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December 13, 2011 7:49 PM   Subscribe

Tiny origami apartment in Manhattan unfolds into 4 rooms. Making the most out of 450 square feet.
posted by crunchland (75 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Relevant: 344 square feet = 24 rooms
posted by vidur at 7:55 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Standing in a cardboard box that once held an air conditioner, holding a fork, is my way of saying "Welcome to my elaborate buffet chambers, please make yourself comfortable as we serve the first course. Those are my cats."
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:04 PM on December 13, 2011 [10 favorites]


Over $300,000 in home + remodeling for 450 square feet. For a 3rd grade teacher. Awesome space, but insane economics. Hopefully it's high enough to still be above water after the methane plumes submerge Manhattan.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:04 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Some nice ideas there and certainly not the smallest middle class apartment I've seen in Manhattan... But still a small apartment!
posted by Bwithh at 8:04 PM on December 13, 2011


Oh god I walk by that building every. single. day.
posted by The Whelk at 8:07 PM on December 13, 2011


leotrotsky, that is an insanely nice area of Manhattan. If nothing else it's a block from a major subway express stop and within walking walking distance to two fantastic markets.

And yes! It's on a hill.
posted by The Whelk at 8:09 PM on December 13, 2011


Maybe it's just me, but I don't really like his apartment. The large cabinet seems like such an eye sore. I love the idea...but I don't think I don't really like the execution. However, the example posted by vidur is pretty neat.
posted by lucy.jakobs at 8:13 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's one of my favorite sites for tiny apartment insipiration (I've been obsessed with tiny apartments since moving into a 325 sq ft studio). Here are a few others that I love: 78 square feet and 90 square feet.

I have to say, though, that this is the first I've seen in the series I'd actually want to live in.

I also love Apartment Therapy's annual small spaces contest.
posted by lunasol at 8:14 PM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


$235K for a 450 square foot fixer upper? Wonder what my great-great-grandparent's house on central park west would be worth now?
posted by octothorpe at 8:16 PM on December 13, 2011


If it didn't require detailed instructions and/or guests injuring themselves and scuffing the finishing, this would be a great use of a hotel room space.

If I see either of them on the street I'm going to point and jump up and down and say I Saw Your Koran Dallas Apartment On Metafilter! And then they will run. Oh how they will run.
posted by The Whelk at 8:16 PM on December 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


I used to live in a corner apartment about the same size (and with a murphy bed, too!), and I normally love things like this, but the cabinet was too big, dark and looming for me to like it. It overwhelms the room and makes me feel claustrophobic. The room looked so much bigger without it.
posted by Alison at 8:16 PM on December 13, 2011


I've seen other origami-room studios, but while this is the least-awesome of them, it has one surpassing virtue: It's reasonable. By which I mean, while the place may be way more than any 3rd-grade teacher I know could afford, the dollar values involved are actually within a human range. It was clearly "Take this space, build in this huge custom cabinet-system," rather than the usual ultra-small-space designs we see, where every surface of the room has been replaced by a series of aircraft-grade aluminum sliding gadgetry and immaculately engineered space-age panels at a cost of yikes.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:18 PM on December 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


but the cabinet was too big, dark and looming for me to like it. -- Would you have liked it better if the cabinet were blond wood, or even white, instead of blue?
posted by crunchland at 8:20 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


That 78 square foot space reminds me of Korben Dallas' pad in The Fifth Element. A neat concept, for perhaps 24 hours, and then I think it would be an oppressively small cell. And I say that as someone who lived exclusively in my 7' x 12' chemistry lab at USC for six months while working on a doctorate to save rent money.
posted by darkstar at 8:26 PM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Would you have liked it better if the cabinet were blond wood, or even white, instead of blue?

I had Alison's reaction--aesthetically, the cabinet sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb. A lighter color would have been better for the dinky space.

