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GRAU.ZERO Architecture’s Modern Apartment Makeover

This is GRAU.ZERO Architecture’s Modern Apartment Makeover in Aveiro, Portugal.

The Portuguese architecture firm, led by Sérgio Nobre, designed this small space (about 616 sq. ft.) from an outdated existing apartment that’s long and thin. Although currently unfurnished, the interior features bright white walls, fun corners and zig-zagged walls, and a ton of open space. They provided the floor plan so you can get a feel for the house as a whole.

Do you like white walls? How about modern spaces? Read more about what they did to the space on the last page.

Related: Tiny Modern Apartment in South Korea

GRAU.ZERO Architecture’s Modern Apartment Makeover

Floor plan: Bedroom, bath, kitchen and living (with patio).

GRAU.ZERO Architecture's Modern Apartment Makeover

Bright blue cabinets contrast with the crisp white walls.

GRAU.ZERO Architecture's Modern Apartment Makeover

Looks like the fridge is hiding behind the tall set of cupboards.

GRAU.ZERO Architecture's Modern Apartment Makeover

Dining and living area with a corner wood-burning stove.

GRAU.ZERO Architecture's Modern Apartment Makeover

Doorway into the funky-shaped bathroom.

GRAU.ZERO Architecture's Modern Apartment Makeover

Looking from the front door to the living room.

GRAU.ZERO Architecture's Modern Apartment Makeover

Bedroom doorway. Like the wooden doors.

GRAU.ZERO Architecture's Modern Apartment Makeover

A close-up of the kitchen counters and tile backsplash.

GRAU.ZERO Architecture's Modern Apartment Makeover

I’ve never seen a stove put in that direction! Clever.

GRAU.ZERO Architecture's Modern Apartment Makeover

Looking from the bathroom floor up to the skylight!

GRAU.ZERO Architecture's Modern Apartment Makeover

Really great light coming from above.

Related: Historic Modern Apartment Renovation in Turin, Italy

From the architects: 

Located in the center of Aveiro, Portugal, this micro-house has only 57 square meters (about 616 sq. ft). In that way, the biggest challenge was to create a contemporary space without disrupting the old features of the construction and its relation with the street.

Therefore, the intervention in the facade privileged the maintenance of the wooden window and door of entry and the recovery of existing elements that were worn by the time, such as the iron grating of the window.

However, the approach inside the dwelling was completely different. Originally, with two interior bedrooms, the house was very subdivided and dark.

For this reason, the option was to demolish all interior walls and change completely the layout of the house, in order to allow an appropriation more adjusted to contemporaneity.

For the roof, was chosen a mixed solution between sandwich panels and polycarbonate sheets, allowing light to enter the innermost part of the dwelling, including a sanitary installation which, despite its interior, has natural light.

The structure of the existing roof was replaced by a new one in wood, left in sight. We had now, a free space of about 45 sq m and an interior patio of 10 sq m. This new wood structure gave a new amplitude to the space, it was then necessary to create a space for the more reserved areas of the house.

As a consequence, a low volume has been created that develops from the entrance and extends to the living room, leaving the kitchen and behind it, the bedroom and a small sanitary installation. Finally, and functioning as the natural extension of the room, is the patio, transformed into a small sitting area with garden, allows the light to reach the interior.


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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.

Latest posts by Natalie C. McKee (see all)

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Autumn
    April 24, 2017, 2:17 pm

    I would really love to see this once all the furniture and personal touches are put in, the layout and light are beautiful. I love the crooked walls and the little visual touches in the architecture, this would be lovely just full of plants and bright colors!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 25, 2017, 5:41 am

      Yes! Plants make everything better!

  • Lisa E.
    April 24, 2017, 2:43 pm

    Don’t like the color blue. Too much of a contrast. This particular shade has a lot of black in it; makes it look industrial; echo empty; cold. This would probably be fine for a single or double male abode. For myself, I’d prefer cream and aqua; take the curse off the place. Aqua is the new black.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 25, 2017, 5:40 am

      Aqua is THE BEST 🙂 Keep trying to convince my husband of it, but I don’t think he sees it quite the same way hehe

  • Vivian
    April 24, 2017, 6:53 pm

    I really love the layout. It lends fun lines where otherwise it would be very boring. Personally, I love the contrasting blue as a color — I don’t find it cold at all. To each his own. It’s great that a gallon of paint, or two, wouldn’t cost that much. But the functionality of the place is high, with just enough space to mix it up and individualize it. I’m also a huge fan of skylights and love all that light!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 25, 2017, 5:39 am

      Yes paint is one of the easiest things to change in a home 🙂

  • Diana
    April 25, 2017, 1:28 pm

    Brainstorming for a collective of my tiny home. When I am ready I will have my collection of ideas to help design.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 26, 2017, 3:57 pm

      Great idea! You should start a Pinterest board of your ideas 🙂

  • Marsha Cowan
    July 3, 2018, 8:41 pm

    Pretty cool all around. Nice and crisp but could be warm and cozy with personal items. I like it!

  • Kim W
    July 4, 2018, 2:04 am

    It is a great space. Seeing it empty means you can think about your own furniture in there.
    I smiled at the comment about the way the log burner faces – personally I love having a glass door and watching the flames in our log burner!
    It is interesting that the architects call it a ‘micro house’. There are a LOT of houses of a similar size in Europe – our holiday home in rural France is 50 metres square and has a living/dining kitchen, a shower room and 2 double bedrooms. Not as light and airy, but fine for 4adults (hubby and I plus 2 grown up children) to live in comfortably during the school holidays! Locals tell us that large families lived in similar size houses – the couple in a slightly larger house brought up 8 children there!

  • alice h
    July 10, 2018, 9:01 pm

    Well, I can see there won’t be too many fat people loading up that woodstove. I’d much rather have one facing into the room with a visible fire if you’re going to bother. I find all the odd angles a bit off putting but there is definitely a lot of potential in this place. Once the personal touches are in place it can be made to fit a lot of different styles. Stepping out the front door directly into the road is a bit scary though.

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