150 Best Mini Interior Ideas by Francesc Zamora includes 500 pages of color photographs of clever space-saving design.

Built-In Furniture That Functions as Architecture Rather Than Décor

Built-In Furniture That Functions as Architecture Rather Than Décor

The Eye
Slate’s design blog.
March 2 2015 4:10 PM

Built-In Furniture That Functions as Architecture Rather Than Décor

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The 484-square-foot Der Ufogel house in Austria, designed by Architekturbüro Jungmann and Aberjung Design Agency, is built on stilts. From 150 Best Mini Interior Ideas by Francesc Zamora Mola.

Photograph by DI Lukas Jungmann. Copyright 2014 by Harper Design and Loft Publications.

The 500 pages of color photographs of intriguing, cleverly designed small spaces in the recently published 150 Best Mini Interior Ideas by Francesc Zamora Mola provide plenty of evidence of how the constraints of a small footprint can free designers and homeowners to take risks and put roofs on their most eccentric of dreams.

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In addition to offering plenty of small-space eye candy, the book’s new builds and renovations—including urban apartments, rural houses, converted garages, stables, garden sheds, and more—are also united in their use of space-saving strategies that require confidence and commitment to get right. These include a willingness to embrace open space, build multifunctional rooms, exploit verticality, and incorporate built-in furniture.

Built-in furniture has been around since the Middle Ages, when medieval stone houses incorporated stone beds and benches, and built-in furniture has come and gone throughout the centuries according to the change in lifestyles and fashion. But apart from closets, bookshelves, and the endangered monstrosity known as the media center, these days freestanding furniture tends to rule.

Der Ufogel interior 1
The use of the same material throughout the Der Ufogel house (top) with its built-in furniture enhances the continuity from one plane to another, Zamora Mola says.

Photograph by DI Lukas Jungmann. Copyright 2014 by Harper Design and Loft Publications.

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Although freestanding furniture might allow for spontaneous redecorating, built-in furniture can be tailored to fit, becoming part of the architecture rather than the décor. And because living well in a small space requires a particular knack for space planning and judicious furniture choices, several spaces in 150 Best Mini Interior Ideas incorporate built-in furniture to maximize space and efficiency, creating a streamlined look.

“A scarcity of space can trigger talent and creativity,” Zamora Mola writes in the book’s introduction. “Architects do not shrink in the face of small spaces.”

Harbor Attic interior 1
The 377-square-foot Harbor Attic, designed by Gosplan Architects, is a refurbished attic overlooking the old harbor of Camogli, a fishing village near Genoa, Italy. Built-in furniture like the sofa pictured frees up floor area, makes the space less cramped, and unifies the deecor, Zamora Mola notes.

Photograph by Anna Positano. Copyright 2014 by Harper Design and Loft Publications.

Woven Nest interior 2
Woven Nest interior 3
Woven Nest interior 1
The Woven Nest, at 764 square feet, was designed by Atmos Studio in London. “A single curl of complex built-in furniture, bridging inside and outside, both closed and open in its careful compaction and alignment, unifies the house,” Zamora Mola writes.

Photographs by Christoph Bolten/Atmos Studio. Copyright 2014 by Harper Design and Loft Publications.

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Le Nuage interior 1
France’s Le Nuage, a 183-square-foot dwelling based on the shape of a cumulus cloud, was designed by Buy-Sellf/Zeebra3. Built-in bunk beds can provide storage that optimizes the space they are designed to fit in, an advantage over freestanding bunk beds, Zamora Mola notes.

Photographs by Buy-Sellf/Zébra3. Copyright 2014 by Harper Design and Loft Publications.

Guest House exterior 2
Guest House interior 1
This 183-square-foot guesthouse, designed by Martin Kalleso Arkitekter in Praesto, Denmark, includes a built-in closet and a designated space for a double bed that makes the best use of the space.

Photographs by Martin Kalleso and Lars Kaslov. Copyright 2014 by Harper Design and Loft Publications.

Kristin Hohenadel's writing on design has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Fast Company, Vogue, Elle Decor, Lonny, and Apartment Therapy.