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Change of Use: Garage to Micro-Residence


In the center of Thessaloniki, Greece, Square Design Interiors transformed a 25 sq.m. garage into a 32 sq.m. modern micro-residence, expanding the usable space through the new design. As built originally, the garage had direct access to the street. So, an entry hallway was created to lead into the compact, modern residence that expands in two levels.

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An internal balcony and a bespoke designed bookcase developing in full height, connect the two levels.  The kitchen and living room areas are on the ground level, while the bespoke staircase with the hidden storage areas lead to the bedroom and bathroom upstairs.

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The owner of the property wished to change the use of the garage into a micro-residence equipped with modern life amenities, where the user would decompress from the chaotic city scenery.
The brief described the creation of an internal balcony and a floor to ceiling bookcase rising dramatically all through the two levels. Furthermore, the new facade should blend into the neighbourhood environment, while expressing a fresh and new approach to the safety and privacy of the user. The main constraint was the limited space that was the wheel of creativity, at the same time.

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Iron was one of the main materials used, in some cases acting as a structural component, coated in plasterboard and painted white to create the sense of continuity within the interior areas. In other cases, iron made design components were coloured to be integrated in the overall design, like the white metal ladder of the bookcase or the beige metal railings of the facade.

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Warm oak wood was matched with sleek surfaces of white lacquer, offering a timeless result: the modern kitchen with the numerous hidden storage areas, the staircase providing storage and integration of the home appliances, the dramatic bespoke bookcase.
The wood-like warmth was also introduced on the floor surfaces through carefully selected tiles, as well as on the shower wall and floor.
This feeling of simplicity and warmth was extended outwards, to the facade of the micro-residence, blending harmonically with the surrounding environment. The colours and the materials of the facade project home serenity and warmth.

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The challenge that the design sought to address was to make the most from the less; in other words, the task was to utilise and transform a garage into a modern and fully functional permanent ‘micro-residence’.
In a small space, every possible surface that can evolve and create additional rooms is particularly significant. Through the design, usable space was added to the upper level. The original garage area had a loft of approximately 6 square meters. An additional space of 7 square meters was added, creating a bedroom, a work area and a bathroom on the upper level.

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The ‘micro-residence’ concept addresses the worldwide housing problem, where a lack of functional and compact residences is pervasive. The rapid growth of short-term rental housing, especially in city centres, makes the need for smart solutions, such as the one created through the design, even more pressing.

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Another major advantage of the project is the smaller energy footprint as the space heats up and cools down faster due to its size and design. This feature follows the global approach to social, economic, and environmental planning that balances the social and economic needs of present and future human generations with the imperative of preventing undue damage to the natural environment.

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The Square Design Interiors studio is located in Thessaloniki, Greece and takes on interior architecture and interior design projects all over the world. All photo credits are to Karen Gkiounasian.

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