Big Living in Small Spaces

In the heart of urban San Francisco, a multi-functional loft transforms a small condo into a dynamic space.

When his wife moved into his 537 square foot loft, Donnie Wang quickly realized they needed to do something to make the space more livable. After the results of work with interior designers left them lukewarm, Pete Suen and DEKA (then ICOSA) were called in.

The result? A prefabricated multipurpose loft that transformed the space available. Working with the space that formerly held a coat closet, a bed, and a media center, the new loft creates space for a walk-in closet, standing desk office, guest bedroom, dining room, bedroom, home theatre seating, and even a small sports gear closet equipped with tennis racket stringing machine.

One drawing for the Wang Loft

Affectionately known as “Domino Loft” around here, the loft frame is made up of nine 1½-inch-thick precast concrete panels. These “dominoes” are connected with wood and glass for structural support.

To minimize the footprint of the concrete “dominoes,” we custom created precast glass fiber reinforced panels with basalt fiber rebar. Traditional metal rebar would have caused spalling in such a thin application.

The top of the loft is composed of a piece of plywood and tightly spaced 1-by-1-inch Ash wood slats. LED lighting is integrated between the slats to light the multi-use area below.

Small details make a huge difference when working with such a small space. The whiteboard forms the underside of a Murphy bed; the LED lights illuminating the work area are integrated into the legs of the bed.

Every space is maximized. Storage cubbies are hidden behind the rolling ladder to the lofted bed and throughout the multi-use area below the loft.

Donnie and Nicole enjoy a theatre experience from the top of the loft.

The Murphy bed pulls down to give guests a semiprivate space to sleep.

Originally featured on Houzz, the Wang Loft went viral. Furniture made for single-family houses just doesn’t work in small spaces. Urban dwellers are seeking affordable, modular solutions that maximize their space.