A 600-Square-Foot Railroad Apartment in Alphabet City

updated Apr 30, 2019

A 600-Square-Foot Railroad Apartment in Alphabet City

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Maggie and Lucas Vocos
Location: Alphabet City, Manhattan
Size: 600 square feet
Years lived in: 4 months, renting

Maggie and Lucas Vocos met and fell in love in Chicago, moved to Los Angeles for work, and then moved to Brooklyn for work again. After living in relatively peaceful neighborhoods in the aforementioned cities, they decided it was time to try out the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. They settled on Alphabet City, snagging a great pre-war railroad apartment surrounded by all that the Lower East Side has to offer.

Lucas works in ad tech and Maggie is the Creative Director for Article One Eyewear. Despite the usual NYC space constraints, Maggie has a workspace set-up in their kitchen and a mini photo studio in their bedroom. Of all the beautiful furniture and art in their home though, the thing they are most proud of is a DIY project — the metal locker in the living room doubles as a secret kitty litter spot where the cats can climb through the bottom.

As people who love to travel, it’s no surprise that Lucas and Maggie’s home is filled with treasures they have collected across the globe (rugs from Morocco, glass from Venice) as well as fun local finds (a great wooden chair from the Brooklyn Flea). Despite having only lived in this apartment for four months, Maggie and Lucas have made a home that feels effortlessly beautiful and completely their own.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Comfortable, bright, weird, modern, warm

Inspiration: Seeing other people’s homes or apartments that really represent them. Also — Scandinavia, modern NY, and ’70s California.

Favorite Element: We love that the bedroom is a step down from the rest of the apartment. It separates the space in a nice way. The sofa is a Craigslist find that was made custom in the ’80s for a waiting room in Midtown. We love it.

Biggest Challenge: Lighting. There are no windows throughout the entire middle length of the apartment because it’s a railroad, so choosing lights that looked pleasant during the day as well as at night was tough.

What Friends Say: People say it’s cozy, which is nice.

Biggest Embarrassment: Don’t open the closets!

Proudest DIY: Our kitty litter is in the white locker under the TV. We cut a hole in the bottom and now the cats just climb up from there! Not the most glamorous DIY but definitely our favorite.

Biggest Indulgence: We haven’t invested in many pieces of furniture but when we first moved in together a few years ago we bought this CB2 dining table that was a huge splurge for us. I think it’s still special even though it might not be our exact taste today.

Best Advice: Change light fixtures in your rental.

Dream Sources: Coming Soon NY, Flea Markets, made by friends


Sofa — Craigslist
Rug — Morocco
Record Shelves — Ikea
Locker — Ikea (cat people, here is the litter hack)
Pouf — Morocco
Bruce Nauman Body Pressure (1974) — DIA Beacon
Swedish Women’s voting rights print — Malmö Museer
Lamp — Target
Lighting Fixture — New Generation Lighting in Chinatown NY
Candlestick & Holder — Flying Tiger
End Table — Made by a friend
Ceramic Bookend — Ceramicist Emily Rosen
Planter Stool — Made by a friend
Planters — Local bodega
Vine Planter — Homemade
Incense holder — India
Pillow — HM Home
Book Shelf — Home Depot

Table — CB2
Chairs — West Elm hand-me-down
Rug — Morocco
Metal/Wood Stools — CB2
Plywood Green Stools — Made by a friend
Light Pendant — Ikea (spray painted gold)
Painting — Homemade
Ash Tray — Homemade
Glass Cigarette — Venice
Black Bud Vase — Upside-down funnel, Flying Tiger

Desk and Stool — Friend Made
Mirror — Ikea
Bowls — Homemade
Lady Rug — Cold Picnic
Chopping Block — Crate and Barrel
Marble Block — Crate and Barrel
Large Planter — Ikea
Painting — Lucas made
Yellow watering can — Local bodega

Credenza, Mirror, Bedframe, Dresser, Lights — Ikea
Nightstands — DIY Mirror Block
Rocking Chair — Overstock
Candles and holders — Flying Tiger
Glasses — Article One
Gold Lamp — found on street
Tin Purse — Morocco
Rug — Copenhagen thrift store
Record Player/Receiver — Craigslist
Wood chair — Brooklyn Flea
Rope planter — Homemade
Planter Stool —Friend made
Candle Mug — Homemade
Poufs & Wedding Pillow — Morocco
Hamper — Ikea
Throw Pillows— H&M Home
Bedding — Crate & Barrel
Matisse Print — MOMA Store
Squishy Boob — Chinatown street vendor
Day-Glo Leonardo DaVinci Bust — Florence
Abstract drawing — Designer, Hannah Metz
Flamenco Print — Seville
Mexican Blanket — Olivera St Los Angeles

Thanks, Maggie and Lucas!

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