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More than meets the eye
December 24, 2012 6:53 AM   Subscribe

A man buys a tiny 400sq foot apartment in Soho, and over a period of two years, creates an amazing, transforming living space than can reasonably sleep four.
posted by shiu mai baby (166 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite

 
This man did not buy a tiny apartment in SoHo. He bought a completely average apartment in SoHo. Also, no one's "less space equals more money" equation has involved that neighborhood past, I don't know, 1993.

That being said, this is pretty cool exercise in expanding a space.
posted by griphus at 7:00 AM on December 24, 2012


Looks neat from what I can see in the video. Are there photos anywhere?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:00 AM on December 24, 2012


Very cool video, but this is very clearly a *man* apartment. If you have stuff, which most women and children do, this apartment is not going to work for you.

And also, 400 square feet is a BIG studio. On the UWS, studios are closer to 300 square feet.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:02 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


The best thing is for once seeing an American not wearing shoes inside their apartment. Now that's something I can relate to.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:11 AM on December 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


If you have stuff, which most women and children do

uh
posted by shakespeherian at 7:13 AM on December 24, 2012 [47 favorites]


That dining room table! I have been looking for that table all of my life!!
posted by helmutdog at 7:14 AM on December 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


The way that table unfolds is sweet.

Who wears shoes in their apartment?
posted by nathancaswell at 7:19 AM on December 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


I was a little more annoyed by the sparseness until it became clear that it really is a functional prototype, a proof-of-concept, rather than an actual "live HERE!" apartment per se.

Mostly I'm just sad/annoyed that those of us who rent small apartments very rarely get all this cool stuff that becomes viable (or at least possible) for owners, and purchasing is hardest in those cities where Murphy beds and the like are the most tempting.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:21 AM on December 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


The frustrating thing is about this - on preview - I agree with Tomorrowful - that the sheer cost of all this must in some way equate to "I could have got a bigger apartment". So it becomes aspirational and kind of useless, because I cannot afford to install the best kitchen system ever or the best wardrobe, however jealous I am of his ridiculously amazing table.
posted by Augenblick at 7:23 AM on December 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


Nice concept, but really, who wants to, or could live like that? Maybe a monk?
I'm just designing an apartment building myself, for a client who wants to fit way too many units onto a tiny piece of land, but I'm trying to design around the way people actually live. 600 square feet seems to be enough for a comfortable living environment.
posted by Flashman at 7:23 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really like that video, but to me, it would feel like living in a hospital room.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 7:23 AM on December 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


I love it - but I have always had dreams - literally, at night, recurring dreams - of weirdly out of scale tiny spaces, as if I were living on a boat or a teeny tiny house. Or at a party in a huge house with itty bitty little hallways and rooms. This always felt incredibly comfortable to me.

It's beautiful, and I dig it, and it's functional, which is amazing. The downside is that you really have to buy in to the lifestyle that this demands, and if you don't realize that when you get into a small space, particularly a super efficient one, you will not be happy. The moment you get another item that is "outside the program" it becomes a burden. Graham clearly is into living simply and efficiently - I am the same way - but most people just aren't. A few of those burdensome items in your life, and now your clean uncluttered space becomes your own personal hell.

I have a beef with nesting items, which I hate. They are great for storing - but using, not so much. The kitchen is like that on a boat - which can drive you nuts after a while. Nevertheless, the attention to detail is exquisite, and if you were committed to the place, it would be great. It also helps when you eat at some little trattoria down the street mostly.

The table is many expletives of awesome. Just had to say that.
posted by Xoebe at 7:24 AM on December 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


The best thing is for once seeing an American not wearing shoes inside their apartment. Now that's something I can relate to.

I once went to a huge art exhibit in which every artist was allotted, for lack of a better word, a cubicle. One of the artists covered both the walls and floor in a psychedelic carpet. You were supposed to step in and experience it up close. I was there with a bunch of friends, all of whom, like me, grew up in households where huge rugs on the walls was a regular thing, and you would also be committing a horrible faux pas if you walked more than two feet into someone's house without taking off your shoes. We all walked away convinced that entire piece was meant to drive us insane.

Oh, and as long as we're UPHILL BOTH WAYS about NYC apartments right now, the smallest one I was ever in was in SoHo and under 300 sq. ft. I was living in an 8x10 room at the time (admittedly in an agoraphobia-inducing 800 sq. ft. apartment in Brooklyn) and could absolutely see the appeal of living in a matchbox to avoid having a roommate (although my roommate at the time was awesome.)
posted by griphus at 7:25 AM on December 24, 2012


Can I purchase that table like, right now, or is that a custom one-off thing?
posted by odinsdream at 7:27 AM on December 24, 2012


It's clever but is anyone else creeped out by the how-small-a-cage-can-we-cram-ourselves-into mindset? San Francisco just okayed 220 square foot apartments - where does it end? Foxconn dormitories?
posted by codswallop at 7:28 AM on December 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


There are lots of people who would be more than willing (thrilled!) to rent a tiny apartment in a good location if it meant they could live without roommates or outrageously high rent. NYC is working on this now.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:30 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this is amazing but I could never live like this - also screw having guests over, I'd rather leave the "guest" room there permanently and use it as my room, and throw a double bed in there or something. Claustrophobic but at least I'd have a "separate" living room and bedroom. I'd eat my dinners at the couch like I always do.
posted by windbox at 7:31 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think if someone put a gun to my head and made me choose between owning a comically tiny apartment or owning a detached home on plot of land, I would honestly have to have a few days to think about it. It is a matter of preference, at the end of the day, and there really isn't anything more natural about "owning" acres of land.
posted by griphus at 7:32 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you have to live in such a small home (as the previous occupant did), I suppose this is a better solution than something more conventional.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 7:35 AM on December 24, 2012


I get that 400 sq feet in Manhattan is a luxury, and there's no getting around that this guy is operating on a pretty high level of privilege, in terms of being able to afford this, design this, and make it inhabitable.

Sure, it's not a life that every person on the planet would (or must) choose, but I was just blown away by the innovation and creativity involved. I mean, every freaking surface has a function, be it storage or utility. It was just so damned clever, especially when you see the wreck the place was before he started.

And, as someone who is currently writing this from her comfy suburban home with a designated dining room that doesn't function as anything other than a dining room, I can say that expanding table was balls-out awesome.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:36 AM on December 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


"see, you can be totally messy on the inside... no one knows."
posted by ennui.bz at 7:37 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Don't forget to lift that bench before you go to the toilet in the dark in the middle of the night!

21st century nagging: "Did you leave the bench up?"
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 7:40 AM on December 24, 2012


where can one get that wall unit/bed combo??
posted by robbyrobs at 7:40 AM on December 24, 2012


also,

I get that 400 sq feet in Manhattan is a luxury, and there's no getting around that this guy is operating on a pretty high level of privilege, in terms of being able to afford this, design this, and make it inhabitable.

I hesitate to put a number on it, but I'd guess that's at least on the order of $200K in custom cabinetry alone (i'm watching with the sound off, does he spill the details?)... basically, each "room" is a full custom kitchen with fancy specialized hardware. could be more depending on what this sort of work costs in nyc.
posted by ennui.bz at 7:44 AM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I love how he sidetracks once he gets to his wardrobe, and starts rhapsodizing about the utility of his jacket: 'It's got this hood thing, so you don't even really need a hat; you don't even really need gloves' [indicates pockets].

Wow, man, did you design that, too?
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 7:45 AM on December 24, 2012 [14 favorites]


I could never live in a place like that - I just have too much stuff (and I am male, thanks), but as a proof-of-concept cleverness exhibit? Astounding.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:45 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


OCD organization, but mismatched socks!

I'm really enjoying this video.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 7:47 AM on December 24, 2012


He always looked all right, Stradlater, but for instance, you should’ve seen the razor he shaved himself with. It was always rusty as hell and full of lather and hairs and crap. He never cleaned it or anything. He always looked good when he was finished fixing himself up, but he was a secret slob anyway, if you knew him the way I did. The reason he fixed himself up to look good was because he was madly in love with himself. He thought he was the handsomest guy in the Western Hemisphere. He was pretty handsome, too - I’ll admit it. But he was mostly the kind of a handsome guy that if your parents saw his picture in your Year Book, they’d right away say, “Who’s this boy?” I mean he was mostly a Year Book kind of handsome guy. I knew a lot of guys at Pencey I thought were a lot handsomer that Stradlater, but they wouldn’t look handsome if you their pictures in the Year Book. They’d look like they had big noses or their ears stuck out. I’ve had that experience frequently.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:53 AM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


...and there's no getting around that this guy is operating on a pretty high level of privilege, in terms of being able to afford this, design this, and make it inhabitable.

Which seems to be the unifying thread running through every "tiny dwelling" feature I come across, whether it be on wheels, or a fixed place. I leave with the impression that living in the tiny space is really just a "because I can" fashion option for these people, and not something created out of sheer necessity.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:54 AM on December 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Such a tiny apartment, but they've made space in the kitchen for three bins (one for non-recyclables and two for recyclables?) and a compost bin. Impressive!
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 7:54 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


His dining table is amazing.

