BEST SOLUTIONS – Micro home, a 21 sqm mezzanine apartment in Berlin

Entrance, living room, bathroom, kitchen and bedroom all in a twenty one sqm apartment. This is what our young student, who owns this studio apartment in Moabit, an inner city neighbourhood north of Tiergarten in Berlin, asked architects Paola Bagna and John Paul Coss, experts in renovating small spaces. On the fourth floor of a period building, this apartment was altered considerably over the last century, ending up looking more like a bathroom surrounded by a couple of square metres than a home. 

The 21 sqm studio apartment with its central service core. Entrance to the right, kitchen to the left, built-in cupboards and breakfast bar in the foreground. Bathroom inside the service core.

The refurbishment was extensive. By taking all the internal partitions down, the architects built a central core with an iron structural frame, which has built-in cupboards plus kitchen on its perimeter wall. And there’s a tiny bathroom inside. The service core stops short of the ceiling, precisely so a mezzanine bed could be built above it. Having a central structure frees up space around a second window, which in turn brings more light to the room.

Alla finestra un davanzale più profondo è la scrivania della padrona di casa, in fondo la cucina attrezzata di tutto punto. A destra, la scala, larga solo 52 centimetri e sottile come un foglio di carta piegato.
A wider than average windowsill serves as a desk for our owner, a well-equipped kitchen is in the background. Right-hand side, the staircase is only 52 cm wide and thin like a sheet of paper.
Il soggiorno aspetta il suo divano, da immaginare in stile liberty come la lampada a sospensione, voluta dalla padrona di casa per ricordare lo stile architettonico di questo palazzo storico.
Art Nouveau style pendant lamp, chosen by our owner as it references the period of the building.
A sinistra il cassetto estraibile che diventa il primo gradino della scala. A destra la vista dall’ingresso sotto il soppalco con a lato la porta scorrevole in legno di recupero del bagno.
Left-hand side, the pull-out draw which doubles as the bottom step. Right-hand side, under the mezzanine bed, a view from the entrance with bathroom door to the right. The sliding door is made from upcycled timber.

The main theme of this project was to use every inch of space, even height-wise. During the refurbishment, the architects decided to clad the damaged original ceiling with a plasterboard false ceiling, which reduced the room to 3,21 m high. The bathroom ceiling was made as low as possible, and a particular load bearing structure with shorter beams was chosen. This left an 83 cm-high crawl space, the bare minimum to squeeze into bed. Built-in cupboards stick out enough to form a parapet.
Also the staircase in 5 mm bent steel has been stripped to basics. It was mounted on the wall to make it more stable. The 52 cm steps are just wide enough for a person.

In una parte della balaustra del soppalco formata dagli armadi, è stato inserito uno spazio vuoto vetrato che dà luce al bagno sottostante. Nell’ultima foto l’apertura vista dal bagno.

Generally, studio apartments are filled with multipurpose convertible furniture. But, our young owner wanted her tiny apartment to feel like a proper home, where she didn’t have to move or pull-out a single thing. So, opting for fixed furniture and clearly defined areas became a real design challenge for Paola Bagna and John Paul Coss. Paola and John managed to fit in such a tight space all the required functions by overlapping and slotting them together, either vertically or horizontally, using up every available inch. The outcome is a perfectly functional light-filled apartment with a great vibe. It was definitely worth it!

Project info

Ristrutturazione di un monolocale in città 

Luogo: Berlino Moabit, Germania
Dimensioni: 21 mq + soppalco

Progettazione d’interni e illuminazione:  
Spamroom e John Paul Coss


Imprese e collaboratori:
Inhouse Berlin, Noé Metal Design,
PA-Tischlerei, Astrid Kaltenborn
e Thomas Bandura


Courtesy Spamroom
Copyright Ringo Paulusch