clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

9 New York City Micro-Apartments That Bolster the Tiny-Living Trend

New, 10 comments
Carmel Place, the city's first micro building, offers well-designed apartments that all clock in under 400 square feet Here, a 302-square-foot model unit comes with a transforming bed, desk, and coffee table, along with lots of storage space. Photo

The tiny-house trend is nothing new, but in recent years, New York City officials and developers have begun to embrace the idea of micro-apartments, or units that measure under 400 square feet. The city's first all-micro building, Carmel Place, will welcome its first residents in the beginning of 2016, and officials are now debating whether or not to relax the housing law that prevents studio apartments from clocking in at less than that 400 square foot measurement. Though the units aren't without their detractors—there are concerns that micro-units are too pricey to build and detrimental to residents' health—there's no denying that people have found creative ways to deal with NYC's small spaces for basically ever. These nine apartments are just some examples we've seen this year of how tiny living can actually be a big improvement—for some people, anyway.

[Photo by Max Touhey for Curbed]
↑ At 225 square feet, Ryan Harris's East Village apartment is solidly part of the microdwelling club. Harris wanted the space to be more functional, and also needed storage; the apartment had exactly zero closets. The solution? A custom-made transforming unit with a Murphy bed, night stand, dresser, armoire, and hallway closet that Harris designed and built entirely by himself.

[Photo by Will Femia for Curbed]
↑ Meanwhile, in Chelsea, Brian Stanlake lives in a 200-square-foot studio, a move that meant downsizing—he'd previously been living in a spacious duplex with a roommate. It's been an easy adjustment, though Stanlake admits that small-space living means being very conscientious about daily decisions. "It's a bit like losing weight. The initial push is one thing, but it's the maintenance that can kill you."

Max Touhey for Curbed

↑ The smallest unit we saw this year is this 90-square-foot studio, occupied by Mary Helen Rowell. "I really like getting rid of things," she explained when Curbed toured the space earlier this year. "It's my favorite thing." Purging is more of a necessity than a hobby, but enjoying the process makes it easier to keep the tiny space neat. "If there are three things on the floor, it's a disaster," she says.

[Photo by Will Femia for Curbed]
↑ In 2013, when developers Seth and Matthew Weissman spent $1.4 million on a five-story apartment building full of SROs at the corner of 135th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, they decided to revamp it for the modern renter. Out with the peeling paint, the dated fixtures, and the rundown vibe; in with fancy, space-saving Resource Furniture pieces—a bed that folds down over a couch, a tall cabinet that acts as a dresser without taking up too much floor space, and flat-screen televisions, to name a few.

↑ If charm per square inch was quantifiable, this place would be off the charts. This tiny one-bedroom West Village apartment not only has its wood-burning fireplace, numbered built-ins, and oak floors working for it, but it's also hidden from the street and opens onto a lovely planted courtyard.

↑ Artist George Venson's Chinatown studio, which clocks in at 275 square feet, is entirely layered with piercing colors and busy patterns. Bright, busy wallpaper covers every surface, which makes sense, given that Venson runs Voutsa, a similarly boisterous line of wallpaper and fabric. A Murphy bed and a dining table with its leaves folded down "that acts like a console most of the time" have helped conserve precious space.

↑ This 300-square-foot West Village pad is available for rent on Airbnb for $160 per night (provided guests stay for at least three nights), and it has several adorable touches, including with world's smallest tufted couch and teeny-tiny semicircular dinning table (drop-leafs are essential for studios).

↑ A Dallas-based widower who needed a pied-a-terre in New York to visit his kids and grandkids hired Allen + Killcoyne Architects to gut renovate the place. Out went the shag carpeting, and in went several space-saving details that allowed 340 square feet on the Upper East Side to contain multitudes—discrete spaces for eating, bathing, living, working, and sleeping.
· NYC could allow more 'micro-apartments' as 60,000 people apply to live in below-market tiny units in Manhattan [NYDN]
· All Microdwellings Coverage [Curbed]