Project by: Specht Harpman Architects
Location: New York City, New York
From the designers: Located at the top of a six-story brownstone on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, this apartment had a tiny footprint – just 425 square feet—over three different levels. However, the space stretched vertically for approximately 25 feet. The previous spatial arrangement was so awkward that there wasn’t even a reasonable place to locate a bed or a table, but we knew that the apartment could feel much larger if we took advantage of its verticality.
Our solution created separate “living platforms” inserted within the space that provide room for all the essentials and still allow the apartment to feel open and light-filled. The lowest level is the entry and kitchen, with a bathroom tucked discreetly under the main stair. A few steps up is the main living area with large windows and the main stair, which does “double duty” as a major storage element. Above the living area is a cantilevered bed platform that projects out into the main space. A final stair leads up to a roof terrace. Given the number of built-in features, furnishings are minimal, which adds to the calm, open feeling in the apartment.
5 awesome space-saving ideas we implemented here:
1. The biggest space-saving idea was the way we cantilevered the bed over the main living space.
Using steel beams, this allowed us to make use of the second story of the space without dividing the entire apartment into two separate floors with low ceilings.
2. Next, we did away with doors!
All the spaces flow into one another, and we eliminated distinct “rooms” other than the bathroom. Doors would have made everything feel smaller since they each require their own “swing space” where you can’t put anything else.
3. Built-in storage below both sets of stairs is a great way to use space.
Giving something structurally necessary a second use is just good design, and we used flat white cabinet door panels with no pulls to keep things looking sleek and consistent throughout the apartment.
4. In the kitchen, each cabinet is dedicated to conceal a certain use
From pull-out pantry, trash and recycling bins, pots and pans, cutlery, flatware, cooking utensils, wraps, glassware, plates to serving pieces. Even the high space above the basic upper cabinets is used for storage, which is accessed by flip-up doors. Because everything can be put away, the kitchen feels spacious and the countertop also functions as an entry console, eliminating the need for other furniture.
5. Streamlining and extending certain elements makes a space feel larger.
The entry features a countertop that welcomes you into the kitchen, then wraps into the main living space, becoming a virtual “hearth” with a built-in entertainment system. The main stair rises and then extends into the cantilevered bed platform. Built-ins and concealed features keep things looking uncluttered. Rather than “assigning” one material or color to one space only, we find that continuity between materials and spaces creates a sense of expansion.
Thanks, Specht Harpman Architects! The design team of this project was: Scott Specht, Louise Harpman, Amy Lopez-Cepero, Sheryl Jordan, Devin Keyes
Re-edited from a post originally published 10.6.14-NT
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