“This is crazy, Christian! What are you going to do with this?” were a mother’s words as she first stepped into the tiny apartment that her son, Christian Schallert, had purchased in the El Born district of Barcelona. At the time, the apartment was a decrepit, converted pigeon loft that would require a lot of work to become hospitable. What Schallert’s mother didn’t realize at the time was that her son had an incredibly clever plan for getting the most out of such an awkward space.
At only 258 square feet (24 square meters), this apartment hardly seems large enough to serve as a comfortable home, but Schallert did an amazing job of designing the space to feel like it is immensely bigger than the square footage would suggest. Architect Barbara Appolloni handled the transformation of the apartment, as mentioned in the description of the YouTube video below, but it was Schallert who determined the distinctive aesthetic of the apartment.
Every bit of this tiny apartment was designed to maximize the space within, with most of its features hiding behind wall panels or inside of other features. The full-size refrigerator and freezer, for example, are tucked away behind a wall panel, which sits right beside a kitchen — also hidden behind a wall panel — that boasts burners, a microwave oven, a dishwasher, and even storage for dishes and cookware. The kitchen, Christian explains in the video, was crucial.
He said, “At the end of the day, what do you need for living? You need a comfortable mattress, and nice clean sheets, and running water, a shower, and a stove to cook something. That’s actually what you need, you don’t need so much more stuff.”
What is truly remarkable about the design of this apartment is that the space can change completely because of the mobility of its features. The bed can be pulled out from under the balcony ledge, stairs up to the balcony become bedside tables when the mattress is pulled out, a TV swings out from the wall for viewing, and the kitchen table is really just a plank that gets lowered down from the wall when it’s time to eat.
Schallert explained in the video that these mobile, space-saving features were inspired by his childhood experience of growing up next to a lake and spending time around lots of tiny boats. He nodded to the walls and said, “The fold-up thing, you can see that in boats as well.” But this wasn’t his only source of inspiration, and he quickly mentioned that Japanese architecture also played a role in his decision-making, saying, “It had to be a Zen apartment.”
While some may find it unpleasant to have to continually modify an apartment, Schallert explained that he rather enjoyed it, further claiming that moving around so much kept him fit. “It is an active apartment; I like it that way, definitely,” he said in the video below, “I’m a very active person. I just love to change things by just clicking and doing something and then suddenly you have a different appearance.”
When the below video tour of the apartment was filmed in April of 2011, Schallert was still residing there, but he has since sold the apartment, according to Fair Companies. While the apartment was a wonderful bachelor pad, Schallert found that it was too tiny for a couple and moved out after entering into a relationship.
A 258-square-foot apartment may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Schallert’s foldout design is perfect for anyone who values simplicity and tiny living.