Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How's This For Down Sizing?

Have you ever stayed in a tiny hotel room in Paris? Or maybe in New York? You have no room to store you suitcase, and you might have to climb over one another to get to the bathroom. Since it's a room somewhere wonderful, and you're not in it all day, and it's temporary, the small quarters had a certain charm.

Or what about those first apartments many of us had (and some of us still do), called studio apartments, or bachelor apartments. One small room for everything, with a small bathroom.
Many empty nesters are down sizing too. But I doubt that many are moving into one room arrangements.

Meet Zaarath and Christopher Prokop -- and their two cats. They live in the smallest apartment in New York City, a 175-square-foot "microstudio" in Morningside Heights the couple bought three months ago for $150,000.

At 14.9 feet long and 10 feet wide, it's about as narrow as a subway car and as claustrophobic as a jail cell. But to the Prokops, it's a castle.

"When you first see it, the first thing you say is, 'Holy crap, this place is small,' " said Zaarath, 37, an accountant for liquor company Remy Martin. "But when I saw it, all I could think of is, I can do something with this. This is perfect for us. We love it."

The co-op is on the 16th floor of a doorman building on 110th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. But it's only accessible by a staircase on the 15th floor.

It has two small windows with views of upper Manhattan; hardwood floors; a tiny kitchen with a mini-fridge and hotplate; and a closet-sized bathroom with a shower, sink and toilet.

"I'm amazed we can fit two people and two cats in there," Zaarath said. "But it's harmonious at this point. I have friends who say they could never live with their husbands in a place this small. It's a good thing we like each other enough to live there."

The couple wakes up every morning in their queen-size bed, which takes up one-third of the living space.

They then walk five feet toward the tiny kitchen, where they pull out their workout clothes, which are folded neatly in two cabinets above the sink. A third cabinet holds several containers of espresso for their only kitchen appliance, a cappuccino maker.

They turn off their hotplate, and use the space on the counter as a feeding area for their cats, Esmeralda and Beauregard.

"We don't cook," Zaarath said, adding that their fridge never has any food in it. "So when you don't cook, you don't need plates or pots or pans. So we use that space for our clothes."

Once in their running attire, the two change the cat litter box (stored under the sink) and start their small Rumba vacuum -- which operates automatically while they're out, picking up cat hair.

They then jog to their jobs in Midtown, picking up along the way their work clothes, which are "strategically stashed at various dry cleaners."

Just in case the cleaners are closed, both have emergency clothes at their offices.

"I have a closet at my office," Zaarath said. "You don't want to be standing outside a closed cleaners at 8:45 in your workout pants thinking, 'Greeeeeat' . . . It's a great strategy. You always have fresh things to wear."


Kwana said...

It's a good thing they have all that wine. I mean not even have 1 closet for clothes. That is harsh. The dry cleaning must be so expensive. I think we can all live with less but this is too much.

Erin said...

Whoa talk about about serious down-sizing. I could stay there for about 2 days and then I'd go nuts! I loved the story though!!!

Greet said...

I really could not live in a little place like that! Maybe only for a few days!
However I had to say "chapeau" for this optimistic couple!


An Aesthete's Lament said...

I presume their spend much of their time out and about. I know I would, otherwise my spouse and I would come to blows and possibly homicide.

La Petite Gallery said...

Forget New York city.

Just book me in the Paris hotel room for at least a week. What Hotel is it??????
Such a wonderful look.
Wall paper YES!!!!

great Post as usual

La Maison Fou said...

Just got back from NY, that reference to a subway car is not very big!
A great job of organizational skills! A small box, but it does have a more spacious feel with the decor that they have worked out.

susan said...

there's lots of wasted space in that apartment. thanks for showing it.
i think i'll move down four rooms to my living

Jeannine @ Small and Chic said...

I thought I was living small in a 785 square foot condo!

I think perception is different from one region to another. My NYC aunt says that my condo is generously sized and very spacious. Someone from the 'burbs, who lives in new construction, would probably think my place is insanely small.

We negotiate this space with a golden retriever just fine, though. It helps that I'm a big fan of restrained decorating and don't like clutter!

Lona de Anna said...

Just looking at those images makes me feel claustrophobic...urrrghhh
I could do it for a short time...if on holidays etc..but not for the cats...there would seriously have to be a Kitty Litter stinch in that

Cote de Texas said...

ughhh. i mean, i like to decorate too much - they are the complete opposite of me. I would give up the thrill of NYC and move to Brooklyn instead. ugggh. hehe!!!

what a great story - makes you appreciate what you have!

Cristin said...

I can't believe they have a cat!


Kristin McRea said...

they really could add a lot of storage when they remodel. someone help them, the drabness is what would bother me more than the smallness.

Linda Merrill said...

I almost posted about this space as well - glad you did V*V! I agree with Kristen - too drab. And the whole running to work and picking up clothes at the cleaners? Yuck. Well, hopefully when they remodel they'll develop a more pleasing look.