Still, I suddenly had a vision of sticking my entire library into cabinets. (On tracks? Pull-out shelving?)
posted by thomas j wise at 8:28 PM on December 13, 2011


The way the economy is going, middle-income people will be glad to live in a dumpster, if it's in a nice neighborhood. "No, it's not a dumpster... see what we've done with the curtains!"

We have a summer home in a dumpster in the Hamptons.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:32 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


The way the economy is going, middle-income people will be glad to live in a dumpster

Um...
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:34 PM on December 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


The architect + remodeling cost more than the apartment. He could have bought twice as much apartment, without an architect.

I once got into a situation like that. I had a junky old '65 Barracuda that I sank $6k into over 5 years, and it still looked like crap. I took it to an auto restorer and he said that for another $6k he could put it in like-new condition. The restorer said the car would then be worth $6k, so it would be stupid to sink more money into this car, when you could go out and buy a Cuda that was already restored for $6k.

That 78 square foot space reminds me of Korben Dallas' pad in The Fifth Element.

That is a "conapt," I think Phil Dick came up with that concept. It is used in SF stories as an example of dehumanizing living conditions.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:45 PM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sometimes I really miss the hyper-Jenga of optimizing my tiny Portland studio.
posted by device55 at 8:56 PM on December 13, 2011


> He could have bought twice as much apartment, without an architect.

I would think that someone willing to live this way is doing so because of the location. It seems insane to me, though.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:57 PM on December 13, 2011


The way the economy is going, middle-income people will be glad to live in a dumpster, if it's in a nice neighborhood.

"Eeeh, look, ya can cook on ya sterno over here, the wheels been took off the bottom so it don't roll, no body took a shit in it, it's just 8 blocks to the L train, only 2,700."
posted by fuq at 9:02 PM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


The architect + remodeling cost more than the apartment. He could have bought twice as much apartment, without an architect.

Where are you getting that? I see $235K for the place, and $70K total for the remodel, no other costs cited. I don't even live in Manhattan - itself a choice that speaks to location being a very high priority - and I'd consider it money very well spent to buy a smallish space in the perfect location and then spend a lot of money customizing/optimizing it. I certainly wouldn't make the same choices as this guy, but then again, I don't live in Manhattan in the first place.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:03 PM on December 13, 2011


Every time I see these ridiculously small nyc apartments I can't help but feel bad* for all these people who clearly do not have an extended yenta network to find them awesome rent controlled apartments in all the best neighborhoods. I don't understand how people even LIVE without jewpotism.

*bad but also obnoxiously smug
posted by elizardbits at 9:19 PM on December 13, 2011


I made it about three minutes in and couldn't bear to watch any more.

I hate that ugly cabinet. If I had to open that to go to bed each night or to get my clothes each day, I would go nucking futs very quickly.

And I wonder if the no-doubt-well-paid architects live in a similar style of home.

posted by malibustacey9999 at 9:32 PM on December 13, 2011


That architect probably lives in a big ass brownstone in Brooklyn.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:33 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Having a Murphy bed is a good way to make sure you don't go to bed too drunk, or you will hit your head and sleep on the floor. Just trust me on this.
posted by The Whelk at 9:35 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


New York is just too dense, and pointlessly so. It's the real estate version of tulip mania; everyone I know who moves to NYC is the kind of self-important, attention-whoring hipster who thinks a person is more important just living there. That doesn't mean everyone who lives there is like that, but way too many people think you haven't really left the sticks until you're living in NYC.

I'm not one to love the suburban sprawl and McMansions (although as a Seattle town-home owning dweller, there are times when it would be nice to have a really large yard), but 400 sqft for even one person is too damn small. That thing is an oversized prison cell. Which would be okay if you could buy it for no more than say $30/40k or something, but $300K?
posted by hincandenza at 9:43 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


What they didn't show is how the cabinet tucks away nicely for the spreading of the plastic sheeting and so he can get a good swing radius with the axe and also be in earshot of Huey Lewis and the News' latest hit.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:45 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]



And I wonder if the no-doubt-well-paid architects live in a similar style of home.

