In Photos: A Compact Yet Functional Shoebox Apartment


Having a smaller home does not necessarily mean sacrificing functionality for breathing room. Such is the case with this shoebox unit that maximises every inch of space, yet leaving enough for easy movement. Designed by Allan Wang from A.W.A Design Studio, the entire house hardly feels closed-in due to its vibrant palette and efficient layout, making it a comfortable abode for two.

Instead of choosing to move into a completed home, the owners instead requested for a raw unit devoid of any developer-provided fittings. Doing so gave Allan and his team a blank slate to work with, while cutting down on demolishment costs. This decision also allowed the ceiling height to be raised to its maximum at 2.8m, thus making the installation of tall vertical fixtures possible, such as the living room’s full-height storage TV wall.

One of the more interesting features of the home can be seen near the entrance of the home is the home office located right beside the main entrance. Serving as a fun work space with plenty of creative displays for the owners’ collection of books, artworks and tools, the zone is equipped with an adjustable panel of oak shelves with pegs acts as an innovative feature wall, while providing modular storage. Other storage options include under-table drawers as well as a row of top shelves mounted over a pair of desktop computers.

In the kitchen, built-in fixtures, such as a refrigerator and an induction stove, give the space a sleek and uncluttered appearance. Aside from a hardy Caesarstone counter, the dining table also doubles up as a secondary food preparation surface. Ceramic tiles chosen for the backsplash likewise play a dual function, both as a protective layer and to ensure design continuity with the bathroom’s mosaic walls.

The master bedroom also features various eye-catching elements to keep it visually interesting. Artworks, decorative objects and indoor greenery create an ever-growing montage here. For a lightweight profile, only fittings with thin frames and light colours were chosen to avoid creating a heavy atmosphere.

Thoughtful fittings contribute much to the creation of an uncluttered master en suite. These include customised wireframe shelves for toiletries and an oversized frameless mirror that creates the illusion of a larger space. White ceramic subway tiles were also arranged vertically along the bathroom’s wall to accentuate the space’s height.

With such functional yet stylish fittings, it goes to show that big does not always mean more comfortable. Clever space-planning and a few well-thought-out details are what it takes for a truly liveable home.

This was adapted from an article originally published in IdealHomes Vol.9. Photo credits: A.W.A Design Studio