A Tiny, Narrow New York Apartment Makes the Most of 390 Square Feet

A Tiny, Narrow New York Apartment Makes the Most of 390 Square Feet

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Nancy Mitchell
Apr 6, 2017
(Image credit: Dwell)

One particular (and well documented) difficulty presented by New York apartments is the blatant lack of space. Another is the long, narrow floorplans that can prove quite tricky. With deep, narrow lots and and street frontage at a premium, many apartments are set up as a row of rooms, with the entry door, kitchen, and bathroom on one side, and the only natural light available on the other.

This can prove problematic because ideally the living room (the area where you spend the most time, especially during the day) would be the one with the most light. But the living room also wants to be the room right next to the kitchen. And having a bedroom next to the kitchen, through which you walk to get to the living room, would be a distinctly awkward setup.

The apartment before, looking from the bedroom, through the living room towards the kitchen and front door. The floors were in bad shape.
(Image credit: Dwell)
The apartment before, looking from the living room into the bedroom.
(Image credit: Dwell)

This was the problem posed by this railroad-style apartment, in a former tenement building on Greenwich Village's Bleecker Street. The only windows to the street were in the bedroom, at the far side of the apartment, and intervening walls blocked light and broke up the space. The living room and kitchen, with only small windows looking into an airshaft, felt cramped and dark, but it didn't make much sense to swap the bedroom and living spaces for the sake of sunlight.

(Image credit: Dwell)

Architect Matt Krajewski's solution to this lighting conundrum was to remove the wall separating the kitchen and the living room, allowing the spaces to flow together, and to replace the wall separating the bedroom and living room with a custom wood-and-glass partition. It's a clever answer to the classic New York problem of how to bring light into the apartment's previously dark interior while still preserving the bedroom as a separate space.

(Image credit: Dwell)

The IKEA cabinetry in the apartment's kitchen performs multiple functions: besides kitchen storage, there's also hanging space for clothes, which means the bedroom can remain free of tall, bulky wardrobes. A testament to the apartment's good design is the fact that the owners, who originally intended the space to be a pied-à-terre, now make it their primary home, proving that with close attention to detail, 390 square feet can feel big — and maybe even spacious.

(Image credit: Dwell)

To see more photos and read further about this apartment's renovation, check out the full story at Dwell.

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