My hearsay understanding is that the average architect has high socio-cultural prestige but is not actually particularly well-paid
posted by Bwithh at 9:48 PM on December 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


No one who could afford a view of the park and commit murders would be caught dead in that apartment.
posted by The Whelk at 9:48 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that looked looming ugly. The examples at the end of the video looked nice though.
posted by unliteral at 9:49 PM on December 13, 2011


but 400 sqft for even one person is too damn small.

I lived in a 550 sq. ft. apartment in Vancouver and it was plenty fine when I was single. I could have lived in less. I would get claustrophobic in the 78 sw. ft. apartment though. I could not live in that. I would freak out, and I'm not even claustrophobic. I do suspect that most tiny-space dwellers spend a lot of time on the outside, though.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:49 PM on December 13, 2011


I like how it pays attention to the idea of separate spaces, my place was done over during the height of loft- style- open plan, which makes for a great view but you're never really alone and it's hard to concentrate without feeling like you're imposing yourself or being watched. If I could reasonably put in sliding walls I would, sometimes you need to be alone but it's rude to say " I can't work if you're in the house cause our house is one big room and that's distracting me!"
posted by The Whelk at 10:00 PM on December 13, 2011


This apartment is very clever and admirable, but I think it takes a certain type to live there. In short, you have to be a very clean person, someone who likes tidying up, who likes putting everything it its Right Place, who likes hanging their clothes with exactly 2 cm between the hangers.

Basically, this apartment is great for an anal-retentive person. I am a horrible slob and if I lived there, every changeable facet of the place would be forgotten in a week.
posted by zardoz at 10:04 PM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Junk, like goldfish, expands to fill the space given it.
posted by The Whelk at 10:10 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think zardoz is hitting more on what I'm referring to; for some types of people, this is actually sufficient space. But...
  • God help you if you like to cook; the linked video says he's a hardcore cook, but it doesn't look like he has much room in that kitchen
  • what if you're a musician, much less a pianist? You'll have a hard time fitting your own instruments in there, much less playing with anyone else
  • What if you're a painter or a sculptor, even just as a hobby? You barely have room to work on anything, much less have room to store finished pieces
  • What if you're sociable, and like to throw cocktail parties or dinner parties? Well, that's out the window.
  • What if you're a tinkerer, and like to try out new electronics projects from Make magazine and online?
  • What if you're a big reader? Some people really like having shelves and shelves of books
  • What if you really like movies/cinema- I guess you can have a flat-screen on the wall, but people will be sitting on your bed if you have anyone over to watch it
I once worked with a guy who proclaimed that you needed a minimum of 1,000 sqft per person to be comfortable. Obviously, that's not true and more than a little nuts, although I think for a single person a good 750-800 sqft is important, and it doesn't scale linearly; two people in a relationship could use the same or barely more space, three individuals who aren't sleeping together might only need ~1,100 to be fairly content, etc. But 400 or less only works if you don't really do anything with your life.

I really enjoyed Sarah Suzanka's "not so big house" series, with its focus on arts and crafts detailing and utility-based design over super-sized McMansions with unused dining rooms and oversized bedrooms just begging to be filled with crap you don't need. Modern living doesn't need a separate dining room, and a large multi-purpose room with nooks and cues for separate spaces can prove exceptionally roomy if well designed, but there are limits.

I feel like you always need a true bedroom- at least 100 sqft to hold a bed, closet, some storage for yourself, and be a place that you (and possibly your SO) can have as unequivocally your own little nest; you don't need it, I suppose, but psychologically I can't help but think even a small room with your bed that you can be in at night and for lovin' is important. You of course need a bathroom, and a kitchen space. Lastly, you need at least one largish room for day-to-day life which can be multi-purpose; maybe a table/desk nook for working, or smaller projects/crafts; a reading nook and shelving; maybe a media section on one wall, seating for smaller groups, etc. I don't see how you can do all that in 440 sqft, since I think the main room alone should be a good 20' x 20'.

