Graham Hill, founder of minimalist design firm
LifeEdited, brought his ultimate dream home to life less than a year ago.After shedding the excess, he managed to fit his entire life inside a 420-square foot apartment in Manhattan’s trendy SoHo neighbourhood.
The idea was to fit 700 square feet into 420 square feet with the creative use of space. The result is a home that doubles as a treasure trove of storage space, featuring fold-up beds, hidden cabinets, removable walls and more. It can be transformed from a living room to bedroom, workspace, dining room and entertainment space.
“A simpler life is a happier life,” Hill told Business Insider in an interview in March.
But his particular brand of simplicity comes at a cost.
In 2009 and 2010, he bought two apartments in an old Sullivan Street building and held a design competition for the larger of the two, which is now the popularised LifeEdited apartment. The space cost about $300,000, plus an extra $250,000 to $300,000 in renovations
“You have to fill it full of stuff and then you have to light it, heat it, cool it, clean it, maintain it, move it,” he said, adding that his intention isn’t for Americans to copy his design exactly.
“We truly believe that this is not only a middle, upper-class type thing. We can absolutely do this on a cheaper basis.”
With Hill’s permission, we’ve published a walk-thru of his LifeEdited apartment.
Here's the floor plan of Hill's apartment. At 420 sq. feet, it could fit inside the average American home about four times.
Here's what the space usually looks like as a bedroom. Hill says it can transform into five different spaces — including a living room, bedroom, dining room, entertainment centre and workspace.
This is the view from the opposite angle. Hill said he loves the apartment and it hasn't been very difficult getting used to living in the small space, although he had lived in some other small spaces previously.
The table pictured here doubles as a work station and dinner table. It's nearly 10 feet long when fully extended, perfect for a dinner party of 10. The leaves for the table are stored in a cabinet in the wall.
For cooking, Hill's apartment has a Wolf convection oven/microwave ($845) with 1.5 cubic feet of space – enough to fit a turkey. A set of Joseph Joseph nesting bowls and utensils ($45) are kept next to the unit.
The fridge and freezer are tucked away in a drawer. This is an Energy Star rated Sub-Zero 700BCI fridge/freezer ($4,230) drawer and a NatureMill automatic composter ($299).
The apartment is kept cool with a Frigidaire 8000 BTU air conditioner. The panel leaning next to the cabinet covers the unit during the winter when it's not needed.
Hill opted for portable burners instead of a stove. This model is made by Fagor (each burn costs about $150). The counter is made of Eco by Consentino and consists of recycled quartz.
The drawer theme continues. Here's the dishwasher, a Fisher Paykel DishDrawer. It uses two gallons a cycle instead of a normal model's six.
Here's the bathroom. It's split into a separate shower and toilet area. The fixtures are from Fluid and Caroma designed the sink and toilet.
Ports near the windows funnel in heat from the Zehnder unit. The ceiling houses a Modern Fan Company Cirrus Fan, and Amina Invisible Speakers are built into the drywall.
Now, back to the main room. One of the main features of the space is the Resource Furniture Swing Sofa/Bed ($13,000) with chaise lounge extender. It's essentially a Murphy bed.
When guests visit, a moving wall can separate the living room into two private bedrooms. The wall was designed by Modern Office Systems.
Inside the stationary back wall, the Resource Furniture Lollipop bunk bed ($2,000+) folds out to sleep two guests.
And a set of privacy curtains extends to create two enclosed spaces. The curtains are made with recycled cotton fabric from Maxwell Supernatural.
The guest room also has a desk and drawers. Hill said more than 25 people have stayed in the apartment during the past six months.
An adjustable stool and 27-inch Apple monitor attached to the wall helps turn the main room into a workspace.
Storage is hidden everywhere. In total, the apartment has 426 cubic feet of space to stow away extra stuff.
There's plenty of room for Hill's bike, which was designed by Hill and Schindelhauer Bicycles. It can be adjusted to store at just 6 inches wide.
Here's the view outside, along with the outdoor solar panels, installed near the apartment's windows. The solar charger powers a Pendant lamp in the living area.
The apartment has a tilt/turn window from Thermoscape for easy fire escape access. The other apartment windows are Serious 725 double-hungs.
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