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Manhattan shoebox apartment: a 78-square-foot 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 from 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.”

  • susan katz

    how do we order beds?