I love stuff like this, and can't fault him for a lifestyle and living arrangement that clearly works for him - it's a very smart use of space. But I absolutely couldn't live like that and would end up gibbering in a corner chewing on one of his space-saving sporks if I tried.

We don't usually describe property in terms o floor space here in the UK - it would be "one-bedroom" or "two-bedroom", rather than "400 square feet" - and I do wonder whether that's the reason for the open-plan studio look seeming less appealing, or just a consequence of it, because I haven't lived anywhere that didn't have a bedroom with a door you could actually shut, and that includes places smaller than the one in the video. Comparing my smallest flat with his, it actually seems roomier - I had a separate bedroom, a bathroom with an actual bathtub, a washing machine, a dedicated office corner with bookshelves. But it didn't have the sense of space that his has. Apart from the hall corridor you couldn't walk two steps in any direction without hitting a wall or a sofa, I had to climb over the bed to get to the cupboards in the other side (and would have swapped that double bed for a single if i could, but alas, furnished rented flat so no chance), and there was only once place I could hang up the drying rack. It was a great flat, but it was full. His place has this amazing sense of room to grow.

Still, though, no way in hell would I have traded in my messy crowded lived-in flat for this one. I appreciate that he says you've effectively got 11,000 square feet of 'functional space', but how functional is it if it can't ever feel like home?
posted by Catseye at 7:58 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


There's an architect in Hong Kong that did this using automatic walls… how is this different?
posted by polymodus at 7:58 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I lived in a studio that was probably around 300 square feet for three years and it was the most miserable three years of my life. (The only reason I stayed that long was that living there made me so depressed that I couldn't muster the energy to move.) Somehow worse than the year I spent living on a 25-foot sailboat with no standing headroom.

Now I live in a one-bedroom apartment that has not only a separate office but a separate dining room and it feels utterly decadent. And that is why I don't live in New York.
posted by enn at 8:03 AM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


If you put away the bed during the day, where is the dog gonna nap?

That apartment is really neat, but somehow it feels more cramped than my 450 square foot 1 bedroom brooklyn apartment designed in 1910. Maybe an effect of the videography?
posted by moonmilk at 8:09 AM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, no one's "less space equals more money" equation has involved that neighborhood past, I don't know, 1993.

I have a parody " I hate New York" book that bitches about SoHo being full of rich trust funders spending 300 bucks on scarves and living in million dollar shoe boxes....in 1983.
posted by The Whelk at 8:12 AM on December 24, 2012


I notice none of his guests are children.

Honestly, it's a cool proof-of- concept for a single adult, but I can't imagine putting a family in there and still having it be comfortable.

Also, it is built around the need to live in Manhattan. This guy works from home. He could have bought a place 5x as big if that's what he wanted to do, just not in the middle of Manhattan. I work from home and live in a forest. There's a fair bit more space available here.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 8:13 AM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


moonmilk, I know that the currently-prevailing tastes lean otherwise, but I think that spaces that are divided up into smaller rooms absolutely feel less cramped than the same amount of undivided space. The enthusiasm for things like fake new-build lofts and open plan kitchens just seems so misguided. Spaces built between 1900 and 1940, say, with actual walls and actual rooms, are much more functional and comfortable.
posted by enn at 8:14 AM on December 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


I see a couple of problems here.

Crumbs and stuff are going to get in the tracks for the rolling wall, especially if you're throwing dinner parties for 10 people. That means before you can get to your bike or whatever else not-every-day thing you're storing in the other-side-of-the-wall storage, you've got to go over the tracks with a vacuum cleaner with a crevice tool.

Now, if in fact you actually are working from home or otherwise staying home, those cook surfaces are going to sit there in the kitchen all day long, staring at you and glistening with spattered bacon grease from breakfast. It is going to take terrific discipline if the end of every meal means waiting for the cooking surfaces to cool, cleaning the cooking surfaces, placing the cooking surfaces in the drawer, closing the drawer, then hauling out the cooking surface again when you feel like a nice cup of tea.

Lastly, the reno on this apartment apparently took close to two years, during which time the owner was paying mortgage and maintenance while having to live somewhere else. So when you calculate the price of this apartment, add in two years of rent on top of the $400K plus almost certainly more than $400K for the reno. This 400 square foot apartment is starting to look like very much like a million dollar investment.
posted by La Cieca at 8:17 AM on December 24, 2012 [12 favorites]


robbyrobs: "where can one get that wall unit/bed combo??"

Probably here. I think they also have that amazing expando-table.
posted by adamrice at 8:17 AM on December 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


This is brilliant. I love it.
posted by srboisvert at 8:19 AM on December 24, 2012


When redesigning this apartment we got talked into a huge "loft style", no walls concept rather than the maze of tiny little rooms it was before ( the apartment itself was the result of lots of alterations over the years, one bedrooms eating studios and then being divided again, we had two kitchens for a while)

And it's terrible! Sure we get a metric fuckton of light but there are no walls! It's impossible to close the door and work on something without the the person being in the same room with all thier damned breathing and blinking and silent judging! I don't like being able to see the undone dishes all damned day! Walls! my kingdom for some walls.
posted by The Whelk at 8:20 AM on December 24, 2012 [24 favorites]


I thought it was a clever, efficient and inventive use of space. I lived in 450 sq ft apartment in San Francisco and got sick of living in one room but I would give this place a shot. When I lived in a bigger place (1200 sq ft), I had a formal dining room and living room but almost never used them.
posted by shoesietart at 8:22 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's an architect in Hong Kong that did this using automatic walls… how is this different?

with the lower cost of labor in china he could afford to have pneumatic systems as I remember. that hk apartment was on a whole other level in terms of raw engineering.

as income inequality grows, the rich are going to be able to afford increasingly amazing things built by increasingly impoverished crafts-people.
posted by ennui.bz at 8:24 AM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm also slightly surprised by the popular desire to make one big space. In London there are plenty of 400ish sq ft flats which are one floor of small terraced house. Typically they'll be three rooms plus small bathroom and often each room will have a big fireplace jutting into them. They work fine and are perfectly pleasant to live in.

Also not having a separate, walled off kitchen sucks if you cook regularly.
posted by rhymer at 8:25 AM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's impossible to close the door and work on something without the the person being in the same room with all thier damned breathing and blinking and silent judging!

If it helps, I'm judging you from here regardless of whether I can see you.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:26 AM on December 24, 2012 [19 favorites]


We've previously had a possibly even smaller apartment on the Blue that also functioned around a long wall of cabinets to create sleep/work/dine spaces, but I think it was a more normal, less trying-hard result. I actually really do not like this apartment, and I say this as someone who already knows that when my other half kicks it, I am selling our 600sft 2-bed house and buying something smaller.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:26 AM on December 24, 2012


If I were ultra-rich I'd get some of this transforming furniture to put in my transforming apartment. (more)

I'm off to the museum now to check it out in person!
posted by moonmilk at 8:28 AM on December 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


1. That table looks flimsy.

2. I could never be that organized.

3. Dude, you're indoors. Take the goddamn hat off.

Very clever, but I could never make it work. They would find my body beneath a cat-hair-covered pile of colorful and un-nested kitchen utensils within a month.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:29 AM on December 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


The architect's room in Hong Kong. I wouldn't be surprised if this video and apartment were inspired by that one.

I measured my Seattle studio, and it's about 250sqft or less.

Now I'm half broke and will eventually aim for about 400sqft, but living on my own I don't think I'd want to go too far above that. If I had too much more space, I'd probably just put stuff in it, which would be a shame.

And yes, I don't think either of these apartments would be easy to live in, but I don't think that's the point. The point is that apartments we make now could be just, say, twice what they are without much fuss. Not even 24 rooms in one, just two rooms in one would be great.
posted by tychotesla at 8:30 AM on December 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Very interesting. It goes way beyond just the apartment though, this mans entire life is one amazing nesting doll.
posted by fatbaq at 8:31 AM on December 24, 2012


I love his enthusiasm and I love submarine/Korban Dallas apartments cause I hate wasted space ( currently petitioning to get rid of the dining table cause we literally never use it as a dining table) but white walls? Really! All that rolling and folding ! you're gonna leave visible skuff marks!
posted by The Whelk at 8:31 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I love this jacket. it's got a hood, you don't need a hat…"

Well if you want to look like some kind of sloppy mook with no STYLE then I guess you don't need a hat. Which, given the size of his wardrobe, is not a concern I guess.

Other assumptions made in this apartment:

- All long-term projects are virtual. There's nowhere to store, say, the light-up magic sword prototype I've been working on for a while. Or the pile of books that currently occupies my studio floor due to a recent Kickstarter.

- Meals are mostly eaten out, given the amount of fridge space. Or prepared solely from stuff that can be stored at room temperature, I suppose. Or, well, given that this is in the middle of the city, I presume one could do that ten-guest meal by hitting the store for raw parts the day before.

