Location: Lower East Side, NYC
Gut renovation to a 2 bedrooms, 1 bath apartment in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The clients, a couple with three kids, boy age 9 and two girls, ages 7 and 2 at the time of renovation, asked for a minimalist, yet warm place, where they can cook comfortably and host friends and family. Their horizon for occupying the apartment was approximately 5 years, allowing them to comfortably enjoy the space until kids grow older and have need for more privacy.
Our first decision was to turn the unit from a 2BR/1Bath into a 2BR/2bath apartment, by adding a full bathroom for the use of the kids and guests. There were two purposes in adding the bath: first, it provides this family of 5 additional bathroom for their daily living. Second, it increases the value of the apartment significantly. Since space was limited, we took over the hallway and closet space and converted it into a second bathroom, compensating by adding storage solutions elsewhere throughout the apartment.
In the main living area, we opted for an open floor plan to provide a spacious feeling, by opening the kitchen towards the living room. The clients wanted a dining table for their daily use, but were also looking to accommodate large gatherings to entertain guests for sit-down meals. The solution included two elements: first, we added a built-in bench near the window. Second, we placed an expandable table that is easily moveable. By doing so, the family can comfortably sit around the table in its near-the-kitchen position when only household members are present, and also move the table near the bench in its expanded form, utilizing the bench as seating by one of the long sides of the table and re-arranging the dining chairs around the other sides of that table.
The kitchen is not huge, but offers plenty of storage. On its right side, building structure does not allow for standard depth cabinets. Instead, we selected upper depth cabinets that are shallower and installed them as lower cabinets. A wall mounted pot filler was added above the range/stove, as a unique feature for a NYC apartment. In addition, we added space for a washer and dryer. Similar to the newly introduced bath, the W/D is a handy feature in addition to contributing to value appreciation.
The master bedroom is not large, but still allows for a king-size bed, with room for nightstands on each side, large closet, a dressed and space for a large flat-screen across from the bed, per clients’ request. The clean design master bathroom is en-suite, where we replaced the tub with a wide and large shower. The room itself has been made smaller, allowing for storage space outside the master bedroom, in the hallway leading to the kids’ bedroom, where we placed ceiling-height shelving for books, toys and games.
In the kids bedroom, the decision was to accommodate all three kids in same room. To enable that, we chose a minimalist design, accomplished in part by having the large books, toys and game shelving outside the room, in the space created by decreasing the size of the master bedroom. In addition, the closet has been expanded to allow for bi-fold doors, improving accessibility and increasing usability of that closet. As a result of both those steps, room is kept simple and clean, with beds and desks as only furniture in the space. The room is semi-divided by a 46” long wall, creating alcoves for the beds, making room for either bunk or trundle beds, for the three children and possibly another guest. Those alcoves offer some separation and privacy between the two sides of the room: the one used by the 9 y.o. boy and his 7 and 2 y.o. sisters. In the future, a sliding divider with opaque windows could be added, offering privacy when needed or larger open space when desired. To keep utmost flexibility, the 46” wall was constructed on top of the new floor, allowing future tenants to easily remove without any damage.
Tenants enjoyed an apartment that turned from unlivable for their current household size into one that fits-for-purpose. In addition, they enabled significant value appreciation by adding unique features, primarily by adding a second bathroom and washer/dryer.
Contractor: Shmulik Solomon
Electricity: Medina Electric
Plumbing: Ariel services Inc.
Photography: Alex Staniloff