Beijing’s traditional courtyard homes have been popular subjects of reinvention in recent years. In this example, the architects at FESCH revamped one such historic courtyard house into a serene oasis featuring plenty of cool gray brick and wooden built-ins.
The designers wanted the home to feel like it was part of the courtyard, not ancillary to it, so they put in a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows that open fully onto the small outdoor space shaded by trees.
The home itself is compact—just 473 square feet—but an airy design makes the most of the space. An open-plan lower level is carved into sections by function: The kitchen and dining table line the back wall, leaving room for a sparsely decorated living area. A floating desk and shelf are mounted to one side by the window. Meanwhile, a floating staircase with thin treads leads to the upstairs loft, where a bed takes up most of the cozy nook.