This layout for a studio flat in a newly built block of apartments is typical of the thoughtless design of many new builds. The dimensions for the Living/Dining/Kitchen area are 5.63 metres x 3.80 metres.
Priced at over £150,000 and situated in North London, it seems to have been built for the buy-to-let market; I can’t imagine anyone would actually want to buy a flat like this to live in themselves particularly at such an over-inflated price. I am all for the imaginative and thoughtful use of small spaces, but this simply doesn’t count.
What’s wrong with the design? The kitchen is tucked away at the back of the living area away from any windows. A kitchen, in my view, simply must have a window to let steam and cooking odours escape and, of course, to let fresh air in.
The bathroom is also windowless but because it is a separate room, it has no natural light whatsoever. Again, a window is essential in a bathroom to let steam escape and fresh air in. I firmly believe that every room in a flat or a house should have its own window (the kitchen, even when it’s combined with a living area, still counts as a separate room in my opinion).
Windowless bathrooms and kitchens are a depressingly common feature of modern, new build flats. Here’s another floorplan example – this is a new build one-bedroom apartment in Bishops Stortford. Notice the size of the windows in relation to the entire flat.
The slim, narrow length of the living area is another typical feature of many new build apartments – both a way of scrimping on layout and giving the impression that the living space can be partitioned into separate ‘zones’ all in one room: an eating area, a relaxation area, a sleeping area (for a studio) etc. This idea isn’t bad in itself, but when you have, for example, a long, rectangular studio room with the windows at the narrow end, the light may not penetrate far enough into the room to illuminate it all. (I’m not a fan of combined kitchen/living room spaces to be honest and hope to talk about this more in a later post).
How can the design of the studio apartment above be improved? One change that will have a big impact is to simply turn the apartment lengthways, so that windows are available along the whole length of the flat. This will give both the kitchen and the bathroom their own windows.
Let’s put both studio layouts side by side.
If you had a choose to live in one of these flats, which would you pick?