Double-height for Small Houses

Double-Height solutions for Small Houses

Welcome back to the second appointment of our new column dedicated to Small Houses. This time we’ll talk about double-height solutions. Two fundamental questions from which this column is born: does it still make sense to build big houses? Or rather, is there still space or time for large areas?

Today the best solution is the Small House: a few, very few square meters, but thought for a maximum functionality. So how can we optimize the use of space? How to best design the little space to get our dream home? We want you to experience the hidden potential behind these little jewels through 10 examples of micro-spaces. Because every case is in itself a tailored solution. A unique and performing tailored suit.

Let’s discover two new models together: the Micro-Apartment and the Micro-Mezzanine. As a result we have two double-height solutions that duplicate the space!

3.The Micro-Apartment

“Extremely small flats are great for people who are Minimalist, who want to enjoy the city life.” – Szyman Hanczar


A real micro-apartment that plays on double-height. A challenge that looks almost impossible. An attempt to duplicate and replicate spaces, in order to create new interesting variations. This is the goal of architect Szyman Hanczar for this small apartment, located in Wroclaw, Poland. It is an area of 13 square meters. That’s right, your eyes are not playing a bad trick on you, but this is certainly the real surface. A magic worthy of a project surely designed down to the smallest detail.

An ambitious project therefore, in which the designer coincides with the client, which is none other than the end user. A home for himself, a home that is not just a place to sleep, but rather an identification space. A real family space in 4 environments: living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom. To tie it all together, soft colors and the warmth of wood. As a result, choices that aim to create an expanded perception of space. The will to build a welcoming bubble in which to live.

“Everything is maintained in bright colours which visually expands the space.”– Hanczar told- “All of this adds up to a welcoming aesthetic and surprisingly functional space.”

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Double-height. The basic idea, the concept from which the project moves is to operate on verticality, creating a double-height that duplicates the usable surface. A box, in which the surfaces are designed as trays, able to accommodate new functions. A split therefore between the above and the below. The designer’s choice of elevating the most intimate function, in order to grant some privacy. A double height structured as follows: sleeping area on “high” floors, the living area on “low” floors.

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A double-height played on a real modular unit, built in wood. As a result, this becomes a recognizable unit inside the home. The wood is the fil rouge and becomes a box, on which the bed rests above, while below is the kitchen and the bathroom. In this last environment the wood symphony is broken by a coating of white tiles.

To combine the heights a minimalist staircase, resting and mobile, of an almost invisible weight. Light, as light is what surrounds the box. A living area that is surely  an invitation to experience space through one’s passions!


“Despite the small space it was not my intention to give up comfort and functionality,”– Hanczar said- “There’s even a hammock for lovers of having their heads in the clouds.”

Functionality yes, but provided by familiarity. The environment must tell the story, the soul of those who live it. Otherwise it could be anyone’s home. It is precisely for this reason that the designer plays on the decorative elements, which become a clear reflection of his passions, of his being, of his nature. Bikes, hammocks, plants, light. Prominent elements as a result, a  clear manifesto of a soul that loves to travel and also to live in fantasy.

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4.The Micro-Mezzanine

“Although the owner does not need a big flat, before it was redesigned, the 17.6-square-metre unit was too small to fit both a queen-size bed, living space and sufficient storage”– said A Little Design architect Szumin Wang.


An old studio in Taipei becomes a double-height home. The studio clears the space and hosts now a new function, that sees almost duplicate its surfaces. The 17.6 square meters are fully exploited and the important height of the room, 3.4 m, is exploited optimally. The local architecture firm A Little Design, in the figure of Szumin Wang takes care of the project in detail.

Nothing is left to chance, in such a way that the result is certainly a home in which the horizontal and vertical surfaces appear to be expanded. The client is a traveler, often far from home for quite long periods of time. She prefers  therefore the functionality of a house that can respond to her needs in a reactive and effective manner. Request fully satisfied! Entrance, living room, kitchen, sleeping area and bathroom. Little space, but a lot of satisfaction.

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“We hope the attempt of design could provide some schemes and possibility for this living type.”– Szumin Wang.

Also in this case the double-height becomes the solution to the whole. A double height that exploits all the spaces, all the surfaces created. In this example of Small House, there is not only the ability to obtain space, but also the skill of knowing how to play with space in such a way that it functions in the best way. Space that hosts and contains, space with multiple uses and functions. As a result, furnishing elements that rise, that draw spaces and contain things, furnishing that welcome functions.

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Downstairs there is entrance, kitchen, living area and bathroom, upstairs there is the sleeping area. To combine the two floors there is a staircase, which links spaces but at the same time has a containing function. Double heights and multiple functions. These are certainly the key words that make up this small, but at the same time large apartment.


“In this flat, all functions are adjacent but clearly separated.” -said Wang- “For example, the stairs not only provide access to the sleeping mezzanine but also increase the accessibility to the high built-in cabinets in the wall.”

Spaces that become spaces, that contain other spaces. Do you know the Matryoshka? This house seems to get inspiration from this concept. Each piece of furniture is able to accommodate new spaces in itself, but it is at the same time a storage space. Up to the last centimeter, so as not to waste no space.

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The floor rises to the base of the stairs between the bathroom and the living area to accommodate pipework. Here, the designers have integrated a storage cabinet that can be used as a side table and a narrow stack of recessed shelves, that jut up against the window. Secrets hidden behind an appearance made of soft colors and warm wood tones. As a result, essential lines that hide surprisingly responsive functionality.

What do you think of these first two micro-apartment projects? Which solution do you prefer? We greet you and give you an appointment at the next article in this section. Remember that every small space can hide a great resource! If you are curios to see the first two models of small houses solutions, here’s the link:

See you next time!

CREDITS_The Micro-Apartment
City: Wroclaw (PL)
Architects: Szyman Hanczar
Design team: Szyman Hanczar

CREDITS_The Micro-Mezzanine
City: Taipei (CHN)
Architects: A Little Design
Design team: Szumin Wang
Photo Credits: Hey!Cheese