Graham Hill, the founder of architecture and design consultancy Life Edited, has been actively challenging the idea of luxury and space for the past 5 years.
His 420-square-foot New York City studio apartment might sound like a tight squeeze — but with its innovative design, Hill has managed to create a transforming space that can actually function similar to a house two to three times its size. Dinner party with 10 guests? No problem. Two family members staying for the holiday weekend? Bring it on.
For Hill, his apartment is an extension of his minimalist lifestyle.
“Living with less” means “it’s easier to choose to focus on important stuff with a little more ease,” he told Business Insider.
He shared some photos of his incredible apartment and its various space-saving hacks.
While Hill was working at TreeHugger.com, he became increasingly aware of the negative effects larger homes can have on the environment.
'Between 40-70% of greenhouse gas emissions are somehow related to housing: constructing them, powering them, transportation to and from them, filling them up with stuff and so on,' Hill said.
So in late 2010, Life Edited launched a crowdsourced competition, asking innovators to create a rendering of a highly functional apartment.
The winners, Catalin Sandu and Adrian Iancu, designed the apartment you see here, which was finally completed in 2013.
'We partnered up with a local design/build firm in New York called Composite Fabrication + Construction, who translated some of Catalin and Adrian's designs to make them ready for New York's Department of Buildings,' Hill said.
Sandu and Iancu designed the space to have various essential items tucked away into the walls. This extension wall created an additional room in the apartment.
The extension wall also houses a Da-Lite projection screen, and the projector is neatly hidden above the couch.
When you're ready to eat, the Resource Furniture Goliath table starts as a 17-inch console. Perfect for a meal for two.
If guests are coming, the table features a high-grade aluminium telescoping frame that can be extended.
'With less stuff, there's not so much physical or mental clutter to take my focus off the things that truly matter to me -- things like my friends, having great experiences and doing good work,' Hill said.
Switching the view, you can see the kitchen (right) and the bathroom (left). Notice that the table that easily sits 10 is tucked away neatly in the apartment's breakfast bar.
This apartment was built inside a 100-year-old co-op building in Manhattan, which provided its own set of unique challenges for Hill and the design firm.
'It should be noted that we didn't build in an old building because we were masochistic,' Hill joked.
'Something like 85% of New York's buildings in 2030 have already been built. So learning how to upgrade old spaces is vital to thinking about how our homes will look in the years to come,' he said. Here, you'll see the Energy Star-rated Sub-Zero 700BCI drawer fridge and freezer.
Hill loves the hidden storage built into the design. 'It's really easy to get zen in there. Even when I'm not feeling so tidy, I can hide things away and create a little sanctuary,' he said.
The south wall between the couch and the bathroom houses cabinets that fit Hill's wardrobe, as well as the leafs and chairs for the extendable dining table.
A solar-power charging station built by Voltaic Systems is also tucked away. This cabinet also holds PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells.
Above the toilet sits the Zehnder ComfoAir 200 heat recovery ventilator, which circulates fresh air and keeps the place warm.
'The problem, as I saw it, was that people saw living in a small space as sacrificial,' Hill said. 'I wanted to show a house that required no sacrifice, that performed as good or better than a house twice its size, while still maintaining all the environmental and low-fuss benefits of a compact home.'
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