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Apartment 35, Verona

The owner of architect Matteo Fiorini’s rental apartment asked him to do something many renters dream of: redesign and renovate. Levering his architectural expertise and his lived experience in the space, Fiorini with the help of Giulia Salandini — both partners at CLAB Architettura — transformed it from a dark, disarranged space into a comfortable, functional home. At only 35sqm/377sqft, this Scandinavian-inspired apartment illustrates how sometimes a little imagination is all that’s needed to achieve optimised living.

Nature at its Doorstep

Immersed in the lush greenery of Peschiera del Garda, the building, which was constructed in 1974, features the typical hallmarks of rural Italian architecture with its porches and courtyard. The original interior lacked a clear organisation of space, which minimised its daily functionality. And with no private space for a permanent bedroom, Fiorini had taken to using the pull-out sofa as a bed.

Vertical Thinking

The biggest structural change was the move of the kitchen into the existing closet space. This relatively simple update opened up the floorplan of the main living area, making room for a permanent sleeping nook. Rather than simply slotting the bed into the corner, however, Fiorini and Salandini saw the potential to increase the footprint even further by going vertical. Cue the custom, built-in unit. This unit not only helped them carve out a space for the bed, but it also helped to define zones, add storage, and conceal the entry into the bathroom — all while adding a cosy and warm ambience to the space.

Tucked in

In this home, nature is not only at your doorstep — but your bedroom window too. Accessible by a small staircase, this newly defined sleeping platform lifts Fiorini’s bed to the height of a small window, which keeps the space from feeling too cramped and offers the added bonus of a beautiful view from the comfort of his bed. They added a couple of shelves and a recessed niche for Fiorini to place his books and other things. Privacy comes at the simple pull of a curtain, which closes off the space from the rest of the apartment (great for when guests come to stay).

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Who needs a closet when you’ve got a platform? Seriously, this custom unit packs a serious punch when it comes to its storage space. Fiorini and Salandini added a full wardrobe to the base of the platform, replete with a set of drawers and a pull-out compartment with a rod for hanging clothes. The bathroom, accessible via a concealed door to the left of the sleeping area, provides access to even further storage beneath the platform, which is great for longer-term storage or non day-to-day items.

Optimised Living

Fiorini’s apartment is all about the power of simple yet thoughtful updates. A careful choice of materials and colour palette – in this case, Scandinavian-inspired light woods and neutral tones – can make all the difference. Once a little dark and dated, the apartment is now bright and optimised for daily life with its integrated but clearly defined areas for lounging, dining, and sleeping.

“The designing of small spaces encourages the optimisation of resources”, Salandini told Never Too Small, “and it also demonstrates how the quality of living does not depend on the size of the space, but on the ability to optimise what already exists”.

Searching for more Scandinavian-inspired design? Look no further.

Images by Never Too Small and Marco Toté.