- Your lover will not live with you. Seriously, I've never had anyone I wanted to be in the same room with ALL THE TIME. Even if they had a day job that got them out of the apartment all day long while I worked from home.

Also oh man I just wanna paint all those flat white walls different colors. Or install some LED lighting to wash different colors onto them, that's smart enough to pick up that "oh the bed is out we should be in bedroom lighting" and so on. I find the ONE wall festooned with photos to be interesting; there's art hanging on a variety of walls in my apartment.

This apartment is pretty cool, and I'm pursuing some minimalist goals of my own - but honestly I'm not sure I can see living in it for extended periods of time.
posted by egypturnash at 8:35 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Who wears shoes in their apartment?

Pretty much always the people upstairs.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:36 AM on December 24, 2012 [37 favorites]


Oh here's the apartment I was thinking of. I think it does less, better.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:38 AM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think the dining room table is this one, the Goliath, from Resource Furniture.

The part where you have to request a quote for the price does not bode well.
posted by instead of three wishes at 8:38 AM on December 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


The best thing is for once seeing an American not wearing shoes inside their apartment.
I would bet money that guy is Canadian.
posted by aloiv2 at 8:41 AM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I challenge this fellow to attempt mediation in the toilet after dealing with the business end of a burrito and a diet coke.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:42 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The cost would benefit from economy of scale and the design is meant to address the need for efficient spaces in urban environments. I don't think he claims any credit for inventing the idea, it's just his go at it. It's a nice proof of concept. I'd probably paint a wall or two, but I like it.
posted by empyrean at 8:42 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I admire the obsessiveness and sense of experimentation. The kitchen equipment is too inaccessible though, I'm guessing he eats out 90% of the time. I'd also bail on the 10-person table and replace it with more stow-able, conversational friendly seating -- heck, I have a house and I can't fit 10 adults comfortably at the same table. The odd time when we have a larger group we go buffet style and people eat where ever they were sitting.
posted by stp123 at 8:45 AM on December 24, 2012


I have a parody " I hate New York" book that bitches about SoHo being full of rich trust funders spending 300 bucks on scarves and living in million dollar shoe boxes....in 1983.

Dude, how can you not provide a link.
posted by zvs at 8:47 AM on December 24, 2012


It's neat as a concept, but I'm pretty sure that I'm not allowed to enter a space like that, because I am clumsy, and that's 360 degrees of flush drawers and cabinets and tracks and table leaves that are more or less designed to pinch my fingers. Owww.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 8:52 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dude, how can you not provide a link.

I took a picture
posted by The Whelk at 8:58 AM on December 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Neat concept, but definitely not for claustrophobes.
posted by zarq at 9:00 AM on December 24, 2012


Manhattan: Neat concept, but definitely not for claustrophobes.
posted by empyrean at 9:01 AM on December 24, 2012 [19 favorites]


OK, he's talking about sporks to save space. Sporks. And for camping, sure. But for the house, if he just put his utensils in a crock or jar, he'd save so much more space than that huge drawer.

I live in a 300sqft house. I've pared down a lot. My office is my kitchen table, I've donated all my books, and I've reduced my wardrobe to stark black basics. But you can take my forks and spoons from my cold dead etc.
posted by mochapickle at 9:03 AM on December 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Having looked further into that dining room table, it appears my car, purchased new from dealer, cost less. (9-15K according to the comments on an apartment therapy article).
posted by instead of three wishes at 9:07 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


They lost me at the kitchen. I love how even the designated cook was skeptical, then... [cut to] eating.
posted by Mchelly at 9:08 AM on December 24, 2012


The napkins needed to clean up the spilled liquids and dropped foodstuffs resulting from sporks would easily take more space than the amount needed to simply have spoons & forks.
posted by tychotesla at 9:09 AM on December 24, 2012


If you have stuff, which most women and children do

I agree with the sentiment here - this apartment is really only meant for singles, since there is no storage space.

The question is, if you are single, how much income do you have to have to make this apartment work. It's not an apartment for people in school or just out of school working as interns, that's for sure. More of a place you would live in for 5 years or so before marriage... and children. If you had the money.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:10 AM on December 24, 2012


Aside from the fact that there's gravity, that apartment is what I imagine living on a space station would be like -- white everything, minimal possessions, everything's a compartment, lots of prepared food, no privacy, costs a fortune.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:12 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


But you still have to schlep your laundry to the laundromat? Also no books.

I like the "living on a boat in the middle of the city" feel, but I'd go mad. Everything so slick and contained.
posted by jokeefe at 9:15 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I also just spent 3 months living in fairly cramped conditions in Japan at my MIL's house. Although it's a 3-story townhouse, the house, like many Japanese houses is full of junk, so we stayed on the second floor. We had one tatami room to sleep the four of us (it's not unusual for families to sleep together in Japan), a small tatami room to eat, watch tv and generally relax in, a kitchen with a kitchen table use to store stuff, and a small "parlour" type room used as my office and for playing Wii.

Even though we also had a separate bathroom, and a laundry room, it felt pretty cramped, especially with the detritus of children's toys, toast crumbs, supermarket fliers, manga comic books, socks, computer peripherals, pencil stubs, school uniform buttons and other stuff that got mixed into everyday life.

Living in such a small apartment really would have to be for neat freaks. Just sleeping in the same room where I work and eat is enough to drive me insane.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:15 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


this apartment is really only meant for singles, since there is no storage space.

In all fairness, there is a ton of storage space.
posted by jokeefe at 9:15 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Actually the literal real life space station seems bigger
posted by The Whelk at 9:16 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


really isn't anything more natural about "owning" acres of land

Hahaha, tell me that again when everything falls apart and I am harvesting the food from my farm.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:18 AM on December 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


He could save even more space in the bathroom by using a brazor, which is a combination [tooth]brush and razor. If your gums bleed you're doing it wrong.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:24 AM on December 24, 2012 [16 favorites]


The pull-out table is a fine thing. I grew up in a house where the one we had looked like a liquor cabinet, but instead held the folded solid-wood leaves AND the table pads. At full extension the table must be about 15-20 feet long. Since it comes from ca. 1960s, and relatives have one like it from ca. 1950s, I just figured it was the sort of thing folks had for a dining room table. And I lovelovelove these tables. /derailforhistorylesson
posted by datawrangler at 9:25 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hahaha, tell me that again when everything falls apart and I am harvesting the food from my farm.

Oh I am pretty sure my army of Morlocks and I will make do.
posted by griphus at 9:28 AM on December 24, 2012


this apartment is really only meant for singles, since there is no storage space.


That's funny, I live with just myself and a rabbit and I have hella storage space needs. I have small appliances and craft equipment that need to come out of storage, be usable, and go back into storage again. I have craft supplies that need to be where I can reach them. I have clothes! I have a bike! (I tried storing my bike outside and a squirrel ate part of the saddle.) This is all fairly Western of me, I guess, but this apartment's not even meant for just ANY single person, is my point.

On expandable tables: there are some SWEET midcentury ones that are available for under four figures. I have exactly this sewing table, only the leaves are the same white oak as the rest of the table. Got mine on Craigslist -- and a couple weeks later I saw another one, identical but walnut, at an antique shop. The same company, Saginaw, seems to have made the wonderfully named EXPAND-O-MATIC BUFFET HUTCH! (oh dear god I want this so bad.)
posted by clavicle at 9:29 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Huh. To echo KokuRyu, I think the Japanese (and Swedes? And...) have been doing this for years. Unlike KokuRyu I don't find it insanity-inducing (but I can see why one would find it so). I was watching a Nitori ad the other day thinking how smart it was that they were selling a kids bed that was also a closet and bookshelves and a desk all in one. And it's cheap too. So I think that the reality is that a lot of the world lives like this: they don't need so much stuff, not like Americans. This guy is rediscovering something basic about life, only he's paying about 100-times the amount most people in other cultures do for it. Hey, that's Manhattan for you I guess.

That said, I don't mean to be snarky. I liked this a lot and I liked the guy's personality a lot too. And he stated explicitly that he wants to produce it at scale so as to bring the cost down. Kudos to him (and his company)!
posted by dubitable at 9:29 AM on December 24, 2012


I think he needs to get a decorator in there to paint a few surfaces, put down a rug and hang some artwork. People seem to be responding to minimalism which isn't necessary in that space at all and seems to be more of a personal choice of his. I do like the photo wall he has between the kitchen/bathroom.

There is storage, it's just hidden. The spork he just talked about offhand, about how a better one could be designed - he actually had forks and spoons in the drawer.

There's ideas I'd take and leave from the concept, but I find it interesting to see how different people address the problem of tighter spaces in urban environments.
posted by empyrean at 9:29 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The dining room table in particular seemed completely impractical in that, living in a very small space with a tiny kitchen, how often are you going to be hosting dinner parties for 10 people? Once or maybe twice a year? Otherwise the expanding aspect of the table - the quality that makes it so expensive, is wasted. You could actually do dinner for eight on two quite small folding tables for a fraction of the cost of a single big table, and then have two desk-size tables that could be used for other purposes on a much more frequent basis.
posted by La Cieca at 9:30 AM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


There's a lot of storage space, yes, but it's all dedicated to storing the absolute basic things you need to live -- the storage space contains your tiny collection of clothing (seriously, I get that he gets by with minimal clothes, but for a person who didn't, the lack of storage for clothing would instantly become a huge problem), your trash can, your sponges. Everything is put away, which makes for a very clean appearance, but takes up all your storage space.

