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London Flat - Space saving floor plan and furniture

lundi 24 mars 2014, par Phi, 5239 Vues

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Hello. This is a new article in the new "home" part of my web site which deals with home refurbishment, kitchen, bathroom, furniture and so on.


The flat itself is originally a very small 1 bedroom with only 28 square meters, but with a great terrace of 14 square meters.

All the design choices and furniture below was to make the most of this space as any square foot matters. The optimization is geared for entertaining, and not for living - that is a design choice, but in London I guess appearances are more important than confort.

The spacesaving figures here are compared to what was in the flat before.

Furniture or designSpace saved
No corridor 2 m2
Straight line kitchen instead of U 2 m2
Streamline upper cupboard 0.5 m2
Double door opening 0.5 m2
Double entry cupboard 1 m2
Removal of water tank / high performance boiler 0.5 m2
Terrace in line with living space (in summer) 14 m2
Total design 6.5 m2 or 20.5 m2
Buffet with integrated table 4 m2
Folding Bed OSAKA 4 m2
Boston Spacesaver table 1.5 m2
Loganbry Leather Sofabed 3 m2
Argos Under-counter fridge freezer 0.5 m2
Falco Folding stool 0.5 m2
Kodis ironing board 0.5 m2
LG 3D TV with Designer Habitat TV wall bracket 0.5 m2
Total furniture 14.5 m2
Total 21 m2 or 35 m2

So ending living space is 49 m2 instead of 28 m2, it even goes up to 63 m2 in summer when the terrace is usable as extra space.

How can you have more space than the actual floor space (which is at most 44 m2 including the terrace) ? Just because some good design or specific furniture just doubles some floor space, please read on.

Original Flat layout

Original floor plan

Living room : lots of stuff - fridge

Living room : lots of stuff - large ironing board

Living room : U shaped kitchen

Living room : small table, old tube TV, folding bed under black plastic

Bedroom : bed - a pity some planks were broken

Terrace : lots of junk, not decked

Terrace : access behind an iron curtain, broken window with cardboard !!!

Bathroom : nice - that’s a surprise

So not so great. What can we do ?

Design choices

New plan layout

No corridor

As you can see, the original plan did allow for a corridor between bathroom, cupboard, living room and bedroom.

It can make sense when the flat is large enough but in that case, it’s so small that any space is a premium. The previous tenant used the corridor to store luggage and so on anyway, so better integrate it in the living space.

Straight line kitchen instead of U

Same the original plan allowed for an U kitchen. But the U was only 2 meters so that meant you lost 1.3 meters on the corners of the U and the space for the U (something like 2 square meters).

That meant he had to put the fridge with freezer somewhere else as below counter space was already taken by washing machine and oven.

Nice Magnet kitchen model

For the new straight line kitchen

Fitting everything in a 2 meters kitchen had a cost however, I don’t have an oven (only a micro-wave one), as the under counter fridge freezer is already under the sink.

Only two places to cook, i’m a lousy cook anyway

Siemens integrated hood

Integrated washing machine

Further space is saved with extra height cupboards.

Nice build

Streamline upper cupboard

This replace just the old boiler cupboard with an upper only cupboard so you can save the space below and more importantly the space for the door of the old cupboard to open.

It allows the boston space saver table to be put below that cupboard.

Double door opening

The original floor plan allowed for an access to the bedroom from the corridor. The terrace access was from the bedroom.

That meant that the living room, already cramped by the corridor, cupboard and U kitchen didn’t have access to the terrace, and really felt very small with the table, the tube TV, the fridge freezer and the ironing board (no space for sofa).

Double door from bedroom

To living room

The new design opens a 120 cm double door between the bedroom and the living room, the glass of the doors are slightly glazed with added film for privacy. The double doors can by design be put against the walls so they are invisible when open.

From living room

When the Osaka folding bed is up, the bedroom looks like an extension of the living room, a dining room for example, as is the terrace.

Some people when invited for dinner ask me afterwards about the bedroom they didn’t visit 8-).

Double entry cupboard

The first cupboard was in the corridor and took some place which is now the living room.

Goes through to entrance

The new cupboard is in the place of the old corridor between entrance and bedroom. It is designed as double entry - to save the space between the cupboards, allow for large items, and to allow for bedroom dwelllers to go to the bathroom without disturbing people in the living room (you just have to be less than 147 cm tall, great for children).

Added benefit is entrance space is integrated in living room.

Upper cupboard secured

Removal of water tank and high performance boiler

A large water tank was above the old cupboard and took a lot of valuable space. It didn’t work great, and moreover was prone to leaks.

