400-Square-Foot Unfolding Apartment

The owner of this 400-square-foot Manhattan apartment loves to host dinner parties and home guests, so that he needed to match the essentials of a larger apartment into his little living space. As Michael Chen and Kari Anderson of Regular Projects started to draw out strategies for the home, they quickly understood that dividing it into smaller distances would make the apartment feel much smaller. A proposal from the client inspired the solution: a built-in cupboard which holds a cupboard, a bed and a desk, while dividing your home into comfy activity zones.

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Michael K Chen Architecture

The client came up with the concept of a Murphy bed that could fold out of the way when not being used. The designers then had to determine how to transform the sleeping area into a living space. They didn’t want to see the bottom of the mattress at the way that many Murphy beds have been styled, so they created a giant entrance door. The door hides the mattress when it isn’t being used, and becomes a partition between sleeping and living areas when the mattress is out.

Michael K Chen Architecture

Considering that the client also wanted a nightstand, closet shelves and space for books, the cupboard idea rapidly grew in size and function. This wall has been the only place that made sense for your bed’s giant multi-functional cupboard. Luckily, this wall has been also an unfortunate appearing wall using a awkward column, so the cupboard hides all that. The nightstand, embedded into the cork surface of the bed’s compartment, takes advantage of leftover wall area beside the column.

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Michael K Chen Architecture

The entrance door not just divides the sleeping and living spaces, but a drop-down flap also doubles as a desk or bar.

The entire unit is made from a blend of hardware from several different businesses, including some designed by Regular Projects. Customizing this piece wasn’t only necessary due to its dimensions and functions, but also to make sure that the movement of the cupboard was just right. “That process involved a lot of exact digital modeling to keep track of the slides and the rotations of hinges and hinges,” says Chen.

Michael K Chen Architecture

The home is now divided into slightly overlapping zones. The kitchen is at the front of the flat, the sleeping place in the center. A dining room seems when the bed is folded upward, a work place is shown when the door pivots open, and the living room can be more personal due to the pivoting door.

Michael K Chen Architecture

When it’s all closed up, the cupboard becomes a seamless extension of the house’s structure, leaving plenty of room for a dining table or alternative entertaining necessities.

Another principal issue for Regular Jobs was light the flat well without large visible fixtures. Their answer was a collection of fluorescent strips running along the top of the cupboard. The strips reflect light off of the ceiling, resulting in a soft light which brightens the entire room.

Michael K Chen Architecture

Shelves at the end of the cabinet provide easy accessibility for novels and videos when the client is in the living room. The drop-down panel becomes a desk using a quick swivel of a double-duty living room chair. The display allows light to come through when needed, and can close up for ultimate solitude when guests are sleeping on the daybed in the living room.

Among the largest challenges in this project was obtaining the large pre-made pieces of the cabinetry into the flat through the older building’s tiny elevator and staircase. The team ended up building the cupboard in pieces, then divides them into even smaller pieces which could be brought into the building.

Michael K Chen Architecture

The cupboard’s bright blue adds another dimension to the room. “We wanted something cheerful and fascinating, and we were certain that white or grey would be too boring,” says Chen.
“We found that a deeply saturated colour did quite interesting things in the room, because the flat has good natural light. The blue really changes colors quite a lot over the course of the day. Occasionally it’s extremely bright, and other times, it goes extremely muted and compact.”

Michael K Chen Architecture

The kitchen was also a part of the property’s remodel. A top quality stove, a dishwasher, a microwave, and plenty of storage were just a few things on the client’s list. Custom cabinetry has been designed in a contemporary style to complement the the home’s eclectic d├ęcor.

Michael K Chen Architecture

A tiny Viking range was set up at the conclusion of the space. 2 under-counter units take the location of a full-size refrigerator. The conclusion of the blue cupboard was outfitted with walnut and stainless steel shelving for additional kitchen storage.

Michael K Chen Architecture

The aluminum bars around the exterior of the cupboard were shining to the surface. The bars are thicker in the spots in which it made the most sense to grab on and pull open. Normal Projects chose their placement by mapping the flow of the body across the cabinet.

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