I think for people who say there's no storage space, they're thinking ... even as to basic things, where are your toiletries? Where are the cleaning products? Where's the masking tape? Where are the stamps and envelopes? Where's your high-school diploma? Where's your screwdriver and hammer? Where are batteries? If you read, where are the books? Where is anything you use in a hobby? And that's not to even mention the fact that anything anyone gives you as a gift, or anything you hold onto for sentimental reasons, seems to completely throw this entire thing into disarray.

There's storage space, but a lot of it is storing things most people don't store, like beds.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 9:31 AM on December 24, 2012 [18 favorites]


It seems like it would take a lot of time to live in that apt., having to go through three steps to get access to anything that you need for just day to day living and then the reverse to put it away.
I would guess that within a week of me living there the floor would be impassable because I am not going to keep sliding this dohicky thing in and out and nesting this under that seventeen times a day and etc...

Also, got totally squicked out when he got into white fluffy bed with his outdoor clothes on. That's just gross. And he did it twice. With his friend, too. He contaminated ALL the beds.
posted by newpotato at 9:32 AM on December 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


I just wanted to make an omelet!

I would be terrible at this, but it is really neat.
posted by naoko at 9:33 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


What is with this aversion to color? All those stupid white rectangles could be different groovy 70s colors or something. And if you'd at least get some damn knobs, you could open all those identical white doors.

But the red privacy curtain! What daring!
posted by fritley at 9:38 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


fritley: Presumably the white is a stock finish, so a little money was saved there. Also all that white makes the apartment look bigger (by bouncing the light around) and I think there is a conscious effort to seem "futuristic" in the design so that the place doesn't feel quite so much like a cruise ship stateroom.

The biggest down side here is the lack of a separate bedroom area, which essentially means it is untenable in the long run for two people living together. All it takes is one of the two inhabitants suffering a couple nights of insomnia or a project that calls for a late night while the other person sits and fumes, unable to go to bed, before the owner finds himself carrying the mortgage and common charges all by himself again.
posted by La Cieca at 9:49 AM on December 24, 2012


Ha! I coveted that nested kitchen tools set before I saw this post, but it's bit too pricey for me.

I've lived in a space that small, or possibly smaller, before, but with a big balcony, so that was really like an extra room, and I would have felt terribly claustrophobic without it. We live in an apartment about twice the size of his now, but it's a challenge, because it's not designed to be very space-efficient (considering we are living in a fourth of what was originally – from the '20s or '30s – a pretty fancy single-family home), I work from home, and my husband has a lot of equipment for his job. We're pretty low-consumer types, but we really need more space.

I couldn't give up a single inch of storage space in the kitchen (as it is, I can only have stacking drinking glasses, stacking mugs, and little stacking glasses we use for wine – because they all have to fit on two tiny shelves), and our "pantry" is a small bookcase in the hallway, so I don't have a dishwasher... and we never have a dishwasher, because we always have micro, tiny or small kitchens, and that's why my hands look 20 years older than my face. Or I could get rid of the table in the kitchen, but no. I need a table in the kitchen, if there's any way at all to have one. I'm very not enamored of the pull-out-and-build-a-table whenever you want to sit down for a coffee or wine and cozy chat at the kitchen table. Conceptually nice, but it would make me crazy.

I love, love, love to look at the tiny spaces, but stuff like no bookcases, no bed to flop on without rearranging things, no kitchen table to plop down at and keep company while cooking or just hang out without rearranging, no comfy work chair, no tub, no room to store leftovers or more than the ingredients for a single meal in the fridge, no washer/dryer, no outdoor access directly from the apartment, no room for clothes unless you can pare things down to what would fit in a suitcase, no space for working on hobbies or work stuff (electronics, for my husband)... it wouldn't be a comfortable life for me. Even when we lived in the tiny space that was about this size, we had bookcases, a coffee table, a kitchen table, a bathtub, a balcony, a regular refrigerator, and more clothes storage. And a fireplace! But no guest room. And no washing machine, which was definitely the worst thing.

So, I very much enjoyed seeing this, and I wholeheartedly salute him, but I'm still longing for about another 20 square meters (for around 1,000 square feet total). That would be sweet. But l get it. Location, location, location! Which is one reason we live in this very, very nice, but rather too small space – fantastic location, just like all our other past wee but great spots.
posted by taz at 9:52 AM on December 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


The accompanying article was helpful in understanding motivation. Graham Hill admits at the very end that this iteration of a tiny home is too expensive, though one is left with the impression that this is a prototype for something else, maybe a series of apartments.

He lost me when he started going into his choice of silverware and food prep utensils. That place is more like living in a gadget than a physical space. As for his spartan choices, this is not the first time he's lived some place small, which makes clear that this kind of living space is not for everyone.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:54 AM on December 24, 2012


The accompanying article was helpful in understanding motivation. Graham Hill admits at the very end that this iteration of a tiny home is too expensive, though one is left with the impression that this is a prototype for something else, maybe a series of apartments.
Not wanting to limit himself to local architects, he crowdsourced the design as a competition and received 300 entries from all over the world. Two Romanian architecture students (Catalin Sandu and Adrian Iancu) won with their design “One Size Fits All”. (See the apartment pre-remodel in our video Crowdsourcing tiny home design: a 420-square-foot Soho pad).
"crowdsourcing" LOL. he got the design work for free. so much for the "information" economy. everyone works for free except for the bold owners of capital, bravely "designing" the future.
posted by ennui.bz at 9:59 AM on December 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


After 10 years in a 1200 sq ft Cape Cod, I've been temporarily living in 300 sq ft studio for the last 6 months (w/ 6 more to go). I love this small apt stuff and with the help of the internets, did some cool things to my present digs.

Unfortunately, implementing most of the really cool design elements would have been impossible without the the table saw, workbench, drill press and portable tools set up in the basement of my primary residence.
posted by klarck at 10:13 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


ZeusHumms: Also says "back [before the renovation], it was divided into 4 micro-rooms where despite lacking a shower/bathtub, a family had lived for 4 decades."

So he has taken a family dwelling and converted it into a place where one person can live comfortably, if by "comfortably" you mean "close up and store the dining table, bed and desk so you can move a wall when you want to get to your bicycle."

Really, there are lots of good ideas here, but it doesn't address the really major issue that there are huge swaths of city area, even (still) in Manhattan, where it's not worth the investment to pimp out a tiny studio apartment because the neighborhood it's in lacks basic amenities like an affordable, good-quality supermarket or a subway line that's closer than a 15 minute walk away.
posted by La Cieca at 10:16 AM on December 24, 2012


Honestly, it's a cool proof-of- concept for a single adult, but I can't imagine putting a family in there and still having it be comfortable.

This kind of comment is really a mystery. You mean this one 420 sq. ft. apartment doesn't meet the needs of every single person, family and intentional community on earth? Won't someone think of the model railroad enthusiasts, people with large jukebox collections, horse owners who need to stable their horses, people whose mothers-in-law live with them, dialysis patients, ballroom dancers, Newfoundland owners, pool players, art collectors, jam bands and obsessive newspaper hoarders?!

It's an apartment for single adults who want a simple lifestyle. Why not judge it on those terms?
posted by rodii at 10:17 AM on December 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


You'd almost want to pare down the kitchen area even more, you can live quite easily without a dedicated fridge as a single person if you're near a decent market.
posted by The Whelk at 10:19 AM on December 24, 2012


Some interesting design ideas but it still adds up to being a fairly clinical, fussy, conceptual space.
posted by gallois at 10:25 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought it was clever though it makes some assumptions. The first being that you live in a very dense area that has the infrastructure for third spaces such as, libraries, cafes, restaurants and other spaces that life outside of the living space can be carried. So yeah, ten people in your space is a rare occasion but it can be easily outsourced to an eatery nearby and that space is really a holding space for a portion of your life that cannot be outsourced too much such as, sleeping space and toilet needs (you can only rent a hotel room so often and it is cost prohibitive in the long run.)

From the cooking standpoint. He does not cook often. How can I tell? Well, notice the size of the refirig and its contents (drinks) and also there was no serious ventilation for cooking. That kitchen is not made for the cooking of labor intensive items. It was nice to see that he had electrical plugs for heavier equipment but did you see a mixer, food processor or other heavy equipment? Now, I will grant you that the typical Parisian kitchen be small but seriously, people buy their goods from a healthy sized groups of stores dedicated to frequent purchasing and a whole third space culture. Also, people do not like to have kitchen smells permeating their space (no blackened fish for you) so the lack of a serious kitchen ventilation system tells me a lot of the lifestyle.. i.e., modest cooking, reheating and take-away/dining out.

