Small Spaces

Three small-space tricks we learned from touring the much-hyped micro-apartments at Carmel Place

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Whether inspired by tiny houses or Marie Kondo's compassionate purging, streamlined, small space living seemed to be all the rage last year. And with the unveiling of a sample apartment at the much-hyped Carmel Place (formerly My Micro NY)—the micro-apartment development currently being built in Kips Bay—the trend shows no signs of stopping.

We stopped in at Carmel Place to see how the pros plan to make life in a super-tiny apartment livable. “We wanted to show that small space living doesn’t have to be a sacrifice to quality of life," says Chris Bledsoe, co-founder of Stage 3 Properties LLC, the company handling the building's "design and lifestyle" services.

The building will be packed with amenities—weekly visits from a butler service, access to activities and common areas at other buildings in the Ollie network—to sweeten the deal, but clever design tricks also help max out apartments that measure just 260 to 360 square feet. Here, three ideas we want to steal for our own apartments:

GO VERTICAL: The apartments at Carmel Place were specifically designed to have higher-than-average ceilings, both to mitigate any sense of claustrophobia, and to create extra room for storage. "We went for higher ceilings to bring more light in, and to take advantage of the full volume of the space by having overhead storage," Bledsoe tells us. Even if your ceilings aren't especially tall, the lesson here still sticks: With the right shelving, any overhead space (above door frames, couches, etc.) can be re-purposed as a storage opportunity.

MAKE CLOSETS PULL DOUBLE DUTY: Possibly our favorite feature in an apartment full of gadgets was the pull-down closet rod in one of the cabinets, which allows your clothes to jut out further for easy access, and positions clothes higher up than they otherwise would be, creating extra room for storage underneath. This setup also has the advantage of turning any sizeable cabinet into potential new closet space:

FOLD ALL YOUR FURNITURE: The couches in Carmel Place apartments tidily unfold into beds (see below). But actually, virtually all the furniture in the apartments has some kind of second (or third, or fourth) function. To wit: The coffee table can also fold up and out into a TV tray, a desk, or even a full-sized dinner table; the desk expands out into the size of a dining table, with extra leaves and compact folding chairs stored in the hall closet in case you decide to have a dinner party. (Bledsoe says that many of the building's multi-tasking pieces were sourced from Resource Furniture.) Maybe it's time we started expecting more of our one-trick-pony furniture?

Related:

Live large in a small space: how to divide a studio apartment

How to conquer a no-storage studio, and other small-space decorating tips

Could you handle living in a micro apartment? This UWS studio might change your mind

Should NYC adopt backyard "DADU" houses, the ultra-cute solution to overcrowding

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