I like small-space interior design because it requires discipline. Success in such a space asks you to make decisions and design consciously.
I posted this interior a few years ago, but I love returning to it.
In New York City, small apartments are a fact of life. So for those of us who can’t afford an architect’s expertise to maximize our tiny living spaces, here’s the next best thing: an architect’s own tiny living space. Ghiora Aharoni, a 37-year-old Israeli who started his own firm in Manhattan four years ago, found a 550-square-foot apartment in the West Village that was typical of tenement buildings of the early 20th century. That is to say, it was a warren of cramped rooms. Aharoni’s ingenious renovation made the apartment feel lighter and more open and added much-needed storage space — without losing the charm of its original architecture.
Aharoni removed as many walls as possible; the living-dining area, which was formerly two rooms, is open to the kitchen and hallway. He laid down a continuous cherry floor to unify the spaces, and to maximize the sense of openness, he selected or fashioned furniture and cabinetry that float above the floor. The kitchen cabinets, which are always on display, were designed “to look like furniture.” He exposed the brick walls and installed emerald trees in planter boxes (mounted on heavy-duty brackets) outside the main room’s four windows to create a screen of greenery that suggests an indoor-outdoor feeling while masking a less-than-glamorous view of the neighboring buildings. And perhaps counterintuitively, he dropped the ceiling between the front door and the minuscule kitchen to create overhead storage and bookcases, in addition to the shelves that run the length of the living-dining area (architects tend to have lots of books). Aharoni left the bedroom, which is not much bigger than a train compartment, in its original place off the kitchen but designed a bed with built-in drawers and installed a sliding door for privacy; a swinging door would have taken too much space. “For me,” the architect says, “the floors, ceilings and doors can transform a project.”
Another sliding door closes off the bathroom, which Aharoni designed to be “one big shower,” like the bathroom he grew up with in Israel. Although Aharoni also works on much larger and more luxurious residential projects, this apartment brought out the pragmatist in him. “It caused me to respond to what is there rather than what I could design,” he says. “I learned to listen to a space.”