New York Mini-Studio

A couple years ago, Manhattan architect Luke Clark Tyler lived in a 96 square foot apartment. Instead of upsizing with his latest move, he chose to squeeze himself and his belongings into even less space.

Luke now lives in a 78 square foot shoebox studio. It’s too narrow to fit a bed lengthwise, but using a bit of plywood and 2x4s he built his own custom bed/couch.

When it’s down as a bed the room is mostly bed and when it’s up as a couch he has a very close relationship with the wall, “but I just use it as an excuse not to buy an ottoman because… I can just prop my feet right up on the wall.”

He keeps his clothes, plates, microwave, books, spices and shaving and cleaning supplies in a large built-in cabinet. The rest of his kitchen is a tiny refrigerator that helps hold up his desk (he works for home as a contract architect).

While he admits he misses being able to cook a real meal- though he’s vegetarian so eats a lot of vegetables and nuts and can even microwave eggs- Luke doesn’t see living small as a sacrifice.

He loves living in the heart of New York City- his place is in Midtown Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen- and he likes paying just $750/month (cheaper than the shared housing he could find in the area).

Perhaps it helps that his neighbors live in similarly-sized studios- he shares a bathroom with 3 other tenants on his floor-, but he is happy in what he calls his “Midtown Mansion”.

“Having lived in both the largest shelter in the Southeast as well as the largest slum in East Africa, I don’t think living small is a challenge. So we can call it anything; a room, a hallway, a live-in-closet, but to me it’s just home.”

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Jessica - July 28, 2011 Reply

Wow that is small! A little more like a dorm room than a home but I guess NYC is his true living room

    Bob - August 2, 2011 Reply

    This is a reply to Jessica, 7/28/11:


    Your comment is truly profound (I’m serious). “…NYC is his true living room.” His spot is a retreat, a place to get away to, but when you get right down to it, the space of the “living room” of NYC is virtually limitless. And the ‘retreat’ space limitations certainly helps one to not be materialistic! 🙂


paige - July 28, 2011 Reply

I love his happy, positive attitude. I’m sure it helps that he has been to places where 78 sq ft is considered a large living area 🙂

mike - July 28, 2011 Reply

Not sure how high the ceiling is, but maybe a sleeping loft would allow for more space… must go nuts working from home in the winter in that small a space though…

Russ - July 28, 2011 Reply

I’m sure the combination of location and price is what makes this really worthwhile. If you’re someone who has indoor hobbies though, this kind of space becomes a bit trickier, though in his case it’s fine since he just uses it as a sleeping space and office. I guess you can hang stuff on the walls to create more storage for things.

I think probably the biggest downside to the space is not being able to cook in any real capacity, as a fellow vegetarian I prefer to eat out infrequently and if you were looking for a hot meal you’d pretty much have to outside of disappointing microwave cookery.

Still though, this is probably the smallest apartment space I’ve seen yet. Impressive.

Lynne H - July 28, 2011 Reply

Super creative use of space! Creative Murphy ROOM! Reminds me of 1/2 of the dorm room I lived in. Like Mike said (above) a sleeping loft would work, too. My roommate and I both had sleeping lofts and had a fully functional living room below.

Tim - July 28, 2011 Reply

Wow I love tiny homes but dont think I could live like that…unless I had no choice, glad your happy with it though.

Jenna - July 28, 2011 Reply

AMAZING! This reminds me of that episode of Flight of the Conchords where Jemaine rents a broom closet as his new apartment! lol He should have taken some tips from you, though!

kevinsmicrohomestead - July 28, 2011 Reply

That’s awesome and you could create much more space with a loft. As far as cooking a hot plate or small gas stove would alow you to cook like a chef in one pot or pan . Simple cheap easy and new york !! 😉

Diane - July 28, 2011 Reply

He certainly has a great brilliance in creating the bed/couch/storage combo, plus the door with storage and the desk area.

But my word… such a cost for so little.

Jean - July 28, 2011 Reply

Wow. My mortgage payment on my 3-bedroom rancher is less than what he’s paying in rent for that space. And that is why I’ll probably never live in Manhattan.

Victoria - Ozarks Crescent Mural - July 28, 2011 Reply

You’ve got a good set-up, but I’m with the others that suggest a loft bed. You’ve got such great high ceilings, that I think I’d have a ladder up to a loft with a couch and table beneath it. I like your closet and how you’ve organized it. Adding the door with great shelves is a nice touch. The storage beneath the couch is great too.

alice - July 28, 2011 Reply

Nice use of space, not sure if I’d want a loft bed in there as it would probably feel a lot more closed in with it lurking overhead. One of my favourite small space cooking tools is the toaster oven. You can roast veggies in it, bake cookies, make melted cheese goodies, all kinds of stuff. I have a small toaster oven, electric kettle and induction hot plate at my tiny shack and they don’t take up much room at all. You can even get one of the fancy new convection toaster ovens if you have the money.

David T. - July 29, 2011 Reply

A loft bed would be an option but consider there also would be 50% less light. In such tiny space the selection of colors is also very important. All the walls, cabinets and cushions are white combined with wood which gives a more homely feel to the place. The mirror also makes it visually larger.
One possibility would be to put a small white cabinet above the door.
Good job Luke! Don’t forget to make a post if you one day build your own house!

Deek - July 30, 2011 Reply

Great vid, and a truly adventurous place. Not sure if sleeping with your head next to a running fridge, or working with you groin next to the same (his desk set-up), would be so great for you- EMF wise….but ya’ gotta do, what you gotta do…


Cindy - August 1, 2011 Reply

I live in Manhattan. You’ve done a great job, but you’re getting ripped off at $750 a month. Rents have come down. Re-negotiate.

Dawn - August 1, 2011 Reply

I think this is amazing and more power to him. If we all divested ourselves of stuff we’d most likely be happier. He seems like a really nice, happy, well adjusted guy. Glad he’s found his niche!

Jamie - August 3, 2011 Reply

Efficient living at its best! Nice, Luke.

Dina - August 3, 2011 Reply

I have lived in some small places, and I love the idea of small homes, but this is a hallway with a window and some pillows. I think the landlord should be ashamed of himself for charging so much, even if he has a tenant who is making the best of it. I would move to Brooklyn.

me - August 13, 2011 Reply

For the life of me, why on earth would anyone want to pay so much money to live in so little square footage in a garbage dump like New York City? Never will I understand this – ever. I’m all for living small, but the whole purpose of living small should be to not be wasting money on space you don’t need and be able to have security knowing that you’re living within or below your means. I don’t know how this kid makes his money, but $800 a month is A LOT of rent to pay for nothing in return. Ugh, New York is disgusting.

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