It is still a VERY clever design. But the lifestyle it shows is maximizing the minimal space in a rich infrastructure/network of third space options.
posted by jadepearl at 10:37 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


What is with this aversion to color? All those stupid white rectangles could be different groovy 70s colors or something.

In a space that tiny, colors would actually serve to make the place feel even tinier. White works to visually expand the space.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:38 AM on December 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


rodii: Well, here's the problem. Essentially what we have here is a great solution for a single person who wants a chic address even though he is struggling to get by on only $150K a year.
posted by La Cieca at 10:39 AM on December 24, 2012


Can I be a little bit... unpleasant for just a moment?

Okay.

So yes, it only works for a single person. So what? Lots and lots of people live in cities in places that are not suitable for couples or families. None of his guests are children? Well I'm a grown adult man who lives in a city and has lots of friends and family and I don't think I've ever had a child in my home for more than a few minutes. Not everyone has the same needs, not everyone has the same desires, and not everyone has the same life. Yes, this home has a lot of limitations and restrictions. But that's true of everywhere that you might live. This is one set of choices for one kind of lifestyle. I don't see him saying "This is where you put the kids' room!" to the snickering of parents; I don't see him claiming "...your sewing station can go here" and having sewers roll their eyes. He built a hyper-optimized home for his own lifestyle, as a prototype for a business building other hyper-optimized homes for other people who also live in small spaces in big cities, many of whom have a lot more money than square footage.

It doesn't work for you? So what? I don't look at giant houses in the middle of the woods and bitch about how obviously it wouldn't work for me because I'm an extravert who needs faster internet access and loves public transit.

Sometimes you are not the intended audience. Sometimes a design is very obviously intended for a relatively specific use case, and complaining that it doesn't work outside that use case really isn't productive or useful contribution to the conversation.
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:39 AM on December 24, 2012 [19 favorites]


The thing is, when you live in a tiny space (as I do), even a normal one with a fixed cooking range instead of three portable induction burners, a fixed bed instead of a Murphy bed, etc., you really have to be on top of cleaning, organizing, and getting rid of superfluous stuff at all times because the tiniest bit of mess visually dominates the space. It takes a lot more energy than living in a big house where the dishes can wait a few hours while you watch a movie in the clean living room, or your sewing project can be shut away in the spare bedroom when you're not working on it.

But when you add in all this other stuff--the dining table that needs to be folded away, portable induction burners that need to be stowed, etc.--I think it would quickly become exhausting. Every single activity requires added steps of setting up and breaking down. I think most people would rather be able to do fewer things with greater ease in their living spaces.
posted by HotToddy at 10:43 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, there is not physically room in that kitchen to store, even temporarily, the amount of food needed for dinner for twelve, assuming it involves a typical amount of refrigerables.
posted by HotToddy at 10:44 AM on December 24, 2012


Yeah I'm thinking about the number of apartments I saw in Paris that basically had no kitchen, there was a whole network of frequent, smaller food purchases to sure that up. Kitchen Shops, basically a storefront with an oven and pots used to be pretty common in cities when not everyone had a kitchen, you could bring your own crockery to have i filled or rent one of theirs.
posted by The Whelk at 10:44 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like stuff like this but a lot of the compromises he made struck me as silly. He rejects articles of clothing not because they are useless but because they are not sufficiently useful to be worth the space necessary to store them. That's fine, but the two big tricks, the sleeping four and the table for 10, even when done with purpose built furniture to accomplish the goals with the least space possible require lots of space and significant compromises. Wouldn't he rather be able to store a weeks worth of groceries than to have two uncomfortable house guests sleep over in a pocket? Wouldn't he rather have a comfortable desk chair than be able to throw what would probably be a hypothetical dinner party? It seems to me he's saying "no" to lot's of very conventionally desirable things, in order to say "yes" to two things that are little more than gimmicks.

Once you get rid of the need for a separate-ish guest bedroom you're left something that is fairly accessible (for Manhattan) in the form of some built ins, murphy bed, and some space saving gizmos.
posted by I Foody at 10:45 AM on December 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


I lived for two years in a 140 square foot apartment. When I moved out, I had 40 cartons of books, in addition to what I consider to be a pretty average amount of other stuff. And it was neat and clean, albeit pretty full.

That apartment was sweet. I painted it purple. I could be lying in bed and get a snack out of the fridge without having to get up. I lived across the street from the Museum of Natural History (though my windows did not face that storied edifice; they faced an air shaft).

My current apartment is about 450 square feet. I have both a bed and a couch. I have an oven and a four burner stove. I have two closets. Still, I sometimes miss my old, tiny apartment. Apparently, it now rents for $1600 a month.
posted by decathecting at 10:46 AM on December 24, 2012


I really, really want his dishwasher.
posted by Athene at 10:52 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


> Sometimes you are not the intended audience.

Absolutely, and in this case the audience is rich, single people who can afford to keep two places in Manhattan for a couple of years while one of them is being fixed up.

I think extremely few Mefi-ers are in that demographic - and I also think there's some justifiable resentment towards people who are so relentlessly 1%-oriented as he is in this activity, even though his other pursuits might be worthy.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:00 AM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, got totally squicked out when he got into white fluffy bed with his outdoor clothes on. That's just gross.

That was so revolting to me that I had to stop the video and do something else for a few minutes.
posted by elizardbits at 11:00 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


where can one get that wall unit/bed combo??

I know a guy who could set you up.

On a related note, I look at that apartment and wonder where he could possibly put the table saw such that he could rip an eight foot board in half.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:05 AM on December 24, 2012


and I also think there's some justifiable resentment towards people who are so relentlessly 1%-oriented as he is in this activity

*squints at tiny smidgen of central park you can almost see from the living room window*

resent away!
posted by The Whelk at 11:05 AM on December 24, 2012


The first being that you live in a very dense area that has the infrastructure for third spaces such as, libraries, cafes, restaurants and other spaces that life outside of the living space can be carried.

Jadepearl makes a good point. From what I know of the places in Europe (for instance) where smaller living spaces are the norm, there is also a rich network of places to gather and socialize or spend time outside the home, as well as markets to buy fresh food every day, and, perhaps most importantly, time to do all these things. It's much harder for someone who works 60 hours a week and lives in a place where home is the most appealing hangout and has to shop for groceries once a week, to put up with a teensy living space.

And dude who sleeps in clean sheets in his outdoor clothes (ew ew ew) also doesn't have a pet. My three cats would KILL one another in 400 square feet, or, rather, my Siamese cat would kill her brother and sister and eat them before feasting on my shredded carcass. Even with a single cat, you'd have to really keep on top of the litter box or things would get smelly, fast. (I know the aforementioned Siamese would save her stinkiest turd for the moment my ten guests sat down to dinner in my 400 square foot apartment. THERE IS NO ESCAPE.)
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 11:14 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would get the point that those of us pointing out how the space is really only livable for a certain (single, no kid, affluent) demographic are somehow missing the point, except that the whole video narrative keeps coming back to the preachy suggestion that this is all anybody needs, that anyone who wants more (other than the enormous concession that okay, maybe some people might not like to do without dinner plates or only use sporks), are somehow consumerist hoarders and doomed to be less happy. Some normal human lifestyles (particularly parenting) require more stuff. Not more space - they made it clear (despite the incredulous tone) that a family of four managed to live in the same space happily enough to have stayed there for decades. Stuff is not evil. Gloves serve a purpose, no matter how warm your pockets.

This wasn't a video about look at this cool thing. This was a sales pitch aimed at all city dwellers. Some of whom - I would argue many of whom - aren't buying it, even if we had the money.
posted by Mchelly at 11:19 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought the video was neat, like watching a clever puzzle unfold. And I see I'm not the only one who noted (and approved!) that he wasn't wearing his shoes inside.

I'm interested in the comments above about whether having a space divided into many rooms, or having a big open space makes a dwelling seem larger. I live in a small old house (not much more than 2x this apartment, actually) that is divided up into several small rooms, which makes it seem cramped to me; I often fantasize about knocking down this wall or that to open up the space, but now I am wondering if that would actually be an improvement. Perhaps this is grass-is-greener thinking on my part.

Overall this video just makes me want to re-read the late, great Laurie Colwin's wonderful essay "Alone in the Kitchen With An Eggplant" from Home Cooking. It's about her experience living in a tiny studio apartment (IIRC, about 300 sq ft? Maybe less) in Greenwich Village in the 1960s. She had very little space but really liked to throw dinner parties, and she lovingly describes the improvisations she frequently made in order to cook dinner for her friends and entertain large groups. I liked this guy and his clever apartment, but overall I think I would prefer Laurie Colwin's--hers seemed so warm and full of life.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:22 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm a little puzzled by the apartment size. I live in about 475, and I have a queen bed, a tub, a small fridge that's still about twice the size of what he's displaying, a quite large closet, plenty of space, and two cats. And it's a 1960s-era apartment, so no fancy folding whatevers. It's plenty big enough for me (and could theoretically hold two, if we pared down our belongings - mostly books - enough) and easily accommodates a non-bed-sharing guest. (On the couch! That's what couches are for! If I had a futon or a pullout, I could sleep four no problem.)

