The Hidden Storage in This Studio Apartment Is Borderline Genius

Photos by Chris Warnes
studio apartment
credit: Chris Warnes

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.

studio apartment with storage bed
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credit: Chris Warnes

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.

black kitchen cabinets with mirror backsplash
credit: Chris Warnes

The kitchen is outfitted in laminate veneer cabinets painted in a black natural finish. The mirrored backsplash features a slightly darker tint to complement the surrounding cabinets.

studio apartment bed
credit: Chris Warnes

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.

studio apartment with plywood bed platform
credit: Chris Warnes

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.

storage under bed
credit: Chris Warnes

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

bedroom storage
credit: Chris Warnes

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

studio apartment
credit: Chris Warnes

"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."

mirror and drawers in bedroom
credit: Chris Warnes

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

bathroom
credit: Chris Warnes

Australian company Classic Ceramics supplied the bathroom's tile. Turpentine timber was used to add dimension to the ceiling in the shower area. A Rogerseller shower tray offers a sleek and simple option for storing essentials.


Kate Santos

Kate Santos

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.