Can you live in 440 sqft? Of course, but I can't help think it'll feel really cramped- really "Korben Dallas" as people mentioned above. The thing is, space is not actually at a premium; it's only an artificial premium in areas like NYC. Better transit and less emphasis on "Empire State of Mind" wankery would allow people to have larger spaces without getting McMansion crazy.
posted by hincandenza at 10:48 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've lived in Korea far too long. The original apartment looked cozy and large to me. And jesus, look at those windows! Real sunlight? GTFO!

Also, how does a teacher not have piles and stacks of papers and textbooks everywhere? Or am I just a total slob?

Yeah, I think I might be a total slob.
posted by bardic at 10:51 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of Spinal Tap's "It goes to 11!" but with a lot of synthetic opiates.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 11:04 PM on December 13, 2011


You know, it would look a hell of a lot airier if he went with a light neutral on the origami cabinet. I suppose the navy blue was his choice, and it works when you're in bed, I suppose.
posted by dhartung at 11:06 PM on December 13, 2011


I liked the compactness of it, but the colour of the storage box was sucking the air out of the space.

(and he didn't have any ventilation for his stove)
posted by flippant at 11:13 PM on December 13, 2011


I still want to see the bathroom! I'm guessing it's behind the kitchen wall?

And I didn't listen to the sound, but his cabinets don't look tidy enough for the rigors of that space. The stuff crammed above his shirts (was that his linens mixed in there)? Having to take out 5 things to open the door on the microwave?

(and nthing the hideousness of the blue; the floors are nice, the windows are lush, the walls are drab. Lighter wood grains would have been infinitely more pleasing.)
posted by Kronur at 11:30 PM on December 13, 2011


Heh. And to think I lived in a 28 square meter apartment for a year, with someone else. Y'all need to check out what "acceptable living spaces" are like outside of North America sometime. It'll blow your minds. All of them.
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:36 PM on December 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


Hmm, very small space, one room with four rooms in it, blue box that's bigger on the inside... Is he studying to be a Doctor?
posted by ewan at 12:09 AM on December 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


I found the video annoying (much more 'human interest' than 'informative') and wanted to see an actual floor plan. I couldn't understand why the murphy bed cabinet was the same depth as a full single bed. What else was in there? (I may have missed it if it was more than 5 minutes into the video).
posted by jacalata at 12:17 AM on December 14, 2011


My husband and I live in a small (I think 650 sq ft) house, but we have a porch that goes across the house that we spend a lot of time on during good weather. We also have a good size back yard for having people over. We have too much crap, but we are working on whittling down to a more acceptable level.

I grew up, with four kids and two parents, in a house that was 1000 sq ft, so this really doesn't seem that bad to me. He's a single person, who I'm sure spends a lot of time away from home, why not live where you want to live? Although I do have to say the cost of that small of an apartment takes my breath away, we could buy a damn big house around here for that.

I would have made the cupboard a different color as the deep blue makes the space looks smaller than it is and it really seems to need more light to me. I also imagine that he cleaned up anything that wasn't perfectly in its place prior to the video being done, as most people would if their home was being taped.
posted by SuzySmith at 12:37 AM on December 14, 2011


Excuse me? Yes, you, with the camera. Yes, I'll just take that now, thank you. No, you can have it back when you make another video with another camera showing me that you've learned how to hold the fucking thing straight and still for longer than two seconds.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:04 AM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


So mefi renters. Assuming same square footage, would you pay extra to live in a place with the expanding cabinetry, or would you rather have the open space to furnish to your taste?
I ask as I am thinking of buying a small apartment with my meager retirement savings (well, buying a loan for one).
posted by bystander at 2:29 AM on December 14, 2011


And this is why I live in Brooklyn. Where I'm in a two-bedroom that is actually nearly the size of my parents' HOUSE, and the apartment has two walk-in closets.

The outer boroughs, people. Look into them.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:09 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think the pay off of the pull out screen door around the bed with the flip down table wasn't big enough for its inclusion. It added another layer of excavation to the already-laboured Murphy bedding down process that would be a problem for me.

