Home is a closet-size, 78-square-foot apartment

Young architect finds a tiny Manhattan bargain, at $800 a month. No bath, no kitchen? No problem.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Aug 4, 2011 10:43AM

Screen grab from Stupidvideos.comPeople in New York have to live in smaller spaces than do most of the rest of us. They know that.


But 78 square feet?

Architect Luke Clark Tyler is living in what is a small apartment even for Manhattan: a 78-square-foot pad furnished with a sofa bed, desk and miniature refrigerator in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood.


For this, he pays $800 a month, enough for a mortgage payment on a three-bedroom house in some cities, but a bargain in New York City.


A conventional studio apartment in that neighborhood goes for about $1,600, and Tyler says he would rather spend that extra $800 a month elsewhere. His previous apartment was 96 square feet.

"Between this place and my last place I was living in Kenya in a place half the size of this, and it was made of mud," Tyler, 28, says in a video tour of his closet-size apartment. "So I don't have a kitchen. I'm five minutes from a lot of activities that I do."

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One reason that the apartment can be so small is that it has no bathroom. Those facilities are shared with the occupants of three other similar apartments in the building. But Tyler says he misses having a kitchen more than he misses a private bath. He points out that he grew up in a family home with only one bath.

Tyler's "Midtown mansion," as he calls it, also has a closet, where he stores his clothes, toiletries and microwave. Winter clothes and tools are under the sofa bed he constructed of plywood and 2-by-4s. He also built the desk, which he uses as a home office, since he works from home.

"The smaller the space you have, the more critical it is to be efficient with how you use it, and especially how you furnish it," he says.


He entered his abode in Apartment Therapy's contest for the best small spaces, but he was beaten in the Teeny Tiny category by an apartment, also in Manhattan, five times the size of his.


Could you live in 78 square feet?

Sep 3, 2011 9:34AM

Mr. Tyler has made a choice to sacrifice comfort and space for the convenience of living in downtown. It isn't a choice that I would make. But then, I admit to being very territorial; that, and I have a deep need for my own space and comfort.


Though, when I was younger, I might have followed Mr. Tyler's example.Martini glass

Sep 3, 2011 6:49AM
Bless his heart! I love this guy! He's resourceful, thrifty, optimistic, humble and unspoiled. He has a bright outlook on life, has his priorities in order and is well-educated. All the people who are critical of him need to shut up and learn a few things from him. I wish our country had more people like him!  
Sep 3, 2011 6:29AM

All of the personal attacks on this guy, he is not an idiot or a moron, in fact he's quite resourceful. To everyone bragging about your living space, that you have a 12 bedroom house that you bought 35 years ago in Detroit or in a cornfield somewhere for less than what he pays, hey congratulations. He is in Hells Kitchen, one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the country, in a beautiful brownstone on a beautiful street (watch the video). It is Manhattan, you know, there is plenty to do within a few blocks, he need not be a prisoner to his home. His bathroom (also very nice) is one step from his door. And yes, I could live there, albeit for a limited time, few years at most. But think of how he's saving big $$'s in the time he's there, so more power to him. Not everyone feels the need to be bogged down by possessions or have a 3 car garage.


To the poster wondering where his books are, this is the age of Kindles, iPhones, and laptops. No need for clutter if you don't want it. The only thing he is missing is a TV. That is the one thing he doesn't have that couldn't live without.

Sep 3, 2011 5:35AM
I see it this way there are Native Americans, Black Americans and White Americans and  then there are the rest.....Generic Americans , the ones who want to change our culture into their culture, I live in fla (rico) where if you dont speak spanish you are denied some jobs, and the stores where I shop, i.e. auto parts stores and resturants , the white and black guys that use to work there have been replaced with hispanics, where did the former employees go? I  know it is not only Fla. either I was in Charlotte N.C. and went in a thrift store and it was like I was in Mexico city. What happened to the America I grew up in?
Sep 3, 2011 5:22AM

I guess it is like being in a jail cell, feel sorry for this guy I couldnt do it, and the people that ask 800 a month for this should be horse whipped. I would move out of N.Y. there are a lot of other nicer places and cheaper to.


