windows of the balcony,” Kallo says.
Here you can see clearly how the floaty white drapes softly conceal the wardrobe area.
The same fluid white drapes subtly mask the bookshelves on the wall opposite the bed. “We improved the modular shelving system by adding a hinged worktop that can be used as a small laptop desk or a vanity table,” Kallo says.
The apartment’s existing bedroom was redesigned for the owners’ baby. Bursts of color, pretty wallpaper by the crib and a large wardrobe are key elements that make the room both playful and functional. The sofa bed, at far left, was recycled from the owners’ former home and placed near the crib for convenience. “Recently, we were delighted that, two years after designing the apartment, the owners got in touch again asking us to prepare this room for the arrival of a second baby!” Kallo says.
Fully refurbished, the bathroom has a new tub, sink, toilet, floor and tile. “We designed a large mirrored cabinet where the clients store everything from towels to makeup,” Kallo says.
In addition to this storage, the shower wall has three mosaic tile-covered alcoves where more toiletries can be kept within easy reach.
A lot of storage space was designed to go in the hallway. “All the cleaning products, ironing board, laundry rack, bags and luggage, winter clothes, and other useful small items for the house were brought in here,” Kallo says. The unit near the bathroom door at the far end accommodates the washing machine and dryer.
Kallo worked mirrors into most of the rooms to help increase the sense of space and disguise some of the storage. “This one in the hallway is the only full-length mirror in the apartment,” she says. “It’s useful for a final look before you go out.”
BEFORE: This is the entrance hall before it was decked out with custom storage.
AFTER: Modernizing the apartment, replacing the gas and electrics, andgoing with custom built-ins to make best use of the space took up most of the budget. “We then tried to find inexpensive furniture that would complete the space, but which the owners could replace in the future for something bigger or better,” Kallo says.