I love origami interior architecture but I think this one needed to be a bit more ergonomically clever. None of the spaces looked comfortably usable. [That's why the 24room link from Vidur is so clever, it's slidy and ergonomically pleasing.] When the cabinet is closed up the space in front of it doesn't transform into anything meaningful - people are supposed to stand in front of the sideboard/cocktail stand but I sense it would be awkward.
posted by honey-barbara at 5:21 AM on December 14, 2011


$235K for a 450 square foot fixer upper?
My house in DC is roughly twice that size, and is valued at roughly twice that price. City livin'.
posted by MrMoonPie at 5:41 AM on December 14, 2011


Not impressed. One piece doesn't a living space make. The storage of herbs and so on was deplorable (stacked three high so that if you touch anything the wrong way you play a game of pick up sticks). Given the ceiling height and the allegation that it was Japanese inspired, I'm totally surprised that they didn't use under floor storage.
posted by plinth at 5:59 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I greatly admire the effort and ingenuity that went into it, but god, I get claustrophobic just watching that. Can't imagine living there.
posted by jbickers at 6:05 AM on December 14, 2011


God help you if you like to cook; the linked video says he's a hardcore cook, but it doesn't look like he has much room in that kitchen

No offense, but this feels like one of those mcmansion-yuppie myths.

I never did as much cooking as when I lived in a very small one-br place with a tiny kitchen and hardly any counter space. Now that I own a suburban house with lots of room in the kitchen, I hardly ever cook. Also, have you seen the kitchens that most professional chefs work in? Space is just not the key factor for successful cooking. To my mind, free time, access to shops or markets selling good ingredients, and a couple of favorite knives and pans at hand are all vastly more important.
posted by aught at 6:26 AM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


plinth, the source of that page is worth a post itself.
posted by rory at 6:37 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


That under-floor storage - surely that features in many Japanese horror movies, right? Augh, under the floor. Not that it wouldn't be handy for non-corpse-ghost-trapped-victim stuff.

I lived in a really tiny apartment one year - tiny kitchen, bedroom about the size of three twin beds, average bathroom, one average closet. It was beautifully maintained and very cleverly arranged, but WAY too small. (Maybe 150 square feet?) I couldn't have anyone over for dinner, there wasn't room for an easy chair because I had two bookshelves so I always had to sit on the bed (not really a problem, but variety would have been nice and it would have made having guests easier). It felt really, really private. Far more constrained and private than my dorm room ever felt.

I think I could do 450 square feet, but I would definitely prefer a large space and one of those 1970s theater-curtain-like room dividers that can be pulled out, plus the whole "bed becomes a divan by day" thing.
posted by Frowner at 7:01 AM on December 14, 2011


My first apartment was a lovely studio in Oakland, about a block away from Lake Merritt.

I loved the high ceilings (20 Ft!) and the enormous windows, where, if I looked out of the one on the furthest edge, and stood on tip-toe, I could see a smidge of the lake.

The pink bathroom was a highlight, but I could have done without the walls, weeping with slowly decomposing layers and layers of paint and wallpaper from times gone by.

The kitchen had the world's smallest oven (Martha Washington stove anyone?) the fridge was eensy and there was no dishwasher (who cares?).

It was an awesome place for a very young, single girl. My friends also lived in the building and the drug dealers would move on if I asked politely.

Also, I was only two exits away on the Nimitz (now gone, thanks to the earthquake.) from the Bay Bridge, and about 1/2 mile away from a BART station.

Soooo. Sometimes it's fun to live in a space that's perfect for your lifestyle at a given point in your life.

Would I, 30 years later want to live that way. Hells no!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:50 AM on December 14, 2011


The cabinet isn't integrated into the rest of the space; so it feels like a box in the middle of the room. The grille between the bed and the computer foldout reminds me of the confessional - my roman catholic youth catches up to me sometimes. There's some nifty space-saving, and the owner seems delighted.

