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Manhattan Micro Apartment Transformation

This 425 sq. ft. micro apartment in Manhattan has been wonderfully renovated called the MicroLoft. Back in the 1990s it was purchased for about $95,000.

Years later it was renovated for a cost of $400,000 for a client to make every square inch inside count and I’m showing you here so you can get an idea of what you can really do with a small amount of space. And, of course, we can implement the same ideas in here ourselves (if you’re a DIY person) and not pay any where nearly as much money.

Louise Harpman, founding partner of Specht Harpman, says that the demand for small spaces right now is huge and it continues to grow in many areas across the country. She also talks about other designs like the ZeroHouse that they are developing and offering.

Manhattan Micro Apartment Transformation


Images © Taggart Sorenson

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Images © Taggart Sorenson

Video: 425 Sq. Ft. MicroLoft Apartment in NYC

Learn more: http://www.spechtharpman.com/residential/west_73rd_street_residence.php


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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 27 comments… add one }
  • Marianna Maver
    February 8, 2015, 3:03 pm

    Love it, but it’s a leeeeetle- bit out of my price range!

  • Cahow
    February 8, 2015, 3:52 pm

    Pure Manhattan yumminess. 😀

    Lucky is the person who comes home to THIS!

  • Lynnette
    February 8, 2015, 4:11 pm

    I think this was featured on Tiny House Hunters. Or looks just like it. So much to utilize with the ceiling height.

  • Lisa E.
    February 8, 2015, 4:20 pm

    Either the real estate people are bagging us for large footage, or the architects are getting us for “design intensive”. Either way, they make sure it’s out of the price range of the average person, which means they are only catering to the very wealthy. These two groups are destroying our ability to just live with their predatory nonsense. I don’t support this. No group has the right to hold living over the heads of others. This is a right they have garnered to themselves and the rest of us are supposed to fall in line.

    • Cahow
      February 8, 2015, 4:43 pm

      Between this comment and the one on the Double-sided house, it sounds like you’re having a bad day. 🙁

      Maybe some hot cocoa with loads of mini marshmallows? That always lifts my spirits.

      • Lisa E.
        February 8, 2015, 5:12 pm

        I’m not having a bad day, I’m just telling it like it is, only no one wants to hear anything but cotton candy and balloons. I’m just a realist and I don’t believe in telling myself fairy tales no matter how good it makes one feel. This country is crashing under the weight of all the corruption (why we tiny housers can’t put our THOW’s where we want to) but if I stick my head in the sand, maybe it will go away? I don’t think so, Cahow.

        • Cahow
          February 8, 2015, 5:28 pm

          Oh. Okay.

        • Ralph Sly
          February 9, 2015, 2:08 pm

          So I wait a day to read my emails and yep, still stirring the pot. Thats my girl. ROFLMAO. “Oh, Okay” (class +) like you need my imput!

        • Cahow
          February 9, 2015, 2:45 pm

          Je t’adore, Ralph. <3

          I haven't a Scooby what you're talking about, dear one.

          I thought hot cocoa solved ALL of Life's Ills. 😉

  • CathyAnn
    February 8, 2015, 4:22 pm

    The cost of this apartment renovation is staggering, but there are some great ideas that can be taken from it such as the comprehensive use of the under-stair space for storage. We’ve seen that in so many of the tiny houses on wheels.

    I also like the uniform flooring that ties the space together. However, every speck of dust would show up on that dark color – a clean-freak would be dust mopping a lot, and getting grayer and grayer… . lol!

  • Kay
    February 8, 2015, 4:25 pm

    I’ve seen this before on TV shows and Youtube. Yes, it’s pricey for most of us but the purpose of showing this is to give ideas for your own tiny house. And this is loaded with great ideas.

  • Johanna
    February 8, 2015, 6:07 pm

    I really appreciate the work and engineering that must have gone into this apartment. I imagine the resident(s) probably feel as if they have room to spare. I wonder if the style can be modified to less modern and more of a beach bungalow look? Great example that small is not the same as cluttered and chaotic.

    • Cahow
      February 10, 2015, 1:23 pm

      Of course it can be made to look more “beach-bungalow”! Exposed brick walls vs. painted. Light blond wood vs. dark painted. Windows with panes vs. large unbroken expanses. Wooden railings vs. Stainless. Cottage-style cabinets vs. Laminate.

