Avida Sola, Manila

Transforming a blank canvas into a functional, comfortable living space is a challenging task, especially when dealing with a limited area of only 35sqm/377sqft. However, interior designer Mara Manalo was able to turn a small apartment in Quezon City into a cosy, well-designed home.

The main goal of the project was to create a space that feels like a respite from the busy streets of the city. The solution was to add custom joinery and textured elements throughout the apartment, giving it a warm and inviting feel.

One of the standout features of the apartment is the bleached timber and plywood kitchen. The custom joinery has cut-outs instead of handles, which gives the kitchen a less cluttered look. An adjacent floor-to-ceiling pantry and storage cabinet are concealed behind a sliding polycarbonate door, providing ample storage space without taking up valuable floor space.

To separate the kitchen from the living space, green floor tiles were added to the kitchen area, creating a visual separation and making it easier to clean. A raised platform was also incorporated into the design, separating the sleeping area from the living spaces. This platform also serves as a storage space underneath and a room-dividing counter that doubles as a workspace.

The use of materials was carefully considered to ensure that the apartment feels spacious and tranquil. The light-coloured timber and plywood used in the kitchen and joinery create a sense of warmth and openness, while the green floor tiles in the kitchen add a pop of colour and texture.

In a bustling city like Manila, the apartment’s efficient and economical design is a breath of fresh air. Mara Manalo was able to take a small studio and turn it into a spacious, serene retreat. The custom joinery and clever use of materials provide ample storage space, making the most of every inch of the apartment. The design is a testament to the fact that with careful planning and attention to detail, even the smallest spaces can be transformed into beautiful and functional living spaces.

Images by NeverTooSmall