Thanks to the double volume created by the roof extension, the sitting area’s sense of space is luxurious, despite its actual size.

Big Living, Small Space

Truly inspired design hacks have turned this small urban apartment in Cape Town into an expansive work-eat-sleep-play zone that belies its 58-sqm footprint.




The most genius aspect of this space has to be the mezzanine level extension. As the gradient would have been too steep, architect Michael Lumby of L&L Architects devised a double staircase, with left and right steps at alternate heights. This meant it was possible to add the extra 20m bedroom to the space and create an airy double-volume sitting area with maximised light.



A wooden room divider works hard: it separates the working kitchen space, and keeps the appliances out of sight.



Wooden fixtures on the mezzanine link the upstairs space to the living area below and provide storage and display opportunities. Rob has been collecting cameras for the past 10 years — and all of these actually work, as does the radio (an original from the sixties which was his mother’s). The magazine rack continues the mid-century modern theme and the nesting dolls are a memento from a shoot for Smirnoff: they represent Russian presidents.


Keeping with the parallel design grid, a long and lean table continues the elongating line. Aided by minimalist black, chrome-legged Eames chairs, its lean legs and floating top underscore the sense of airiness even as together, chairs and table create a bold black visual and spatial anchor. Using the balcony table as an extension, eight to 10 people are comfortably accommodated for dinner.


With the adjoining balcony, the sitting area feels expansive — especially since it enjoys uninterrupted views of the beachfront. The multipurpose unit houses a pull-out work station under the TV (perfect for after-hours video editing), and an original Bang & Olufsen sound system underlines the hipster cred. The mid-century modern occasional chair is, according to Rob, “the most comfortable chair ever”.


Text: Laura Twiggs | Styling: Sven Alberding | Photos: Warren Heath