Small Space Lessons: Floorplan & Solutions from Michael's Mini Manhattan Home

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Dark wood floors, exposed brick walls, a decorative fireplace? These elements are often blamed for making spaces seem smaller, darker, more limited in layout. But not so in Michael's Mini Manhattan Home of 397 square feet. Thanks in part to those wonderfully tall windows and in part to the decor, Michael's home doesn't struggle against its original details but works in harmony with them:

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I love how three windows march evenly along the front of the apartment, two in the living room and one in the bedroom. With the bedroom door open as seen in the photo above, one can read that architectural rhythm in the space, and it makes the apartment feel larger.

Michael hasn't shied away from dark furnishings and decor. While many tend to go light on everything in a small space, Michael has recognized how dark elements can retreat visually (especially when against a dark background like those beautiful floors).

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In the bedroom the dark furnishings continue, looking sharp against the creamy white walls. A small dresser doubles as storage, a side table, and a nightstand, while a floor lamp provides bedside lighting on the opposite side of the bed, eliminating the need for a second nightstand.

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The layout of the apartment itself allows the small home some nice details that are often missing in tiny spaces: a small entry alcove that gives you a chance to enter the apartment without being thrown directly into the main space, an alcove kitchen that's set off to the side, and a bathroom that's relatively tucked away but is still readily available to guests when entertaining.

What design decisions and architectural elements do you think contribute to the success of Michael's Mini Manhattan Home?

(Image credits: Michael; Michael)

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.