The 5:1 Apartment

While it will always hold a special place in your heart, let’s be honest; your first apartment probably wasn’t the greatest. If you’re part of the young demographic moving away from home for the first time, your budget can normally afford you a one bedroom, hole-in-the-wall that’s already got some wear-and-tear to it. Despite it being cramped and a little worn, at least its yours. But what if your first home away from home was no bigger than the living room at your parent’s place?

That’s what’s happening in real estate markets like New York City, where competition is high and so is the rent. Micro-units are increasingly becoming an option for young and single tenants looking for more affordable housing that meets all of their needs but offers a functional design that will make transitioning to living in a smaller space much easier.

Architecture firm MKCA has designed a 390-square-foot apartment interior in New York City which features a movable wall that transforms one apartment into five living spaces. MKCA created this apartment unit with functional and spatial elements for living, working, sleeping, dressing, and entertaining, plus kitchen, dining and bathing space within a compact space.

A motorized sliding storage element glides from one end of the room to the other, revealing and exchanging spaces between daytime and nighttime zones. Space for a queen-sized murphy-style bed is created when the sliding wall is fully extended. The sliding wall is also powered and wired for television and audio, and houses all of the audiovisual and networking components of the apartment along with additional storage and display space.

Part of a 1920’s co-op building in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park neighborhood, the apartment was entirely reimagined by MKCA. The existing kitchen was expanded to create more working space. The existing bath was thoroughly renovated and an additional linen and laundry hamper cabinet was added, along with a new pocket door.

The concept of micro-living has spread across the United States. Houston architect, Mark Humphrey, of Humphrey & Partners Architects, calls the movement “the Manhattanization of the U.S.” Humphrey and his team brought the concept down into the Woodlands area several years ago, designing floor plans as small at 380-square-feet.

The idea of micro-living is most popular in heavily populated cities with higher costs of living. With almost 2,500 micro-units, Seattle has become one of the fastest growing cities to house the concept of “tiny living” in the past year. Other expensive cities like Miami and San Francisco have micro-units as small as 200-square-feet.

With most first apartments, there is always a sacrifice whether it’s space, style or even location. In spite of its small square footage, micro-living makes up for its lack of space by providing residents with an affordable and functional option for your first home.

Source: ContemporistHouston ChronicleSeattle TimesMiami Curbed