Unique and Untraditional Small Spaces

Unique storage solutions and untraditional design approaches make four small spaces seem much grander.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionA 20-foot sofa runs the length of the apartment and can sleep three guests—if they don't mind lying head to toe.
City Cousin
Larry Wente describes his compact loft in New York City as a total wreck when he first bought it. However, it has an extraordinary view through two double-height windows looking out on Midtown Manhattan, Central Park, and in the foreground—the new glass planetarium at the Natural History Museum. His first goal, for budget and aesthetic reasons, was to recycle some materials he had used to build an upstate weekend house three years earlier. This included maple flooring, kitchen counter granite, and waxed steel elements for the stairwell and window surrounds. While the feeling inside the apartment is dramatically different than its country cousin, Wente finds stability in having many familiar elements in both places.

To enlarge the perception of space, Wente laid out the 670-square-foot apartment like a three-dimensional cube—using every inch. In addition to the two-story windows, he installed two-story mirrors, walls, and cabinets to extend up through both levels. He made a red poplar screen to wrap around the refrigerator and separate the kitchen from the living area. He created hidden storage spaces and (irregular) closets out of many underused recesses in the walls.