The Hidden Storage in This Studio Apartment Is Borderline Genius

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When architectural firm Studio Prineas arrived to assess an art deco apartment in Darlinghurst, an inner-city suburb near Sydney, Australia, the team noticed that poor planning with a small layout (literally; it's 230 square feet and the firm refers to the project as the 'Nano Pad') resulted in unnecessary clutter. An added challenge: The tiny space needed to function both as a home and as a short-stay rental for when the clients are out of town.

First order of duty: reformatting that messy layout. Taking advantage of the original high ceilings, the team designed a custom bed raised from the floor, packed with storage. A space by the entry became an ideal area for a small kitchen. To create the feeling of "rooms" within the studio, Prineas added a plywood unit that separates a bedroom and living room.

The result is a compact apartment that offers comfort and style — for both the homeowners and any guests they welcome.

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studio apartment with storage bed
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Living Room

Touches of local culture were added throughout the interior. Framed photographs from a series called Under the Tip of Bondi Iceberg by Jean Pierre Bratanoff depict an Australian swimming club.

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studio apartment bed
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Bedroom

The team kept the colors simple, using natural plywood to define much of the space — through the shelf at the foot of the bed, the bed's platform, and also on the wall behind the bed.

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studio apartment with plywood bed platform
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Bedroom

A black suspension light fixture by Flos is set on a diagonal to bring more dimension to the design. The couch is the Wilfred Sofa by Jardan.

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storage under bed
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Bedroom

The custom-built bed offers loads of storage, from drawers ...

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bedroom storage
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Bedroom

... to panels that lift up to reveal additional storage units.

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studio apartment
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Bedroom

"The use of lime-washed plywood is punctuated by bespoke elements of blackened steel, says Eva-Marie Prineas, principal architect at Studio Prineas. "These details operate as contemporary iterations of the art deco theme and extend to mirrors, hanging rails, the shelf reveal in the bathroom, as well as the kitchen."

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mirror and drawers in bedroom
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Bedroom

A custom mirror with a black steel frame is positioned over floating drawers treated with a black stain and clear matte polyurethane.


After interning at Dwell magazine in San Francisco, Kate began writing about arts, design and culture for other national publications. She is based in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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