Tiny Apartment Inspiration by Architect Jack Chen


This Never Too Small tour of a 376 square foot (35 square meter) apartment by architect Jack Chen is ingeniously designed for both function and form. The custom-built walls allow for a home office, entertainment center, and dining table—luxuries usually sacrificed in small spaces.

I’ve lived in some small spaces in my time, with our 240 square foot studio in San Francisco being the smallest. Inevitably something has to give—usually in my case it’s the bike storage, dining table, or home office. But this space has brilliant made space for it all. Normally I only share spaces that are not owned because being able to undergo construction is an advantage most of us don’t have. However, this space has many elements that can be replicated in a rental situation. Plus it’s just too good not to share. Read on for my take on this space by architect Jack Chen.

Architect Jack Chen subtly altered his 1970's, 35m2 one bedroom apartment to create an intricately designed space, interchangeable between office and home.

Details to look for that make this space great

While Jack Chen owns the unit and was able undergo construction, there are a number of elements that make this space great that you can replicate even if you’re renting.


  • Pegs for flexible storage

  • Wall-mounted bench rather than legs on the floor for easy cleaning

Living room

  • Big window with a ledge cushion for lounging

  • Book shelf under the window ledge and storage on either side

  • Round coffee table so you don’t bang your knee every time you walk by

  • Reflective storage surfaces to make the space appear bigger

  • Wall-mounted bike (something I’ve struggled with in our past apartments)

Home office + entertainment center

  • Drop down desk surface for working

  • Hidden storage for office supplies including a lamp

  • Fold away cover that reveals television


  • Wall mounted night stand rather than legs on the floor for easy cleaning

  • Flush built in closet storage behind the bed


  • Flush cabinets with no knobs give a look of continuity

  • Wall mounted utensils with nothing on the counter

Dining table

  • Pull out dining table and flat folding stools


  • Glass between bathroom and kitchen privacy

  • Bring the outside in

  • No tub, standing shower only

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