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Storefront near Salonica market becomes a “passer” small home

Designers Babis Papanikolaou and Christina Tsirangelou imagined living and working in one of the tiny 1920s storefronts in their hometown of Thessaloniki, Greece. When they found a rundown former fabrics shop (turned fishing accessories store) for rent, they began a DIY remodel to convert it into a tiny home.

Like the other tradesmans’ shops created after the 1916 fire in the city, the footprint is just 16 square meters with a steep set of stairs leading to a second floor. The couple left the space as raw as possible, adding just a steel frame to support an airy kitchen. Between the two floors, they added a net (a nod to the shops’ fishing supplies history) to serve as an open-air mezzanine lounge space.

These types of shops weren’t normally constructed with bathrooms (shopkeepers used communal toilets) so the designers added a toilet and shower to the basement: a space with a curved and flowing geometry that now resembles a Turkish bath (also a nod to the city’s still visible Turkish history: the Bezesteni Ottoman Market is down the street).

The couple, 157 + 173 designers, named the tiny home “passer domesticus” after the common sparrow. “Passer” is a reference to someone who passes by: both the nomadic types who rent the space to sleep and the city’s long tradition as a point along the east/west trade route from Europe to Asia.