Micro-Loft is Crafted Like a Piece of Transformer Furniture

Inspired by the versatility of multifunctional, transformer furniture, this 425-square-foot apartment is surprisingly spacious.

manhattan microloft specht architects interior view

Taggart Sorensen

People pack up and move to the big city for a wide array of reasons: usually, it's for work, good food, and to partake in the endless variety of cultural activities. However, one downside to living in a large, dense metropolis is the lack of space – which is why smaller apartments are much more common here than elsewhere. With home prices rising, and young people putting off having families until later in life, we've seen the popularity of micro-apartments grow in urban areas like London, Paris, Sydney and more.

In New York City, locally-based Specht Architects carved out this beautiful, 425-square-foot micro-loft for a family of three in a mid-rise building in the Upper West Side. Though 425 square feet isn't much to begin with, a major advantage here was the soaring ceiling height, which allowed the designers to play around with the vertical height.

manhattan microloft specht architects kitchen
Taggart Sorensen

The designers say:

"This project involved the radical transformation of a tiny, awkward apartment at the top of a six-story building. With only 425 square feet of floor area, but a ceiling height of over 24 feet, the new design exploits the inherent sectional possibilities, and creates a flowing interior landscape that dissolves the notion of distinct 'rooms.'"

By demolishing existing partitions and ceilings, the space really opens up to allow for more possibilities. The novel design uses four of what the architects call "living platforms," which integrate all the necessities: living and sleeping areas, kitchen, dining, bathroom, and hidden storage.

manhattan microloft specht architects axonometric rendering
Specht Architects

"Living platforms"

The kitchen is the first thing we see when entering the apartment. The white lacquered cabinets are opened by flipping them up, which helps to save space, and are done without any obvious hardware, making for a clean and ultra-modern look.

The frosted glass backsplash stays in line with the kitchen's minimalist look, but offers a slight pop of bluish color and a slight reflective quality to break up the bare white monotony a bit.

manhattan microloft specht architects kitchen
Taggart Sorensen

To offer a sense of continuity and connection with the rest of the apartment, the kitchen's razor-thin white counter seems to expand beyond its limits, wrapping around to form a dining counter, eventually morphing into a built-in entertainment center and a convenient ledge for books in the living room area.

Whereas there was barely any room for furniture in the old incarnation of the apartment, now there's plenty of room to place a large sectional sofa here – a real luxury in a small apartment.

manhattan microloft specht architects living room and kitchen
Taggart Sorensen

Turning toward the stairs going up to the mezzanine, one sees that the distinct, darker line of the wooden stair risers and treads contrasts wonderfully with the pale wall surfaces. The existing brick wall has been painted over in white to make it blend in with the rest of the color palette.

manhattan microloft specht architects stair case
Taggart Sorensen

Looking closer, one discovers a delightful smorgasbord of cabinetry hidden right in this flight of stairs. The architects explain this well-executed design move:

"Every inch is put to use, with stairs featuring built-in storage units below, similar to Japanese kaidan dansu. The apartment is crafted like a piece of furniture, with hidden and transforming spaces for things and people."
manhattan microloft specht architects stair case hidden storage
Taggart Sorensen 

Up on the mezzanine, the bed sits on a platform that cantilevers out and hovers over the living room. Not only does this increase the available floor area in a clever way, but it also creates "interleaved spaces" that overlook and interweave nicely with each other.

manhattan microloft specht architects sleeping loft
Taggart Sorensen

Looking at the stairs that go up to the small roof garden, we see once again more of those concealed cabinets, meaning that things are easily stored away, without the visual clutter that can often make a small space appear even tinier.

manhattan microloft specht architects sleeping loft stair with hidden cabinets
Taggart Sorensen

Along with the glazed door leading to the outside, the broad row of windows at the top permits light to wash into the small space, helping to open it up even further.

manhattan microloft specht architects top windows and door to garden
Taggart Sorensen

Back downstairs, we get a glimpse of the compact interior of the bathroom, which is located under the sleeping loft and behind the first flight of stairs. Continuing with the theme of the Japanese kaidan dansu, the enormous bathroom door is like an enlarged version of the hidden stair cabinets, swinging out to reveal a built-in, full-length mirror that not only saves space, but also helps to give the illusion of a much bigger bathroom.

manhattan microloft specht architects bathroom
Taggart Sorensen 

This is a little gem of an apartment in the big city, but no matter the budget or the style, there are lots of smart small space design ideas in this micro-loft that could be easily translated over in other places. For more, visit Specht Architects, or check out their Facebook and Instagram.