Pull-out furniture and moving dividers cram a good-sized apartment into a 450sqft Manhattan studio

A New Yorker with a $235,000, 450sqft studio apartment in Manhattan paid $70,000 to remodel it with a series of clever, well-thought-through dividers and pull-out furniture that makes very good use of the space, effectively giving him a guest-room as well as a good-sized kitchen and bedroom

Tiny Origami Apartment in Manhattan (via Runnin' Scared)


  1. i love to see this stuff, the use of space with a functional design and a modern edge, pretty slick.

    1. Perhaps you’re thinking of this apartment? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lg9qnWg9kak&feature=fvst

  2. I find myself wondering if one could hang a shelf area or something over the kitchen bar. Roof space is undervalued for storage, imo.

    1. Not _that_ is good use of your floor space! Essentially the same idea, just taken many, many steps further.

      I especially liked the pull out kitchen! Truly ingenious!!!! That way you can make the kitchen area even bigger if you have more than one cook, which is really a big problem in small kitchens.

      Ooh, and I absolutely looooove the apartment in the video that miek jonez linked! That is one fun apartment! But he does have the advantage of having the balcony and roof area to make it bigger than what the actual square meter of the apartment is.

  3. When I first moved from Portland, Oregon (from a ~800 square foot place I was living in by myself) to Krakow, Poland I moved in with my future wife who was living in a 38m2 place (410 square feet).  We – and our two cats – lived there four about five years but it was no where nearly as nice as the place in this video.  

    We had a full upright fridge although it wasn’t very wide.  A stove/oven although not wide.  A microwave although not very wide nor tall.  A bed from Ikea that doubled as a couch.  A bathroom that doubled as a laundry area …which was the least nice part of the place – hanging laundry to dry was a PITA but not TOO bad because the washing machine was too small to do huge loads.  We had two little backless chairs or stools that doubled as laptop tables (just big enough).  It was mostly about compromising and having small things or simply doing without sometimes.

    We’re just now wrapping up the interior construction and fitting of a brand new 68m2 place (730 square feet) which feels reasonably spacious.

      1. Yamamoto Tsunetomo’s Hagakure (The Art of the Samurai) recommends three tatami mats: one for sleeping/sitting, one for cooking and one for partying/socialising.

  4. Loving the competition over size…smaller size! But seriously, this is a big apartment by Manhattan standards, and the remake is ugly. Sterile 80’s style SF. It’s been done, better. I can’t believe he paid 70K for some cupboards and he doesn’t have freaking drawers. If he likes it, more power to him, but it’s not in any way groundbreaking.

    1. I thought it was just me. It’s a fold-down bed with a door that can be used as room divider. You’d see beds like that in any half decent film noir/private eye movie, and they wouldn’t cost $70k.

  5. I will never understand the allure of living without a garage, a front porch, a backyard, a dog door, driveway, etc….all that and 1500 sqft for  $80,000.00. Sure, Broadway is not down the street, but I can fly there in a few hours, hang for a few days and be back home for a respectable sum….I suppose you have to live there, or want to live there to understand it. Each to their own. 

    1. And I’ll never understand the allure of living somewhere where you need a car. But then again, I’ve been moving from continent to continent for a while (including places where 200 sq ft is pretty standard) and most of my (not easily replaceable) personal belongings fit in a small suitcase.

      To each their own indeed. Location matters.

      1.  “And I’ll never understand the allure of living somewhere where you need a car.”

        Because you get a great deal more space for a lot less money. Can you really not empathise with that? Really not understand it? Or are you quite able to understand it, but choose to pretend you can’t?

        1. I don’t know. Does willyboy above really not understand the allure of living in a place where you don’t have a garage, driveway, and yard? (Because you have lots of things right nearby, you get more exercise, and you don’t have the hassles and costs of car ownership.) Or is he quite able to understand it, but chooses to pretend he can’t?

          1. Are you seriously not able to tell that willyboy is also quite able to understand other people’s points of view? Or are you just choosing to pretend?

        2. Wow man you seem to be a little hostile towards someone that simply doesn’t see the appeal of living in the suburbs.

          I share puufuu’s opinion – I’ve lived without a car for years and I’ll never live in a place where I need a car again. Anyway today’s swank suburbs will become tomorrow’s slums once the places become unsustainable due to resource scarcity.

          1. Well I live in a city where you can’t live without a car AND I live in a shabby house in a working class area. So there! Both of your sides sound pretentious to me.

          2. Not hostile to his preferences. Hostile to people pretending not to understand other people’s preferences. Actually not understanding is one thing; pretending not to understand is another.

  6. Real Estate Agent: The buyer is asking for only $305,000 for this apartment.
    Future Buyers: And what appliances/fixtures come with it?
    Agent: Nothing.

  7. Speaking of dishes, check out what I found in Finland (20 years ago): cabinets directly over the sink whose shelves happen to be permeable drying racks. The water drips back into the sink. Close the cabinet doors and the drying dishes are invisible.

    I’m actually using wire racks directly over my sink as dish *storage* now. It’ll be a while before I figure out how to own glassware in my new space–more power to this New Yorker’s elbow!

