Inexpensive materials such as salvaged plywood can be found in a compact apartment in Madrid that has been refurbished by the Spanish studio CumuloLimbo.
The project called UpHouse was a major redesign of a small apartment in the Hortaleza district of Madrid.
The builders, a young married couple, wanted to create more space by raising the ceiling of the apartment and adding a second level. They turned to the local CumuloLimbo company to design the furnishings. The project had a tight budget of $ 39,000 (£ 28,334).
To keep the unit from feeling too dark and cramped, the studio suggested adding a mezzanine instead of a full floor.
“UpHouse is the story of an implant – the introduction of a room of intimate size into another room that is exposed and social within a domestic diagram,” say the architects.
The team removed the plasterboard ceiling and added the loft above a central bathroom, which houses a bed, closet and vanity.
The attic is supported by steel columns and beams that have been exposed. The floor and walls are clad in deconstructed plywood shipping boxes that were once used to transport electronic devices.
The sides to the lower level of the apartment have been left open except for a few cables.
The loft is reached via an unusual staircase that ends on a kitchen counter. To reach the floor, a black step stool can be pulled up to the counter and stowed away when not in use.
The new mezzanine floor divides the ground floor of the UpHouse into different zones.
“The new upper floor divides the apartment into two rooms, a private and a public function,” says the team. “The choice of materials for these two rooms reflects this duality.”
To the east there is a newly designed kitchen and living area, in which white walls reflect the light from an adjacent terrace and create a bright atmosphere.
The cooking area has a new, open shelving system. Black tiles have been cleverly arranged to create a graphic backsplash.
There is a music studio on the other side of the unit. Walls clad with plywood give the room an intimate feel.
Getting light into the upper floor of UpHouse was a major concern. In response, the team hung an installation made of mirrored wooden slats in the music studio.
“To maximize the natural light on the new upper floor, a mirrored wooden vault is being built on the private side,” said the team. “Natural light is reflected and multiplied with a great visual effect.”
The team also updated the apartment’s bathroom by adding geometric tiles and a new vanity.
Other apartments in Madrid include a unit from Nomos in an old workshop with tactile brick and pine partitions and a plywood-lined apartment from Husos Arquitectos with a total area of 46 square meters.
The photography is by Javier de Paz García.