News Home & Design This Cabin-Inspired Micro-Apartment Is a Cozy Urban Guesthouse An old attic apartment is redesigned to feel larger. By Kimberley Mok Kimberley Mok Twitter Writer McGill University Cornell University Kimberley Mok is a former architect who has been covering architecture and the arts for Treehugger since 2007. Learn about our editorial process Published October 21, 2022 03:00PM EDT Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process Share Twitter Pinterest Email Space Factory News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive As the average city dweller will tell you, living in smaller spaces can be a bit of a necessity when it comes to residing in a city. After all, a smaller home is often more affordable in a densely populated urban area where housing is more expensive, and often people are more willing to trade off square footage in exchange for a better location that's close to everything a city has to offer. But designing a small space so that it works well can be quite a challenge. How does one fit in all the basics like a kitchen, bathroom, and a bedroom without making the space feel cramped? It takes a bit of clever maneuvering, but it can be done. Case in point is this simple but effective overhaul of an attic loft by Parisian architecture firm Space Factory (seen here previously), which has been designed for the clients to use as a short- or long-term rental. As the architects explain: "The small guest house is a soft and organic place created to welcome happy tenants. It's a place to take a break, like a vacation cabin designed to feel good. It is a mini-house that bears the imprint of its hosts, their universe in which one feels welcomed, but also free to flourish there, to settle there for a few months or a few years." Dubbed La Petite Maison d'Hôtes ("The Little Guest House"), the original 247-square-foot loft has been augmented with a sleeping loft that measures 86 square feet, bringing the total floor area to 333 square feet. It may not sound like a lot, but there is everything one needs here, like a living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and quite a bit of storage. To make the tiny space feel more spacious, the kitchen and living room have been amalgamated into one open plan space, and everything—including the existing roof beams—has been painted mostly white, with accents of wood, powder pink, and a rosy terracotta to warm things up. The entry area is not big, but surprisingly packs quite a lot in: there is a "mini laundry room" that also functions as a wardrobe, built-in shoe storage behind the white cabinet doors, and pot lights in the ceiling to make sure the space is well-lit. There is even an integrated nook that acts as a drop-off point to stash keys, mail, and a photo frame or two—all important elements to make a place feel like home. Space Factory Moving into the main living area, the kitchen is defined by an L-shaped configuration of counters and cabinets, as well as white penny tiling on the floor. The rose-colored backsplash adds a soft spatial element that further demarcates kitchen from living room, and the gold-plated faucet lends a spark of chic into the space. The cabinets alternate between white and plywood, which matches the set of stairs going up, part of which lands on the kitchen counter. Space Factory The stairs, which also incorporate storage underneath the steps, lead up to a ladder, and on to the sleeping loft above. To evoke a sense of a cabin suspended above, the designers have painted it a deeper reddish color and installed an operable window. It's tongue-in-cheek, and a handrail-free set of stairs might not be allowed in some places, but it's a clever solution here to maximize space, while keeping the view clear. Space Factory In the corner by the window, an extra sitting area has been set up. One could imagine a compact dining table and chairs set up here as well, for eating meals or drinking something hot in the morning. Space Factory On the other side of the kitchen is the sitting area. There is a series of long shelves and cabinets that have been built into the wall, creating a minimalist look. The perforated doors hide a radiator. Space Factory The bathroom is hidden behind a door in the entry area and includes a toilet, sink, and shower. The shower here has a window above to illuminate what would otherwise be a dark, cramped space. The datum that is created by the green tiles helps to ground the space and create the illusion of a loftier space. Space Factory Looking at the other side, we see a sink and a built-in storage cubby underneath. Space Factory It takes some thinking outside the box when it comes to redesigning a smaller space so that it feels bigger, but it can be done. With housing costs on the rise, it may be cheaper—and greener—to revamp a smaller space that already exists, as in this case. To see more, visit Space Factory.