Turning 425sqft of Manhattan into a tardisoid bigger-on-the-inside home

Architects Specht Harpman converted a 425sqft Manhattan micro-apartment into an amazing, multi-tiered living space by building up into the apartment's 25' (!) ceilings. It's got a bit of that shipbuilder's vibe, with cabinets built into everything, including the staircases. I love the tiny swatch of grass, too. I live in a very small place, and looking at this makes me want to explore how to cram more into our little place -- we get about 650 sqft of livable space out of an 18' square/22' tall place that's laid out in two storeys. Using this kind of technique, it seems like we should be able to get a much more livable and spacious place.

Manhattan Micro-Loft | Residential | Specht Harpman


        1. I believe a swatch is a sample piece of a larger textile or covering material.  I know it has been common for hundreds of years to use the word to refer to cloth and wallpaper samples.  It is reasonably appropriate in context, and quite evocative – the bit of lawn is like a cloth sample, useless because of it’s size but conveying some essence of the larger, useful swath of grass that this swatch of lawn is not.

  1. So it’s possible to convert a tiny apartment into a compact but still relatively spacious living space… as long as it inexplicably has 25′ high ceilings wasting space to begin with?

    1. Quite. Also, it helps when it’s basically empty.   

      It’s not a bad apartment, though, but certainly nothing for a „we“.

      1. The design of this place is staggering to me. Everything from storage to counter space to privacy and room separation is completely amazing. My gf and I would be incredibly happy to move into such a large and well designed apartment. It looks like an absolutely amazing place to live, especially with all those windows and light and openness.

        (I always thought my current 390sq ft 1BR did a great job of using available space, but not anymore)

  2. Geez Cory, I was jealous of your career and such until I learned you’re living in a matchbox.

    I feel like I need to go buy some more of your books on Amazon now.

    1. Don’t be.  He has his own “man-cave” for work that’s “nearly as big as our flat in East London.“

  3. Essentially 2-3 floors of height; common apartment design would give 850sqft.

    As for Cory’s 18^2*2 = 648 sqft. I wonder where he fits the stairs. Would be interesting to see.

  4. Heating that place in the winter has got to suck.  All of the heat floats up to the big glassy grass area and the cold drafts waft downward to freeze everybody on the living level.  New York isn’t exactly know for its mild winters either.  They don’t even have a ceiling fan to mix up the air and pull some of that heat back down into the living room and kitchen. 

  5. So what’s going on underneath the living room floor? Utilities?

    The light filtering down from the windows above the bed is nice, but I
    think I’d be compelled to build a catwalk over to a bookshelf against
    the inside wall, as well. Maybe even above the stairs?

  6. freerunners would love this place and it’s staircase design. if they are all sunk into the ground a bit in a multiplex style it would be great insulation.

  7. I love tiny living spaces. Look to the Japanese, for they have turned it into an art. It is a key question: how much space do you want to be physically surrounded by? It’s easy to imagine claustrophobia. Perhaps less easy to imagine too much space. 

    When I was a student I had a trunk that was big enough to be an adult womb, ie. sleep foetal position. I used to take sensory breaks in it as it was quiet and dark and close. Like a tortoise shell. No surprise about liking tiny spaces then. (Mind you, being buried alive in a coffin is everyone’s nightmare, so it’s not entirely a security fantasy.)

  8. I went the other route, and invested in a large space that everyone else was afraid of.  Room for everything!

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