      And the list goes on and on and on and on. So very simple to flip an interior from High Tech to Country. 😀

  • Brian
    February 8, 2015, 6:45 pm

    Oh nice indeed. Love the clean lines and uncluttered finish of this
    rather delightful home. I could live in this one with ease. Thanks so
    much for sharing. Cheers from Australia

  • carrie
    February 8, 2015, 7:38 pm

    Seen this awhile back..still love it…sleek fine lines!

  • Elle
    February 8, 2015, 9:33 pm

    Yep, NY real estate is up there in the clouds with a few other US cities! I do like the way this place is designed though. It looks roomy and cozy at the same time. It looks like the living area is a step or two above the kitchen. That could be used for storage too? Like the balcony off the bedroom. Nice little place.

    • Cahow
      February 9, 2015, 2:50 pm

      I think it would be great fun to renovate one of those abandoned store fronts in so many U.S. cities by placing some of these inside of them, don’t you!? I’m sure the cost would plummet by at least $1million + $150K.

      In my area, downtown Michigan City, Indiana which is littered with shuttered downtown buildings would be a PRIME local for this treatment: and..it’s within walking distance to Lake Michigan!!! It sure would help bring fresh blood and money to abandoned downtown’s which were killed by the ~blech~ Big Box Stores on the outskirts of town.

  • Glen
    February 9, 2015, 12:30 am

    What a fantastic space!. But what a price tag!. It would appear that designers and architects are only interested in producing high appeal with high cost.

    • Cahow
      February 9, 2015, 2:53 pm

      I disagree, respectfully. Anyone who has talent in building can look at these photos, scavenge for materials and pour sweat equity into creating their own version of this place for 1/10th of the cost.

      Perhaps not Manhattan but certainly Peoria.

      • Ralph Sly
        February 10, 2015, 2:18 am

        Cahow, my sentiments exactly and what you mentioned with the storefront is exactly what I have in small town BC but essentially all I did was baracade off a piece of the back with a plywood sliding wall, moved a bed bbq, table and two lazy boys, “me and one to sit on” then, Bobs your uncle… or is it, Of course this it totally illegal until you have a proper kitchen built in, heaven forbid you do dishes with water from the bathroom in a basin or feel you can share that bathroom with the commercial front that has to be used for a purpose. Hours of explaining the loop holes here but I have it figured out now for the future, after all, this Van living will only work as long as my health holds out and the Van runs, so far so good. The complaining of price is as you question, totally irrational, a good DIY can make plywood look like marble and those with the resources can simply buy marble, the end result is the same. Those who bitch about price dont consider the resources available through your sugestions. $400gs may be small change for the people who did the Manhattan project, paid the coin and are happy with it. Great ideas can be duplicated and that’s whats nice about brainstorming like this forum provides.

      • Glen
        February 10, 2015, 2:48 am

        Cahow, I absolutely agree with you in that those with vision and skill could create an equally sensational space for far less money. My observation here is that designers and architects, while their talent and experience can produce beautiful structures and designs, they are not necessarily interested in doing it ‘on the cheap’.
        In fact architects are notorious for cost over-runs. All you have to do is look at someone like Frank Lloyd Wright. What FLW created was art, the like of which we’ll never see again, it was only made possible by his wealthy clients.

        • Cahow
          February 10, 2015, 1:48 pm

          Hi, Glen. You wrote: ” My observation here is that designers and architects, while their talent and experience can produce beautiful structures and designs, they are not necessarily interested in doing it ‘on the cheap’.”

          You may not know this but I am a licensed architect and have had my own firm for 25 years this March. I specialize in “Add-Ons” to homes in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago. What attracts me SO much to Tiny Homes is the sheer genius in maximizing tiny areas and that’s what add-on’s are: tiny little rooms that must maximize WHY they are being built.

          Regarding your statement “they are not necessarily interested in doing it ‘on the cheap'”, well, that’s the same as lawyers. There are 21 different classes of lawyers, from high-end criminal lawyers making millions to bottom of the barrel public defenders that make less yearly income than the average school teacher in Chicago. BOTH had the same schooling until it came time to specialize: One type wants to help the rich and one type wants to help the poor. We need both.

