Anyone living in an expensive city understands all too well how much it costs to have a home. As the properties are so in demand, buying is simply not an option. Instead, most people rent flats, and every month stands to lose at least half of their wage, simply to pay for a small area to call their own (for that specific contracted time). Normally on top the rent is the additional costs of various bills, council tax, and food.
This is how I felt when I saw the project featured. Not only is the transformation ingenious and thrifty, the level of quality it has been executed with is just exquisite. Let us jump in to the details behind that wooden door.
It all began when Jérémie Buchholtz wanted an affordable apartment in Bordeau. His career as a photographer means he splits a lot of his time between Paris and Bordeaux, so money was tight but he wasn’t having any luck finding a property.
Then he stumbled upon a listing that was 80,000 euros; less than half the price of a similarly-sized home. However it was no house, just an abandoned garage. Unmistakably a garage, with large metal doors blocking all sunlight, with the inside being used as a storage for junk.
Buchholtz called his friend and architect Matthieu de Marien who specializes in converting stores, offices and other spaces into homes. De Marien took one look at the historic street and instantly understood it to be something special.
Passage Buhan is a private passageway where the owners each own half of the road so life can legally extend right onto the street. The history here is also vivid and rich: a couple centuries ago, the lane-way housed horses and their riders while they were travelling to the then-city of Bordeaux, and the old stables are still lived in today.
Buchholtz bought the property and De Marien quickly cut into the old garage to create more light and ventilation. The roof is historic and couldn’t be touched so he carved a 12 square meter (129 square foot) patio out of the small space, leaving only 41 square meters of living space (441 square feet).
In order to make the space feel larger, De Marien created a “house within a house”: one large piece of furniture that includes the bathroom, bedroom, office, closet, a sofa bed and all of the home’s storage. With everything contained in this large furniture box, the rest of the home was given more breathing room.
Click here to see some more photographs, and take a look at the video below for a more in-depth look at the location and finished product.