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Grant Gillis answers some questions

Can micro apartments be dream homes?

Absolutely. For a young, middle-class South African investing in their first home, this can be their pride and joy. You are not only buying a micro unit but a lifestyle where you are part of a vibrant community. Ultimately the micro units are part of a lifestyle building.

The retail section will have everything you could want and the apartments themselves are designed for functionality and have top-end appliances, high-speed wifi, a smart TV, a queen-size bed, under-bed storage, a kitchenette and a bathroom with a shower. For this to work as a dream home the building has to live. It is aimed at young professionals earning a decent salary who want to live in a lifestyle centre close to the city.

What is a living block of flats?

The total concept of this sort of development is to make it self-sufficient, and by that I mean in addition to security being a non-negotiable, any person, including shift worker who arrive home at night, will be able to buy food that is cooked or uncooked, get a beer or wine and buy energy from the building itself. These are not properties that investors will welcome but instead require raw passion from like-minded individuals starting out their lives together and feeding on each other’s energy.

A compact but elegant kitchen. 
Picture: Katherine Frey/ Washington Post

What can you actually get into a 21m² space?

It is small, probably the size of a small hotel room. Design and functionality are key to it working. For instance, when you open the front door you will find on the left a sliding door shutting off the bathroom. This room will include a built-in toilet, a shower and a vanity with mirror and overhead light. On the right of the front door you have a kitchenette with a two-plate gas hob, a convection microwave, lacquered finishes and cupboards. Everything has clean lines and is minimalistic.

Beyond that you have cupboards, some with mirrors, on the right hand side, then a chair/couch and desk space, and to the left a queen-size bed. You can sit on the couch and on the wall opposite you have your big screen TV on which you can watch Netflix, stream or play games. You open a sliding door to the balcony. All curtains have block out. Everything is minimalistic and clean and, mostly, functional.

How can you be clever with space in a micro unit?

“High maintenance-zero return”, from both a landlord and purchaser’s point of view. Delicate items like “Murphy sofas” will only bring endless maintenance issues with potential for hinge and mechanical failure.

Straight clean lines, good lighting, class finishes, as well as good, clean and comfortable is the essence of units of this type.

Storage?

Taking into consideration that most young people, including millennials, will have very little clutter, it is still important to offer those who have these items options for them to be packed away cleverly and comfortably, allowing the executive types a good working area with smart TV and wireless keyboards.

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