This Bookshelf Divider Brilliantly Makes a 450-Square Foot-Studio Feel Like a One Bedroom

published Aug 20, 2019
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Professional’s Name: Sandy Xin Wen of Sandy Wen Studio
Size: 450 square feet
Location: Manhattan, NYC
Client: A couple

This professional project combines all of my favorite things: Simple materials, smart design decisions, and compact storage that also serves other purposes. At only 450 square feet, this studio apartment in New York City could have been a too-small space for the couple who shares it. But after interior architect Sandy Xin Wen’s updates to the interior, it’s now a cozy, modern, sleek, and serene home for two.

From the project submission: “New York-based interior architect Sandy Wen has turned a plain studio into an extremely spacious apartment for a young artist couple in New York City. It uses a simple yet elegant wooden structure in the renovation of a midtown studio with layers of natural light and outdoor views. In most cases, living in Manhattan means that people have to compromise certain spatial functions in a compact space. However, in designer Sandy Wen’s eyes, there is a way to not sacrifice life quality, but instead use architectural elements to expand the view, light, and function of a space.

“Using simple white oak and plywood materials, Sandy Wen brings out the natural beauty of the wood structures itself. The whole system is combined with a raised platform bed area, which extends to the living room into a comfortable bench seating area for the couple. The vertical shelving system meets the platform and creates a natural separation between two spaces. The push-up window with reeded glass is built into the shelving system with simple yet elegant details, providing the couple control of natural light and privacy between the two areas.

“The designer also smartly uses an archway to increase the ceiling height visually and balance out the composition of the whole structure, bringing in more natural light, a view of the outdoor courtyard, and the unique New York City skyline, which includes the Empire State building. The design is well-developed through architectural details and furniture selections. The designer also created custom colorful back plates behind each round finger pull to give a playful punch to the space.

“The stripe of mustard yellow paint defines the ‘headboard’ visually. When mixed with the 1750s antique Japanese print above, it unexpectedly creates a tasteful combination of young, modern design and timeless art. The designer also picked the mid-century Henningsen pendant in a refreshing olive green shade and the round dining table with wire legs to help create a young and airy vibe, which helps define the whole space. The apartment is highly functional, with adequate daylight filling up the relatively open layout. It can be adapted to accommodate different activities and lifestyle by utilizing the wooden system. As Sandy Wen mentioned, ‘limited space doesn’t necessary means poor life quality. As an interior designer, I prefer design solutions that can bring more opportunities to the clients for their everyday life.’”

Total project cost: $65 /square foot

Thanks Sandy! See more photos of the studio apartment as well as floor plans on Sandy’s website.

This submission’s responses were edited for length and clarity.