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Small Living

Masterful Masters

The bedroom is so much more than a place to sleep. It is a sanctuary where comfort and relaxation are valued above all. Never Too Small’s masterful masters range from renovated workshops to hotel-hybrids and multi-use spaces where the footprint is small and elbow room abundant.

Ep27— Downsizers

Built in the 1920s, this studio apartment belongs to Jim and Coral, an elderly couple who relocated from 250 acres of farmland to 38 square meters in Darlinghurst, Sydney. 

Designing the apartment in collaboration with Nicholas Gurney, Jim and Coral’s primary focus for their home was accessibility and functionality. Given the age of the clients, consideration of wheelchair compliance within the apartment was cruical, as well as the availability of sufficient storage space to house cherished belongings.

By demarcating the space to establish several zones, the opportunity for privacy and solitude for each of the occupants was created. The secondary space is primarily a bedroom that can be easily accessed by each occupant from one side only, with each occupant having flip-down bedside tables that can be tucked away when converting the space into an office.

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Nicholas Gurney’s projects are highly functional and carefully considered, valuing the organisation of space above all. Coming up with a creative solution to Jim’s request for a separate zone for writing, Gurney implemented a wall bed that when put away, reveals a pop-up desk and chair for Jim to work from. 

When fully closed, the sliding screen door provides Jim with a concealed room to think and write. The frosted glass of the door ensures that light is never compromised while simultaneously providing privacy to the occupant using the space.

“Not only are they thinking about what they need now, but they are also thinking about what they are going to need in the future” -

Not only are they thinking about what they need now, but they are also thinking about what they are going to need in the future

Watch episode 27 – Downsizers

Ep12— Itinerant Richmond - Designed by Timothy Yee, this minimal yet luxe hideaway artfully combines home with hotel.  

Ep12— Itinerant Richmond

Designed by Timothy Yee, this minimal yet luxe hideaway artfully combines home with hotel. 

Built in the 1960s, the 29 sqm unit is covered in birch plywood from floor to ceiling. Contrasting the simple colour palette of the floorboards, walls and ceiling, are black metal countertops with perforated screens in the kitchen/living space. All cabinetry is a push-open system to minimise visual clutter to the space.

The idea was to create a hotel-home hybrid

Photo: Jack Lovel

Exceptional attention to detail throughout this elegant studio unit is everywhere. The custom-made light fixture in the kitchen as well as the “infinitely” gridded tiles in the ensuite demonstrate Yee’s keen eye for design. Using the same materials throughout the unit ensures continuity within the space while blending into the multicultural surroundings of the apartment block.

Yee raised the floor of the bedroom as a way to creatively house the services from the kitchen and placed the bed on a plinth, effectively creating a seamless transition into the room. Wardrobe and shelving space has been integrated above the bed to maximise space usage, and the installation of an alcove shelving provides an expansive bedside table.

Watch episode 12 – Itinerant Richmond 

Ep13— Darlinghurst Apartment

The masterful master of Brad Swartz’s heritage-listed Darlinghurst Apartment is beautifully designed to accommodate vast amounts of internal storage within the 27 sqm space. 

Simple panels allow light and airflow, opening the home up to city views as hidden spaces and sliding walls create a sense of luxury within the small-scale home. The art deco apartment contains all the necessary amenities for life within the small area by utilising the spaces throughout the apartment that are artfully concealed by simple panels and push-open cupboards. 

Through Swartz’s creativity, a laundry, kitchen, bedroom, and ample storage have been incorporated within the incredibly tight floor space. Each aspect of the apartment has been carefully considered and designed to maximise storage and functionality.

Good design is not only about making a smaller footprint work harder but it’s also about creating a really great quality of life and a sense of luxury in a tighter space.

Changing the original floor plan of the apartment to create a kitchen/living space and a separate room for sleeping is what has given this art deco apartment its appeal. The bedroom is on a raised platform, providing shoe storage within the steps while establishing a sectioned-off area of the apartment dedicated to sleeping. 

Space above and underneath the bed is used for the storage of personal belongings, while the recessed shelf acts as a bedside table fitted with lights and power points. The alcove shelf is perfect for placing a cup of tea, an unfinished book, and any other nightstand necessities! 

Photo: Katherine Lu

Watch episode 12 —  Darlinghurst Apartment

Ep32— Loft Buikslotherham

Heren 5 architects in collaboration with furniture designer Paul Timmer, designed the interior of Loft Buikslotherham, situated in the recently suburbanised industrial area of Northern Amsterdam. 

The living room, sleeping area, storage and bathroom are situated in the back of the loft. With the extra high 3.5m ceiling used to place the sleeping area on top of the kitchen, with an extra bed under the living-platform, to provide sleeping space for guests. Inventive switching and stacking created a compact loft with a generous feel.

The space was designed using custom joinery and diamond edge finishes designed by Paul Timmer to create a deliberate ‘furniture’ like feel to the structure, while the larger interior unit is realised in a subtle palette of brushwood and white Corian.  

Photo: Leonard Faustle

In the bedroom, there is room for a two person mattress as well as ample space for books, a laptop and a comforting cup of tea. The diamond edge finishes add an element of softness to the bedroom, encouraging relaxation within the luxuriously designed space. 

If you make something special out of it, something personal, it can really become a good design

Watch episode 32 — Loft Buikslotherham

Ep14— Small Town House London 

This funky townhouse located in the heart of London’s East End was once a carpenter workshop and is now a space for friends and family to stay when visiting Danish designer Nina Tolstrup.

Living down the road from the carpentry workshop, Nina Tolstrup was well acquainted with the long-time owner and when the time came, she happily took the opportunity to buy the quaint workshop following the carpenter’s well-deserved retirement. Furnishing it with “cartoonish and fun” chairs and hanging graphical artworks done by Joe Niemeyer, the small townhouse became somewhat of a live-in gallery.

“Instead of making a bedroom with walls and doors,” Nina chose to incorporate built-in bed pods in the 40 sqm space. The original construction of the workshop included two floors already, but a decision to lift the roof half a meter allowed room for a mezzanine that now acts as another little house within the house.

Photo: Ben Anders

To maximise light in the space, Nina installed a south-facing skylight that naturally brightens up the entire house, and by placing a large glass panel into the floor of the second story, it allows the light from the skylight to travel down into the level below.

By constructing enclosed sleeping pods and filling the home with bursts of colour and upcycled furniture, Nina has created a perfect example of a luxurious small footprint home. While the exaggerated shapes and colours of the furnishings give the space personality, the white walls and light timber create a sense of calmness and ease.

If it’s well designed, it doesn’t feel smaller

Watch episode 14 – Small Town House London

From Masterful Masters to Brilliant Bathrooms

Never Too Small’s brilliant bathrooms have very different styles, but are all spaces that make clever use of the available footprint and, above all, feel special.


View Never Too Small’s Brilliant Bathrooms