This is a great demonstration of a lot of clever little gadgets and tricks, but it's actually not a particularly small apartment and he hasn't done all that much to make it more functional. It looks cleaner and more modern than mine, for sure, but it doesn't actually do anything different. About the only thing that setup does that I physically couldn't without a remodel is put out a dinner table that seated ten. If that's your main goal - and I'm sure for some people, being able to entertain is critical - then well and good, I guess. I'd rather have a bigger bed and a real kitchen and bathroom.
posted by restless_nomad at 11:32 AM on December 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


but now I am wondering if that would actually be an improvement. Perhaps this is grass-is-greener thinking on my part.

I think it depends a lot on what you want but I hate *hate* being able to see the kitchen from basically anywhere in the living room. It means the damned thing has to be in showroom condition or I'm looking at a filthy kitchen all day and sometimes I don't wanna look at the fridge and be reminded just how much of a freaking mess I make when I make pasta.

Plus it's hard to get "away" from things. My work on the table is visible from the other room, you can hear the TV alllll the way on the other end of the apartment and there's no separation of space so the furniture is kind of haphazardly arranged, there's nothing unifying it so there's no sense of scale and it's just a big square room full of THINGS.

gah.
posted by The Whelk at 11:34 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


As someone who spent years in a very spacious feeling 450 sq ft studio with no built ins, but two big closets and a bathtub, I love this! I would probably not even bother with the big table, honestly, but the two bedrooms option is great — that was the most annoying part of studio living. Kitchen, meh, who cooks in New York? People who like trees and cooking live in the suburbs. Clothes, I would need more space, but did you see all those mostly empty closets he had on his bedroom side? You could totally redo the interiors of some of the space for books and clothes. Finally, I bet he doesn't actually close everything all the time.

In conclusion this place is wonderful and the haters confuse me. But feel free to enjoy your hoarder warrens (which is what 450 sq ft full of walls and crap reads as to me).
posted by dame at 11:35 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


...dude who sleeps in clean sheets in his outdoor clothes (ew ew ew)...

So, on a lot of days the nastiest thing to touch my outdoor clothes is me, the same me that I tuck into bed nearly every night. Now I get that sometimes I'm too covered in sawdust or motor oil or God knows what to jump right into bed (because that's the kind of life I lead) but I'm failing to get the revulsion associated with filth one acquires during a busy morning of sitting at a desk somewhere until it's time to show off the digs for the camera.

I mean, I get that it's not good aseptic technique, but it's a bed, not a tissue culture lab.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:36 AM on December 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


Whelk, it's called being clean and putting things away. Even if I do have walls I put things away. Because I can just feel the mess ... stalking me ...
posted by dame at 11:36 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I need the warrens to distract adventurers from finding the pile of gold I'm coiled on top of.
posted by The Whelk at 11:38 AM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, that's fair. I just keep my dragon in the hall.
posted by dame at 11:40 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


as income inequality grows, the rich are going to be able to afford increasingly amazing things built by increasingly impoverished crafts-people.

See also: the pyramids.
posted by incessant at 11:43 AM on December 24, 2012


hurdy gurdy girl! I so completely adore Lori Colwin, and that book (and its sequel). [and RIP Lori, you brought us so much joy.]
posted by taz at 11:50 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm with restless_nomad on this one. My first apartment was 450 square feet. It came furnished, with pretty old stuff and definitely nothing fancy. I was married, so there were two of us living there. Didn't seem difficult, and didn't require special furniture. And if we had straps at the bed feet, they weren't used to hold pillows.

Ah, and that 450 square feet, furnished? $250/month, except in June and July when it was $150/month, in 1992. Came with central air/heat, too. Lots of people live like that. We didn't worry about accommodating dinner parties of 12, though.
posted by Houstonian at 11:51 AM on December 24, 2012


My husband and me, plus our two medium/large dogs, live comfortably in 475 sq ft and we do it with conventional furniture and hardly any renovation. It helps that the layout of my tiny place is very good. We also have communal laundry and every unit gets a walk in closet storage in the furnace room. We use it to store the crazy amount of sporting gear, music equipment, and brewing crap we have. Even with a lot of hobbies that require a lot of junk, our place still feels open and sunny and we can host six people for dinner without feeling cramped. We have it easy, there is a family of four living below us in the exact same layout!
posted by Foam Pants at 12:01 PM on December 24, 2012


http://givegoodgift.ca/resource-furniture-goliath-table/

That table cost C$3800 in 2010. That's Canadian dollars, but still.
posted by erniepan at 12:04 PM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


A few thoughts:

1. This struck me immediately as a commercial for www.faircompanies.com.
2. I would have preferred to go without the movable wall & save that square footage (say 14"x144"?) for the kitchen.
3. I did like the idea of the portable induction hotplate. We recommend those as survival gear to people who live in the home in which we're remodeling their kitchen. It's a clean look when not in use, & the countertop could double as a desk.
4. I would utilize overhead space for a bed - one I didn't have to move things around to get to. It's up & out of view, similar to the it's messy but no one sees it sentiment.
5. A huge part of the claustrophobic feeling is the complete lack of connection to an outside space - even if only an open window to feel a breeze, hear birds, or even traffic from another environment.
6. I did like the solar charging option for the e-station (gadget charging & USB LED light).
7. LOL @ the people upstairs always wearing shoes. So true. I think the people upstairs from us have 2x4 heels on theirs. That, and they rearrange their dining room chairs all day.

I am a huge fan of dropping the size of appliances in kitchens. They are ridiculously big - especially refrigerators. I think we'd be better served to drop down to a 12ish Cubic ft fridge/freezer combo. Less room for food to hide & go bad, more incentive to eat unprocessed, fresh food (no place to store it so you eat what you get that day). How many times do you open the fridge every day looking for something appealing & end up going out anyway?

And yeah - forget guests. Just let it be your sanctuary.

Also, this:
where smaller living spaces are the norm, there is also a rich network of places to gather and socialize or spend time outside the home, as well as markets to buy fresh food every day.

That being said, I live in a building with 49 other condos of various sizes. Each condo has a small storage unit in the basement area. The one thing I dearly wish we had here was a small workshop that anyone could use for projects that almost always come up no matter what size house you live in. Ok and building wide WiFi would be awesome also.
posted by yoga at 12:27 PM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


. . . an amazing, transforming living space than can reasonably sleep four.

I was enthusiastic about the tiny house / space thing at its outset, but Frowner's much-favorited comment and the enthusiasm w/which mainstream design blogs / mags, the NYT etc. have jumped on board have given me pause. More and more, they look like SROs for formerly middle class people that are going to have to get by w/cavernous income inequality.

Where I live in DC, there are thousands of 1000-1500 sq ft rowhouses that formerly housed working and middle class people. Enough space to have a hobby, pets, a family, and to use standard, readily available-furniture while you were doing it. Those same houses are now increasingly, in most cases, well outside the price range of anyone but the rich.

I guess the rest of us can now aspire to an expensive oragami table to cut down on the stress of sharing 400 sq ft with four other people, though.
posted by ryanshepard at 12:49 PM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Which seems to be the unifying thread running through every "tiny dwelling" feature I come across, whether it be on wheels, or a fixed place. I leave with the impression that living in the tiny space is really just a "because I can" fashion option for these people, and not something created out of sheer necessity.

You know, there's families of six who live in dwellings that size. That's not what this guy is doing.

I gotta say, I think it's pretty interesting. There is a lot of stuff going on in that apartment.

That table needs to go into IKEA production stat!
posted by amanda at 12:52 PM on December 24, 2012


...dude who sleeps in clean sheets in his outdoor clothes (ew ew ew)...

So, on a lot of days the nastiest thing to touch my outdoor clothes is ...


This is NYC. It's difficult to go outside without touching stuff that thousands of other people have, some of them not necessarily the most hygienically oriented. You sit on a bus or subway or in a cab with those clothes. I'm sure we've all unknowingly at one time or another sat in a subway seat where someone who was unwilling or unable to give themselves a good cleaning vacated a few stops before.

Imagine the door handle in a men's room, but on your clothes. You don't wanna transfer that to your sheets and be rubbing your face around on it all night while you sleep.
posted by newpotato at 12:54 PM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I lived for two years in a 140 square foot apartment.
...
Apparently, it now rents for $1600 a month.


WTF
posted by juv3nal at 1:13 PM on December 24, 2012


The thing that always gets me is how expensive it really is to live so minimally. I could get rid of so much of my stuff if I wasn't worried about eventually having to re-purchase a replacement later. Thinking: tools, arts/crafts supplies, cooking staples, towels and linens, spare parts for bikes, sports equipment, furniture. The less well off we are, the more we cling to what things we collect. I always get turned off by people with this attitude that you can live so comfortably if you just get rid of almost all your clothes and stuff and just spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on clever storage solutions...
posted by garethspor at 2:03 PM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


But I absolutely couldn't live like that and would end up gibbering in a corner chewing on one of his space-saving sporks if I tried.

