Anna Power: Maximizing Small Floor Plans for Wellness and Functionality | Room by Room #34

In this episode, host Gabriella Joustra is joined by Anna Power, a seasoned architect with a rich professional journey

In this episode, Anna Power from Studio Ester shares strategies for maximizing small floor plans to optimize both use and well-being. The episode covers topics such as space optimization, layout considerations, natural elements for well-being, flexible furnishings and storage solutions, lighting, urban planning principles, renovation case studies, and balancing tidiness with personal style. 

Meet Anna Power

Anna is a highly accomplished architect with a wealth of experience in the field. She graduated from the University of Sydney in 1990 and has dedicated her career primarily to residential and domestic projects, showcasing her expertise in creating functional and aesthetically pleasing living spaces.

Anna’s professional journey includes contributing to notable projects such as The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. In 2014, she established her own practice, Studio Ester, driven by her passion for domestic projects and belief in well-designed spaces’ transformative power. 

About the episode

Anna shares valuable strategies for maximizing small floor plans to enhance functionality and well-being. Anna emphasizes the importance of minimizing unused spaces like hallways and carefully arranging furniture to avoid dividing rooms when designing small spaces. She also recommends incorporating flexible furniture and creating multi-functional rooms to make the most of limited space.

She believes that several factors contribute to the well-being of small space occupants. These factors include natural light, outdoor access, privacy, acoustics, and a sense of security. She understands that lighting design is crucial in making a small space feel spacious and inviting.

Anna suggests incorporating communal spaces and offering a mix of housing types to promote community interactions in small housing developments. Higher population densities can facilitate social connections among residents, and shared facilities like laundry rooms allow neighbors to connect and build relationships.

She says that smaller, more affordable housing still requires quality design features to enhance the living experience. Even renters can improve their living spaces by incorporating additional lighting through lamps and adding colorful fabrics to create a vibrant ambiance.

Anna emphasizes the importance of considering the external context when designing small spaces. Factors such as sunlight and views should be taken into account to create a harmonious living environment. She says that varied home types and densities, combined with the presence of parks and essential services, contribute to the development of lively and walkable neighborhoods.

Anna Power provides several key recommendations for floor planning:

When planning the interior layout, consider the external context, such as sunlight and views, and optimize circulation routes to ensure efficiency. Arrange spaces functionally based on daily use, like conveniently locating bedrooms near bathrooms. Designate separate areas for different activities to accommodate various needs and moods, and maximize space functionality with multi-use elements.

Utilize space-saving furniture and flexible furnishings to adapt to changing needs over time, while prioritizing well-being factors like natural light and privacy. Enhance the sense of openness with design elements such as ceiling heights and layered lighting. Customize storage solutions to maximize capacity while maintaining cohesion, and design community-oriented amenities that foster a sense of belonging without compromising privacy.

In conclusion

In this episode, Anna shares her insights on the importance of thoughtful design and creating harmonious spaces. She discusses incorporating scientific insights and practical knowledge to highlight the transformative potential of small floor plans in promoting well-being.

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