Bright Renovation of a Tiny Manhattan Apartment

written by:
photos by:
August 18, 2014
Originally published in Small Space Big Design
as
Let There Be Light
A husband-and-wife architect team transforms a 607-square-foot Manhattan apartment into an open and bright home for two graphic designers.
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  Graphic designers Ned Drew and Brenda McManus have made their renovated Manhattan apartment a showcase for their collectibles, including a vintage Eames leg splint and a “Wilhelm Tell” poster by Armin Hofmann. 

    Graphic designers Ned Drew and Brenda McManus have made their renovated Manhattan apartment a showcase for their collectibles, including a vintage Eames leg splint and a “Wilhelm Tell” poster by Armin Hofmann. 

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  Architects Richard Garber and Nicole Robertson demolished a wall, creating an open area for eating and entertaining. 

    Architects Richard Garber and Nicole Robertson demolished a wall, creating an open area for eating and entertaining. 

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  The Vladimir Lenin prints were a gift from Drew’s father, also a graphic designer, and reflect their shared love of “graphically powerful types of printed ephemera,” Drew says. Standard chairs by Jean Prouvé for Vitra are tucked under the dining table.

    The Vladimir Lenin prints were a gift from Drew’s father, also a graphic designer, and reflect their shared love of “graphically powerful types of printed ephemera,” Drew says. Standard chairs by Jean Prouvé for Vitra are tucked under the dining table.

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  An Eames Storage Unit helps to define distinct living and dining spaces. A Melo sofa from BoConcept faces a chest of drawers that Drew found at a Manhattan flea market.

    An Eames Storage Unit helps to define distinct living and dining spaces. A Melo sofa from BoConcept faces a chest of drawers that Drew found at a Manhattan flea market.

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  Garber and Robertson replaced walls and doors with translucent Panelite, which draws sunlight deep into the apartment.

    Garber and Robertson replaced walls and doors with translucent Panelite, which draws sunlight deep into the apartment.

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  One section of Panelite serves as both the kitchen backsplash and the back of the bathroom cabinet.

    One section of Panelite serves as both the kitchen backsplash and the back of the bathroom cabinet.

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  The architects designed the bamboo-plywood storage compartments above the hallway, bathroom, and bedroom closet.

    The architects designed the bamboo-plywood storage compartments above the hallway, bathroom, and bedroom closet.

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  Book jackets by Alvin Lustig and a vintage subway sign hang over a custom bed by Jeff Jenkins Design + Development.

    Book jackets by Alvin Lustig and a vintage subway sign hang over a custom bed by Jeff Jenkins Design + Development.

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  A steel I-beam was exposed during the renovation, and McManus and Drew opted to leave it that way, as it complemented the radiators and pipes that remain in their raw state elsewhere in the apartment. The general contractor, Eze Bongo, constructed the bamboo plywood desk.

    A steel I-beam was exposed during the renovation, and McManus and Drew opted to leave it that way, as it complemented the radiators and pipes that remain in their raw state elsewhere in the apartment. The general contractor, Eze Bongo, constructed the bamboo plywood desk.

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  Encased in Panelite, the bathroom creates a lantern effect when illuminated from within. “At night it’s nice because you can put on the shower light, close that door, and it’s like a floating box in the apartment,” McManus says. “It just glows.”

    Encased in Panelite, the bathroom creates a lantern effect when illuminated from within. “At night it’s nice because you can put on the shower light, close that door, and it’s like a floating box in the apartment,” McManus says. “It just glows.”

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  A view of the hallway before renovation.

    A view of the hallway before renovation.

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  Drew/McManus Residence Floor Plan A Bedroom B Bathroom C Kitchen D Living-Dining Area

    Drew/McManus Residence Floor Plan

    A Bedroom

    B Bathroom

    C Kitchen

    D Living-Dining Area

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