The Black & White – A small apartment renovation project
When first visiting this one-bedroom apartment in the southern suburbs of Athens, we were struck by the complexity and impracticality of the layout. The bathroom was located at the back of the apartment and getting to it required passing through the kitchen, something that seemed quite unorthodox. Additionally, although it was a small apartment there were two doors leading to the bedroom causing an unnecessary complexity in the circulation of the apartment. Finally, when entering, one was faced with a long corridor that led to an even longer living room lacking correct utilization of the space.
Our priority and potentially the most challenging part of this renovation was to figure out a smart and practical layout that would maximise the use of space in the apartment. Dissecting the apartment on a horizontal axis allowed us to separate the public rooms from the private ones. Located in the front of the apartment and facing the spacious L-shaped balcony are the living room and the kitchen. Creating two hypothetical squares (one for the kitchen and one for the living room) allowed us to break apart the long, continuous main living area and create two comfortable and practical areas. A hidden sliding door that blends with the wall leads to the back of the apartment where the bedroom, the bathroom and the walk-in closet are located. The old bathroom was transformed into a walk-in closet and the bathroom was moved into the old kitchen.
The changes in the layout required the installation of completely new piping and cabling. Although this caused the destruction of the existing marble floors, it allowed us to advance the amenities in the apartment by installing a solar boiler, built-in cistern and taps and decorative hidden lights across the rooms.
In terms of materiality, our goal was to create a contemporary aesthetic that would reflect the taste of a tenant that would reside in a vibrant and cosmopolitan suburb of southern Athens, such as Voula. Since we could not retain the existing floors, we opted for a wide laminate flooring, in grey hues, that runs continuously throughout the living room and the kitchen making the space look brighter and roomier. The black lacquered kitchen cabinets come in great contrast with the glossy white countertop and the terrazzo-like backsplash tiles.
In the bathroom, the most striking element is the washbasin counter, made from gypsum board and cladded in Nero Marquina (black marble) tiles. The rest of the elements in the bathroom, the concrete effect beige tiles and the minimal matte black taps, are more discreet to complement the countertop.
Finally, the black and white almost industrial aesthetic of the apartment is met again in the bedroom and the walking closet. A large, black metal door with smooth and ribbed glass panels separate the two. The walk-in closet, made out of oak wood panels, is lit by hidden led strips that run vertically down the shelves, similar to the shelving structure behind the bed, a space-saving design that replaces the typical bedside tables while offering a storage area next to the bed.
This project, although small, presented numerous challenges both during the design and the construction phases. However, we succeeded in developing a high-end, modern, and very practical 50 m2 apartment in one of the most popular suburbs of southern Athens.
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28 December 2021