Sporks. The one utensil that is completely useless as designed.
You can't even poke someone's eye out with it.

Exactly where does the cat box go?

What will he do with the tchotchke Aunt Reba gives him? It will break her heart if he doesn't keep it and have it on display when she comes visiting to bring him a pot of her homemade kreplach.
posted by BlueHorse at 2:04 PM on December 24, 2012


He probably has a storage closet in the basement, if not a full-on storage unit rented somewhere.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:24 PM on December 24, 2012


I love the tiny houses thing and sometimes I daydream about having a tee-tiny place to nest in. It's not compatible with my current lifestyle (two preschool-aged boys and a 110-pound dog) but I get the appeal.

But when I saw the white bike stored in the guest space, with the white handlebars, the white seat, and the white tires, I thought to myself "this place is mostly a showroom."
posted by ambrosia at 2:27 PM on December 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


garethspor: And yet, despite my lack of enthusiasm for this particular project, I do think it is helpful in addressing couple of NYC-centric problems. People in New York are phobic about moving (they think it's prohibitively expensive) and they also tend to hold on to stuff packrat-style.

To me, the great thing about moving is that it gives you the opportunity to divest yourself of stuff: if you are reasonably sure you're not going to need something in the new place, you can give it away, donate it, sell it, or just junk it as the case may be. And if there's any doubt, you can remind yourself that most anything can be bought again if you really, really need it.

The challenge of moving into a much smaller place with limited storage I think would do a lot of New Yorkers good. forcing them to lose a lot of that junk that's followed them around (or piled up in the hall closet) for all those decades.

Acquiring and (wisely) using a storage unit is also key; to me one of the nicest luxuries of my current home is the storage locker area in the basement. Yes, I still have too much junk, but at least it's not directly underfoot all the time.
posted by La Cieca at 2:43 PM on December 24, 2012


I think what's awesome about this as a proof of concept is that any one or two of the ideas presented could help make any apartment or small home a tad more efficient.

I think this idea is great in the context of NY apartments which are not only small, but so many of them were made small by inefficiently chopping up larger apartments at some point. I've been in so many apartments in Manhattan that were like little tiny MC Escher drawings. And for most young single folks in the city it works, because home is just for changing clothes and drunken one night stands.
posted by billyfleetwood at 3:34 PM on December 24, 2012


Sporks. The one utensil that is completely useless as designed.
You can't even poke someone's eye out with it.


True. It requires more of a scoop and twist.
posted by milarepa at 3:42 PM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Completed in 2012, his LifeEdited apartment doesn’t resemble the cramped space we saw in 2010; back then, it was divided into 4 micro-rooms where despite lacking a shower/bathtub, a family had lived for 4 decades.

So this is a totally foreign concept to me. Where/how would these people have washed?
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 4:03 PM on December 24, 2012


I appreciate some of the neat space-saving ideas presented in the video. The apartment ends up looking a bit too cramped though, and I don't think 400sq ft for a single person needs to look that way, necessarily. For example, this apartment in Taiwan is approximately 300sq ft plus a 160sq ft mezzanine, and it looks spacious, with space-wasting stairs, sofa and queen size bed. Little folding required.

Apartment porn may rank alongside Cute Animals, Food, and Abs one day. I feel its potential.
posted by fatehunter at 4:06 PM on December 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


When he showed the hallway closet my first though was "how the heck does he fit a parka in there? Or proper winter boots.". But that might be because I am felling very cold today.

Back in 2000, my husband, child and I lived in a much smaller apartment in Toronto. It was on the third floor with steep (not to code) stairs and the toddler was heavy so we were mostly homebodies, staying in to listen to my hubby's enormous vinyl collection or read books together. My daughter was in cloth nappies and I could only afford ten nappies so I carried those sodden nappies and the toddler to the laundromat every day after work down that neck-breaking staircase. It was a thousand dollars a month and over fifteen minutes to the subway and we considered ourselves lucky to get it over the forty other people that applied for it. We definately couldn't have dinner parties though, for one thing we could only fit one chair in the apartment. And although we could have one guest over sitting on the floor, at two guests we literally ran out of floor space even with the toddler in someone's lap.

We moved into a place twice the size a while ago (and doubled our family size too) unfortunately the amount of "stuff" my husband and his parents store at our house kills any of the useful hacks I have come up with. Having to constantly shift things around because they do not a have a "home" ends up taking up a lot of psychic energy. I think having more than one person in such a small space means you either have a mind-meld about what is materially and temporally important or else there is a lot of careful negotiation on a daily basis.
posted by saucysault at 4:17 PM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I knew I had seen something like this before
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:17 PM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm failing to get the revulsion associated with filth one acquires during a busy morning of sitting at a desk somewhere until it's time to show off the digs for the camera

On days in NYC where I am forced to take multiple subways to places by cruel brooklynites, when I come home and wash my hands and face, the water in the sink is brownish gray. I don't want to marinate in the filth of 7 million people when I'm in bed at night, sorry if that's just crazy talk to you I guess.
posted by elizardbits at 4:18 PM on December 24, 2012


HA YES I was looking for that post and failed to find it.
posted by elizardbits at 4:18 PM on December 24, 2012


Where/how would these people have washed?

With water from the sink, and likely washing hair in the kitchen sink, I assume. It isn't very common to see things like manual fill tin tubs these days, but they were commonplace enough through the 1930s and 40s.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:20 PM on December 24, 2012


Yeah I can do a mean sink wash if I have enough time and have recently stretched.
posted by The Whelk at 4:43 PM on December 24, 2012


I don't think you could have a pet in that apartment. Cats like to hide, and need to spend at least some time apart from you. Even sociable dogs like to have a crate or nest that's their sanctuary. There's just no room for a dedicated animal space there.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:56 PM on December 24, 2012



I live in what would be considered a small detached house. Not as small as this apartment but right now the main living area is around 500 square feet with a bedroom up a ladder like stair that was once a loft which adds around another 150 square feet.

There is the future ability to add another 500 quare feet downstairs if the basement is finished but for now it just holds a washer and dryer and is mostly a dumping ground for junk and reno materials. When that happens it will feel like I've moved into a mansion.

There's two of us living here and it's been fun spending the past four years slowly making it's use of space more efficient. I spend a lot of time getting ideas from small space design. There are a few things from this video I may use.

When I'm feeling cramped though all I have to do is take a look at the history of the house. I have a photograph of the house from 1876 with the family that lived in it in the front. From the outside it looks exactly the same with the exception of a few windows being added. There is also no real basement as the house was raised up onto a proper foundation around 20 years ago.

How many people lived in the house then? Twelve! Mother, Father, Grandma and nine kids. It boggles my mind trying to imagine them all living in this space. It really helps put things into perspective.

My Mom and Dad's house is currently like this. They moved from relatively spacious suburan home to the family farm house that's been in the family for 5 generations. It's small as it is and originally was half the size. At one time 13 people lived there as my Great, great grandparents had to take the kids of Grandpas brother when their Mom and Dad died of small pox on the voyage from Scotland.

I would expect these people from the past would have had no problem shoving multiple people into this style of apartment and think they had hit a jackpot in luxary living.
posted by Jalliah at 5:02 PM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


fatehunter: "...For example, this apartment in Taiwan is approximately 300sq ft plus a 160sq ft mezzanine, and it looks spacious, with space-wasting stairs, sofa and queen size bed. Little folding required."

That looks quite nice. But the kitchen (the one room they don't show in detail) seems rather small. And it would be nice to have a room for storing food, linen, or whatever spare stuff one might have. Maybe 500 square feet to make it perfect.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:20 PM on December 24, 2012


1. That Taiwan apartment - what is the room underneath the mezzanine? Is that a kid's room, or an office?

2. There was an article I really liked in the NYT a couple of weeks ago about a family downsizing from a McMansion to a reasonably-sized house: "We were heating and cooling this huge house, it took a lot of physical and emotional energy to maintain it, and we were not living in that space."
posted by Flashman at 6:47 PM on December 24, 2012


Flashman, that link doesn't work.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 6:52 PM on December 24, 2012


That looks quite nice. But the kitchen (the one room they don't show in detail) seems rather small.

Good catch. The urban workers in Taiwan tend to eat out and take out more than they cook, a lot more for the younger crowd. You can buy cheap microwave meals of decent quality at 24/7 convenience stores located every corner at every block. The 'lifestyle' is not for everyone though, even among singles.

That Taiwan apartment - what is the room underneath the mezzanine? Is that a kid's room, or an office?

