One of the problems with living in an apartment is of course the storage room. For young parents, conventional wisdom often dictates that when you have children, you have to make the compromise to move out of the city, to a home that can accommodate the whole family. But! What if we told you that a smart design could solve all your problems?
“This apartment is part of a large building complex in Manhattan, New York, owned by a married couple,” said Goil Amornvivat, partner at AMMOR Architecture. “The owners are hip, young professionals who recently had a baby.”
Although space was limited in this contemporary home, the architectural firm made it their priority to open up rooms, views and storage areas cleverly hidden in plain sight.
‘The most premium luxury in New York is not an object or thing; it’s space,” says Goil. ‘This house is in a super urban setting, so we wanted to contrast that by creating a bright, warm, calm and peaceful place. One of our goals was to reduce the visual noise of the house by creating a lot of closed storage space. We have also turned a cramped three-room apartment into an apartment with two spacious bedrooms. In this way we were able to create nicer, larger and better lit spaces.’
Aside from the newly renovated, spacious bedrooms, the home also has a deck overlooking downtown New York.
Aditi is a home writer and editor with several years of experience. Her articles, backed by expert insights, offer suggestions to help readers make the best home design choices. Each piece presents the latest ideas, information and trends to its readers. For this piece, she spoke to one of the top architectural firms in New York to learn how a small city apartment was transformed into one with generous space, style and storage.
Much of the layout of the house was reconfigured to accommodate more function and style. The entrance was originally a small hall, which was opened, now overlooking the terrace and views beyond. Storage space has been added under the sofa. And to further brighten up the space, the apartment entrance features gold foil wallpaper, injecting color into a mostly all-white home.
“We always start the house palette with a strong neutral base and build from there,” says Goil. ‘Limited shades make the whole house feel as one, although we did have fun at key moments, such as in the master bedroom and the powder room. The gold foil wallpaper in the entrance has been applied to help reflect the light into the room.’
Although the house has a generous open floor plan, each space has its own identity and design, with an overall muted palette that unites all the elements. All along the wall behind the dining area is a storage unit; one that hides crockery, tchotchkes and even a home bar. Against the wooden floor and table, the green upholstered chairs inject texture and comfort.
Curves are a big dining table trend these days – a shape that invites people to literally sit around. ‘We chose an oval table that offers plenty of seating, yet is an easier shape to move around, without sharp corners,’ says Goil. This was also an important decision, bearing in mind that soon there will be a toddler running around the house.
‘Closed, smart storage is a big USP of our company,’ says Goil. ‘In this room, the original wall behind the dining room slid in and out, so we straightened it out with closed storage. While the front is uniform, the depth of the cabinet varies.’
Recessed lighting has been added in the cabinets and all shelves have a soft open and close function.
The kitchen is custom designed. The colors of the kitchen cabinet have been kept white, and the countertop and backsplash are both solid surfaces called Neolith (a counter-grade man-made material that simulates the appearance of a large slab of stone).
“We converted the closed small kitchen into one that looks nice and open and integrates seamlessly into the living room,” says Goil. ‘All in all, a great look to the interior. We have also moved this space closer to the terrace, which makes playing outside easier and more pleasant.’
Almost all storage is placed behind closed doors. “The whole back wall looks like millwork panels, but these are doors that hide a refrigerator, bar, pantry, and more,” says Goil. “It all looks simple, but there’s a lot of complexity involved in creating hidden storage!”
‘We have also added a suspended ceiling above the kitchen, with integrated mood lighting,’ says Goil.
The heart of the house, a cozy, cozy place for the family and one that offers a panoramic view of the city, has been designed with great care. A soft navy blue living room color palette balanced with gray takes over, blending well with the New York landscape.
“We wanted to soften the space with plush upholstered items,” says Goil. And the curve of the sofa helped calm the space. Also, the custom curved sofa stands out against the strong architectural foundation of the room.’
The presence of the original columns gives the room a unique architectural look and feel and adds to the curves and soft shapes of the room. A low plinth runs over the living room and the entrance, which is functionally enriched with storage space.
Using white on the walls and storage helps to blend the two together, making the house and any room look bigger and airier than it is. The gray carpet, placed on top of the wooden floor, adds a sense of layering and coziness.
A sliding door has been added between the living room and the private areas of the house [not pictured]closing off the bedrooms for privacy during parties.
Located close to the kitchen and living room, the terrace garden is the most premium location in this property. A city apartment with an outdoor space high above is a dream for most homeowners.
The terrace has built-in benches and a millwork grill. The company also placed a mirror in this area to reflect the view of Hudson.
“Another big step in this house was increasing the floor-to-ceiling opening of the door to the patio,” says Goil. ‘We installed large sliding doors and extended the stairs to this space, so that inside and outside are better connected; almost as if one room flows into another. The larger aperture also helps to bring more light into the house.’
The master bedroom is a room full of character thanks to the eye-catching Kelly Wearstler (opens in new tab) wallpaper, the dark headboard, the plush sofa, and the sheer scale of the renovated space.
“The primary bedroom is a well-proportioned, volumetrically correct space, given the high ceilings,” says Goil. “In this room the ceiling had to be lowered because of the new HVAC system/duct we installed. And so we used the suspended ceiling to create an intimate vestibule for the bed area. Getting into bed is also an experience, with the wall-to-wall carpet made of silk viscose.’
Within the master bedroom is a large modern home office; one that is enriched with plenty of storage space, comfort and mildly filtered light. ‘The desk is integrated into the window wall and the millwork extends the full length of the room and becomes a sofa by the bed.’
Large windows are covered in light, white tones and the palette is muted to encourage the sense of openness.
The bedroom rug runs through the room, adding to the cocooning, soft feel underfoot. The layering of plush materials ensures that the room is cozy and inviting to rest, sleep or work in at all times.
“This space has two types of storage: open and closed,” says Goil. ‘For the home office, we provided closed containers for binders, books and stationery, and open shelves to display decor and personal items.’
The second bedroom has been converted into a children’s room, with custom storage and furniture. The palette is white, which is an ideal neutral nursery idea, and practical for a room that can grow with the child. Soft, filtered light also enters this room, with the long, white blinds. Like all other rooms in the house, this bedroom also has a view of the city.
‘The house was an exercise in ‘opening up’, whether it’s connecting with each other, the view or the light, says Goil.
This room, along with the master bedroom, speaks of color, glamor and high-concept style. The powder room features Kelly Wearstler wallpaper and a charming marble sink with gold-colored fixtures. The floor tiles give movement to the room and the door frame in blue sets the tone of the room’s design.
See more from AMMOR architecture (opens in new tab) projects.