Me time is important for everyone, particularly young parents, but feeling connected with family members at home is equally worth treasuring.
The owners of this 420 square metre apartment in Shanghai knew what was important to them, so to achieve it they turned to Shanghai-based architecture design studio STUDIO8 to help design their dream family home.
“The couple always stay together with their two kids. They wanted a clean and spacious living space that allows them to enjoy different activities in their private zone while spending quality time with family and friends in a warm and intimate setting,” said the architect who designed the home.
The apartment is located on a quiet street lined with tall French plane trees and magnolia trees in the city centre. The treetops are just at the height of the balcony window which makes the apartment feel like an urban retreat.
As for the interiors, the main goals of STUDIO8 included transforming the 4.6-metre height space into a duplex apartment with a mezzanine, creating visual and spatial connections between rooms as well as updating the interior design to better match the couple’s contemporary tastes.
To accommodate the family’s daily needs and lifestyle, the architect team adopted an open layout for the home and provided as many sight lines between the areas as possible.
Taking advantage of the height of the apartment, the team built a mezzanine and linked it to the lower floor by a sculptural volume located at the junction of the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Consisting of a passageway, a staircase, and a fireplace, the volume joins and also divides the communal and private zones.
The passageway, which starts above the entrance, connects the kid’s room, the storage room, the walk-in closet and the husband’s study room on the mezzanine. The staircase and the fireplace serve as the focal point of the double-height living area, visually linking the upper and lower floors.
“The structure design of the mezzanine was the most challenging part of the project,” the architect said.
“In order to make it solid and stable, STUDIO8 used reinforced concrete to build the mezzanine. As such, it was crucial to consider the openings of each zone on the upper floor carefully and hide the beams strategically without affecting the ceiling height for both floors. Some of the beams are now aligned with the slab and hidden in the mezzanine or parapet to make them out of sight.”
The thoughtful spatial design allows the family members to hear or see each other from every corner of the open area – from the passageway upstairs to the fireplace downstairs and the study room to the family room.
A white metal spiral staircase connecting the master bedroom to the upper-level walk-in closet acts as a private passage for the couple. They can enjoy their own time and space while still feeling the presence of the kids at the same time.
Eco-friendly materials were considered throughout the apartment for the health of the children. Lava stone and stucco marble powder give the space a timeless, homogeneous shade, with subtle reflections revealing the various textures. The family room is styled with a light oak floor and low furniture. It has a relatively low ceiling, but it still feels spacious as it opens towards the double-height staircase.
A dynamic modular sofa island connects the living room with the surrounding zones and allows the kids to climb from one side to the other, which adds a lively atmosphere to the subdued and elegant living area.
A set of irregular pebble-shaped frosted glass pendants hangs over the dining table, bringing a touch of glamour to the home. The monochromatic kitchen, positioned under the walk-in closet, is limited in height, but the beautiful tree view from the veranda windows enhances its sense of space and layering.
Converting the owners’ way of living into a timeless design was the main focus in the residential design for STUDIO8.
“The owners of a home should be the soul of the place and that is always our key inspiration.”
As for the homeowners: “We really enjoy the time STUDIO8 has planned for us in different corners of the apartment, as well as the fact that we can always have each other in sight.”