How to increase the built area without building more?

How to increase the built area without building more?

When facing the challenge of a renovation or even a new construction, in addition to taking into account the client’s needs, current regulations and the budget, we consider a variable that is fundamental: how to do more with less. Thus, we present a case-study of how to have more surface area while building less.

Spoiler alert, we did it by doing our job: with architecture and design!

Our envolvment was from the very beginning. The clients, a young newlywed couple, were looking for a relatively new building because of an attraction to new spaces. We patiently accompanied them in the process of discovering that an older apartment, especially one designed by a modern architect, presented more and better opportunities to adapt it to their desires and needs, while it would surely have higher ceilings and materials that are no longer available or would be prohibitively expensive.

We finally found a suitable apartment. An apartment in a high floor of a modernist building in front of the Tattersall in Palermo with open views of the Hippodrome, the Palermo Woods and beyond the Rio de la Plata.

Now came the challenge: how, in a 120 m2 apartment that had no en suite bathroom, no dressing room, the second bathroom only had a small shower and no bidet, to make a home that would adapt to their expectations: an en suite bedroom and dressing room; another bedroom with a second full bathroom, toilette and a grill in the patio, but without making it too small.

We studied the plant in detail, and made 7 versions of the project and up to 12 revisions of some of them to finally optimize the plant and take advantage of every last centimeter. And yes, we were able to do everything including, without touching the patio, a covered quincho!

Before & After

Living/dining room: windows were enlarged and partitions were eliminated.

Studio/Living room: the connection has been enlarged to allow full opening

Kitchen/Dining room: the kitchen was incorporated into the living room, making it a vital part of the house.

Suite: interior design & deco

En-suite bathroom: the access was changed to improve the distribution and enlarge the countertop; the bathtub was replaced by a walk-in shower.

Thinking about future repairs

The sanitary, electrical, gas and thermo-mechanical installations were redone. Both in order to minimize damage to the existing Slavonian oak floors but at the same time with the eventuality of future repair in mind. Thus, all the installations are passed through the ceilings that will allow an easy repair and at the same time to be able to detect early on any leakage or loss that may exist.

Suspended installations for easy repair

Installations: Gas, Water, Heating and Electricity suspended in the ceiling to facilitate future repairs.

Maximizing visuals

The windows had to be replaced, we took this situation as an opportunity to make complete windows without intermediate divisions with a specially designed system that allows the opening of the panels. The corner windows were also replaced with windows that resolve the corners with glazing at 45˚ to minimize edge construction.

Studio with window facing Tattersall

Deco & Interior Design

Lighting fixtures, bathroom countertops and furniture designed specifically for this project complete the renovation proposal and enhance the value of this renovation.

Design countertop and sink

Project figures

20 dump trucks
25 guilds
75 workers
16.000 man-hours
1.565 emails
400 days (from buying to moving in)

  • The apartment had

    Living/Dining Room
    Kitchen/Dining Room
    Laundry room
    1 Bedroom
    1 Bedroom
    Full Bathroom
    Small bathroom (no bidet nor bathtub)


  • 31.24 sqmt
    16.49 sqmt
    1.68 sqmt
    10.00 sqmt
    13.38 sqmt
    10.22 sqmt
    1.21 sqmt
    3.75 sqmt
    3.20 sqmt

    91.17 sqmt

  • The apartment ended up with

    Living/Dining Room
    Kitchen/Dining Room
    Barbecue area
    1 Bedroom
    1 Suite with Bathroom and Dressing Room
    1 Full Bathroom


  • 30.35 sqmt
    10.63 sqmt
    5.82 sqmt
    2.57 sqmt
    9.82 sqmt
    12.05 sqmt
    23.10 sqmt
    3.32 sqmt
    1.37 sqmt

    99.18 sqmt

A meticulous study of the project allowed us to increase the usable area of the apartment by 8 m2, which represents an increase of almost 9%.

The project’s success

An apartment that considerably increased the usable area, increased the number of rooms and improved its conditions; a design that enhances the views that the environment provides and above all a couple that is happy with the renovation undertaken.

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