Tiny apartment madness has once again taken hold of the green design and architecture blogosphere with news that New York City has selected a code-waiving micro-unit building proposal to be erected, prefab style, on the far, infirmary-heavy reaches of Manhattan’s east side. And in conjunction with the announcement made yesterday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Museum of the City of New York in East Harlem has opened “Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers,” a small space-centric exhibition featuring a full-sized model micro apartment or, as Architizer calls it, the “dollhouse/storage locker/‘apartment’ of the future.”
With slightly cramped but endlessly inventive modes of urban housing on the brain (this is not your grandfather’s Murphy bed, folks), I thought I’d take a quick look at a recent video from the tiny house habitués over at faircompanies that was filmed not in the Big Apple but in Athens, Greece.
The subject is a small (about 366 square feet) studio apartment overhaul overseen by designer Werner Maritsas. Smart custom built-ins (desk, storage, kitchen), mirrors, light wells, punctilious planning, multifunctional furniture, and plenty of white paint cast the illusion that the two-room space is larger than it actually is. In his remodel, Maritas also opened up the studio to a small private garden — a rarity/luxury in greenspace-starved Athens — by knocking down existing walls creating a seamless indoor/outdoor effect. I’m loving the bathroom and its recycled marble flooring, high ceilings, and LED-embedded glass partition. The pull-out table in the hidden kitchen is clever, too. The oversized hammock and the pittosporum tree in the garden seal the deal.
Explains Maritas: "The small size of the apartment allowed me to renovate it to the guts, for a reasonable budget. The materials I've used are glass, metal, plywood, and bamboo for the floor. The house looks high end but it's not."
And then there’s this gem:
Moving into a small space is kind of a catharsis. You are forced to pick the things you need over the unnecessary ones. You can’t do this over night. You need time to compromise and to accept getting rid of things.
In the end, I realized you really need very few things. And you feel more free that way.
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