Whether it's through tiny houses or a Marie Kondo-inspired purge, streamlined, small space living seemed to be all the rage last year, and the trend shows no signs of stopping. And even if you don't plan on ditching everything you own and moving into a glorified shed, we can all get some storage (and decor) inspiration from the tiny living crowd.
That in mind, we recently visited a sample apartment at Carmel Place (formerly My Micro NY)—the much-hyped micro-apartment development currently being built in Kips Bay—to see how the pros plan to make life in a tiny apartment livable. “We wanted to show that small space living doesn’t have to be a sacrifice to quality of life," says Chris Bledsoe, design director at Stage 3 Properties LLC, the company handling the building's "design and lifestyle" services.
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Part of the plan here is to pack the building with amenities—furnished units with flatscreen TVs, weekly visits from a butler service, access to activities and common areas at other buildings in the Ollie network—to sweeten the deal, but there are also some clever design tricks in play to max out the space in apartments that measure just 260 to 360 square feet. Below, three ideas we want to steal for our own apartments:
GO VERTICAL: The apartments at Carmel Place were specifically designed to have higher-than-average ceilings, both to mitigate any sense of claustrophobia, and to create extra room for storage. "We went for higher ceilings to bring more light in, and to take advantage of the full volume of the space by having overhead storage," Bledsoe tells us. Even if your ceilings aren't especially tall, the lesson here still sticks: with the right shelving, any overhead space (above doorframes, couches, etc.) can be re-purposed as a storage opportunity.
MAKE CLOSETS DO DOUBLE DUTY: Possibly our favorite feature in an apartment full of gadgets was the pull-down closet rod in one of the cabinets, which allows your clothes to be pulled out further for easy access, and positions clothes higher up than they otherwise would be, creating extra room for storage underneath. This setup also has the advantage of turning any sizeable cabinet into potential new closet space:
TAKE THE MURPHY BED APPROACH WITH ALL YOUR FURNITURE: Murphy beds are a time-honored staple of tiny studio apartments, and true to form, the couches in Carmel Place apartments tidily unfold into beds (see below). But the thing is, virtually all the furniture in the apartments has some kind of second (or third, or fourth) function. To wit: the coffee table can also fold up and out into a TV tray, a desk, or even a full-sized dinner table. Similarly, the desk expands out into the size of a dining table, with extra leaves and compact folding chairs stored in the hall closet in case you decide to have a dinner party. (Bledsoe says that many of the building's multi-tasking pieces were sourced from Resource Furniture.) Maybe it's time we started expecting more of our one-trick-pony furniture?