Small space in the NYT

Monday, March 12, 2007

I had a love-hate feeling for this article in yesterday's New York Times. On one hand I was happy to see a small apartment that was actually short on space (though not truly tiny at 450 square feet), and not another 1,000 square foot "small apartment." I also wanted to jump up and cheer like a high school cheerleader when I saw the Murphy bed!

But then, I was shocked to learn that the homeowner, Eric Schneider, had spent a pretty penny renovating such a meager amount of space, and there wasn't really even mention of the place being a wreck to begin with. Worse still, The Times thought the home owner had been thrifty, noting, "The resulting renovation cost just over $70,000, thanks to clever use of inexpensive materials — chemistry-lab countertops, plexiglass panels, medium-density fiberboard for the cabinets." $70K is a lot of money. Clearly the architecture firm, dubiously named Normal Projects, isn't really geared towards what I would call "normal" peoples' budgets.

To add insult to injury, half of the pair, Michael Chen, was quoted saying this about Eric Schneider's desire for a Murphy bed, "We weren’t sure we would be able to incorporate it into something nice. It took a lot to figure out the mechanics. We used hardware parts from four different companies. We had to have every part fabricated.” Having owned a basic Murphy bed, I cannot imagine what was wrong with a basic mechanism that it could not have been the basis for "something nice." I shudder to think what percentage of the budget went to that custom Murphy bed. I’m also shocked that a contemporary architecture firm in New York thought a Murphy bed was a challenge to overcome. I would think that a firm called Normal Projects would be relieved (if not thrilled) to have a client open to clever space saving solutions, wouldn’t you?


Stephen said...
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