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Beneath the Surface: A Petite Manhattan Apartment with a Surprising Amount of Storage (and Small-Space Tricks)

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Beneath the Surface: A Petite Manhattan Apartment with a Surprising Amount of Storage (and Small-Space Tricks)

February 20, 2019

The secret to this petite Manhattan apartment? Its inventive hidden storage—so well-hidden, in fact, that I didn’t notice it at first glance.

When two Israeli-born architects, Noam Dvir and Daniel Rauchwerger of BoND, acquired the circa-1910, 520-square-foot apartment in the city’s West Chelsea neighborhood, it was laid out like a typical, cramped New York flat, with a railroad layout and a walled-off kitchen and bathroom in the center of the space that didn’t get any light. The duo transformed the apartment by realigning the kitchen and bathroom along one wall, then added high/low design elements: custom marble, tall glass partition walls, a sheet of stainless steel made at a workshop in Chinatown, and a hacked Ikea kitchen.

Then, when I emailed the architects, they pulled back the curtain—or rather opened the cabinets—and revealed just how much storage they’d fit in, seamlessly, behind panels and doors. Turns out, the apartment is an example of the best kind of order: interiors so simple, quiet, and artful that you don’t know how much ingenious storage is just beneath the quiet surface. Take a look.

Photography by Eric Petschek.

The front living area, after, is white-washed and bright, with minimal furnishings that emphasize the height of the ceilings. A coffee table on wheels allows for flexibility in the small space.
Above: The front living area, after, is white-washed and bright, with minimal furnishings that emphasize the height of the ceilings. A coffee table on wheels allows for flexibility in the small space.
 Dvir and Rauchwerger outfitted a side wall with Vitsoe shelving, which keeps books neatly corralled but still on display. (Note the periodical-style shelf in the middle that lets artful covers face outwards; see Trend Alert: 11 Periodical-Style Shelves for Design Book Lovers.) The light is the Grasshopper Floor Lamp in Salmon.
Above: Dvir and Rauchwerger outfitted a side wall with Vitsoe shelving, which keeps books neatly corralled but still on display. (Note the periodical-style shelf in the middle that lets artful covers face outwards; see Trend Alert: 11 Periodical-Style Shelves for Design Book Lovers.) The light is the Grasshopper Floor Lamp in Salmon.
Looking toward the new walk-through kitchen (which was formerly walled off from the rest of the space) and the bedroom beyond. The duo had the wood floor laid lengthwise, rather than width-wise, to emphasize the length of the apartment.
Above: Looking toward the new walk-through kitchen (which was formerly walled off from the rest of the space) and the bedroom beyond. The duo had the wood floor laid lengthwise, rather than width-wise, to emphasize the length of the apartment.
The architects opted to move all of the utilities and appliances for both the bathroom and kitchen to one side of the apartment. It’s a simple concept, but the result is a bright walk-through kitchen, no longer boxed-in and dark, with appliances on the right side and a place to hang art on the left. To add to the open feeling, Dvir and Rauchwerger replaced the solid wall going into the bedroom with a glass partition, which can be covered with a curtain for privacy.
Above: The architects opted to move all of the utilities and appliances for both the bathroom and kitchen to one side of the apartment. It’s a simple concept, but the result is a bright walk-through kitchen, no longer boxed-in and dark, with appliances on the right side and a place to hang art on the left. To add to the open feeling, Dvir and Rauchwerger replaced the solid wall going into the bedroom with a glass partition, which can be covered with a curtain for privacy.
Behind the kitchen’s quiet design, the “hacked” Ikea cabinets are kitted out with a huge amount of hidden storage, from partitioned utensil and knife drawers (at left) to pullout trash and recycling bins (under the sink) to a concealed utility closet (complete with hooks on the door, for hanging mops) made to look like the fridge alongside.
Above: Behind the kitchen’s quiet design, the “hacked” Ikea cabinets are kitted out with a huge amount of hidden storage, from partitioned utensil and knife drawers (at left) to pullout trash and recycling bins (under the sink) to a concealed utility closet (complete with hooks on the door, for hanging mops) made to look like the fridge alongside.
In the bathroom, an inset niche corrals shower essentials. Note also how the continuous flooring and wall tiles throughout make the room feel bigger and more cohesive.
Above: In the bathroom, an inset niche corrals shower essentials. Note also how the continuous flooring and wall tiles throughout make the room feel bigger and more cohesive.
The peaceful bedroom in the back of the apartment is kept simple, with few furnishings, minimal window dressings, and light colors. In lieu of a bookshelf, a few titles are stacked neatly beside a chair.
Above: The peaceful bedroom in the back of the apartment is kept simple, with few furnishings, minimal window dressings, and light colors. In lieu of a bookshelf, a few titles are stacked neatly beside a chair.
Note how the duo forwent nightstands in favor of discreet wall-mounted lights.
Above: Note how the duo forwent nightstands in favor of discreet wall-mounted lights.
A wardrobe alongside the bed looks sleek when closed. Without so much as door pulls, it looks more like a wall than something to be opened.
Above: A wardrobe alongside the bed looks sleek when closed. Without so much as door pulls, it looks more like a wall than something to be opened.
Once again, a sleek surface hides storage in plain sight: Inside, the efficient closets take advantage of the full floor-to-ceiling height. (Note the stools hidden in the upper left corner, for extra seating.)
Above: Once again, a sleek surface hides storage in plain sight: Inside, the efficient closets take advantage of the full floor-to-ceiling height. (Note the stools hidden in the upper left corner, for extra seating.)

The Plans, Before

The apartment before work began, with the walled-off kitchen and bathroom in the middle of the apartment.
Above: The apartment before work began, with the walled-off kitchen and bathroom in the middle of the apartment.

The Plans, After

The apartment now, with a more open, walk-through design. (Storage not pictured.)
Above: The apartment now, with a more open, walk-through design. (Storage not pictured.)

More inventive small apartments that make use of every inch:

N.B.: A version of this post first appeared on The Organized Home; head here to see the story.

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