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Compact Living: Tips From Ewa Winczewski Architecture & Interiors

Small interiors are often a challenge to work with, even for seasoned design professionals. With limited floor space, designers need to think outside of the box. We asked Ewa Winczewski to share some of the practicalities that went into the renovation of a 40m2 bachelor pad. Here, clever planning and reconstruction makes the most of the space and creates symmetry for comfortable and compact living.

What was the design brief and challenges faced?

I was approached by one of my corporate clients to have a look at their apartment in Illovo which was in need of an upgrade. The unit – a single bachelor pad of 40m2 comprising of a semi-enclosed kitchen, lounge/dining/sleeping area and a bathroom. The old layout of the unit did not work practically at all. There was a lot of wasted space created by the semi-enclosed kitchen, which further divided the already small apartment, blocking a certain amount of light unnecessarily.

The bathroom layout was also problematic – the layout took up a lot of space. Inside, it was crammed, and the access into the bathroom divided the space further, both inside and outside.

Lastly, the old apartment was in dire need of proper storage space.



What was your first consideration?

The first thing that we looked at was the layout of the whole apartment. Four design options were done to discuss with the client. All options incorporated design solutions to resolve the layout issues.

The option chosen incorporated a drastic mirroring to the kitchen area and repositioning it to the opposite wall. The space was opened up – this allowed us to incorporate a high bar stool seating on the one side facing the lounge area and adding an island L-shaped island-style kitchen unit with storage. This configuration allowed for better space utilization within the kitchen area, allowing for two people to work at the same time – if one was cooking the other could be prepping on the opposite side while having a chat with someone else who could sit at the barstool on the lounge side.

Tell us more about the creative ways you enhanced the space…

An additional long cupboard situated on the stove side was added along the whole one wall of the apartment. This unit houses an integrated fridge, cupboards for clothing and a secret door next to the integrated fridge leading to extra under geyser storage/pantry whilst this space allows access to the existing geyser. This mirroring of utility areas changed next the living and sleeping areas, which now work in a more useable way.

The new bathroom door was repositioned to give more privacy to the sleeping area, at the same time changing the bathroom layout, to allow more space inside it while accommodating a nice sized basin, bath with shower and a toilet.

The bed is now positioned along the bathroom wall, thus relating an open area between kitchen / lounge / sleeping and allows the end-user more flexibility in being able to watch tv from the kitchen, lounge and sleeping area should they ever wish to do that.

What do you think the biggest change was?

Overall, the 40m2 in the original layout was completely inflexible, the space did not work, and looked small. Upon completion of the new layout, the 40m2 space looks and feels a lot more open and thus bigger. The space is lighter, which is accentuated by the light finishes used, and the new layout works. The bachelor space has now become a space that can be easily used by a couple.

Ewa Winczewski graduated from Wits with a degree in architecture in 1993 and has since acquired broad knowledge in the field of architecture and interiors, having been exposed and involved with a wide variety of projects in the residential and commercial field.

Ewa Winczewski Pr. Arch (Wits University)

+27 82 7241524

+27 11 482 7524



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