Luke Tyler’s 78 Square Foot NYC Apartment

by Kent Griswold on May 30th, 2012. 25 Comments
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Freelance architect Luke Clark Tyler has managed to turn 78 square feet of dull space into a cozy NYC apartment, and now he’s sharing his innovative design tips exclusively on Offbeat Spaces, a new web show on YouTube’s newest home & design channel called Spaces.

How to make the most of your small space:

  1. 1. To achieve a clean look in tight quarters, Luke recommends concealing storage within a small, organized closet.
  2. To create an illusion that deepens the overall space, hang a mirror above your desk or work area.
  3. Get used to using a hand towel to dry off after a shower. Regular-sized towels take up too much precious space.

Here is a video walk through with Luke and a photo gallery of his apartment.

Luke at work

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25 Responses to “Luke Tyler’s 78 Square Foot NYC Apartment”

  1. Maria Abbas says:

    There’s an original video with Luke that’s a bit more intimate (vérité style) http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/manhattan-shoebox-apartment-a-78-square-foot-live-in-closet/

  2. Elektra says:

    Luke, oh my gosh, you’ve transformed the small space. You’ve also inspired me. I’m living and running my small business in Manhattan out of a 12 x 14 room that contains a lot more stuff than yours…you amaze me how you have so few things and have kept it minimalist chic. My room is more like a sweat shop meets a storage closet ; )

  3. One thing I would do is to paint a whimsical outdoor mural on the wall opposite the desk so it looks like you have a view to the outside while you work.

    Very cool. Don’t know if I could live that way, but I love the clean space. :o)

  4. Kelli says:

    I wonder what the rent is.

  5. alice h says:

    Seems to be well set up for his needs. Wonder how many people share the bathroom. For various reasons I’d find that a bit difficult. Also not keen on a black bathroom as it would hide the dirt. Might seem like a plus, but as an archnophobe with bad eyesight there’d always be a nagging sense of impending doom. And as a serious tea drinker I’d definitely need a chamber pot.

  6. Bushrod says:

    Luke, That looks like my old apartment at 36 West 88th. It was in the 60s; I did the same thing..put the air conditioner in the only window.

  7. gill says:

    This is NOT an apartment. It is a unit room in a rooming house, as the bathroom is shared, and a kitchen and living room should also be provided somewhere in the building for all the tenants renting rooms.

  8. jgodsey says:

    okay….someone NEEDS to explain to me…don’t they have rules in NYC about the size of an ‘APARTMENT’?

    indeed with a shared bathroom and no kitchen this doesn’t qualify as anything more than a small dorm room.

  9. Anon_Mahna says:

    wasted space. should have lofted his bed

    • Heath says:

      I would have to disagree there. If he had lofted the bed it would have blocked the top top part of the window, making it both darker and smaller. Plus the bed seems to double as a couch thereby providing seating should anyone stop by for a visit.

  10. jipsi says:

    Seriously? I think I’ve seen this somewhere else… it’s actually a CLOSET (or was), isn’t it??
    NYC real estate prices really ARE this bad, though… my midwest 360 sq ft, 1 bedroom apartment + large stoop/slab porch rents for $350 here, and I’ve seen similar sized dwellings on the not-so-nice areas of Manhattan going for over $2000 a month! And THOSE get snapped up right away, too… They typically would advertise it as a ‘true 1 bedroom charmer, ground floor (no stairs!), fully-equipped kitchen and open plan living/dining area, close to retail and transit, OUTDOOR SPACE!’ and it would rent THAT NIGHT, too, with BIDDING action taking it to even more than a starting amount of $2Grand!
    So I could also see this ‘closet’ being similarily marketed (‘bright, sunny studio space in Manhattan,open plan loft style (high ceilings!), utils except phone included in rent fee of $1500, plus deposit’)…and it would have takers. REALLY.
    LOVE the efficient closet space/wardrobe he’s devised for the above, wouldn’t mind having something like that in my closets: cubbies make it so much easier to manage the storage of smaller items in addition to the hanging of clothes… hmmm, it IS odd, though, talking about a closet WITHIN a closet, eh?
    Love the article, and we can all, tiny space or large, take something away from its tips… ;-)

  11. jipsi says:

    I THOUGHT I’d seen this somewherethis tiny apartment in NYC before: it was described in more detail here at TinyHouseBlog in an article LAST SUMMER (July 17, 2011)!
    It’s okay for the update, though; looks as though he HAS made a few mods since then…. ;-)

  12. In flyover country, I pay a $300 mortgage for a 2000 square foot house. I feel sorry for folks that are paying too much for a space they can’t even stretch their legs in, let alone plant a garden and to be able to provide for themselves.

  13. Aldene says:

    This looks like someone miscalculated in laying out the interior walls and accidentally left a gap. Looks like he’s living in the partitions!

    • Benjamin says:

      I suspect it was a room that was divided in half or thirds depending on the original size and how many windows it had.

      In a market like NYC where the cheapest apartments are going for $2000, some people are more than happy to find something like this for $750.

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  15. Whitfield Palmer says:

    I find it so sad that people force themselves to live in such conditions. There is a fine line between living simply and simply living. Luke, New York is overrated. You can be successful in any large city and live much more comfortably.

  16. [...] in the bathroom. But after reading this article, I have nothing to complain about! Here’s a story about a guy living in a 78-square-foot apartment in [...]

  17. Jack6n8 says:

    I always was envious of Elwood Blues’s place (except the El noise) now I’m envious of you…my old man used to say “You should be able to get your whole life into a sea bag”.

  18. Finn Ostergard says:

    Makes me feel bad complaining about paying the same rent for a 3 bedroom house 100 yards from Sisters Beach here in Tasmania.
    I thought New York was crowded, when I visited the place in 1964, it must have got worse since.
    I love the american indians aim to leave as small a footprint on the earth as possible when they go.
    You can definatly go with a clear concience,
    thanks for sharing your story with us.

  19. Lisa says:

    I think he did a great job of transforming the room into a multifunctional space. It’s even tiny compared to tiny home standards.

  20. nancy phillips says:

    Hey for a better quality of life and tons of space, move to Texas. In Amarillo you can get a 1200 square foot, two bedroom apartment with full bathroom, living room, galley kitchen,for around 700 a month. The traffic is minimal and drive time for average commuter is 15 minutes.

  21. Simon says:

    This is truly an inspiring way to live your life. Your minimalistic living seems to be a real challenge, but you look as if you are doing well in 78 square foot! Are you living without a TV?

    I am a fan of minimalistic and simple living as well, maybe you can find some inspiration in my blogposts!

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