On the top floor of a historic building in Beirut sits a little abode known as The Shoebox—named for its simple, rectangular floor plan. At just 176 square feet, the all-white flat was imagined by local designer Elie Metni as a tranquil rental property for short-term visitors.
“The intention was to create a powerful sense of pleasure, simplicity, ease, and efficiency in a 176-square-foot layout,” says Metni. “The final design was a sort of response to what Beirut needed at that time—a counter reaction to the chaos happening around us.”
“Knowing that the Shoebox would be on Airbnb, the challenge was to make the space’s different functions clear to visitors. I wanted to turn what is usually uncomfortable about a space into an unforgettable experience.”
To minimize clutter, nearly every piece of furniture offers built-in storage: a double-size bed features cabinetry underneath; a small desk area promotes organization with specialized storage solutions for supplies and electronics; and sandwiched between the desk and dining area, a couch conceals a coffee table and foot rest underneath. “It’s the perfect place to sit down and relax after a long day outside,” Metni adds.
“One of the features that I really like is how bright the apartment is,” notes Metni. While most of the windows are fitted with frosted glass, a large window at the foot of the bed frames city views. “Waking up in the morning and looking at Beirut’s skyline throughout the panoramic window is super.”