Big Space, Little Space in Buffalo, New York by Davidson Rafailidis | Yellowtrace
Little space with a garden to the left and a workshop to the right.

Big Space, Little Space in Buffalo, New York by Davidson Rafailidis | Yellowtrace
Entry bathroom with an opening to the skylight above.

Big Space, Little Space in Buffalo, New York by Davidson Rafailidis | Yellowtrace
Wall mounted kitchen frame floating over the uneven floor.

Big Space, Little Space in Buffalo, New York by Davidson Rafailidis | Yellowtrace
View back from the workshop towards the little space and the big garden, showcasing a wide range of finishes.

 

Big Space, Little Space is the latest project by the design practice Davidson Rafailidis – an adaptive re-use of a clay tile garage built in the 1920’s into a dwelling and workshop, tucked away in the middle of a residential block in Buffalo, New York.

The small husband-and wife-run studio focuses on designing tight projects with equally tight budgets that have been cleverly adapted for long-term use. Their unique sensibility of stripping away only what’s essential from the existing building fabric, and adding only the bare minimum without unnecessary polish is equal parts brave and admirable. The raw essence of each space exists in perfect harmony with the new in such a way that the two become difficult to tell apart.

 

Big Space, Little Space in Buffalo, New York by Davidson Rafailidis | Yellowtrace
Floor to ceiling oak shelving hiding behind the curtains inside the little space.

Big Space, Little Space in Buffalo, New York by Davidson Rafailidis | Yellowtrace
All items are wall mounted to free up the small space with storage concealed behind mirror doors.

Big Space, Little Space in Buffalo, New York by Davidson Rafailidis | Yellowtrace
Bathroom skylight.

 

“Over time buildings stray from their original programs and develop lives of their own,” explains the design team. “Even in the timespan of a single year spaces can offer changing qualities that require users to engage with them in different ways.”

Big Space, Little Space, takes this transformative nature of space as its premise. Rather than dictating uses for designated spaces, the project offers a variety of spaces that can trigger unexpected uses.

Instead of designing fresh, new spaces and interventions, Davidson Rafailidis have reinterpreted existing forms and volumes. They retained an existing, partitioned area within the garage space that was recently used by a general contractor as an office. This “Little Space” was reinterpreted as the overlap between two bigger, existing spaces – the fenced garden and the garage/workshop. The “Little Space” can be read as part of both – it can also extend into both. The reading of the plan flickers between these different configurations.

 

Big Space, Little Space in Buffalo, New York by Davidson Rafailidis | Yellowtrace
New operable skylight above lights up the workshop.

Big Space, Little Space in Buffalo, New York by Davidson Rafailidis | Yellowtrace
Powdercoated stair for access to the big roof.

Big Space, Little Space in Buffalo, New York by Davidson Rafailidis | Yellowtrace
View of the exterior.

 

This project offers spaces that are in flux, where life can retreat into the insulated “Little Space” in winter and can spread into the “Big Spaces” – the generous garden, workshop, and roof deck in warmer seasons. The living area, therefore, fluctuates between 40 sqm to 500 sqm. As such, this home doesn’t offer a conventional stationary plan. Instead, the spaces are rather seen as offerings for temporary and informal uses.

“The building is seen here as an animate thing with a lively past and an unknown future, where the intervention is just one of many,” explain Davidson Rafailidis. “The space was not ‘remodelled’ to eliminate its messy past, but rather added to in a similar way to participants in the surrealist game – the Exquisite Corpse.”

 

 


[Images courtesy of . Photography by .]

 

About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

Leave a Reply