Surprisingly Welcoming and Warm: the Tiny Apartamento Leopoldo, Brazil

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This modern “Leopold” apartment in Sao Paulo, Brazil, is a splendid example of creative use of a very small space (45 square meters) by architect Mauricio Karam. The use of mirrored walls visually expands the home to seem much bigger than it is— although the flat was actually “reinvented” through removal of some walls, creating an open-plan living space. With very much a “studio” feel, the apartment blends sleeping areas and “living room,” which then segue seamlessly into the dining area, with laminate floors that tie all the areas together. Sliding doors lead to a terrace that gives a bonus seating spot for relaxation and great views, while at the same time bathing the main living areas with wonderful natural light.

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One element that helps not only to delineate rooms, but to make them homey and welcoming, is the use of color. The “core” public areas of the apartment are tied together by a palette of grays and whites, along with an accent wall of woodgrain. Note the clean, efficient look of the kitchen, with cabinets surrounding built-ins and stainless steel appliances — and the bright white backsplash above the sink, well-lit by recessed fixtures. Cool deep blue on the curtains is echoed in a subtler form in a lounge chair; accessories of pink, yellow, and true red warm the neutral palette. A touch of gold and marble on a small table and a splash of aqua on a lounge pillow are further injections of color that cheer the space. The apartment is compact, efficient, uncluttered, modern — yet still feels very much like a comfortable home.

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