'Making Room' in New York City
One of my favorite things to look for are Tame Spaces in the city. So, I went to see Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers, an exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York that showcases innovative design solutions for small spaces. It's on view until September 15 and I highly recommend it.
When I entered the model of the winning micro-studio apartment, I found... a crowd! Seated on the couch were a family watching a short video demonstrating all the transformable aspects of the space. Hmm.
Instead of crowding into the 325 sq. ft. model, I stepped back into the general exhibit to watch a wonderful video of a home in Japan that was designed to maximize living quarters for a single man and his recording studio.
Once the model cleared out, I took a turn and found it to be a very well designed, small space with plenty of room for relaxing, entertaining, working and sleeping. The central open space and walking areas were left open, as if everything (table, chairs, bed and work desk) were put away. This contributed to a great feeling of spaciousness.
There was a shocking amount of counter space in the L shaped kitchen, considering most of the counter spaces I've seen in New York City apartments. The bathroom was also quite spacious and serene.
Wall shelving was plentiful and, assuming there was good natural light, the model would make for a delightful living experience. I would have longed for such a home in all the years I lived in the city as a single gal.
Now, the only thing I wondered about (because it can't be considered a real criticism) is that one has to be quite able bodied to live in the unit. You need to be fit in order to reach the clothing area or pull the table out and unfold it. You definitely need some strength to pull the bed out of the wall. Perhaps if these functions could be automated, those who are not strong enough or disabled could still live here.
Also, with normal wear and tear, how much maintenance would be required to maintain these transformable desks, beds and dining tables? Since they were designed by Italian furniture maker Resource Furniture, wouldn't it be costly to make repairs if something went wrong with the gears that held the bed up? I saw the company's booth at the recent Architectural Digest Home Design Show and was floored by the possibilities. They had a gorgeous modern couch that transformed into a bunk bed!
The price for such amazing ingenuity: $8,000.
Still, many New Yorkers clustered around the demonstration. I knew they were New Yorkers because only we (the space deprived) would be fascinated with such a thing. The rest of the country has spacious extra bedrooms with real furniture. Or at the very least, room for a queen size aero bed for guests.
All in all, a lovely, flexible and streamlined space perfectly accommodating to the single person living alone in the city.