Parisian Micro-Apartment

Upon first inspection of a Paris apartment I am always stricken by the use of light to create living space. Be it french doors, floor-to-ceiling windows, white walls, or sparse furnishings, it is safe to say (and I say this as someone who has lived in Paris…..the 9th arrondissement to be precise) taille ne compte pas, n’est-ce pas? The answer? No, not when you are the creative French firm Schemaa.


Their fresh renovation of an older, 322 sq.ft. apartment shows a certain je ne sais quoi in its elegant simplicity. Dominated by an alternating-tread staircase with included storage this storage-rich apartment features a number of space-saving elements.


Using some of the same elements as an earlier TTL post on “stair porn” the staircase in the Schemaa apartment is made up of varying sized cupboards allowing the rest of the room to look airy and minimal. The grain pattern of the steps and other furniture elements suggest birchwood it is more economical and therefore more feasible to say each of the built-in strips is a finished yellow pine. Of course the floor is something a either a bit more exotic or simply dressed up with a pickling or whitewash finish.

At the base of the stairs (or to the right…whichever you prefer) is a rather large mirror which serves to reflect the light coming in from the oversized windows. Such a detail gives the illusion of a much larger footprint to the room. To fill the floor or allow for dinner parties in the space a dining table is also featured in the apartment that disassembles when not in use and mounts securely on the wall.


To note is the use of orange as an accent color in all areas but most obviously as the kitchen backsplash (NOTE: the two images above are mirrored for example purposes). This orange theme extends to coat hooks, tiling, dining stools, and lighting.

Perhaps the remaining question is where the stairs actually lead to. As if stolen from a page in the Moulin Rouge screenplay they ascend to a quaint loft bedroom complete with star-gazing skylights. The original, rough-cut, wooden beams visible in the rafters lend that old world charm to the entire apartment paying homage to both the detailed craftsmanship still present in the apartment as well as the age of the structure.

Schema_5Even though its size clearly makes this a tiny house or rather micro-apartment, it is also the use of space and the multi-function of built-in furniture items that make it a clever and practical home.

Your Turn!

  • Could you live in such a minimal space?
  • Does the absence of clutter make you think the Schemaa space is cold?




  1. It’s not the absence of color that makes it seem cold . . . it’s the lack of warm colors and the absence of evidence of life. It could keep its minimalist effect and be more interesting with furnishings, pictures, fabric…..

  2. Looks like a good start at a living space or a yoga/art/dance studio. Except for the bed linens and that one shelving unit it looks like a vacant apartment. Window coverings would be useful too, maybe some plants and a few other “organic” touches to counteract the excess of geometry. Those poor beams just look lost rather than adding charm.

    The table storage is a great idea. The chairs are amusing, look like giant push pins.

  3. Did you ever notice how all these “micro-apartments” have ceilings about 12 feet high? Or, like this one, a dormer above the main room?

    Who has that? Nobody, that’s who. it’s “one of a kind design”, so it doesn’t really help anybody.

    • True. And you have to heat all that space….

    • While living in Europe most of the the top floor 4-7 walk ups the cheapest places to rent are built with high ceilings 12-18′ with a sleeping loft above. Most old and ugly but cheap and small 200-250 sf. None with third furniture or built-ins as this beauty. Living in this style flat in Florence, Prague and Berlin. They are cheap and eazy to find. Nice and warm in the winter. Hot as F#@k in the slepping loft in the summer if you dont have a vent/window in the loft. If you do have a vent skylight window that open they tend to leak and get broken into. All that said I loved the minimalist and when I return to the US I fund such places to live in older towns like Pomona,Riverside,and Oceanside in CA you have to look a little harder but they are out there and at the best rent you can find. Good luck

  4. Venice, interesting. I’m curious what one of those small places you speak of will cost back in California, the state that charges so much!

    • Lainer, Pomona in 2001 was $400 a month 2.75 sf loft was not in sq you have to be an artist, student, or teacher. Riverside was $600 in 2009 but was nice all utilities included but it did not have a AC in the space. Oceanside was only 200 sf with a shared bathroom in 2012 for $750 all utilities included but it was on the sand at the beach with everything within walking distance. I love that place but it got condemned and tore down to build million $ condos. I fell that there was nothing wrong with the place but the owner could make millions and kicked everyone out. I think you have to really work at finding a small place that you can afford. word of mouth is best. Go to places like farmers markets and ask you never find these places in ads. The place in Oceanside I thought it looked like people lived there I sat outside of the place for a few days with some flowers I picked gave them to everyone that walked into or out of the building. Found out there was small places inside “made” everyone promise to call me if they where going to move and that I would buy them dinner if I got the place. I think you can find something if you try harder. Rents in the same cities were $500-$1000 more at the times I lived in them for everyone I knew. I also found placed to live that where complete S#&t but talked the owners in to letting me stay for very cheap as I fixed them up. Good luck hunting for a place

  5. Struck.

  6. I remember back in the late fifties and early sixties that “blonde” furniture was the big thing. that is what this apartment reminds me of. for some reason I have never been able to really like the blonde furniture.

    Now if you took that closet/step and you put milk paint on it and then covered the doors with classic french advertising art, I would probably beat people with a stick to get to it.

    I like white, but to live with it, it shouldn’t glare. that white just seems too bright. but all of these thoughts are personal and subjective. the space looks very livable… more livable with a big squishy chair.

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