A Tiny, Transformable New York Apartment Does It All

published Nov 16, 2017
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Peter Kostelov and his wife, Olia Feshina, moved to New York from Moscow in 2013. He’s an architect, she’s an artist and fashion designer, and they both live and work in this 700-square-foot Washington Heights apartment. Depending on what part of the country you live in, you will either think this is incredibly small or fairly generous, but wherever you come from, it’s hard to deny the cleverness and ingenuity of Olga and Peter’s design for the space. This space was once a normal two-bedroom apartment, but these two designers saw that it could be so much more.

After purchasing the apartment, the couple tore down all the interior walls and began to create a new space from scratch. Since Olga and Peter both work from home, it was very important to them to both have private office spaces. The newly transformed apartment comprises a living room, kitchen, master bedroom, bathroom, and two smaller flex spaces, which normally function as home offices but can also serve as guest bedrooms. (Three bedrooms and two home offices in 700 square feet is a pretty impressive feat.) One of the offices has a built-in couch/daybed, while the other has a bed that slides out from a pocket in the wall.

This is the apartment’s living room, with windows that face the street. (Image credit: Matthew Williams for Dwell)

Verticality is a big part of the apartment’s design. Peter’s office sits a bit higher than the living room, which creates a platform that hides a full-sized dining table, and pull-out benches that create enough seating for a 12-person dinner party. For more intimate gatherings, a small table and two seats fold out of the kitchen wall.

On the other side of the living room, a table and two benches (with storage underneath) pull out from a pocket in the wall. (Image credit: Matthew Williams for Dwell)

Everywhere you look there are clever design solutions — essential for a couple that both lives and works in this modestly sized space. The palette is very simple, all whites and blacks and greys and light woods, which allows the apartment’s functionality to take center stage. This reminds me of a quote from American architect and inventor Buckminster Fuller. He said: “When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.” Or, in the words of Frank Lloyd Wright: “Form and function are one.” I think it’s safe to say that this apartment has both.

To read more about the apartment’s design (and see a floor plan!), check out the full tour on Dwell.