What we have here is a little apartment from a block of flats completed in 2001. It has a surface of 77 m² and a terrace of 9 m². It is a decent size apartment, with windows on opposite sides. Technically it is a perfectly fine layout. I do however, have a couple of issues with it.
• The only terrace in the apartment can be reached only through the master bedroom. This means that the privacy of the master bedroom will be broken whenever the children or guests want to reach the terrace. True, not a major issue, however, if it can be changed it will definitely improve the flow of the house.
• The bathroom is crowded and it has no window. One of my core rules is that if the bathroom can have a window it should have a window.
• The storage is accessible only from the master bedroom instead of being accessible from the main hallway and allowing full usage or even the washing machine.
While is true that these are no major troubles, with few changes it can have a different work flow.
On an average, the apartments of a block of flats with have the layouts of the apartments repeating on a vertical axis. This makes life easier in regard to water pipes and sewage pipes. We don’t really want those waiving through the building. That’s no fun, trust me. So I am going to assume that moving the main pipe shaft will affect all the other apartments in exactly the same way.
With that in mind, as the space of the kitchen and living room combined is approximately the surface of the master bedroom with the utilities, I think they can be easily swapped. The reasons why I would chose to do that, are:
• It allows access to the terrace from the living room turning it int a “public” terrace instead of “private”.
• Splits the apartment into day / night as well as public / private areas. By that I mean that the kitchen and the living room create the day / public area while the bedrooms with the bathroom represent the night / private area.
• Allows for natural ventilation in the bathroom. And no, no matter how many air vents and filters one adds, a bathroom with no natural ventilation will have a constant stale state.
• It allows for all the wet areas to be in one zone: bathroom, laundry, toilet, and in close proximity to the main pipes shaft. Whole lot of difference from a practical point of view.
I am an optimistic, and I started my process with the idea that the technical line can be moved. But what if it can’t. What if it has to go through the middle of the space that would ideally house the day area? Well, than this is what I would do:
• I would increase the size of the small bedroom.
• I would give up the bathtub and create a sort of a closet space for the washing machine and ventilation system.
• And I would move the door to the living space so that it is easily identifiable when entering the apartment.