It's a room for any purpose - play space, study, or guest room. That's one of the reasons the apartment stood out to me: the design allows for an entire room that doesn't have a fixed function. Compared to the super efficient design in the OP link with multiple functions compressed into every corner, the Taiwanese apartment feels less cramped. You have space to waste!
posted by fatehunter at 7:02 PM on December 24, 2012


Flashman, that link doesn't work.
O le tabarnac, it doesn't! (I am drinking again) (Thanks)
Take 2: "we were heating and cooling this huge house, it took a lot of physical and emotional energy to maintain it, and we were not living in that space."

posted by Flashman at 7:14 PM on December 24, 2012


That "office chair" would necessitate my wearing a summon-help pendant.
posted by wallabear at 7:32 PM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Flashman: "That Taiwan apartment - what is the room underneath the mezzanine? Is that a kid's room, or an office?"

Hard to tell, but the floor almost looks like tatami, which would dictate some uses. It also has its own air conditioner vent, so perhaps a 'cool room'.

The apartment I lived in in Taiwan was about half that size, nowhere near as comfortable... but it was a true 套房, with a bathroom. No kitchen, because as fatehunter said, it's really easy to find affordable food in Taiwan within walking distance, pretty much any time of day.
posted by jiawen at 8:02 PM on December 24, 2012


I enjoy reading the Tiny House Blog and one aspect that is intriguing is how many people build their tiny cabin in the wilderness with very little attention to space-saving built-ins. There's a kitchen along one wall and a bed in one corner and a big table in the middle.

A lot of these issues have been addressed in sailboat designs. I've lived aboard a few boats and an old Tayana 37' was my favorite interior.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:09 PM on December 24, 2012


This is neat and all, but as far as I'm concerned this is a problem that has already been solved many, many times over and at much less expense (and with no custom expensive difficult-to-repair-or-modify carpentry). This is what people who actually live in tiny apartments out of necessity rather than choice do:

You get a futon couch, a small table, and a couple of chairs. The futon couch is also your bed, the table is also your desk and your entertainment center. You have a small galley kitchen or maybe just a mini fridge, microwave, and hot plate. You do your dishes in the sink, by hand. You have a tiny bathroom with a shower, sink, and toilet. If you have friends over for the night, you push the table against a wall and they sleep on the floor on top of like some blankets or maybe an inflatable bed. As far as storage space, you might have a closet and a few cabinets but once you've filled those you get maybe like a chest of drawers or a trunk or honestly just like some milk crates will work fine. You usually have a bookshelf somewhere too.

That's really all there is to it. No custom joinery or solar panels or cabinets full of induction burners or electronic composters or weird toilet benches or moving walls or collapsible furniture required. Sure it gets cluttered, but tell me that prototype apartment wouldn't also unless the person living it was obsessively devoted to ascetic efficiency. And yeah there's a lack of privacy and you can't host a comfortable dinner for 10 around your table, but a couple of curtains is never going to be the same as a door anyway and I dare you to tell me with a straight face that ten people could comfortably have a dinner party in that prototype apartment, fancy table or no.

Poor people have solved this problem long ago and with much greater efficiency in terms of actual cost and effort and "scalability" than rich people have managed to do despite hundreds of these tiny prototype apartments. Making a tiny apartment livable is more about things like good windows, good insulation, nice paint, cabinets and doors and plumbing that work properly, things like that.

Also, frankly, living successfully in a tiny apartment is about being single. A tiny apartment can work great for one person living by themselves who can optimize things to suit whatever works best for them. Putting two people in one though, even two people who are very close, gets claustrophobic fast -- two people's worth of books and clothes and electronics and dishes and all that will overfill a tiny apartment no matter how hard you try to be minimal and neat, and all those little personal quirks that inevitably make living with another person a bit of an ongoing challenge at the best of times (despite all the wonderful stuff that comes with living with a partner, of course) just become magnified into Huge Fucking Deals when you are constantly all up in each others' faces.

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that while I think all these tiny demo apartments are interesting and it would be cool to have some of the things that this apartment has (MDF walls with integrated storage? Yes, please!) I always feel like they are kind of solving a problem that has already been solved better. If you're rich, you don't need to live in a tiny apartment. If you're too poor to live in anything bigger then this kind of stuff isn't for you anyway because it's crazy pricy to do. These kind of tiny ultra-apartments are really just for young, rich, single lifestyle nerds who want to live a "minimalist" lifestyle without sacrificing any of the luxuries that come with wealth. It's a cool project from a technical standpoint, but it's not really helping anything or solving any problems that haven't been solved, and it's not really creating any innovations that are likely to see widespread adoption anytime soon.
posted by Scientist at 10:07 PM on December 24, 2012 [13 favorites]


Several comments: outdoor clothes

Is this a thing? I can understand taking off shoes inside, but do people really change their clothes when they get home? I thought that sort of thing ended with the Edwardian era.
posted by stopgap at 10:18 PM on December 24, 2012


I love that this is like a little bento box living space, but I, too, am puzzled by needing such a transformation to make 425 sq feet "liveable." I lived in an absolutely adorable 425 sq ft 1 bedroom in an art deco building in Vancouver in the 90s, and I had a bedroom, full bath, living/dining room, fireplace, bootbox and TWO walk-in closets. The sofabed in the living room accommodated out of town guests all the time. I even had two hallways, one of which was lined with bookshelves housing 500+ books. The previous tenants used one of the closets as an office, but I used it to store champagne.
posted by looli at 10:19 PM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Is this a thing? I can understand taking off shoes inside, but do people really change their clothes when they get home? I thought that sort of thing ended with the Edwardian era.

I do, as do most people I know. At home I cook and clean and do crafts and garden. I don't want to ruin my nice clothing with grease, dirt, oil, soil, etc. Plus, who wants to stay in a bra when you're at home?
posted by SuzySmith at 12:52 AM on December 25, 2012


I don't want to marinate in the filth of 7 million people when I'm in bed at night, sorry if that's just crazy talk to you I guess.

Well, to be fair, this whole thing kind of posits NYC as being sort of half way between Oryx and Crake and Major Matt Mason, which is different from the way I've always pictured it. So, yeah, it does seem a little crazy.

To be fair, not nearly as crazy as the price on that table, though.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 1:20 AM on December 25, 2012


I think our apartment is about 500 square feet and we do okay with a toddler and all of his stuff. I have seen lots of apartments smaller than this, actually, with 3 or 4 people in them relatively comfortably, with one or two working from home, even. I'm not even trying to brag. It's just that this guy seems to think he has DISCOVERED! SMALL! SPACES! and honestly he's not doing anything other people haven't been doing for a long, long time, although much of it is high-end and attractive.

A folding table or a table that expands: everywhere since hinges were discovered
Beds that disappear when you're not using them: futons, Murphy beds, cots, trundles
Moving walls: screens, curtains
Desks that fold up when you're not using them: everywhere since hinges were discovered
Window seats: everywhere forever
Toilets you can sit on: every toilet with a lid
Glass shower doors: everywhere since glass could be made in big sheets
Sporks: lol
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:51 AM on December 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


I was with him until I saw that the bike was stored behind the moving wall in a small closet. Bikes have to be easily accessible to me, as they are being used just about every day. I live in a small one-bedroom (~400 sq ft) with my boyfriend and two cats and four bikes. There is a king size bed, a sofa, two desks, a full size kitchen, two closets, one of which is a walk-in, and a bathroom with a tub. And I haven't done nearly enough to maximize the space.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:23 AM on December 25, 2012


Funny thing, if I ever have wishful daydreams about being young, single, and living in a small apartment, it looks nothing like that, and a lot more like this.
posted by Catch at 7:04 AM on December 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


Umm, I'm confused about why his shoe cubbies are vertical. I figured shoe cubbies should always horizontal for various reasons, including not needing a moving lid.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:26 AM on December 25, 2012


I'd detest that tiny ass desk even if he used a reasonable office chair. You need a large horizontal surface that doesn't require cleaning off every day. You might fold the bed down on top of a desk for regular usage, still leaving some couch space beside it, but clean off and fold away the desk for extra couch space or dinner parties.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:42 AM on December 25, 2012


I'm pretty sure that dining table is here - possibly the Mito or Mister model. I searched for "telescoping dinner table".
posted by starvingartist at 1:01 PM on December 25, 2012


A Vanke 160-square-foot model apartment - "China's largest property developer, China Vanke, is unveiling new 160-square foot micro-homes at their facility in Dongguan."
Even as China's economy slows from efforts to fight a bubble in high-end housing, waiting in the wings with potential to revive growth is a different housing market: the low end.

Some 50 million of China's 230 million urban households live in substandard quarters often lacking their own toilet and kitchen, research firm Dragonomics estimates. The firm figures China will need to build 10 million apartments a year until 2030.

A model apartment on display in Dongguan, a factory town in southeast China, gives an idea what some of these could be like.

At the research center of China's largest property developer, China Vanke, is an apartment that measures 160 square feet, about the size of a parking space. The bed folds to make seating. The shower is a vertical tube by the front door.

At a price of about 835 yuan ($133) a square foot, an apartment that size is relatively affordable at the yuan equivalent of $21,500, which is around six times per-capita disposable income for China's urban residents. By contrast, the larger apartments that have been the traditional focus of China's developers could cost as much as 40 years' income.
giving new meaning to your 'iPad'...
posted by kliuless at 11:41 PM on December 26, 2012


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