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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

the cats might push me over the edge

Unless you are mega-rich in New York, you have a small apartment. That means most of the people here are living in small spaces compared with the rest of the United States. It's not uncommon for an entire family to share a 1 bedroom. So I will never whine about our apartment being too small. Because I know it's bigger than a lot of them. But I have wondered what would be too small for our family.

What about you? What would be too small? Could you live in a really small space? Ok, maybe not with kids, but what if it was just you and your spouse or you and a roommate? How small could you go before you were close to going postal?

Here's a couple in NYC who recently purchased a 175 square foot studio apartment. This is their home. With 2 cats. So they not only felt they had room for each another, but they also felt they had room for cats? Two cats? Their apartment is about the size of a subway car. Let me give you a visual:



They don't cook. So their only appliance is an espresso maker. Side note: I used to wonder why a lot of New Yorkers don't cook. Now I don't wonder. This is the food capital of the world and I have the ever-growing waist line to prove it.

Because they are short on closet space, they use their kitchen cupboards to store a lot of their clothes. They leave their apartment every morning in their work-out clothes and have their work-clothes stashed at various dry cleaners around the city. Wow. They seem to have it figured out how to make it work!

Plus they bought their apartment for $150K. Pretty unheard of to own a piece of Manhattan real estate for that price.

What about you? Could you live in a space this size?

36 comments:

Danielle (elleinadspir) said...

We used to live in a one bedroom in SF, and then LA, and then a smallish house when we first moved to OKC, and now are in a pretty large house....and we often talk about missing the closeness that the smaller places had over this big one. Kind of a "grass is always greener" issue. But...if I was in that studio with my hubs and 2 cats? No way...umm...just no.

fe said...

I actually live in a apt small like that, but I have a kitchen (yay)... and because of the price (and of course because I don't have money), I share my bedroom with my best friend. It's not easy, but that's the price we have to pay if want to live in the city. It's great so far... and not like every new yorker, I always try to cook, I do cook... but just when I have time :-)

Heidi Jo said...

bathroom? is there one? i would assume that they tend to take care of 'business' (of the bathroom variety) elsewhere too....that just too small of space for much odor to be floating around.

it's all about priorities. mine would not accomodate such a small space.

Lisa H said...

I could do much smaller than we live in now, but I sure couldn't do that small! I would DEFINITELY need a kitchen. :)

snekcip said...

Two cats (poop and cat hair), no kitchen, no HINT of a bathroom, I would say a LOUD RESOUNDING ((((((NO WAY))))))))!!! I would love to have a "piece of Manhattan", but I would prefer my "piece of sanity" instead, that is by far PRICELESS!!!

michelle from Six in the City said...

There is a bathroom. It's tiny, but it's there.
More pics can be found here:
http://bit.ly/7DbE8F

Bama Belle said...

I just found your blog the other day through Kim @ 3 Peanuts and I have to say I am smitten. :) I have always been fascinated with how people live and raise children in Manhattan and your blog satisfies my curosity. You write with such wit and humor. I love it!!

My husband and I love watching House Hunters on HGTV and comparing how much "house" that person can get for their money compared to where we live. I have been stunned by the tiny apartments in NYC, but the apartment above is unreal. I would be looney in about 2 seconds living in that tiny apartment. I don't care if it only cost $150K, I agree with the blogger above, I want to keep my sanity!

Christina Sizemore said...

My husband and I lived in a 500 sqft apartment when we first got married, considering I moved in from a 1200 sqft apt we lived among towers of boxes of stuff. Then we lived in a bedroom of my parents house for 6 months, talk about tight quarters. Now we live in a 1400 sqft house of our own, but I'd say we occupy about 900 sqft of it on a regular basis. And NO WAY could I live without a kitchen.

Liz @ LivingMySweetLife said...

lol I remember when this article made all it's rounds on facebook! When my husband and I first got married we lived in a 1 bedroom. We decided to have one child there and lived in that apartment until he was 14 months old. ( I was 8 months pregnant) we moved into a 3 bedroom. I could never downsize again even t ho the 1 bedroom was 100% do-able with 1 kid.