    1. Yep, dish drying cabinets are standard here in every kitchen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dish_draining_closet

      The cabinet in the video is indeed very nice, and a good use of space (although I would have pulled it up all the way to the ceiling to give additional storage space). But… on the other hand… my first apartment was 27 m2, and one of the most well designed compact use of floor I have ever seen in an apartment…. not a single square meter was wasted. I had a nice entrerance, a biiiiiig cabinet that doubled as a wall divider to the sleeping alcove, as nice bathroom, a small but well working kitchen (much better than his, I have to say!), and a nice living area. And this in a standard 80’s apartment building… cudos definitely to the architect! The apartment in the video has 41 m2, and it really doesn’t show… his bathroom must be huge, or I don’t know where he has hidden the rest of it.

  8. Great video, thank you! I hope this homeowner’s minimalism isn’t seen as unusual. He’s spot on. This is actually a luxury apartment by many standards.

    The next step after “can’t see” will be “can’t hear,” but we’ll probably have cold fusion before that technological breakthrough. Along that vein, murphy beds and the cheap folding sofa beds I buy also tend to clatter.

    I love the overlapping space use (2x/3x/nx efficiency), the brilliant collapsible furniture, the neatness. The lighting, the plugs! And especially those great old windows! Speaking of which, one challenge in Seattle is making the best of our tunnel apartments (and houses with too-few, too-small windows–wtf, Seattle?). Light tends to enter at only one end, which turns the whole unit dark and makes the bit of daylight actually blind you and interfere with your ability to see computer screens. Possible solutions: mirrors of course, but what about a system of periscopes?

  9. Not overly impressed, i have a 429sqft studio with a full size bed, couch, desk, full stove/oven and full fridge, plus room too move around comfortably. I just used a dresser the same width as my bed to create the illusion of a wall, the kitchen is divided by a breakfast bar, the couch divides the area of the “living room” room from the “office”. Total cost of bed, dresser, desk and couch…. maybe $500. Plus I don’t have to fold up my house to get to another “room”

  10. On Oct. 1 I moved into a USA single-car garage. It’s also a home office. All ideas welcome. The main space is 10.5 x10.5 feet, ~200 square feet all told.

    P.S. The (overendowed) monastery Certosa di Pavia’s cells are perfect for translators, with spacey small spaces, beautiful little gardens, murphy tables. Unfortunately I can’t google photos of the cells to show how clever they were.

  11. I’ve been living in 280 sq. ft. for the past decade, in Berkeley – small place but in a great neighborhood. I also have full size appliances, have been sleeping on a (high quality) sofabed. I’m extremely happy to be in the final stages of a remodel/expansion – to a mansion-like 600 sq. ft. (with another 100 sq. ft. of redwood deck with a view of the SF Bay, plus a garden and patio).

    It’s actually nice to get rid of stuff and find out what you really need to have around you…

  12. “The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding.”

    -John Updike

    There has always been and likely always will be a bit of a barrier of understanding between urban folks and rural. I’ve lived in urban, suburban, and rural places, and there are pros and cons to each, and wonderful and horrible versions of each.

    I will say this, though: contrary to conventional wisdom, it’s always seemed to me that New York is a wonderful place to live, but a terrible place to visit. Just my two cents.

    1. I’ve often had this impression, when returning home to NYC from a trip somewhere else. I grew up in the city and long ago ceased to “see” the unpleasant parts, until I go away for awhile. When I come home, I’m often a little jolted by how *depressing* it must seem to a visitor, especially one arriving in LaGuardia. Any of the local airports, really. Just dreadful. If you live here all the time, you stop noticing the bad parts so much, but leave and come back and they kind of hit you in the face for a bit.

      Not as much now, but especially when I was a kid in the late 80s/early 90s – even the most tourist-y areas were pretty wrecked, back then.

    2. I will say this, though: contrary to conventional wisdom, it’s always seemed to me that New York is a wonderful place to live, but a terrible place to visit.

      Well, that explains a lot.  I’ve only been to NYC three times, but though the place always amazed me, I was never even remotely tempted to try living there.  Freaked me out.  And not just because I grew up halfway out in the sticks.  I’ve lived in the L.A. area for twenty years and always kinda hated it, but I adore San Diego and I could quite happily live there again.  And every time I’ve been to London I’ve wished I could live there.  But NYC?  Huh-uh, no way.  I thought I was alone in feeling it odd that a place so obviously beloved as NYC could make such an awful first (and second and third) impression.

      I think it was the visit to Washington Square Park that hammered the last nail into the coffin for me.  It was a sunny spring Saturday, and I could understand why all the sun-loving parkgoers seemed to each have 12 square feet of parkland apiece to enjoy, but when I stepped into the men’s room and found a line of a half-dozen toilets, all occupied, with no stalls or walls to separate the gents from each other’s business, I knew that the life of a New Yorker required a mindset I was reluctant to adopt.  Manifest Destiny FTW!

      1. Really? I’ve visited often and came close to moving there at one point. It’s always been a lot of fun. Very vibrant, lots of people, etc. So far my favorite city in the world has been Berlin though.

  13. To be perfectly honest, I can’t imagine living somewhere because you want to and not because you were born there, life didn’t work out the way you hoped, and now you have a job.

  14. Not impressed at all. Lots of bad ideas and wasted space.

    I could have done better myself, which is saying a lot.

  15. AND he brought out a bottle of the Picada 15 from Patagonia!  As it happened, I was drinking the same wine while I was watching.

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