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Paris micro apartment squeezes it all into 290 square feet

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The bed, the most important part of the home, is put on a pedestal

Interior of small studio apartment with a wall of lightwood cabinets and a small kitchen counter, with a bed on a pedestaled unit to the left of it. A woman stands at the sink.
The duplex is contained in an old townhouse near the Bastille in Paris.
© David Foessel

Paris-based architect Nathalie Eldan has completed the renovation of a micro apartment located within a two-story townhouse next to the Bastille, and much like this prototype in London, it uses built-in storage to great effect.

Slightly larger at 27 square meter, or about 290 square feet, the flat, dubbed Urban Cocoon, is actually a duplex, with the main living area found on the upper floor. Here, the space is divided into three zones by way of large birchwood furniture units that integrate a variety of functions.

Comprising the private quarters is a pedestal on which a bed is placed with a dropped ceiling, creating a cozy nook whose base includes pull-out drawers. Because Eldan regards this as the most important part of the home, the bed is a permanent fixture that cannot be folded up or hidden away. A system of woven screens encloses the room while still allowing some natural light to come through.

The adjacent living area can be seen as extension of the pedestal. A full-wall birchwood unit not only includes storage that follows the slop of the ceiling, it also encompasses a tiny kitchen counter and other functions (like a TV).

As for the bathroom, it’s contained within another furniture unit on the lower level that also holds additional storage for items like coats, shoes, and luggage (as well as the entrance to the flat; a minimalist steel staircase connects the two floors). Part of Eldan’s project was to renovate the old home, excavating some of its traditional features like its rough-hewn trusses that had been covered when a false ceiling was installed years ago.