“-Re” House no. 20 – Showcase the Interesting

This is an apartment that was sent to me. It is not the craziest I have seen. It actually is a reasonable one. However, there are a few things worth mentioning.

Note: The floor plans provided by the estate agent aren’t fully correct. Which is rather unfortunate and quite common. I’m often forced to fully discover the space and the real shape of floor plans from the pictures provided. I do not share these pictures on the website due to privacy concerns.
What I have a hard time understanding in this entire system is who and how does these plans. I have learned that the floor plans are usually made by a third party, which provides them to the estate agency in order to be used on their website. However half the time, the stairs are drawn in the wrong direction, the scale is off and walls are misplaced. This, unfortunately casts an unprofessional light on the estate agents using them.

Original layout:
•  Completed: 2000
Surface: 107m²
External storage: 6m²

• This is one of the top layer apartments of a complex revolving around an interior courtyard. You know! One of these! The entry layer is the fourth floor of the building, the main living area is on the fifth floor while the terrace is technically the roof level. The thing that intrigued me was the staircase and its adjacent space. As one comes up from the entry level, one discovers a small space, the kitchen, and the circulations to and from the bedrooms. Why is that a problem? Technically, it isn’t. However, a space well done unfolds itself in front of the visitor and its functions are layered based on importance. So, I would expect to arrive up in the main space of the floor, or at least in its immediate vicinity.
• I also think that the access to the terrace and the volume that it creates should be properly taken advantage of and thus emphasized. The high volume of the room, the light it brings in and the volume of the staircase should be shown off. The space should revolve around them.
• I assume that the initial concept was to have the kitchen and the terrace working together, which makes perfect sense. However, when entertaining, it is much better to have the living room working with any available terrace. Also, in this particular context, the noise and movement in the kitchen would make the terrace difficult to access, if the two bedrooms were to be occupied by children.   
New layout:
• As expected, I made the staircase and its volume the center of attention. A light wooden staircase, without a riser is the ideal choice so it does not block the view and separate the areas of the new living room. In this way, there is easy access to the terrace, it is easy to entertain and it makes better use of the light and view provided by the top layer.
• I have also provided the master bedroom with a proper bathroom, as in this particular design I do not think one toilet is enough. I do have to mention that in this case I am working slightly on a guess. The floor plans provided are not entirely accurate, so I am not 100% sure of where the vertical pipes are. However, as there was already a bathroom in that location, I’m going for it!

• In an ideal context, this would be my choice. However, as expected, there is more to it. In the original layout, the living room is located on the outer side of the complex, while the bedrooms and the terrace have a view over the interior courtyard. This is generally done to maintain privacy and quiet for the sleeping areas. So me switching them around, could definitely ruffle some feathers and upset some neighbors if the residents are party people. Fair enough! Thus, I had to see how would I use the space if I had to keep the living room on that side of the floor plan.
• As one can see below, I’d have the staircase bring one to the main floor in the visual direction of the living room. I’d make it easy to keep spaces open, but also close when needed, and for that I love the easiness of the sliding doors. I’d make the staircase to the terrace easy to access from the living room, with minimal interaction from and with the hallway. And last, but not least, I’d allow the bedrooms some privacy by not making the hallway a major function with continuous movement. Off course I’d make sure, the secondary bedrooms would allow a proper separation of sleep and work, as previously explained.


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