Without a doubt, the light! During the day the light flooding in from our crickety old windows is just gorgeous, filling the main living area of our studio and making our space feel brighter and happier on even the foggiest of days. Also, the view...we really do have an enviable view of Hayes Valley to the west for miles and miles which is something our cats appreciate as well. I also love the original character details of our 1920s apartment. After living in the standard fare of boxy, beige apartments my whole adult life, the charming details such as original hardwood floors, moldings, period french doors, and even the noisy radiators make our little studio feel more like a true home.
400 sq feet is just about the right size for a single person. It fit my own work prototypes that I refuse to part with, my vintage finds, and the best of IKEA basics. While it's a fifth floor walk up, with courtyard facing light, the rent is well within my range for a great and centrally located neighborhood. The courtyard view makes this feel like a quiet oasis in the middle of midtown Manhattan, and having a kitchen that isn't visible from your bed is hard to find in Manhattan studios.
Our apartment was gut renovated and redesigned by The New Design Project. Although it was done professionally, this project was executed on a challenging budget, with no single fixture or piece of furnishing (apart from the kitchen cabinets) costing more than $500. I love how they injected bags of personality into the space by mixing fun little details (colored mosaic cement tiles, quirky art compositions...) with architectural features (exposed brick wall, metal structures) and incorporating repurposed objects (cinder blocks used as a bedside table, a reclaimed oak window transformed into a coffee table). They were also really effective at inexpensively elevating the much needed storage options for the space (an ikat upholstered IKEA dresser, decorative ladder turned into an extra hanging space).
I love the Victorian charm throughout my apartment: the original hardwood floors and trim, the high ceilings, the big windows, the vintage radiators. Even the antique claw foot tub was manufactured by a local company at the turn of the century. It's cozy, charming, and quirky. I like to think about the individuals who originally lived here - and those who lived here throughout the past century. While my living room, dining space, and kitchen are squeezed into one room, my large bedroom and ridiculously spacious bathroom more than make up for it. I'm also smitten with the closet in my bedroom. It has a window in it and I couldn't bear to use it just for clothes. So I turned it into a desk nook!
I love that my small studio is a direct reflection of my personality and taste. It is a cozy retreat in the midst of a busy and chaotic city. After a long working day, I can come home and relax in comfort with my greyhound, Bullet. Over the 3 years I have lived here I have collected both cheap thrifts and expensive keepsakes to surround myself with. Everything in my home, from my sofa to my decor pieces, are things I truly love and cherish; they are things I saved up money for and put a lot of thought into. As my best friend says, "Everything in your apartment is so you!" and I love it that way.
Having owned my apartment for 15 years, I thought long and hard about its renovation. I wanted a space that was bright and open, yet could accommodate separate dining and sleeping areas as well as storage. Working with great architects and contractor, we built the perfect home for me. The dining area can comfortably seat six, while providing much needed open and closed storage. The hidden “bed cave” (as I like to call it) fits a queen bed and feels both surprisingly open yet like a cocoon. The walk-in closet hides a prized washer/dryer and has built-ins from floor to ceiling. I give 100% credit to my architects and contractor, who collectively built my dream home in under 500 square feet. We used every square inch to its fullest potential!
This is the first space I've been able to really make my own, from paint colors and furniture to designing and remodeling my kitchen, so the result is a space that truly reflects me, my travels, and my favorite things, and I love that I feel fully at home here. I love that even though it's small, it’s perfectly sized for me and for my favorite things. And I LOVE the sense of history created its beautiful 1908 Edwardian architectural details: softwood fir floors, coved plaster ceilings, bay windows, built-ins, mantels, and trim.
When I first walked in the door to look at my apartment I fell in love with the charm. The exposed brick, wood paneling and exposed ceiling beams for starters. Once I realized I had the entire roof deck to myself I just had to have it. Being a country boy transplanted to NYC, I realized I could still get fresh air while being in the heart of the West Village.