Pressures on space and money are making space-saving apartments increasingly popular. New Convertible Spaces apartments in Melbourne, Australia, are one such example. Movable walls can be used to open up a living space or cut it in two to create a bedroom area with a pull down bed and storage units.

Other existing apartments, like the recently announced Yo! Home and the Zoku Loft, also use moving elements to change the format of the space. To a greater extent, though, the Convertible Spaces also have a focus on luxury living. Rothelowman, which designed the Convertible Spaces approach, says it is aimed at young professionals who want premium-quality apartments in a premium location, but may only need and be able to afford a one-bedroom place.

The first Convertible Spaces apartments are based at the 19,588-sq m (210,843-sq ft) Sanctuary on the River development in the Abbotsford suburb of Melbourne, which is described as offering "luxurious apartments and riverfront terraces." High-end fixtures and fittings are said to be used throughout.

The Convertible Spaces approach is used in a number of the one-bedroom apartments at Sanctuary on the River. The aim is to provide open-plan living, but with functional areas like corridors able to become usable living and bedroom areas without compromising access to the rest of the apartment.

During the day, a Convertible Spaces apartment is designed to have a large open-plan kitchen/living area, with a far wall that features an integrated TV unit, kitchen units with a fridge and, further along, bedroom units.

The kitchen table can be moved out of the way and folded down to minimize its size when not in use. A moveable wall can be pulled over to split the space and create a separate room behind it. In this new space, a bed folds down from the wall and doors that previously formed parts of another wall can be closed for privacy.

"By including a fold-down bed and moveable wall we add several meters to the apartment and offer occupiers an enormous amount of flexibility," says principal of Rothelowman Chris Hayton. "When the bed is hidden away and the wall moved across into the bedroom area, the result is a 70 percent increase in living area."

Residents at the Sanctuary on the River development also benefit from a number of additional features, including a "hotel-inspired" and "light-filled" lobby and bar, a rooftop dining space, a lounge and a cinema. An on-site health and wellbeing retreat, meanwhile, boasts a pool and spa, a gym, a sauna and massage and beauty rooms.

The Convertible Spaces apartments are priced from AU$415,000 (US$297,000) to AU$455,000 (US$325,000).

View gallery - 6 images