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Apartment balcony transformed into a magical Japanese teahouse

Who needs outdoor space when you have this?

Facade of brick apartment complex Drawing Architecture Studio

Most city dwellers would give and arm and a leg for outdoor space, but this couple in Beijing decided to turn its balcony into an extension of its two-bedroom apartment in the most creative way possible.

Chinese firm Drawing Architecture Studio transformed one balcony in an otherwise nondescript apartment complex into a cozy Japanese teahouse inspired by Terunobu Fujimori’s Takasugi-an Tea House. Drawing on Fujimori’s use of wood and whimsical detailing, the tiny teahouse, called Free Balcony An, experiments with perspective and material to make it feel like a placid getaway within the small apartment.

Kitchen table with green pendant lamp hanging Drawing Architecture Studio

“Following Fujimori’s instruction, [we] extended the curved roof of Free Balcony An downwards as much as possible and only left a narrow opening above the original breast board of the balcony as a horizontal window,” the architects told Fast Company.

Sliding doors open onto room Drawing Architecture Studio

People enter the teahouse through a sliding wood door and climb a stair into a timber-floored box flanked by paned windows and serene, neutral walls. A minimalist table and two floor cushions are the only furniture in the room. To add to the space’s fairytale sense of scale, the architects added a curved ceiling and a stretch of horizontal windows that make the room feel like a secret, magic hideaway among the bustle of the city.