How Small Would You Live? Making Room in NYC

How big is your current home?  How small do you think you could live?

My local NBC affiliate picked this piece up from WNBC last night and I had to share it. Last July, NYC major Michael Bloomburg announced a competition to design "micro-housing" called adAPT. Construction on the winning design will begin in Kipps Bay later this year.

A legal apartment in New York is 400 square feet. These micro-houses are 250-370 square feet and aren't legal, but per the reporter, that will be changed. The Museum of the City of New York has a demo of a unit on display right now and this WNYC reporter toured it:

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Here are some still shots from the demo unit. In the living space, a murphy bed comes out of the wall over the sofa and the TV wall slides open to reveal more storage.  The orange boxes on the right after filing cabinets and next to them is a desk that swings down from the storage unit.  More seating is nested inside the ottomon.

There's a small closet with a bar that swings down to a comfortable height.  The kitchen has a folding table that rolls out of the way.

The bathroom would be considered a nice one for almost any size apartment.

Want to see more?  Check out these pictures of the demo with people in it and this article about the adAPT competition. This article also shows some micro-housing in other cities.

Here's a fantastic (and long) piece about housing in NYC an why the "Making Room" exhibit is important.

How small would you go?

All photos by John Halpern


  1. I love looking at tiny spaces, too. I see living small as helping us make sure what we collect/consume is really worth it. There's no buying "stuff" that isn't meaningful because there's no room for it.

    There are times when I want some of the things that come with having a home, but I don't want to sacrifice the time (or the time with my husband) to maintain it sometimes. We kind of like the whole condo deal. :)

  2. I think this is a really interesting idea. I love seeing such efficient use of space. I wouldn't mind living "smaller" but right now our 1 bed, 1 bath home (I forget the exact specs but it's smaller than 1,000 sq. feet) feels as though it's bursting at the seams, and that's not including the exterior, underground basement with our storage or any kids and/or pets. I love seeing how other people do it and what some better organizational tips may be!

  3. We live in Manhattan. Waaaay up town because we can't afford to live in midtown. I'd love to see a rehab project in older neighborhoods. Or rent control, though I don't know exactly how that works since we are still new here.

  4. I love this idea. Chicago must not have a minimum size because my old studio in Chicago was 164 square feet. It worked perfectly for me. Now I live with my husband in his 750 square foot, one-bedroom condo. It's plenty of space for us. I think a functional home has more to do with layout than square footage, and these look amazingly functional with the stowaway furniture.

  5. Excellent point, though I'm not an expert on what Mayor Bloomberg has been up to.

    The last link I posted, to the long article, talks about the cost of housing in NYC and touches on what middle class (and working class) people have had to deal with over the years.

    I think we've all seen super slick, small apartments (I have another one to share tomorrow), but these special built-ins and moving parts aren't common or affordable for people in housing that's already built.

  6. I saw this on the Today show and it makes me equally amazed and annoyed. I understand we need more apts here in NY, but Bloomberg needs to focus more on regulating the insane cost of rent in this city on normal-sized apartments. It's the families and couples looking to have kids that suffer in this city, not the single people looking for a closet to sleep in (literally, sometimes). Still... amazing what people can build in 400 sq feet.

  7. As I've said a few times on my blog, we're in 785 sq. feet. I'd love a guest room and maybe a little yard, but I love living small. I don't feel burdened by chores and we spend a lot of time together. :)

  8. We live in 1000 square feet and I'm happy here. We have enough room for guests, but not enough room for guests to stay for weeks on end. We have a small yard that lets us have people over, but it doesn't require us to hire someone to mow and it takes my husband about an hour to do the weekly clean up out there.

    I couldn't live in 250 square feet, but I think the furniture they used is novel and interesting.

  9. I just saw this on The Today Show! It didn't look as small as it sounds. The hosts thought it was a good sized space!


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