Now That’s Compact Living! Tour This Small Loft Turned Multi-functional Space

What do you do when you’re in love with the location of your studio, but 537 square feet is just not enough space for two? You look to some talented architects to help you transform a once singular bachelor pad into a multi-functional space for a young couple.

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The San Francisco studio before the prefabricated loft

Donnie and Nicole Chiu-Wang took advantage of their studio’s 13-foot ceiling and created a prefab multipurpose loft, thus creating more space where there was none. They also managed to achieve and promote the elusive “work-life balance”. The updated space features two beds (one a Murphy bed for guests), a stand-up desk (where Donnie codes apps), giant whiteboard, a dining table, and adequate storage for clothes, shoes, files, product samples, and tools.

Read: Now That’s Compact Living! Tour This Tiny Parisian Bachelor Pad

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This is the perfect example of building a space around one’s needs

The couple both work from home with Nicole running a fashion tech start-up (Boon + Gable) and a sock company (Treadfast), while Donnie’s a freelance app developer and the founder of SwingTime (Golf & Tennis Scheduling Assistant). The newly designed space functions well as their office, as it encourages both creativity and productivity.

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The completed multi-purpose loft in action

The entire project ran them around $15,000 and the investment was well worth it. Watch the feature below courtesy of Houzz TV and get a tour of this incredibly optimised space. Maybe it’ll offer some inspiration for your own home.

Do you have favourite place in your house where you go to work to be inspired and be productive? I’d like to hear about it on the comments below.

Now That’s Compact Living! Tour This Tiny Parisian Bachelor Pad

Here’s a YouTube channel that I’ve followed for years that consistently puts out interesting features around architecture – design, alternate building, green buildings, tiny house movement, and everything in between. In this feature (running time: 7 minutes), Filmmaker and Documentarian, Kirsten Dirksen showcases a miniature bachelor pad or as the French say, garçonnière nicknamed “The Dollhouse”.

The small kitchen in the corner comes with all small appliances

It comes with all the “little” essentials such as a washing machine, refrigerator, dishwasher, and oven. As Jaen-Malo explains, everything is custom and nothing is standard, which includes the bed that was cut to fit into the small bedroom upstairs.

The bedroom is simple and comes with storage for clothes and shoes

Once a storage space for a flower shop, homeowner Jean-Malo spent time and money converting it into a very compact and livable space allowing him to be on the doorsteps of downtown Paris (Pigalle).

It’s practical enough to make for a comfortable home and reflects the owner’s rustic and modern style. And if you’re ever thinking about a trip to Paris, this little space is available on AirBnb for rent $140 CAD ($108 USD) per night.

Enjoy and be sure to subscribe to Kirsten’s channel for other great stories.

The How You Living Interview Series: New York City

I wanted to try something new, so I created this interview series dubbed “How you living?!” that will feature glimpses of city living through the lens of some friends of mine. Hopefully 10 to 13 questions are enough. This week, we’re live from New York, New York where the buildings touch the sky and the city never sleeps!! Enjoy the interview and leave a comment using your Facebook or Twitter account!

Interviewee: André Haffenden
Location: New York City, U.S.A.

Photo credit: André Haffenden
Photo credit: André Haffenden

The Interview

Phil Rodriques (PR): Where are you originally from?
André Haffenden (AP): Born in Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica. Spent formative years in Cross Keys, South Manchester.

PR: You’re an architect. What’s your favourite building in New York City (NYC)?
AP: Hmm, this is a tough question, because there are too many great buildings/structures here. I’ll just list a few that I admire, I don’t subscribe to “favourites” really. In no particular order: The Guggenheim Museum, The Highline, The 9/11 Memorial Pools, Apple Store (5th Ave. location), Flatiron Building [pictured below], The Cooper Union, Brooklyn Bridge (other bridges are awesome too)… I’ll just throw in the subway as well.

PR: Why did you move to NYC?
AP: Big city bright lights man. Mainly for my son and job opportunities.

Photo credit: André Haffenden
Photo credit: André Haffenden

PR: What’s the best part about living in NYC?
AP: Waking up every morning and upon inhalation, the stench of the city filling your lungs to capacity, constant reminder you’ve made it to NYC. Really though, there’s always something to do, something to see, something new… hard to get bored. And food.

PR: What’s the worst thing about living in NYC?
AP: Rent.

Photo credit: André Haffenden
Photo credit: André Haffenden

PR: Who’s the biggest celebrity you’ve ever walked by on the street?
AP: Probably Daniel Libeskind (Celebrity Architect), literally bumped into him on sidewalk downtown. Biggest that the popular culture might recognize was Lady Gaga (Singer + Songwriter).

PR: Where are the best places to eat?
AP: This question would have to be broken down by where you are in the city, by neighbourhoods. There are far too many great places to eat.

PR: Where are the best places to go for the nightlife experience?
AP: Perhaps the West Village.

Photo credit: André Haffenden
Photo credit: André Haffenden

PR: Where’s your favourite part of the city?
AP: I like the piers and the Highline. Central Park as well, although I don’t go there often.

PR: How do you get around the city on a daily basis?
AP: Mostly by subway; then buses, taxi, Uber.

PR: What’s the most horrific thing you’ve seen since living there?
AP: The aftermath of an apartment building explosion on the same street I live on. Even more horrific were the bigoted comments online about the incident.

Photo credit: André Haffenden
Photo credit: André Haffenden

PR: Tell us one stereotypical thing about New Yorkers that’s true.
AP: New Yorkers are ALWAYS in a hurry. Facts!

PR: What’s the one thing every visitor must do before leaving NYC?
AP: They must get out the way of people trying to go about their business, ugh. Then they should visit the Highline and 9/11 Memorial… try a restaurant in at least five different neighbourhoods, and most of all, go uptown.


Microsoft Introduces to the World its HoloLens

“The era of holographic computing is here.

When you change the way you see the world,
you can change the world you see.”

Game on! Microsoft pretty much just took design and an endless list of other applications to a whole new frontier.

Have a peek at what their new HoloLens can do, enabled by the new Windows 10.

Here’s to a Historical Moment!

What does history mean to you?

By its character you could say I was from a “small town” (Mandeville). Within it are some of the most historic landmarks and breathtaking architecture in my country’s history, i.e. The Mandeville Court House and The St. Mark’s Anglican Church.

Yesterday on Jamaica’s National Heroes Day, I was asked to take part in unveiling two of my designs for historical storyboards for the aforementioned sites. The designs were done to look as aged as the structures whose stories they told in the most succinct manner. Simplicity is important and less is always more; more or less.

I have to say, being in the presence of hundreds of people (young and old) and a lot of cameras was a pretty great feeling, but nothing compared to the positive reviews I received from the attendees.

I would not trade this day for anything!


Fun Fact: I gave a friend my smartphone to record the unveiling and I get it back with one second of camera footage!