An Architect Maximizes Space and Finds The Light in Her New York Home

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Open plan kitchen looking from the living room – all IKEA cabinets with marble waterfall peninsula (Image credit: Jon Shireman)

Name: Sarah, her husband, their daughter and cat
Location: New York, New York
The basics: Owned, 5 months — 1,100 square feet

Sarah and her family have created a sleek, minimalist family home in New York. Full of smartly hidden storage and light maximizing colors, the space feels airy and bright.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I’m an architect and long time New Yorker, and my husband is an IT Executive Advisor at Amazon and our in-house AV expert. He is newer to NYC but loves compact living urban living. We have an active three-and-a-half-year-old daughter who enjoys every inch of the apartment, especially her very special room, and our 17-year-old cat named Jack. We love to entertain and since we moved in we have had friends over nearly every weekend for an informal meal or drinks.

Our goals were to maximize every inch we could while maintaining gracious rooms. We eliminated the walls between the kitchen and living area. Then we reversed the kitchen and dining area and removed the wall to the bedroom hall to become livable space. We wanted to keep some pre-war details like the raw metal door frames and ceiling beams, but not be beholden to something tired or inefficient. Light is very important to us so in every room we endeavored to provide layers of light, we chose light wide plank oak floors, and bright off white paint colors. We created tons of storage with both custom millwork and customized prefabricated millwork so that we could stash as much stuff away to keep the living spaces airy and uncluttered. It was a fun and challenging project to make 1,100 square feet feel and live much larger but we are so happy we took the leap to gut renovate.

What is your favorite room and why? Our kitchen. I feel like an open kitchen is so important to be able to connect to my family and guests. We used some compact yet efficient appliances, which I also adore and if appropriate am able to “sell” to my clients. I also opted to use all drawers in the lower cabinets to figure out if they are more efficient at storing things. Again, something I wanted to experiment with so that I could practice what I preach. Lastly, all of the cabinets are Ikea which was a fun and challenging puzzle to put together. Not a single person who has come in would ever guess they are IKEA! With careful planning, good installation, and mixing with a marble counter top they don’t look cheap but rather custom and expensive.

If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? Move us to a higher floor with views of the city!

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Great metal barstools — while knock offs they look great!

Which fictional character would be most at home in your place? A Scandinavian chef

Sarah’s words of wisdom: Making sure you clear and clean out your closets on a regular basis to rid yourself of unnecessary clutter. We’ve moved so many times so as a virtue of that we purge each time. In complement to that – assessing and providing enough concealed storage. I obviously don’t like clutter so it’s nice to be able to stash stuff away!

Thanks, Sarah!

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