Kristi said...

Looking at that picture literally makes me feel claustrophobic. I can not imagine living like that. I think I would feel like I'd been put in a box on a shelf.

dkzody said...

We started out in a 1000 sq ft apartment, bought a condo that had 850 sq ft, two bedrooms but one bath, sold the condo for huge amount of profit and bought our 1500 sq foot house with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a 2 car garage. We've lived in the house for almost 30 years and have accumulated way too much stuff.

We have now leased a 520 sq foot studio in a highrise in SF. Only one bath and no parking are the two biggest drawbacks we see. Oh, and the rent for such a tiny space just blows us away. No pets allowed and we cannot put holes in the wall so I can't hang my artwork. But there is no yard work and housekeeping takes like 10 minutes.

The studio has a really nice kitchen and I cook every day we are there. I could not live w/o a good kitchen and a view of a street so I can watch people.

Spsmiles said...

No...I couldn't. I'm about to move in to a one bedroom with one roommate...it's a little less than 600 sq ft, which, after reading about NYC it seems I should be eternally grateful for! However...I definitely have my reservations about sharing such a small space! Never any privacy! It's all good though, kinda like living in a dorm room I guess :)

Alina said...

If I was 18, or by myself, or still in the honey moon stage of my marriage! Definitely not with pets or kids! I'm tripping over baby stuff in 2300 sq feet.

momdiggity.com said...

No way, Jose. Right after we got married, we lived in an apt. that was 600 sq. ft. It was fine and all, but I would never want to do it again...although, I'm sure I could if I absolutely had to.

Kim said...

Absolutely not. Although I think we, moms, can adjust to almost anything, I know my husband would lose his sanity. Even without our four children!

ItchyBits said...

NO - there is no escape

The Parent Trapped said...

We'll see. This summer, while between Air Force stops, my husband, three kids (6, 4, and 2), a 130 pound Great Dane, and I will live for three weeks in our 350 sq. ft. travel trailer RV.

If you hear screaming, oh, around mid August, coming from the southwest, it's just me in the desert losing my mind.

Emily said...

It depends. If I knew there was an end date (example: only 2 months and then we move), I could bear it. But not with animals. We used to have one cat and now that I have children the hair/puke/poo factor would be too much. But I also understand the perspective of wanting to own small rather than rent large. We own a small house, though certainly not small in comparison to an apartment, and I'm glad we own it rather than renting something bigger in a nicer neighborhood. Knowing that eventually we'll be mortgage free gives me a sense of security, and I imagine that might be the motivation for this couple. After all, renters can be evicted, but once you own property outright no one can ever boot you out.

Jamie Lee said...

Ugh. No way. I love to have people over waaay too much. I have to admit it would kind of be an adventure to live like that... but Im sure the novelty would wear off in about... 48 hours.

Gayla said...

Short answer?

Nowayinhell.

Robin said...

I just found your blog. Love your view of city life. So different from my itty bitty small town!

Robin

avenuesmom said...

No way... :)

We downsized moving to SF from our house in CO to a 2 br, 1 ba.. .but it's still big for the city, and we have a garage, back yard and w/d. I'm spoiled and living in a city all at the same time. But I still often think this is as small as I can go with our 2 kids & dog.

Leslie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leslie said...

I remember reading about those folks. I'm sorry, but if I'm going to spend a hundred and fifty THOUSAND dollars on something I want to be able to keep my clothes in it.

Have you heard about the German photographer Michael Wolf's 100x100 project? He took photos of 100 residents in their flats. These are tiny flats in Hong Kong’s oldest public housing estate that each measure only 100 square feet. It is fascinating to see how 100 different people manage to squeeze their lives into the same teeny tiny space. (Some do it impressively well, and others don't.)

I enjoy your blog a lot. Thanks.

sarah :: this is jackson riley said...

i don't know if i could do THAT small, but I would rather be in a small place than a large. I like being in a place where I have to be organized and know where everything is, I like having to think "do I have room?" before I buy something, and I like the simplicity small space brings. That said, my home 'office' is a closet!

