Everyone knows housing prices go up every year, but what are we paying for exactly? However, someone has come along to tackle this issue.
This 420-square-foot living space in Manhattan sold for a whopping one million dollars! What’s more, Manhattan is known for pricey apartments, but what makes this apartment so unique?
This micro-apartment has been designed to accommodate a 12-person dinner party, two overnight guests, a home theater, and more, switching from one mode to another in a matter of minutes.
Now you may be wondering how all that can fit in 420 square feet. It sounds like something out of the cartoons or the Marx Brothers’ movies. But it’s real.
The man behind this apartment is the TreeHugger and LifeEdited founder Graham Hill. He bought it a few years ago for just $280,000; that is, less than a third of the price he’s selling it for now.
This is a rather surprising difference. If he manages to sell the apartment, he’ll make a fortune, no doubt about it. However, there is still one question.
Some might think that this is a brilliant business move, while for others, it can be a symptom of how speculation is unreasonably inflating housing costs across the nation.
Still, there is no question that what he did with the apartment is quite worthy of praise on its own. Whether it warrants paying one million for it is a different story; we’ll let you be the judge of that.
One thing that must be taken into account is that Hill invested $365,000 in the renovation of the apartment. The apartment was the result of a competition that Hill set up after buying it.
The winning design, courtesy of Romanian architecture students Catalin Sandu and Adrian Iancu, was selected from over 300 entrants. Hill presents the apartment with these words: “It was designed by geniuses for geniuses. And now it can be yours.” So let’s check it out.
Let’s start with the master bedroom. The master bed is completely hidden until you unfold it from the walls. You can also pull out a shelf with candles, books, and plants, and it acts as a support for the couch.
But even though the apartment is 420 square feet, that doesn’t mean that it can only host one bedroom. As crazy as it sounds, it has space for one more.
Within a few minutes, you can pull out a wall and slide it in the middle of the room to divide it in two and create another bedroom for guests.
At first glance, it might look heavy: but it’s light enough for one person to be able to unfold it and set the second bedroom up when guests are coming. And once they’re gone and you want to pull it back in, it will be gone without a trace.
Now you may be wondering where the beds for the guest bedroom come from. Just like with the master bedroom, you unfold them from the walls.
And yes, we used plural here: there are two bunk beds that come out of the sliding wall. Also, this guest bedroom comes with curtains for some privacy. But these are not all the possibilities this flat has.
In this day and age, when remote work is the new normal, one of the worries that you may have while looking for a new flat is whether you will be able to work from there.
And in this apartment, you will. You can unfold a work desk from the walls, which includes a monitor and a keyboard. And there’s even more.
Obviously, you will also have room to cook and eat in this apartment. It wouldn’t be of much use to have two bedrooms and an office if you can’t even have lunch in your own home, right?
Well, that won’t be a problem. There is something in this apartment that they call “the goliath”. The name may sound confusing, but you will soon understand why it is called that.
We mentioned a dining room with the capacity to host 12 guests at the beginning of this article. There is a humongous dining table that you can pull from the kitchen counter.
You can also fold it and unfold it as you will, depending on whether you want it to be bigger or smaller. Whatever the size of the dinner party you want to host in this flat, you can do it.
As for the kitchen, it comes equipped with everything you could wish for: you got a combination microwave/convection oven and a fridge and freezer that you can pull out beneath it.
There’s also an energy-efficient dishwasher and burners that slide right out, as well as a deep-basin sink, along with plenty of drawers and a spacious counter.
With all this, you may be surprised to know that there is still room for something else. But there is. Even inside 420 square feet, there’s room for not only a kitchen, two bedrooms, an office, and a dining room.
The apartment also has its own entertainment center. And even though it’s pretty modest, it does the trick. Check it out:
You can display a big projection screen from the big sliding wall. You just have to fold up a flap and pull it down for a huge TV or movie screen.
This is a prime example of doing the most out of limited resources and space. Wit and intelligent design can beat even the most challenging circumstances.
Considering it’s in the middle of Manhattan, would you pay 1 million dollars to live here? Or would you consider it only if the price was a little bit lower?
This is not the only micro-apartment in the world; here, we have compiled a few more for you to see. While some of them actually seem cute and habitable, others will make you think about how overcrowded and unaffordable the world is becoming. Check them out.
The foldable apartment is not the only tiny housing option in New York. The Big Apple is one of the most expensive cities in the world, so it’s not surprising that many New Yorkers are resorting to giving up some space in exchange for affordability.
This Brooklyn couple, for example, turned their 460-square-foot studio apartment into a modular live-work loft.
