How To Live Well in 90 Square Feet

How To Live Well in 90 Square Feet

Nancy Mitchell
Mar 12, 2015

Even by Apartment Therapy standards, this apartment is seriously small. At only 90 square feet, it's one of the smallest places we've ever featured on the site (although these diminutive dwellings could give it a run for its tiny money). You might think living in a space this small was completely impossible — but one enterprising New Yorker is making it work. Here's how...

Mary Helen Rowell, a New Yorker who works in fashion, has rented this West Village apartment (technically an SRO) for two years. While living in a little box (and sharing a bathroom on the hall with a neighbor) might sound like a nightmare to some, for Mary Helen it's more than worth it to live in one of New York's most desirable neighborhoods for the (relatively) bargain price of $775. But she's had to adopt a few interesting solutions to make it work. Such as:

1. Custom furniture.
The room, which is only 78 inches wide, was too narrow to accomodate a standard bed frame, so Mary Helen had a friend help her build a custom bed frame with drawers underneath. They also built the shelves that surround the radiator and the window.

2. Extreme minimalism.
"I really like getting rid of things," Mary Helen told Curbed. In space this size, a 'one-in, one-out' policy isn't just a nice idea — it's the law.

3. Hanging everything on the wall.
And we do mean everything. Pretty much every square inch of this little space — even the back of the door — has been pressed into service for storage. Chairs, pots, hats, a TV — anything that could possibly hang on the wall has its own spot. Mary Helen's 'closet' is a few pipes that extend from the wall, ensuring that everything is in easy reach.

4. A little bit of outsourcing.
Even with all these clever solutions, Mary Helen admits to using a storage service (that sets her back a mere $25 a month) to store things that are out of season.

5. The city as living room.
The apartment does have a (very small) kitchen, but we're guessing that Mary Helen doesn't spend a ton of time at home. With a city like New York at your fingertips, it's hard to justify staying in — and the money that she saves on rent means this New Yorker can afford to sample all the city has to offer.

Intrigued? You can see many more photos and read more about Mary Helen's tiny place on Curbed.

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