Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Genius Reno or Architectural Lipstick on a Pig?

Cities like New York, Hong Kong and London tend to get all the attention when it comes to astronomical property values. But there are smaller, quieter cities that might lack the flash, but are still insanely expensive. One such city is Stockholm. Sweden has seen its property values triple in the last ten years and an apartment in its capital city will set you back around $9700/sq meter (66,866 kr). These sky-high prices are one reason why architect Karin Matz did this cost-conscious renovation of a space that had been used as furniture storage for 30 years. Dubbed HB6B, the 387 sq ft studio is an interesting alloy of old and new.

Rather than doing a costly full renovation, Matz split the space into two zones: one polished and new the other rough and old.

Since a big objective was keeping costs low, the polished space was constructed around IKEA kitchen shelving units. Floors and walls were painted white to reflect white. There is a loft bed separated from the kitchen by a large glass pane. There is ample built in storage and shades that pull down to enclose the space. Everything appears to be made of plywood, which we imagine kept prices in check.

The rough side had very little done to it: peeling wallpaper and chipping paint was removed, some electric outlets were added to the outside of the wall. All furniture is freestanding.

The bathroom, which is by the entrance, “becomes the connection between the two parts,” according to Matz. The bathroom door conceals storage and a mini washing machine. There’s a voyeuristic window between the shower area and living room.

The space looks like something that would be featured in Dwell Magazine following some sort of apocalyptic event (meant in the best possible way). The artful retention and incorporation of the space’s previous decrepitude is an interesting way of saving money and adding character. We do wonder how the space will fare over time, though we imagine the rough space could be smoothed whenever the owner is ready.

What do you think? Let us know in our comment section.

via Gizmodo

  • tracy

    Wow, show a little peeling paint and the tone gets kinda snarky. What’s the deal? Seems like a pretty nice reno on a budget…

    • DeWhit

      You have a point there Tracy, but whenever the word architect or architecture is involved , everything gets a bit pricey and touchy feely.
      Besides, raw distressed concrete is the new fake brick wall of the past .

  • Katie Ostrich

    Personally, I prefer the distressed portion – feels more lived in, homey. The white in the finished portion is sterile (even if it does lighten the space). And after living in cheap rentals, exposed plywood holds zero appeal.
    The kitchen is the heart of the home, and the bedroom is a place to focus inwards and rest, so the two spaces warrant a little more than glass for separation, in my mind. I’d call it lipstick, not because they only did half the space, but because the half that they did includes a lot of concepts that would be annoying to live with (like the shower window).

  • Elizabeth Moore

    With slightly better materials, a skim coat of “old” plaster on the distressed side, and some doors on the storage areas to remove visual clutter this could have been amazing. Also, I think the furniture should be upgraded, the lower part of the shower window frosted, and I can say from personal experience that anyone who uses Ikea cabinets could be really sorry in about ten years.

  • Chris

    Personally, I think they could have slapped a coat of paint on the distressed area and improved its look 100% with minimal cost.

    I do think that the polished area needs a pop of color, it looks hospital sterile. I think that could be done with accessories / bedding and doesn’t necessarily mean that overall color needs to change.

    I think the storage areas need doors or blinds. I’m the type of person who likes to put the crap behind a door and shut the door.

    Living alone or with a significant other, the plain glass shower door doesn’t bother me. If I had lots of visitors, then I’d either want to replace it or, maybe, paint it.

    Overall, I think I could happily live there.

  • michael

    Lots of great ideas, and I love the contrast between the old and the new.

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  • I’m with Michael…, a lot of great ideas. And some unnecessary snark, eh?