For some accounts of terrific meals served from a tiny, poorly equipped kitchen, read Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking books.

Someone just showed me the plans for her dream home - 4 bedrooms, plus a den. Huge spaces use a lot more energy to build and maintain, and to afford the land, it will be in the boonies, so the people living there will be driving farther to work, shop, etc. I'm not in love with the tiny space, but it makes a lot more sense than a sprawling McMansion, where the kids all have their own rooms, tv and computer, and no one sees anyone else, talks or shares.
posted by theora55 at 8:09 AM on December 14, 2011


I did a post on a related subject a while back.
posted by grobstein at 8:49 AM on December 14, 2011


Profound on so many levels... (seriously)
posted by TigerMoth at 9:28 AM on December 14, 2011


> The grille between the bed and the computer foldout reminds me of the confessional

Heh, that was my first reaction to seeing that as well. Maybe he could sublet to the local diocese if demand for confession overflows the churches.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:30 AM on December 14, 2011


Heh. And to think I lived in a 28 square meter apartment for a year, with someone else. Y'all need to check out what "acceptable living spaces" are like outside of North America sometime. It'll blow your minds. All of them.

No kidding. I got you beat though: I lived in an 18 sq.m (about 195sq.ft) apartment in Helsinki with my French ex. For two years. The teeny-tiny shower, in which your shoulders grazed the walls when you turned around, was also where we washed our clothes – you had to climb over the laundry machine to get to the shower head. (It was a tiny manual machine, not electric.)

Now I live in a 45sq.m place (floor plan) here in Nice (France), and geez, it feels huge. I can't even imagine needing to install super-duper space-saving stuff. That said, I do have a patio... which is 18sq.m :D I get a kick out of relaxing on it while the cats play jumpy-bouncy-climby-meow and thinking how I shared the same floor area with another person for two years.
posted by fraula at 10:01 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


And this is why I live in Brooklyn. Where I'm in a two-bedroom that is actually nearly the size of my parents' HOUSE, and the apartment has two walk-in closets.

In order to know how much of a deal this is, I'd need to know how much your rent is and how much time you spend on the subway. I live in Manhattan in an apartment smaller than 450 square feet, and I rarely take the subway. I'm aware of Brooklyn, I like Brooklyn, but I have a hard time imagining switching to a lifestyle where I spend hours on the subway every day -- no matter how big the apartment is.
posted by John Cohen at 10:33 AM on December 14, 2011


In order to know how much of a deal this is, I'd need to know how much your rent is and how much time you spend on the subway.

My commute to midtown is 40 minutes door to door.

It's the top floor of a brownstone; $1600 in rent per month for the whole thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:37 AM on December 14, 2011


I live in a giant house and don't have to ride the subway at all. Maybe the bragging about living space and personal details isn't all that fun for anyone else.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:41 AM on December 14, 2011


My commute to midtown is 40 minutes door to door.

Well, if I had to spend about an hour and a half on the crowded subway every day, as opposed to walking to work, that would be a major drop in my quality of life.
posted by John Cohen at 10:47 AM on December 14, 2011


*shrug* Chacon a son gout.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:50 AM on December 14, 2011


"I do have extra storage, I use for recycling, before I take it downstairs."

What the rest of us would call "cramming it under the sink because the trash is full." Seriously.

Up until that point, I thought it was pretty cool. No, not my color choice, and I think light colors are fairly essential to making small spaces more "open" and livable. But the idea is appealing, in some ways.

...This said by a man renting a 4-bedroom house for himself and a dog, with a deck overlooking a beautiful city tableau 300' below, and a 30-min (max) commute to work. So, my comments are purely hypothetical.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:58 AM on December 14, 2011


This thread prompted me to measure the spacious one bedroom flat I share with my partner and rather a lot of books. And then I realised there was probably a floorplan somewhere ... 420 sq. ft or 39 sq. m. And not a horrible sliding thing or fold-down table in sight! All it really needs is a full-wall bookcase in the NE corner and some kind of freezer compartment in the built-in undercounter fridge, but as we're renting neither of those things are likely to happen. The kitchen is a vast improvement over the one in our last place, and has plenty of both counter and storage space (none of which requires a stepstool to access!).

