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NYC’s micro-studio expert by accident: Felice Cohen’s new home

In 2010 we toured the 90-square-foot apartment of Manhattan’s Felice Cohen and soon after media networks worldwide were questioning if it was “America’s tiniest apartment” (we have since filmed smaller) and helped our video go viral.

Today the video has had nearly 10 million views. Thanks to all the attention, Felice’s landlord discovered she wasn’t on the lease and evicted her (well, gave her the option to pay double the rent). Felice considered staying and paying $1300 or $1400 per month for her minuscule space, but then decided to listen to her grandparents who insisted that it was time to buy.

She’s been saving up for “a rainy day” – helped along by her relatively tiny $700/month rent- so she was able to go big. Her new apartment is 500 square feet and she didn’t have to change neighborhoods, though moving to a one-bedroom apartment from such tiny digs was a bit of a shock.

“You know when I lived in that small apartment I used to have dreams that I had another room that I didn’t know about and so now living in here it’s like, ‘wow, I have another room’… You have to walk through rooms now to get to other places.”

The video has received 4,000 comments and not all of them understanding of Felice’s decision to live so small. But Felice defends her choice, and that of cities like New York, Boston and San Francisco to build more “micro-studios” as less about physical space and more about a state of mind.

“For me, living in that tiny 90 sq ft apartment was about an attitude adjustment, really it was about I can do this. It was never a sacrifice. I came home every day and it was my little space.

And there are so many people who are so angry with these small spaces and it doesn’t matter what size space you have… it’s about making any space your home.”

[Felice’s book 90 Lessons for Living Large in 90 square feet].