Sep 3, 2011 4:56AM
Only in New York. Renting this space for any other reason than storage would be illegal in any other city. What a moron.
Sep 3, 2011 4:39AM
I have friends who live in NY, in Queens and Manhattan.  and they rent a basement, (though a nice one) for 1000 a month.  They have a hard time with phone reception so they use Skype on their internet connection for a phone.  I personally could not live in 78 square feet, nor a basement if it wasnt at least a walk-out. Here in Michigan, I pay 560 a month (metro detroit northern suburbs) and I have a 1200 living space (living room, dining room, huge kitchen, 2 bedrooms) and the same space in my walk-out basement. not to mention plenty of closet space.  I had a slumlord landlord, so we (hubby and I ) fixed up our place. Painting, drywall repair (we love remodeling and are former home owners) crown molding, etc.  Our slum landlord lost the building and now we have property management co.  The manager loves what we have done with our home and with our new contract increased our rent only five dollars.  New carpet is next!  I guess a long story  a little shorter, I is a scary rental market, rent is sky high.  So take care of your place, get permission to make inmprovements, pay your rent on time and maybe you can stay in a decent place you can afford AND call it home.  This, I believe, is the new American reality.
Sep 2, 2011 11:33PM
There are laws some places where there has to be so many square feet per person living in a house or apartment. I think landlords, some are Chinese and other foreigners, are busting those laws, and guys like this are helping them. This is actually more room then in Japan where one just slips into a space for just a bed. I bought my home, a small three bed, one bath, 1500 square feet, in 1967 for $17,500. This guy will pay that in one year. God bless my home. Houses on my street sold for around $500,000-$700,000 before the crash. I held tight.
Sep 2, 2011 11:07PM
Where I live this would be called a bedsitting room - it wouldn't be graced with the title apartment!  Also I don't understand, some posters say it doesn't meet the NYC building codes - in that case why was a competition accepting entries from buildings that broke the rules!

Sep 2, 2011 10:51PM

welp my Kitchen is larger and so is my dining area and even my bathroom is larger and the two bedrooms are atleast twice that size each I think the laundry room is even larger than that

and i get all that for 630.00 a month oh and yes its in the USA near a Large University Smile with front and back yards fully walled and a nice little driveway aswell

Aug 7, 2011 9:52AM
I think the question was "Could you live in 78 square feet?"  MY answer to the question is "no."  I have to have a bathtub for medical reasons, so it's not feasible for me to live under his circumstances.  How he chooses to live is his choice and if he's happy with no kitchen and no bathroom, the more power to him.  I agree that landlords who do this should be ashamed of themselves, but that wasn't the question.
Aug 5, 2011 6:31AM

What about a bathroom?

What would he have paid if he had a bathroom?

Aug 4, 2011 10:39PM
People are fools and idiots and led by the nose to the slaughter. How stupid can people get? He's paying $800 to live in a storage closet. The more people have and the more intelligent you think you are, the more stupid you act. I hope his rent is raised next month to $1000.00! Let him pay that. He thinks he has a bargain!
Aug 4, 2011 9:56PM
I guess there's an upside after all to not owning books: the living space one saves.  I didn't see a single book in that young man's "apartment", and I suspect he isn't unusual in that respect.  Being a heavy reader, from a generation that saw (and still sees) a certain value in growing a private library, I couldn't handle living in that small an area.  Better to be without a toilet than to be without room for my books.
Aug 4, 2011 9:52PM
And for all the comments on migrant workers..... They can stay home! I already have toooooo many of these drug smugglin @ss wipes tryin to pack drugs across my backyard. You think they want real legal jobs? Wrong! They want our money, and they want you lefty's to steal it from my sweat and hard work to hand it to em. Oh wait..... You already are! The whole time, your smokin the drugs they are carting through my back yard. So between them breaking in my house and stealing from me, and you stealing from me via uncle Sammy, I am feelin pretty poor on your liberal views!!!!
Aug 4, 2011 9:46PM
Lostinspace1927...... Get a grip! Thos living in NY and other populated areas choose to. Us cowboys livin in remote areas choose to. And come try and off this cowboy in my area of country and see who gets off'd! My closest neighbor is and hours drive, and I want to keep it that way. So don't invite the maggots to my backwoods barbeque!
Aug 4, 2011 8:29PM
as long as people like him are willing to pay ridiculous prices to live in someone's closet landlords will continue to get away with ripping off the public ! thanks for adding to the problem of the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer .
Aug 4, 2011 8:04PM
This is just plain ridiculous . No human should subject their selves to such conditions. Even prisoners get more sq footage than this. Where I come from landlords are required to provide basic necessities  such as hot and cold potable running water inside the apt. Maybe they dont have those laws in NY, but at $800 a mth, they should. I just want to know why ppl accept this. You want to save money go by a used camper van and live in some parking lot.
Aug 4, 2011 7:48PM

A number of comments here criticize this man for his choices and go so far as to call him a tool. Considering that more than 90% of the world lives without a private bathroom or even running water, I can't help but wonder who the actual tools are.  Telling him to "grow up" and get a bigger place is about as un-grown up as one can get, as the rest of us "grown ups" recognize that different people choose different lifestyles, and only the truly immature or naive expect everyone to live the same way they do.


I feel like I would be unhappy in this apartment, but if he is content, then more power to him. And if a girl dumped him because of the size of his space, then she's clearly not worth it anyways.


(Yes, he could move out of NYC. Yes, it's expensive. It's also a choice. People in NYC are well aware that they COULD go get cheap rent living in a small town in rural Colorado, Arkansas, Kansas, or many other places. And yet they stay. Perhaps it's because...shock!...they like it!)

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