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Once considered undesirable, the uppermost levels of Paris’ beautiful Haussmann buildings were divided into tiny rooms for maids, where aesthetics were sacrificed for efficiency. Typically devoid of the historic details that give the buildings so much character, these rooms were largely relegated to storage spaces as the decades wore on, but high housing prices in the city have renewed interest in their possibilities.

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Kitoko Studio architects have transformed one 8-square-meter maid’s room into a very compact yet highly livable studio apartment with the addition of a large built-in cabinet that conceals a bed, stairs, storage, a closet and a dining table with chairs.

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A stepped bookcase pulls out to offer access to the lofted bed that’s cozily tucked into one corner of the room. A small tiled wet room takes up the other end, with everything else in between. The architects took inspiration from the concept of a Swiss Army knife, which contains a multitude of tools in a small package.

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“Therefore, the new maid’s room is a modular transcription of such an object with elements of storage, a bed, a table, a wardrobe, a staircase, a kitchenette and a bathroom, all fully integrated within a large closet that can be unfold according to the needs and changes the perception of space.”

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“Once all the elements are folded and stored in this ‘large closet,’ it frees half of the area of the room.”