#15 - James & Margaret's Iconic Studio

#15 - James & Margaret's Iconic Studio

Maxwell Ryan
Mar 10, 2006

Name: James & Margaret
Location: New York, NY
Size: 565 sf Studio

Favorite resource:

Marcel Breuer, Alvar Aalto, hardware stores, the Internet

What inspired you?

This project addresses the needs of a young couple sharing a studio apartment in I.M. Pei's iconic Kips Bay Towers. The success of this project lies in the auspicious use of the small space, providing distinct spaces for individual, joint, and group activities.

...To accomplish this, the apartment was restored to its original state by eliminating an ill-placed closet intended for a Murphy Bed and a pass-through opening from the kitchen. A portion of the original kitchen wall was removed to extend the reach of natural light and provide connection between the two spaces. Counter space was extended, and cabinetry reconfigured to increase storage space and efficiency.

Design Tip:

If you are dealing with a singe space, define zones of activity with rugs, furniture, screens, etc. The space will feel purposeful rather than unfinished.


The main feature of the studio is the new wood wall. This wall, while visually appealing, serves a multitude of functions. First, the wall defines a formal dining area adjacent to the kitchen. The plane of the wall at this face creates seating at its base and a canopy for pendant light fixtures at the top, solving the problem of placing ceiling mounted fixtures in a concrete slab. On the opposite side, the wall provides a warm and secluded area for the couple's bed. Since the studio provides only one wall of windows, constructing a fully enclosed bedroom was not feasible. Additional storage is provided within the bench on this side as well as within the cantilevered nightstands on the headboard side.

The wall's framework is plywood and was cut with a CNC router. The 3/8" thick walnut wood was bought in random width bulk packs and cut down to slats ranging form 1 ¼" to 2 ½" depending on the efficiency of each piece. The slats were then placed on the framework over a series of long weekends and finished with a natural stain.

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