This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

The Most Sensational Small Spaces Of 2020

Tiny Homes

Over the past few years, we’ve noticed a specific and unrelenting fascination with small spaces. From DIY-style ‘tiny homes’, to off-the-plan apartments, there exists an endless curiosity about these compact homes, and how clever design and styling can make them not just liveable, but genuinely lovable!

From a handbuilt cabin on the edge of a river, to a stylist’s pint-sized Sydney apartment – these are the most outstanding small spaces we visited over the past year. Squeeze in, there’s more room than you think!

4th January, 2021

The Sydney home of Sophie Bowers + Josh Climpson. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The Sydney home of Sophie Bowers + Josh Climpson. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The Sydney home of Sophie Bowers + Josh Climpson. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A Perfectly Pint-Sized, Art Deco Sydney Pad!

This one-bedroom apartment in an art deco block in Sydney’s Kensington is owned by interior architect Sophie Bowers and fashion stylist Josh Climpson – and it’s the epitome of compact city living! With an innovative floorplan (expertly manipulated by Sophie) that saw unnecessary walls removed and banquette seating cleverly installed, living is easy without being cramped. Even the couple’s pup is pint-sized!

Revisit the original story here.

The Fitzroy apartment of Imogen Milford. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The Fitzroy apartment of Imogen Milford. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The Fitzroy apartment of Imogen Milford. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A Personality-Filled Off-The-Plan Apartment

Just because it’s small doesn’t mean it can’t be maximalist! Throwing it right back to January 2020 (a simpler time!), Imogen Milford’s Fitzroy apartment is filled with pieces from all her favourite local artists. Where there’s not a plant there’s a ceramic vase by Tantri Mustika or a painting by Sophie Perez. Big colours and bold furniture make this family home a small-footprint treasure chest.

Revisit the original story here.

The home of Harriet Birrel (aka Natural Harry) on the Bellarine Peninsula. Photo – Nikole Ramsay

The home of Harriet Birrel (aka Natural Harry) on the Bellarine Peninsula. Photo – Nikole Ramsay

The home of Harriet Birrel (aka Natural Harry) on the Bellarine Peninsula. Photo – Nikole Ramsay

A Coastal Home That Does More With Less!

Perched on the idyllic Bellarine Peninsula, Harriet Birrel’s (aka Natural Harry) handmade home might be tiny but it’s surrounded by acres of luscious coastal land. At just 40 square metres, nearly every feature has a dual purpose; for example, the wardrobe is also the bathroom, a stand-up desk doubles as a bookshelf, and the kitchen includes Harriet’s study. This is hardworking design at its finest, but the rewards are unparalleled!

Revisit the original story here.

Jono Fleming’s maximalist Waterloo pad! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Jono Fleming’s maximalist Waterloo pad! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Jono Fleming’s maximalist Waterloo pad! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Jono Fleming’s maximalist Waterloo pad! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A Designer’s ‘Curated Maximalist’ Apartment in Sydney

We’re big Jono Fleming fans around here, and once you see his place you’ll see why we love his work so much! Since moving into his Waterloo apartment in 2015, the stylist and designer has been steadily creating an art and plant-filled haven reflective of his vibrant personality. Jono’s immaculate styling proves an off-the-plan apartment can still have oodles of individuality!

Revisit the original story here.

The secluded bush cabin of florist Katie Marx and her husband, Greg Hatton. Photo – Rohan Anderson.

The secluded bush cabin of florist Katie Marx and her husband, Greg Hatton. Photo – Rohan Anderson.

The secluded bush cabin of florist Katie Marx and her husband, Greg Hatton. Photo – Rohan Anderson.

A Florist’s Secluded Bush Cabin Is On The Market!

We wouldn’t usually feature a for-sale home in a round-up of favourite homes of the year, but this one was too good to resist! Florist Katie Marx and her husband, Greg, built this cabin in the Hepburn shire from scratch, including all the furniture inside it. Everything including the bathroom tiling, kitchen table, outdoor stonework, joinery, staircases and the shower drain hole (!) has been custom designed and crafted by Greg. Located just 40m from the banks of the Loddon River, the secluded hideout preferences access to the natural surrounds at every opportunity.

Revisit the original story here.

Camilla Walker’s handmade tiny home at the bottom of her parents’ garden in Coburg! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Camilla Walker’s handmade tiny home at the bottom of her parents’ garden in Coburg! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Camilla Walker’s handmade tiny home at the bottom of her parents’ garden in Coburg! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A Tiny Handmade Home Built By A Father-Daughter Duo!

Camilla Walker flew the coop thirteen years ago, only to land back in it again – in a good way! After more than a decade jumping between sharehouses and continent-hopping, she finally felt the urge to settle down. Buying a property wasn’t really a viable option, so she had to think outside the box.