The use of a modern boiler, Worcester Greenstar 28 CDi Compact allow for on demand hot water, without a water tank, without even a pre-heat if you’re ready to wait for 10 seconds or so.

That model is limited so better not do the dish washing and take a bath at the same time, but it beats hands down whatever central, electric or gas water heating I have ever tested.

Additional benefit of the compact model is that the cupboard could be downsized, it could even fit a kitchen upper cupboard (but I was not that keen on doing new gas pipework).

Terrace in line with living room

The terrace at around 14 square meters, is quite nice with a view to the west, so good afternoon light, with no one in front for 500 meters. In the summer the tree leaves are great as they bring shade.

The terrace before was a messy junk, with a floor riddled by holes, french windows which were broken and repaired with paperboard, no steps, so that required a massive 40 cm jump, and anyway the bed was in the way to go out.

Steps to the terrace

The bedroom can be an extension of the living room, and the terrace, with proper steps with the same wood from the floor and covered with wooden boards is an extension of the bedroom. The terrace can be seen from the living room now thanks to the double doors.

Very nice in spring / summer with the sun

Going to the "bedroom" with bed in cupboard

That means entrance + living room + bedroom + terrace can be used as a single space, especially when entertaining in summer, that is a massive 40 m2 compared to the 2 or 3 square meters available previously in the living room with the original floorplan.

Nice view : only terrace for 500 meters

Furniture choices

Buffet with integrated table

This buffet with integrated table is really an unique Italian Design sold by french furniture retailer Meubles and Co.

Thanks to me you now have a UK delivery option, which doesn’t include building, for 280 euros.

Console out of the buffet

Full table out of the buffet : it’s magic

This buffet, as its name suggest, includes an integrated table which is quite large at almost 90 cm wide and 1m85 long which can be used for 6 to 8 people easily. It never fails to impress when I take out the table from the buffet which itself is very good design. It is very sturdy and at least 200 kgs.

Looks like an ordinary good design buffet

For the same price you can choose sand glass panels, which are more beautiful but somewhat more fragile. Color glass panels are available for an extra 110 euros.

Now there is only the wenge version available, 10 years ago I bought the merisier version which is lighter.

Look at the size of the table : 8 people easy, here in the "bedroom", it could be put in the terrace too

Spacesaving : 4 square meters for the table and chairs.

Folding Bed OSAKA

Forget the name, this folding bed is actually belgian.

Osaka folding bed : building

OSAKA folding bed is sold by MeublesandCo, a french online furniture seller.

That’s a double bed

In a nice cupboard

Thanks to me you now have a UK delivery option, which doesn’t include building, for 360 euros.

Cupboard up : looks like an extension of the living room with access to the terrace

But it’s a bed

The bedroom was designed so it could fit !

From the terrace

Tight design

So I can put the boston space saver table - or an inflatable bed (see below)

Spacesaving : 4 square meters for the double bed and space around it

Boston Space Saver table

Table 4 seats

Boston Space Saver table is sold by UK retailer Homebase.

It’s a great bargain at 199 £, for up to 4 people, but with 4 people you just barely have the space for the 4 plates, but 2 or 3 are confortable.

It’s a real spacesaver as the 4 chairs fit snugly under it perfectly. The chairs are on rollers so they can be moved easily.

Lots of storage space

And all the seats are removable so it can be used for storage, you can easily put a pillow in it for example.

I like the design, several colors are available and it’s quite sturdy.

Chairs are exactly as tall as stairs to the terrace

So I can sit on stairs and chat with others on chairs, or use stairs for the large table in the buffet

Spacesaving : 1.5 square meters for the chairs + storage space.

Loganbry Leather Sofabed

Sofa bed next to kitchen in the living room

Here is another great spacesaver coming from Homebase.

The Loganbry Leather Sofabed is great looking. It’s available in black or chocolate, I prefer chocolate which looks quite like black.

folding bed

117 cm

It has an included sofabed which is 117 cm wide only. The bed is far less sturdy than the Osaka folding bed with its latex mattress, but it’s OK if you use it on the occasion. The sofa itself is pretty confortable and can allow for two or three people, as the armchairs on that model are quite low (so you can sit on it).

Spacesaving : 3 square meters for the sofabed and sitting on the armchairs 8-).

Argos Under Counter Fridge-Freezer AUCFF4885

Compare with old freezer : which was in the middle of the living room

This Argos Under Counter Fridge-Freezer is at the bargain price of around 129 £ (express delivery was great for 149 £).

