A Tiny, 5th-Floor Walk-Up Studio in the West Village

A Tiny, 5th-Floor Walk-Up Studio in the West Village

Melanie Rieders
Nov 1, 2017

Name: Melina Peterson
Location: West Village — New York, NY
Size: 300 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, renting

When Melina found her tiny West Village studio, she knew she'd have to get creative. Even though small apartments are fairly standard in the Manhattan real estate game, Melina's space is particularly narrow. And up four flights of stairs.

Melina actually tells the story of how she found this apartment on her aptly named blog, 5th Floor Walk-Up:

"After seeing a great listing in my price range on Naked Apartments, I called the broker a couple days in advance to set up a viewing. I already had a whole day of apartment appointments planned, so I ended up scheduling the viewing at 8:30am on a Monday morning. When I got to the building, the broker explained that the apartment I had seen online had unfortunately already been leased...However, the next thing he told me are words that every NYC apartment hunter dreams of hearing:

Actually...I do have a unit available that we haven't listed yet. Do you want to see it?"

Saying yes to the broker's query is how Melina was able to score what she describes as her dream apartment. It's a bit of a hike up to get inside, but it's in her price range and has windows on both sides, letting lots of light in.

But though the space fit a lot of Melina's needs, arranging the space was still a bit of a challenge (especially the narrowness). Her furniture layout solution? She placed both her bed and her sofa not along the walls, but rather across the studio's narrow width. By doing so, the furniture becomes dividers, visually distinguishing the living room area from the kitchen, and the bedroom area from the clothes storage are. Along with a wise arrangement of elements, she also kept the color palette neutral, which helps her space feel airy, clean and a larger than just 300 square feet.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Cozy and eclectic

Inspiration: A lot of my favorite clothes are vintage and I think my retro-inspired style has translated into my space. Although none of my current furniture is vintage (I had to part ways with all my flea market finds when I moved from LA to NYC), my new space definitely has some mid-century modern influences.

Favorite Element: I love the built-in archways and natural light throughout the studio. There's nothing worse than living in a gloomy box!

Biggest Challenge: My space is very narrow, so I had to get creative when arranging my furniture. As you can see, my bed spans the length of my "bedroom" area, so I have to stop, drop and roll if I need to get to the other side of the room. That — paired with the 4 flights of stairs needed to get to my apartment — has basically made me the fittest person in NYC.

What Friends Say: "You really made the space work." "Cute and cozy!"

Biggest Embarrassment: I don't have room for a set of dressers, so I've been storing all my foldable clothes in one of those big blue IKEA bags under my bed for the past year. Sorry Mom…

Proudest DIY: I was too impatient to measure out my gallery wall, so I just eye-balled it and think it turned out pretty well! I love my ever-growing wall art collection. All the photography is my own — shot mainly in Los Angeles and New York City. And those fancy oil paintings are by an up-and-coming artist — he's a Wine-and-Paint Night legend.

Biggest Indulgence: My West Elm window bench. I've probably sat on it and read a total of five times in the past year, so the cost per use is pretty pricey. But, my apartment would be incomplete without it.

Best Advice: Water your house plants.

Dream Sources: Love @sfgirlbybay, @designlovefest @thejungalow @mydomaine and @dominomag


Wood Slat Bench – Target
Scarf Hooks – Target
Wicker Basket - World Market
Clear Acrylic Nesting Tables - World Market
"Criminalize Decaf" Print – Nashville's Hatch Show Print

Street Photography Prints – by Melina Peterson
Dove Gray Woven Apel Sofa – World Market
Mid-Century Metal Slat Bench (Coffee Table) – West Elm
Throw Pillows – West Elm, World Market, Anthropologie
Leaning Mirror - IKEA
Gold Butler Table – World Market
Wooden Frames - Aaron Brothers
Matte Newsprint + Skeleton Clips – Parabo Press
Printed Map – Bianca Green Art
Los Feliz Map Print – Tom Lamb Maps
Louisa Desk - Urban Outfitters
Grey Chair - Vintage

Sunnersta White Bar Cart – IKEA
Printed Bowls + Mugs – Anthropologie, West Elm, World Market

"Left Foot Free" Street Photography Print - Melina Peterson
White Antique Mirror – Target
Clear Acrylic Nesting Tables - World Market
Sovo Platform Bed - Wayfair
Printed Quilts - Anthropologie
Mid-Century Bench – West Elm
Turbo Clothing Rack - IKEA
Curtains – Urban Outfitters

Bath Mat – World Market
Ragrun Corner Shelves - IKEA

Thanks, Melina!

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