How to Turn a Two-Room Apartment into a Three-Room One without Moving

When my clients from Tel Aviv approached me, they wanted to check if it was possible to turn their two-room apartment into a three-room one. The client inherited the apartment from his grandmother, and it was actually the apartment he grew up in as a child. When we entered the apartment, it was clear that every corner of the house had its own memories; it was an apartment with a ‘family history’. Because of this, I was a bit hesitant to present them with my sketches; the change I suggested wasn’t big in terms of execution, but it was definitely an idea to get used to. I suggested placing the kitchen, which had been in a closed room until now, on the balcony.

Before:

After:

The new location of the kitchen seemingly forced us to reduce the window opening (from the inside, not the outside, to leave the building facade unchanged). The initial instinct is to keep the apartment’s openings as large as possible, but on second thought, the balcony’s window was too large, so the shutters were closed most of the day. Reducing the window actually allowed it to remain open, keeping the apartment bright and airy.

Photo by Dor Sharon for KARMA KOLLEKTIVE.

We turned the living room to the other side, thinking that when entering the apartment, it is more pleasant to see the side of the sofa and the picture rather than a wall with a TV. Beyond the aesthetic aspect, the sofa is deeper than the console and creates some blockage near the entrance. Arranging the furniture in the space always involves several visual and functional considerations, which do not always align, and sometimes need to be prioritized.

Another idea I suggested to them, but did not implement due to cost reasons, was to move the hallway entrance. Personally, I don’t like seeing the openings of the bathroom and toilet from the public space, and for some reason, quite a few apartments are designed and built this way even today. We decided that the maximum use of the budget would be to cosmetically renovate these rooms, so that what reflects into the living room would still be pleasant to the eye and so that the daily use of these rooms would be aesthetic and comfortable.

So what did my clients do with the room they ‘gained’? They turned the kitchen into a lovely children’s room. When I came to photograph the apartment a year later, I met the sweet baby who joined their family after the renovation. If you look at the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures, you can see that we painted the wooden tiles that covered the walls of the old kitchen in a cream color, adding a Nordic atmosphere to the space. I love this continuity that connects the old tiling from the grandmother’s apartment to the updated tiling in the little one’s new room.

Before:

After:

If you also know that sometimes you are so used to something that you just can’t imagine it any other way, you can take comfort in the fact that we all think in patterns. Sometimes this pattern belongs to the house we grew up in, and sometimes it belongs to the way the previous tenants designed the apartment we moved into. I also work in patterns as a designer, from planning the kitchen to the number of sockets that are usually placed near the work corner. These patterns help us speed up processes, but when faced with a problem that bothers us, sometimes we need to remind ourselves to ‘think outside the box’ to find creative solutions.

Many dilemmas that arise in consultation meetings are solved by rearranging the furniture. I come and start moving furniture and organizing the room differently. Clients hesitate for a moment, but suddenly everything makes sense to them, and they can’t understand why they didn’t think of it before… In such a meeting, it is possible to examine whether there is a better way to organize the space to maximize the use of the home’s area. We can also address the lighting and colors that will flatter it and recommend ways to upgrade it.

To schedule such a consultation meeting, you are welcome to contact me by phone: 054-9742488

Have a great year, Yonit

  • The apartment photos were, of course, taken by the wonderful Shiran Carmel.