Under counter

4 star freezer with independent door

Unlike most of the undercounter fridge, it has a separate 4 star freezer extra door. It’s fine enough for most of uses for one or two people, if you happen to live near a supermarket. It can fit 3 bottles easily, I have never run out of space with this fridge.

Spacesaving : 0.5 square meters - old fridge freezer was in the middle of the living room.

Falco Folding Stool

This Falco Folding Stool, which is available at amazon uk is good looking.

unfolded

It’s a bar stool with a 65 cm stool height, that means you can eat on the kitchen counter when you are only one or two, so you can spare the boston space saver, for example as a desk, and keep the buffet table inside the buffet.

folded

It’s also folding, so in case you need more space you can fold it in the cupboard.

Spacesaving : 0.5 square meters

Kodis Ironing board

Compare with space taken from original ironing table

This is a small ironing board, this one is a french one but other models are available at Homebase or Robert Dyas.

It’s good enough for light ironing.

Spacesaving : 1 square meters for the huge ironing board which was in the living room

LG 3D TV with Designer Habitat wall bracket

This is a regular smart TV, with 3D and internet - including netflix and amazon lovefilm.

It uses passive 3D glasses, the same as real 3D glasses in movies so no issue with battery active glasses, it works fine and you can easily get glasses for 1 £ in the movies.

Wall rack

Fitted behind the TV

The wall mounting rack was cheap, it’s Designer Habitat Premium Slim TV bracket at the incredible bargain price of 7.99 £ instead of 119.99 £ at amazon UK. The quality looks like the former price tag was warranted.

Just beautiful with Dar Zukovsky

At one time I bought the LG magic remote at almost 50 £, but quickly returned it as it is inferior to an ipad or iphone with the LG TV remote app.

Spacesaving : 0.5 square meters as old TV was a tube one.

Other stuff

Leifheit Telefix 70 cm

The Leifheit telefix at around 70 £ is great above a bath as it allows to put laundry to dry.

You must however not overload it and be careful when you put and remove stuff like blanket sheets, I always add one or two screws when it is wall mounted but it won’t hold if you pull all your weight on it.

AVF Eco EM60W Microwave adjustable wall mount

Just for the record the AVF Eco EM60W Microwave adjustable wall mount at around 20 £ allow to save around 0.2 square meters if the micro-wave was on the kitchen counter 8-).

Other model Wellco White Microwave Oven at 9 £ was worse than this one.

Both are available on Amazon UK

Folding stools

These are regular folding stools from Premier Housewares.

I bought 4 of these, with the 4 seats from Boston space saver, and the two steps to the terrace which are exactly at the same level, I can entertain ten people at my place.

Intex Airbeds

The one bed version is Intex Ultra Plush with electric pump. It is 67 £ but is worth it, I was using it waiting for the Belgian Osaka folding bed to arrive.

The two bed version is Intex Ultra Plush Queen Size Airbed with electric pump at 50 £. Yes it’s actually cheaper than the one bed version.

Please note that whereas both are fine for bedding (I never had a problem with these, I have one for 10 years, some people say they had to change them often but I guess it depends how much you weight), it’s not ideal for seating or for eating.

With those two airbeds I can allow for seven people sleeping in my small 28 square meters flat.

One bed fits exactly in the bedroom next to the Osaka folding bed

The bedroom has just the right size for 2 people on the osaka folding bed + the intex ultra plush one bed version.

Summary

It was great to optimize that London flat, perhaps some stuff could be done better, but it’s fine as it is.

It was however an ordeal to deal with the contractors, with lots of cost overruns and bad quality. What’s the point of dealing with english contractors so they subcontract and subcontract to indian or romanian workers, for a fraction of the price, but more importantly without passing on important information and doing even the most basic quality control ? In the end the flat was finished by polish and iraqi contractors which were far more trustworthy (or just it’s easier when the one who is paid, discussing, is also the one who does). Perhaps it was just bad luck however on that one.

It was an ordeal to deal also with plenty of water leaks - eleven in total, most of them coming from other flats - each time another source. That is also the difference between living in your flat, or renting it from abroad when the only focus is financial performance, for most of the other flats, the owners didn’t live in it.

Hope all this have given you ideas on how to optimize your space at home, thanks for the reading.

If you’re on holidays in London, you can short let this flat on Foxtons site, most of the rent goes to Foxtons for property management and the net will help me recover the staggering costs of this flat refurbishment 8-/.

Useful links

Equipement maison In french, decoration of another flat

Foxtons link to the flat


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