I suppose the apartment in the film does have a problem with natural light, e.g. if you did a slightly more normal attempt at a layout you'd end up with what would probably be a very light bedroom and very dark everything else (is that just a back window in the kitchen? is it a balcony? and where *is* the bathroom?).
posted by Lebannen at 11:27 AM on December 14, 2011


> and where *is* the bathroom?

I think they cut off the part about the fold down toilet under the kitchen sink.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:30 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


And not a horrible sliding thing or fold-down table in sight!

Heh, yes. I had a one-bedroomed flat a few years ago that was around 380 square feet and didn't feel cramped at all, even lined with bookcases: open-plan living room and kitchen, a bathroom big enough for a decent-sized bathtub, and a bedroom with enough room for a double bed. I suppose knocking a few of the internal walls down would have made for a bit more living space, but being able to walk out of one room and into another without having to restructure the furniture to do it was totally worth the price.

But, I suppose it depends on how you define the kind of space you value. 'Enough room for this large, spacious open-plan area' is a lot less appealing to me than 'enough space for several rooms, even if they're tiny'. And maybe there's a cultural divide too; if you're used to studio apartments being just a way to arrange a non-huge living space, rather than (as they are anywhere I've seen over here) code for "we couldn't physically cram a bedroom in here without violating the laws of physics, so your bed's over there by the freezer", that calculation might look different.
posted by Catseye at 12:33 PM on December 14, 2011


When I was in business here in Phoenix in the 90s, I bought a "starter home" with 1330 sq. ft. (~124 square meters). I then did a renovation to add a solarium and a couple of office extensions, bumping it up to about 1700 sq. ft.

I bought and renovated it as an investment, just to get into the market and start building equity, with the intention of selling it later and trading up to a nicer place once I was ready to settle somewhere.

Then I changed career paths and headed overseas, where I worked in Europe and Africa for ten years. I rented my place out while I was gone. When I came back to the house in 2006, I brought a new-found perspective. I was amazed at how opulently spacious 1700 square feet truly was.

Fortunately, my elderly stepdad moved in with me shortly thereafter, so it doesn't seem so unnecessarily cavernous as it used to.

A few years ago, a friend of mine bought (with the help of his parents) a house in Queen Creek that's something absurd like 3700 square feet. He said he needed the space for his family (wife and two girls). I can't imagine how much money he wasted on that gargantuan place and how horrible his summer cooling bills must be. I think it's a little sad. As someone said, a happy man knows when enough is enough.
posted by darkstar at 2:12 PM on December 14, 2011


Based on my recent search, and the video 450 sq. ft. is actually not that small for Manhattan. I would love to be able to afford an apartment large enough for a bad and a full-sized couch.

The outer boroughs, people. Look into them.

What neighborhood are you in? I'm not really finding Brooklyn to be that much cheaper than Manhattan, except the shadier parts.
posted by !Jim at 5:39 PM on December 14, 2011


The outer boroughs also include Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. In that order. Er... I've heard Woodside is great. I live in Western Crown Heights, which is gentrifying at around the speed of slow sound, so get in if you can, preferably on an express line. Then come to a meetup! The commuting problem is aided by the excruciation of unemployment, but actually working in the outer boroughs would probably be the next best thing.
posted by Salamandrous at 8:50 PM on December 14, 2011


This is why I live in a smaller city than NYC. My 2700 square foot townhouse in a safe walkable downtown neighborhood cost less than this apartment.
posted by octothorpe at 8:52 AM on December 15, 2011


This is why I live in a smaller city than NYC. My 2700 square foot townhouse in a safe walkable downtown neighborhood cost less than this apartment.

One day I would like to live somewhere affordable.
posted by grobstein at 12:48 PM on December 15, 2011


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