Design Features

Clever Compartments: Floor Storage

Something we’ve deemed essential when filming an episode of Never Too Small is capturing the space’s storage. There are several reasons why we do this, but one of the chief among them is simply that we’re amazed by the endlessly inventive solutions that architects and designers devise for improving the flow of daily life in a small footprint. For this focus on clever storage solutions, we’re taking you underfoot for a look at some of our favourite examples of storage hidden within the floors.

Bunker meets Pantry

Japan isn’t new to the movement toward small-footprint living. Over the decades, the country has grown accustomed to large populations in its cities and even has an architectural style — kyosho jutaku or “micro-homes” — organised around this reality. This is all to say that Japan is home to some clever storage solutions as well, like the one below this Tokyo kitchen. Designed by Arte-1 Architects, this home features additional storage under the kitchen that is accessible by a ladder. The clients, who love to cook, have a second fridge down there as well as additional shelving for dry goods and other kitchen items. Plus, the cooler temperatures of the underground space help to keep ingredients fresher for longer.

Levelling Up

This Hong Kong apartment quite literally takes floor storage to another level with the raised, wooden deck platform that was added to the living room space. A step up from the kitchen, the platform offers a natural demarcation between the spaces and features over ten panels that extend out to the window — each with storage inside of them. With nifty tricks like the built-in table that can be raised for dining or working, the design is dynamic and responsive to the owner’s current needs.

A similar concept is introduced in the child’s room through the addition of a stepped platform that raises the bed to window height, provides additional storage, and offers a seat for the desk.

Designed by Mae Prachasilchai of Studio La Tarta Piccola, this Bangkok home houses floor storage within a platform at the end of its living room that serves as a tea room or study area by day or a sleeping area by night. The box-like platform, which was inspired by the versatile design of Japanese ryokans, a style of inn with tatami-matted floors, features four tatami mat panels that discreetly cover the storage compartments and give the area a warmer, comfier feel. Plus, for added privacy, the entire area can be completely concealed behind two sliding panel doors with frosted windows.

Functional Floorboards

Set in a floodway in Rosebrook, Australia, this fully off-grid, transportable small house was designed to feel like a New York–style apartment but appropriate for a regional setting. With a total footprint of 40sqm, the space is compact but manages to maintain a very open, decluttered feel thanks, in so small part, to the storage in the floor of the living room. By integrating these compartments within the living room floor, Aaron Shields and Nick Lane, the carpenter and designer, respectively, simplified the space and allowed the near 360-degree views to be the star of the show.

Images by Derek Swalwell and Never Too Small

The designers at Absence for Island wanted to keep the layout of the kid’s room flexible in this Hong Kong apartment so that it could grow and change alongside them. The pared-back room includes panelled storage built into the floor as well as a hydraulic-powered desk that raises and retracts depending on need.

In case you missed it: Got Stuff? Clever Storage for Small Homes