When constricted by a lack of square footage, a team of São Paulo–based architects cleverly use light, color, and texture to create a bigger home.

This half of the living room opens to the dining room area.

For the renovation of this São Paulo apartment, David Ito Arquitetura Team was tasked with a client’s request to increase the living space and create a “lighter atmosphere in a delicate color palette.” Yet, there was one caveat. Since the home was located in a high-rise building, the architects could not increase the property’s square footage.     

Using the living room as a starting point, the firm installed a 39-foot-long wood panel to separate the social areas from the rest of the home. Thanks to the panel’s slats and crisp white shade, it provided a stunning textured backdrop to the redesign, while creating a bright and airy living space.

two sofas are placed back

Two sofas have been placed back-to-back to create separate social spaces in the home. 

Pedro Kok

Camouflaged within this same panel are hinged doors that now connect the kitchen and dining room, as well as the entrance to the private spaces. 

A wood-clad entrance hall leads to the bedrooms.

The white wood panel adds texture and depth to the home, and contrasts beautifully with the wood-clad hallway that leads to the bedrooms. 

Pedro Kok

After the team divided the open living area into sections demarcated by the strategic placement of furniture, they also converted the space that was formerly a terrace into a relaxing den-like nook.

This half of the living room opens to the dining room area.

This half of the living room opens to the dining room area.

Pedro Kok

Not only do the bright pops of color against the subtle palette reference Brazil’s vibrant culture, but they also add an air of sophistication to the space. Several traditional elements—such as bright geometric tiles—have also been incorporated to infuse an element of whimsy. 

Shop the Look

Hans J. Wegner Wishbone Chair

Designed specifically for Carl Hansen & Søn in 1949, Hans J. Wegner’s Wishbone Chair (CH24) was the last part of his series that combined a chair’s arms and top rails into one piece. The series was inspired by portraits of Danish merchants sitting in Chinese Ming Dynasty chairs. At the time, Wegner was making a huge leap of faith—and it paid off since Carl Hansen & Søn had been looking for a more lightweight chair than what was common at the time. The steam-bent solid wood top connects to the Y-shaped back in a way that provides both comfort and support. To this day, it’s crafted in Denmark with an acute attention to detail. The seat is hand-woven from paper cord, which is a durable material that replaced jute during WWII. You can choose to have the sculptural frame made of beech, oak, or walnut in a range of lacquer finishes.

MANI by Britta Herrmann Square Vase – Pink

The MANI collection was inspired by the creativity of traditional Italian craftsmanship. Curator of the collection Britta Hermann, passionate about Italian culture, moved from Hamburg to Tuscany in 2005 to pursue her quest to create her first collection of hand-made living accessories. Here, inspired by Italian architecture and colors, she has been creating her first collection. Unique in their simplicity, they are far removed from industrial mass-produced products. MANI ceramics are a perfect fusion of Nordic design and traditional Italian craftsmanship, where each piece has been created by hand and heart. Photo courtesy of Yoox

Gloster Bells Side Table

Stylish outdoor side table with hidden “ice bucket” feature. Photo courtesy of Gloster

The white surfaces are differentiated by their textures and together with the wood form the ideal neutral base for the delicate, yet vibrant color palette.

Along with the warm tones of wood, the white walls form an ideal neutral base for the subtle, yet vibrant color palette. 

Pedro Kok


The firm created custom furniture for the home’s renovation, including this dining table.

Pedro Kok

A hinged door can conceal the kitchen to create a more formal dining space.

A hinged door can conceal the kitchen to create a more formal dining space. 

Pedro Kok

The kitchen is large enough for an eat-in

Colorful floor tiles add a whimsical touch to the eat-in kitchen area. 

Pedro Kok


A hallway behind the dining area connects the kitchen to the enclosed terrace.

Pedro Kok

The enclosed terrace now has a bar and a den-like area.

Also adorned with bright colorful tiles, the enclosed terrace now features a bar and a relaxing den-like nook that can be partitioned off with curtains. 

Pedro Kok

City views courtesy of large windows which also provide ample natural light.

A wall of windows provides city views and ample natural light. 

Pedro Kok

An overview of the spaces.

Here is an overview of the spaces and how they connect. As you can see, the furniture and plants are in perfect harmony with the overall interior scheme.

Pedro Kok

One of the bedrooms.

The bedrooms are all set behind the door to the private area of the home. 

Pedro Kok

The dressing room walk-in closet in the master suite.

A peek at the dressing room/walk-in closet in the master suite. 

Pedro Kok

This bespoke cabinet in the closet was custom-made by the firm and features small colorful doors, alluding to a magic cube.

The bespoke cabinet in the closet was also designed by the firm and features small colorful doors, which allude to a “magic cube.” 

Pedro Kok

A deep earthy blue tile plays off the richness of the wood in this bathroom.

A deep, earthy blue tile plays off the richness of the wood in this bathroom. 

Pedro Kok

The floor plan.

Here is the final floor plan after the renovation.

Photo: David Ito Arquitetura

Project Credits: 

Architects of Record: David Ito Arquitetura, David Ito, Martin Naf, Victor Hertel, Lucas Anghinoni, Victória Calil, Natasha Tavolaro. 

Landscape Design: Olga Webha

Interior Design: David Ito Arquitetura

Photography: Pedro Kok  


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