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Italian Cottage Makeover

April 16, 2021 | Expert Advice

With only 550 sq ft of living space and a sloping roof, the challenge was to make the best use of living areas.

550 Sq Ft and a Sloping Roof

This coastal vacation home in Varazze, Italy has many charms, including its location right in the heart of the town’s historic district and a balcony that looks out over the Ligurian Sea. Located on the fourth floor of a 1940s period building, this apartment is technically an attic — with only 550 square feet of living space and two severely pitched roofs, the challenge was to furnish the home in a way that makes the best use of living areas while maintaining a light and airy atmosphere.

Truly a family affair, the cottage was designed by architect Pierluigi Colombo for his sister Roberta and her family. Pier and Roberta are two of the owners of Clei, the Italian manufacturer of our multifunctional wall beds, tables, and storage solutions designed to maximize even the smallest spaces. Resource Furniture is the North American distributor for Clei furniture.

“Roberta wanted an apartment that could allow 2-4 adults to live and enjoy the space with comfort and privacy. Not an easy brief because the drastically-sloped ceiling reduced the actual useable footprint [in the living room] to less than 25 square meters – only 269 square feet,” said Pier. “It was clear from the beginning that respecting the client brief in such a small and difficult context would not be possible without the integration of multifunctional design solutions. The aim was to integrate those solutions not as static pieces of furniture, but as architectural elements that blended into the existing space.”

Never Too Small tours through this charming 1940s attic studio, cleverly designed and furnished by Architect Pierluigi Colombo.

Specifying the Tango Sectional wall bed, Pier transformed the tiny living room into a flexible guest space that seamlessly converts from day tonight. With the pull of a handle (hidden underneath the Tango’s display shelf) this multi-purpose wall bed opens vertically over the sofa seat to reveal a queen-size bed with a luxury Italian mattress by Magniflex.

Tango Sectional Sofa with Wall Bed

Tango Sectional Sofa with Wall Bed

“Before, the apartment was one unit with a bathroom. I didn’t have to demolish any walls. I’ve just added one multifunctional, custom-made ‘furnitecture’ that divides the bedroom from the rest of the apartment and allows access to the bathroom from the common area,” said Pier.

In the area just off the kitchen, Pier incorporated a Giro transforming table. The Giro pivots out 90 degrees and expands into a dining table for four. Its location just off the balcony allows for stellar seaside views come dinnertime, but when it’s not needed for dining, Giro easily converts into a sleek console table with a built-in storage compartment nestled underneath.

Cose di Casa, an Italian magazine focusing on home renovation, featured the makeover in its August 2018 issue, with CLEI space-saving furniture taking a starring role. The cover photo shows how the versatile Giro console table’s rotating mechanism allows it to swing out from the wall to function as a dining table or work area as needed.

Download a PDF of the full article here.