From the point of view of sustainability, sometimes renovation makes more sense than tearing down and building from scratch. Especially in densely populated urban areas, where tearing a building down might not even be an option. And that’s exactly what Anne Rolland, an architect from France, did. She turned an apartment in a townhouse dating back to the 1600s into a cozy modern dwelling. Her work is a great example of how easy and rewarding such a renovation can be.

Rolland turned the 258 square foot (24 sq m) apartment, which had been abandoned for over 70 years, into a modern studio. Due to the age of the building, the space had gone through a number of uses including being the stables and kitchen of a hotel. The apartment also has a hidden underground room, which is accessible via a ladder.


The first step in the renovation was the removal of all the partitions in the apartment, and then installing a multipurpose furniture unit that separates the space in two, and has a number of other functions. This unit is similar to the ones we’ve seen before on this blog, and includes a desk, storage area, a closet as well as cupboards. It is made out of birch plywood, which did not require finishing.


On one side of this separating unit is the bedroom, which is placed atop a raised platform. The bathroom is located next to it and is the only room in the main part of the apartment which can be closed off from the rest completely. On the other side of the partition is the kitchen and living area.



A very interesting part of this small apartment is the hidden underground room, which is accessible through a trapdoor. This room was once the so-called slurry pit, which was a space where the residents disposed of organic and animal waste. Since it was not put to this use for a very long time it is today quite sanitary to live in, and the owner will use the 107-square-foot (10 sq m) room as his music studio.