In Pasadena, Maryland, Greg Cantori has built a cute and cozy 238-square-foot tiny home on top of a trailer for him and his wife to live in once they retire.
In just 238-square feet, Cantori has managed to fit in a kitchen, a living room, and a bed, although you need to climb up the stairs to get there.
This right here is one of the tiniest designer apartments in the world. It was created by Polish designer Szymon Hanczar, and it’s his residence in the city of Wrocław.
It’s just 140 square feet, but it’s equipped with everything a single person would need to live comfortably. There’s a sleeping platform above the kitchen and bathroom, a suspended seating area, and a wall-mounted bike rack.
This Parisian studio was designed by Anne Rolland. It’s located inside a 17th-century townhouse. Before Rolland undertook the renovation of the space, it had been abandoned for 70 years.
During the renovation work, Rolland removed plaster walls to uncover the original limestone masonry. Graphic-patterned tiles were added as an homage to old-style Parisian bars. Now let’s take a look at the apartment’s structure.
A birch-plywood storage unit separates the bedroom in a raised corner of the apartment from the kitchen and living space on the other side.
“The furniture system incorporates a desk, a dresser, drawers, and cupboards,” said Rolland. “I used Scandinavian-style birch plywood as it is a resistant material and doesn’t require finishing.” But what about the bathroom?
It’s to the left of the bedroom, and it’s perfectly equipped with plenty of room, a toilet, a shower, and a sink. In all honesty, it looks even better than some hotels’ bathrooms!
But that isn’t all. With this apartment, there’s more than meets the eye. It includes a secret underground room you can access through a mechanical trap door and a set of wooden stairs.
The secret underground room used to function as a slurry pit; in other words, a dam used by farmers to gather animal waste. Now, it serves as a home cinema and music room.
“The man who lives in the apartment plays guitar, so the downstairs room will be a music box and home cinema,” Rolland said in an interview. “That way, he can make music and watch films without annoying his neighbors.”
In Japan, people in their 20s often choose smaller housing options not only because of their affordability, but also as a statement.
“I used to be an office worker, but I quit two years ago,” says Akagi, pictured below. “I couldn’t take wearing a suit and taking the same train to work every day.” He pays $300 a month for his 108-square-foot apartment.
“Large houses in most cases are boring because they don’t show any character,” he argues. “But small houses don’t hide anything because you can see, ‘Oh, this guy is wearing these shoes.’ You walk in and see his personality.”
He may have a point. However, to many people, small apartments are not a choice, but their only option. Take a look at the following pictures:
Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities in the world; the city has recently witnessed an unparalleled rise in living and housing costs, which has led many Hongkongers to look for alternative, cheaper housing options.
Some people are living in these: they’re called OPods. These tube houses are designed by architect James Law and made from giant concrete drainage pipes.
James Law has whitewashed the interior walls, lightening the industrial aesthetic. The tube has a flat wooden floor to make it easier for the occupant to walk across this eccentric apartment.
There is a bench seat that can be folded down to serve as a bed, with the cushions doubling as a mattress. The OPod has room for a mini fridge, a microwave cooker, a rail to hang clothes from, and a stand to place the occupant’s personal belongings.
James Law’s vision is to have these 100-square-foot tubular structures piled up on top of one another in strategic areas of Hong Kong’s city center to grant affordable housing.
The architect believes that a resident could happily live in the OPod for one or two years, and thinks the tubes would appeal to “young people who can’t afford private housing.” More Hong-Kongers have thought of other alternative options in the midst of the housing crisis.
Dai Haifei, pictured below, made headlines in 2010 when he lived for a few months in a homemade egg-shaped mobile house, located near his office.
The egg-house was made of bamboo strips, steel bars, heat prevention and waterproof materials, and sacks filled with wood chips and grass seeds. It has a solar panel to make it energetically self-sufficient. Take a look at the inside:
“The egg house is a place to sleep. My clothes are under the bed, nothing expensive,” Dai says. “I don’t pay rent, I don’t need to think about saving money when eating. I bought an annual pass to a swimming pool. I go swimming after work every day and then take a shower.
“I was told to move. The house is placed on the lawn of a courtyard. It’s not even the company’s property. Some time ago, the property owner came to tell me to move, but I have no place to move to. They could not do anything to me. Now they just let me be.”
However, most Hong-Kongers forced to resort to tinier, more affordable housing options don’t have access to cute, cozy apartments like the ones we’ve seen.
Pictured below, a mom prepares food while her son sleeps in their 60-square-foot apartment. This family pays $487 a month for rent. This is not an unusual situation in the city of Hong Kong, and we might soon be seeing similar things in the West. In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.