Neighborhood Intel

Two adults in 242 square feet? Here's how one couple does it

By Leigh Kamping-Carder  | September 4, 2014 - 9:59AM

We never tire of peeking behind closed doors—​especially when those doors conceal teeny-tiny apartments that somehow work for their inhabitants. Not surprising, then, that we were smitten with this 242-square-foot studio in the West Village, documented over at Curbed NY, that manages to be quaint and functional at the same time.

Owner Jourdan Lawlor bought the ground-floor digs for less than $300,000 in 2011, about three weeks before she met her now fiance, Tobin Ludwig. After they’d been dating for nine months, the pair embarked on a $20,000 renovation, and he moved into what they now call the “Wee Cottage”a pretty good example of how you can make small-space living bearable. Here are the tips we gleaned:

Throw out your stuff: If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: the key to living in a little place is to get rid of anything and everything you don’t need. "We both culled things we accumulated that we had been hauling from place to place because we could,” Lawlor tells Curbed. “I don't feel like I lost anything, but I gained a lot.” Of course, if you simply can’t bear to part with something, there’s always the option to store it off-site. Ludwig says he keeps a large maple butcher block at his office, since it wouldn’t fit in the apartment, and the couple also rents a storage space nearby. “It's not uncommon for [Lawlor] to stop by the storage unit, throw on a cocktail dress, and go straight to a work function,” Curbed writes.

Buy furniture that multi-tasks: The West Villagers have several pieces that do double duty, including a Murphy bed that folds down over the living room sofa, a pocket table that hides away into a cupboard, and a collapsible kitchen island that can be stowed in the closet when guests come over.

Take advantage of the walls: Another key to living small: use the vertical space, from nooks and crannies above cupboards to hooks or magnets on the wall for hanging kitchen pots and knives. For Lawlor and Ludwig, a blank space above a painting doubles as a projector screen. Who needs a TV?


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