          Same goes with architects. Consider it from our point of view: if I have to generate a blueprints/endless revisions/pulling permits/pricing structure/employee skilled specialists in carpentry/electric/water/source out the materials/G.C. the job/ and deal with ANY & ALL delays….and a person tells me “Oh, I saw this kitchen on HGTV that I want to duplicate but I only have $2,000 for the entire project”….WHY would an architect take them as a client?

          Every business is in business to make money. You don’t make money, you’re out of business and then you’re asking people “Would you like fries with that?” At any moment at an active job site, I have 20 experts in their field, working on a project. Man hours can run $2,000/hour! So, a $2,000 budget would be burnt up before the first nail was struck.

          That’s why there’s Home Depot/Lowe’s and youtube and HGTV. It’s called Sweat Equity which is what I grew up knowing. NO ONE in my childhood hired ANYONE: you fixed your own car, you painted your own walls, you built your own extensions, etc. Sure, you might need to ply some friends with a keg of beer and a cook-out, but it was donated labor and YOU supplied the materials.

          That system still is in operation all over America! I have friends that have “Help Us Build a Patio” weekend where 22 friends (myself included) will come over, pitch in, and by day’s end, our friend has a stunning new paver patio. Each person supplies the labor they can: some dig up the sod; then other’s haul the soil away; I supply the leveling know-how; other’s lay the sand and then the pavers. I offer use, for free, of my tamper to set the pavers in the builder’s sand. And at the end, we’re all drunk as skunks and happily belching up barbecue and ribs. LOL

          Bartering is a great way of reducing costs. Borrowing friends time and knowledge is another way to reduce costs. But, no one can expect their mechanic or doctor or lawyer or architect to accept pennies on the dollar for their experience and knowledge. Even hookers don’t’ give a discount to the needy but horny. 😀

        • Glen
          February 10, 2015, 11:48 pm

          Thanks for explaining why engaging an architect can be so expensive.
          It seems ironic and a bit sad that the very profession capable of bringing innovation and great design into tiny homes is the profession least likely to.

        • Cahow
          February 11, 2015, 10:56 am

          Good Morning, Glen. I’m happy to read that my explanation helped you and possibly others regarding the cost of hiring a licensed professional for building homes. Basic Facts: any time that you’re dealing with load bearing walls, fire (electricity) and water (plumbing) ANY and ALL things can go wrong! I have clients that have hired me after they’ve moved into their $2M homes to completely gut and redo their laundry room because the prior owner thought “Gee, this is simple…I can put this in without permits”! Only, there was NO VENTING to the outside for the dryer; the electric run to the new room was poorly wired that exposed wires were directly behind the dryer (with lint pouring out), and there was NO FLOOR DRAIN anywhere, so if there was ever a problem with the washer, the entire contents would pour into the downstairs family room!

          Regarding this quote: “It seems ironic and a bit sad that the very profession capable of bringing innovation and great design into tiny homes is the profession least likely to.” Many, many architects that look to the future of housing are doing just exactly what you wish: they are either implementing changes and educating their clients to “Go Green” or they are teaching at local universities or volunteering for projects like Habitat For Humanity. I believe it was you who referenced Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the greatest and most innovative organic architects, ever. Yes, very few people will ever be able to call ‘Fallingwater’ their actual home but thousands and thousands of people have found influence and inspiration from his designs.

          That’s why I’m so very keen on Alex’s site: he features homes from DIY, to Kit, to Remodel to Architectural Dreams. It’s like a smorgasbord: choose what you desire and walk right by the stuff you look at and go “Ewwww.” LOL I’ve enjoyed our conversation.

  • Lori
    February 9, 2015, 10:54 pm

    So, in the interview, she talks about Austin, TX with micro apts. That is not true. I live here, everyone still wants big. Plus our city codes haven’t caught up with the micro-living lifestyle just yet.

    • Ralph Sly
      February 10, 2015, 2:33 am

      My darling old dad had “We make the difficult easy, the impossible may take a little longer” printed on a business card. Look for alternatives, when you find yourself in a hole, quit digging. Loop holes are there but a bit of research will show you how to get around them however, “stay legal” and the less attention you bring to the local know it alls the better. One jealous do nothing nose picker can cause you a world of hurt.

  • De
    February 23, 2015, 11:28 pm

    Wonder how long… it took them to build the two tiny homes? Thanks! Cahow, for the information…. maybe i can learn to build… I’m up in age but! Its a great form of exercise … I have read about a women alittle older than I am who built a small home for herself.

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