Located at the bottom of her parents’ garden in Melbourne’s north, Camilla and her dad Patrick built this tiny home by hand between September 2019 and April of this year. Over those eight months, the Walkers did everything themselves – drilling, jig-sawing, hammering, and painting – until the tiny, cosy cabin-on-wheels came to life.

This was one of our favourite stories of the year!

Revisit the original story here.

View Comments

Similar Stories

Interiors

4 Big Ideas For Small Spaces

From storage to styling (no, you don't have to be a minimalist), we bring you the best tips and tricks for making the most of a tight spot!

Roundup

The Top Ten Homes Of 2020

From retro rentals, to art deco apartments, and a rammed earth house rebuilt after a fire, these were the most popular homes on The Design F...

Homes

The Most Maximalist Spaces Of 2020

From terrazzo palaces to Mediterranean-inspired terraces, these are the homes with the biggest energy we visited this year!
Sasha Gattermayr

This Week

On The Market

Mid-Century Magic On A Bushland Block (And On The Market!)

Originally built in 1967, this absolute dream home features terrazzo floors and an entire facade of floor-to-ceiling windows!
Sasha Gattermayr

Studio Visit

An Innovative New Collaboration From MIMCO, Featuring Boundary-Pushing Sustainable Materials

As a result of their longstanding partnership with the NGV, MIMCO has teamed up with biomaterial designer Alice Potts on a limited-edition c...

Gardens

An Equally Functional + Lush Suburban Garden Makeover

The stunning garden of landscape designer and owner of Ballast Landscape, Julian Bombardiere, in Kings Langley, NSW.

News

Relax Into The New Year With The Perfect Bath Accessory

Adios 2020, we’re heading into the new year with a totally new vibe courtesy of these sustainable timber bath trays from The Wood People.
Sponsored

News

A Starlight Summer Festival To Begin In Heide’s Sculpture Park

Get your socialising mojo back with this cultural program of dance events, music acts and Indigenous storytelling at Heide Museum of Modern
Sponsored
42:51

Podcast

TDF Talks with Plant Designer, Jenna Holmes of Plant Mama

In this podcast conversation, Jenna of 'Plant Mama' and 'Pasta Mama' shares how she has built and grown two very different businesses from t...

News

A Sunny New Storefront For Not-For-Profit Design Organisation The Social Studio

The not-for-profit organisation has a new sunshine-filled space designed by Studio Goss at Collingwood Yards!

Studio Visit

The Young Designer Using Traditional Leather-Working Techniques To Create Accessories Inspired By The Australian Landscape

Leather craftsman Liam Dillon shares the detailed history behind an ancient trade - and the ways he uses traditional techniques in his moder...
Sasha Gattermayr

Studio Visit

Dive Into The Colourful, Creative World of Melbourne's Designer-Of-The-Moment, Danielle Brustman

Know her name but not her story? Welcome to the vibrant world of designer Danielle Brustman, at her incredible studio in Collingwood Yards!
Sasha Gattermayr
  10 hours ago

Homes

A Blissful Art Deco Apartment Up In The Trees

This carefully curated rental in East Melbourne of friends Lauren Everett and Frances Normoyle is the ultimate 'grown up' share house!

Architecture

A Victorian Terrace That Plays Design Gymnastics!

Melbourne's colour masters Wowowa are back with another clever Victorian renovation!

Studio Visit

Inside The Dreamy Garden Shed Studio Of Emerging Ceramic Artist, Anni Hagberg

Introducing the graduate artist who was the recipient of The Design Files Emerging Maker Award at Craft Victoria's annual 'Fresh!' exhibitio...
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Sleek, Surprising Reworking Of A Victorian Cottage

A humble but innovative extension by Blair Smith Architecture has totally modernised this Victorian cottage in Brunswick.

Furniture

The Tradie Brotherhood Behind Our Newest Furniture Obsession

Brothers Jack and Mark Fearon combine their experience as a plumber and boilermaker to create the most colourful, characterful furniture goi...
Sasha Gattermayr
  2 hours ago

News

Swoon-Worthy Luggage For The Perfect Weekend Escape

Local luggage experts July prep us for the summer of local travel with the slick new ‘Daybreak’ range.
Sponsored

Similar Stories

Interiors

4 Big Ideas For Small Spaces

The best tips and tricks for making the most of a tight spot!

Roundup

The Top Ten Homes Of 2020

Drum roll please... These were the most popular homes on The Design Files this year!

Homes

The Most Maximalist Spaces Of 2020

From terrazzo palaces to Mediterranean-inspired terraces, these are the homes with the biggest energy we visited this year!
Sasha Gattermayr

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.