Thursday, April 2, 2015

'Wasted square metres' when considering a French property

I have recently been apartment hunting before settling into a third floor mini-loft in a town-centre building parts of which date back to the 17th century. What ever ceases to surprise me when judging apartments (and houses when visiting with clients) is the amount of wasted space resulting from poor internal layout, particularly bearing in mind that every extra square metre costs money in rent or purchase price, taxes, building charges, maintenance and upkeep, and heating or cooling. Among examples most commonly found are:

- Too large entrance halls and corridors often too narrow to accommodate any kind of storage. The worst example I have seen amounted to 20% of the total space - one-fifth was virtually unusable.

- Disproportionate sizing of rooms - bedrooms too large compared with the expected number of occupants, and/or in relation to the main living areas which were often too small.

- Kitchen too large (and often over-equipped) in relation to the expected number of occupants. Quite often in a studio designed for a single person or couple, the kitchen seems to have been designed for a family of four. My own, which I decided to accept, comprises a 3.5 metre (approx. 12 ft) run of worktops and cupboards, and includes a family-sized fridge/freezer, a full size oven (never used in 10 years by the previous owner), extra fan and filter unit for the oven, a washing machine, and microwave oven. But there is no dining area to match!

It is amazing how planners and designers get it wrong and I have seen an American example* where a developer has taken over a former shopping mall and turned the two upper floors into mini-studios,  with the tinly kitchens including a dish-washer! All the occupants admitted they never used it for a single plate or cup and would appreciate more storage space instead.

* See video on