Renovate: 5 projects for the same house

The story of the concept of a renovation project is generally a story full of indecision and unexplored possibilities. For this reason, the architect generally proposes different options that require more or less invasive work to achieve one or more possible goals, taking into account a number of requirements, some of which may not be feasible. Sometimes, however, improvements can appear that were not even hoped for, and this often decides the final result. Let’s look at the example of this house with a real story about the state of affairs in which the apartment is located, the requirements of the owners and the 5 hypotheses of the project createdarchitect Ornella Musilli.

What is the house like, i.e. the so-called “actual condition”

The apartment on the 1st floor of a condominium in a mountain location has 270 cm high ceilings and independent heating with a gas boiler (which spreads warm air through ventilation pipes on the ceiling, shielded by wood). The house consists of:

  • entrance (large unused space)
  • lounge/living room with fireplace and access to balcony shared with double bedroom
  • small service bathroom without window with shower
  • kitchen (with a corner occupies the chamber where the boiler is located) with a small balcony/terrace (on which there is another small storage room)
  • double room with a balcony (shared with the living room) with a view of other buildings
  • guest bedroom with a pair of bunk beds (4 beds) with a window
  • bathroom with bathtub and window.


Critical apartment questions for owners

  • Current the kitchen is narrow and long it is difficult to have lunch and host more people at the table.
  • Storage space in the kitchen takes away light and space from the room.
  • The entrance hall to the apartment gives a lot of ventilation, but in reality it is an unused space with a very restrictive column/column separated from the wall.
  • The master bedroom balcony is underutilized both because it is in the sleeping area and because it is too exposed to the view and has little privacy for the bedroom (which forces you to keep the curtains drawn).

What the house should look like

The clients of this apartment, in addition to the request to take into account the furniture to be preserved (two sofas, one of which can be folded out into a double bed), hope for an architect’s proposal that considers less invasive solution a game to divide the current rooms used as kitchen/service bathroom/entrance e more radical with inversion of rooms-kitchens or others.

Goals to achieve

  • better organize/renovate the spaces and restore the currently unused space in the entrance;
  • have a comfortable space for lunch/dinner and host more people at the table;
  • they always have two bathrooms, but with showers.

Restrictions to be respected in the works by law

Below are the regulatory requirements that affect the residences, for a detailed review it is advisable to refer to the spatial planning instruments in force in the municipality where the building is located:

  • the area of ​​the living room must not be less than 14 m2;
  • the area of ​​a single room must not be less than 9 m2;
  • the area of ​​a double room must not be less than 14 m2;
  • the kitchen must be separated from the bathroom via a filter area (anti-bathroom);
  • if the kitchen is closed in a dedicated room, it must have a window;
  • the lighting area of ​​the external openings (windows) of each room where the continuous presence of people is expected (living room, bedroom, kitchen) must be equal to at least 1/8 of the walking area.

Project A:

minor interventions in the entrance, bathroom and kitchen, some use of the corridor

  • According to the client’s request, they are taken into account in this first hypothesis Interventions related to the entrance-kitchen-service bathroom and storage area in the kitchen are omitted in its place are columns with a combined refrigerator and pantry.
  • The current projection with the shower corner is moved lower and uses part of the space of the large entrance. Next to the shower tray in the bathroom is a furnished alcove while placed near the door washing machine with high shelves.
  • The kitchen is entered through sliding glass doors: by compacting the furniture into two lines, one with a protruding top served by stools, you get space for an extendable dining table.
  • On entrance the apartment is built built-in cabinet with column and it can be opened towards the kitchen, between the post and the partition there are small shelves in series that can be used from the living room, a mirror is placed in front of the door with a vertical design.


Project B: 

  • In this case the room with single beds was moved to the former kitchen and gets the size of a double room, because the area is increased to 14 m2.
  • The a living room with a kitchen open to the living room, albeit in a well-defined space of its own takes on an L shape and incorporates the entire entrance space.
  • Even in this hypothesis, the kitchen has two lines and a peninsula, but it is plants are expected to move dedicated to it.
  • TO enlarged service bathroom access from the antechamber with a washing machine, this corridor can also be accessed from the bedroom. The bathroom with a window has a shower.

Project C:

The distribution is largely modified, the master bedroom is changed and the kitchen remains livable as a stand-alone.

  • a double room reaches the 14 m2 required for a double room and has dedicated bathroom and dressing room;
  • the single bedroom retains a surface similar to its current state, but is longer and narrower in shape and the entrance has been moved;
  • the kitchen is closed sliding doors made of glass and of reasonable dimensions, but not suitable for a table;
  • PUSH the dining area is located in the living room;
  • some are in the partition between the entrance and the living room two glass openings, one sliding and one fixed “window” above the sofa; both give light to the entrance.


Project D:

open living room space with corner sofas and a compact open kitchen

  • This hypothesis is similar to the previous one but the kitchen is open to the living room.
  • Followed by a enough space for a dining area and living room with co

Project E:

open living room space with a large open kitchen in the corner

  • The sleeping space is the same as the previous solutions, while being different living room and bathroom which has a large shower under the window.
  • In this case, the open space of the living room includes a large corner kitchen.

In summary, the architect’s opinion on 5 design hypotheses

Projects include progressively more invasive and improving interventions as requested by the reader who would like to evaluate multiple solutions. The priority goals are: to use the entrance space, to make the central column less distracting, to have the option of a dining area with more seats at the table for entertaining friends, to increase the area of ​​the sleeping area. In all cases, the storage room from the current kitchen is omitted, as it is the second one on the terrace.

IN project A we only intervene in the entrance/service bathroom/kitchen: the projection in the current kitchen is moved to the entrance and the washing machine is located in the new bathroom niche (whereas it is currently located in the long line of the kitchen, see photo), the kitchen is more compact and the dining table has more around it space.

IN project B this is also one of the two bedrooms, which is replaced with a kitchen, as suggested by the reader, with a subsequent increase in the useful area of ​​the bedroom and a complete insertion of the entrance to the L-shaped living room, in the bathroom with a window, the bathtub and the shower are omitted.

In projects C, D and Ean additional bedroom, currently limited in area, and a bathroom with a window are also included; they share the same layout of bedrooms, service bathrooms and dressing rooms and differ in the living area and the bathroom with a window (the bathroom fixtures are aligned and the bathroom is enlarged): Hypothesis C was developed because the owners might prefer a closed kitchen, but the result is less satisfactory because of course the living spaces are more limited.

According to architect Musilli, the best solutions are – last but not least – the last two, but they are the most invasive and each includes arrangements that may not be preferred due to personal taste, such as an open kitchen in the living room.


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