420-square-foot apartment has 7 rooms

Manhattan apartment changes into what is needed at the time, whether it is space to throw a dinner party for 12 or a room for overnight guests.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Oct 9, 2012 1:12PM

Credit: Courtesy of Lifeedited.comWe always like to look at the creative ways designers and architects have devised to make small spaces appear larger, even though most of the "Transformers"-like gadgets are not in the budgets of those who inhabit tiny apartments.


Still, we can all pick up a few tips from their creative approaches to small-space design. We recently saw photos in Curbed of the LifeEdited apartment — a 420-square-foot apartment with seven rooms. It can accommodate two overnight guests or a dinner party of 12.


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The seven rooms don't all exist at the same time, but they can be created with a moveable wall and furniture that disappear into the walls when not in use. You can see the rooms appear and disappear in this video.


The LifeEdited apartment was commissioned by Graham Hill, founder of TreeHugger, who bought a 420-square-foot studio apartment in Manhattan in 2009 for $287,000. He created a contest for designers to redo his apartment in 2010. The winners were Catalin Sandu and Adrian Iancu, Romanian architecture students, and their plan for a studio apartment that can be changed into the kind of room that is needed at the time. Renovations were completed earlier this year.

Some features of the apartment are common to many small-space designs: a Murphy bed that disappears into the wall during the day, a fold-down work desk and storage inside the sofa. The leaves that make the table large enough for the dinner party and the 12 stackable chairs live inside the moveable wall when they’re not in use. The base of the table lives inside a portable island. Equipment to create a home theater disappears into opposite walls.

A moveable wall that divides the living room into two bedrooms at night is a clever way to make the most of a small apartment. The kitchen is also unusual, with no stove or refrigerator. The refrigerator is two drawers, and the induction burners come out of a drawer and onto the counter when it's time to cook.

The renovations cost about $365,000, including $50,000 paid to ensure quick work. Hill says that he knows his space-saving designs are too expensive for the average person, and he would like to see the same innovation for less money. The moving wall, for example, cost $4,850.


"How can we build a cost-efficient wall that's safe and works well?" he said in an interview with The New York Times. "It's all too expensive, but it's also a lab. I'm used to that with TreeHugger. We had expensive stuff at the beginning. There's a role, and a good role I think, to be played by early adopters and people with money. Which helps get things out there, and gets the volume up so prices can come down."

Jan 25, 2013 9:52PM
Jan 25, 2013 5:59PM
Closets! They will have buildings over maximum capacity and other code and building violations. Unless they build new buildings. Otherwise they will have to ignore building codes and safety regulations. Bloomberg has no problem rewriting laws and deciding what is best for all.  
Jan 25, 2013 5:32PM
Hell No. The city is already crowded enough...
Nov 30, 2012 1:45PM
Great story, great ideas.  But I don't have a designers eye for imaging these apartments. Where have all the pictures gone?
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