Lauren's Tiny 400-Square-Foot Cozy Apartment

Green Tour

Name: Lauren Yarmuth
Location: New York City
Size: 400 sq/ft
Years lived in: 2.5, owned

Lauren’s 400-square-foot apartment was classic New York real estate: a sliver of space in an old brick building, with little light and even less charm. But in just three weeks, she gave it a clean and natural makeover, putting every inch of space to use with clever storage solutions.

When she bought it, Lauren explained, the building “was a dump.” It was so small and narrow – just about 12 feet at its widest point - that there was no logical place to put anything, not even a bed.

Drawing on her training as an architect and experience as principal of YRG Sustainability Consultants, Lauren set about refreshing the surfaces and adding crisp and functional storage. With the help of Dave Hollier Woodwork and Design, she installed warm wood floors, recycled Icestone kitchen countertops and new cabinet doors, re-using the existing materials whenever possible.

Clean lines of open shelving ring the apartment, adding storage without adding clutter. The custom bed, Lauren’s proudest design concept, houses both dozens of shoes in back and a kayak underneath! Sliding barn doors separate the bedroom from the living area, which welcomes both dinner and overnight guests, thanks to a fold-out couch and dual-purpose coffee and dining table.

Now, she says, it feels wonderful - a cozy refuge from the city.

Re-Nest Survey:

My style: I’m from Seattle and I think I carry the clean / natural / simple / cozy / modern... style preferences that I experience of that place

Inspiration: Rock outcroppings

Favorite Element: Barn door

Biggest Challenge: Limited light and small size

What Friends Say: Feels wonderful

Proudest DIY: Bed concept design

Biggest Indulgence: Barn door

Best Advice: Keep it simple

Dream Source: Post-mod furniture

Green Elements/Initiatives:

  • Reused a lot of the original materials; flooring, cabinets, etc.
  • Recycled content counters
  • Dimmers on lighting
  • Dual flush toilet
  • Local, sustainably harvested wood for windows, casework, bed
  • Non-toxic paints and stains
  • Resources:

    Appliances: What was there, didn’t buy anything new

    Furniture: CB2, ABC Carpet and Home

    Accessories: Hearth pottery

    Lighting: Lighting by Gregory with design help from Faith Baum at Illumination Arts

    Rugs and Carpets: Nope

    Tiles and Stone: Nope

    Window Treatments: Sustainably harvested wood

    Beds: Custom made to allow for lots of storage, from sustainably harvested wood

    Artwork: My mom Julie Speidel, mostly

    Paint: Benjamin More Aura

    Other: Icestone countertops, construction and casework by DHWWD

    (Thanks, Lauren!)

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    (Images: Liz Vidyarthi)