Sammy said...

Hey, you left out how much this space cost them???? Now I don't feel so bad since we are adopting again with no room. This is a very interesting post to see how other people live. Also, how long are they planning on living in that small of a space....details. : - )

LHDinNYC said...

One person commented that there is no escape - YES there is! your escape is New York City!!! - most people in NYC do not spend time sitting on the couch on their behinds watching dancing with the stars here - they are out & about doing a million things the city has to offer.
Michelle - I really enjoy your blog & I think you are adjusting to life in NYC really really well!! Keep on writing! Kudos to you!!

Mehz said...

Reminds me of my days in NYC. I lived with my 2 dogs for 3 years in a 180 sq. foot studio on the Upper East Side. Somehow,2 rooms (a sleeping room and kitchen) were carved out of the space plus a foyer and bathroom too!! You could tell the bathtub was originally in the kitchen because there were only 18 inches of space to climb into the tub as the wall went into the kitchen.

The dogs and I slept on a twin bed and I truly learned the meaning of dogpile. I too used my kitchen cabinets for clothes and CDs (which, of course, nobody has anymore). It was cozy, yes. My friends called it "The Cave". But as LHDinNYC points out...who in NYC spends that much time in their apartment!?!?! The most exciting city in the world is literally at your doorstep.

Now my husband and I plus the same 2 dogs live in a 675 sq. foot apartment in San Francisco. It feels positively palatial. The dogs have their own beds! We have closets! And a sofa!!! :) I do wish the building had a bicycle storage room so we wouldn't have to store ours in the living room. But it's really not that big of a deal. There are plenty of families of 4 living in our building with the exact same apartment layout. It's totally doable and keeps people closer together. You just need to have a life outside your home as well.

Anonymous said...

1.Two cats in that small place is simply very unhygienic.

2.I have seen what people do with small places and it is possible to live in this small place, provided they do make a few changes.
3.It is a cliche' but remains a major contributory factor: Location, Location, Location.

(Anonymous fan of Apartment Therapy)

carrie said...

Yes...first thing I think of is, where is the bathroom? I dunno.

I'd also need to cook.

We have a travel trailer that is 18 feet long and I have a seperate bathroom, a fridge, freezer, sink and even a 3 - burner gas oven. And I get a little claustrophpbic in that. Even WITH a skylight!

carrie said...

But...kudos to them. If it's their dream than so be it!

Kelly Tirman said...

I would love to have a place like this - HOWEVER I would need a few of them (LOL). One in San Francisco, One in Hawaii, One in San Diego and one in Vancouver.

My 6'4" hubby might now like it but, that's my dream - Hopefully one day :)

Elizabeth said...

First of all, I love your blog! I came over from 3 Peanuts. My take on the tiny apartment- if it works for this couple and their cats, more power to them, but personally I would take a pass. Even if I lived in NY, I'd still be a homebody and that's just not enough space. Even being the minimalist that I am, my stuff wouldn't fit. It would feel like a cage. It is cute, though, and I don't mean to judge this couple because different things make different people happy.

Maddie said...

I actually lived in an apartment only a little larger than theirs for two years at 230 CPW. Seinfeld lived in the bldg (in a MUCH larger apt). It was great. You have to know how to use space well -- platform beds, shelves, tables with drop leaves, etc. And, for me, having Central Park right out the front door more than compensated for my "lack" of interior space. Plus I bought the place for $75K in 1994 and sold it for $380K in 1996 (thank you, Seinfeld fan). Americans have grown used to too much space and stuff.

Billie said...

I couldn't live in something that small. I currently live in about 800 to 850 sq feet with a husband and 2 children (8 and 5) as well as 2 cats. I have done so for 2.5 years.

It is not usually too much of a problem unless more than 1 of us need alone time. Sometimes my step-son actually goes into the bathroom and shuts the door to get his alone time if someone has already taken the bedroom. We just have the common area, the bedroom and the bathroom.

That is what happens in this crazy housing market in Washington, DC.

Sohailah said...

No. I like cooking.

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