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Like a Murphy bed, the dining table tucks into the wall when not in use.

Like a Murphy bed, the dining table tucks into the wall when not in use.

Budgets beget compromise when it comes to design, and Jon Handley of Pulltab Design is an architect adept at navigating the balance between splurge and steal. When he was commissioned by a young couple to maximize the space in their minimal 700-square-foot Manhattan apartment, his solution for the main living area was a clever table that easily stows away against the wall when not in use. “Architecture helps influence the mood and set the scene,” Handley says. “The transition becomes a kind of ritual: It goes up for a movie night—the TV is across the room—or down for a dinner party.”

The inexpensive, lightweight MDF surface operates on a custom-built fulcrum system that utilizes lead weights like a see-saw. Once in motion, gravity is the only agent needed to engage the leg. A relatively pricey panel of fabric by Dutch designer Hella Jongerius functions as a “quirky surprise,” lining the back of the vertical box where the unit is housed.

"Architecture helps influence the mood and set the scene," architect Jon Handley of Pulltab Design says. That mindset is quite evident in this 700-square-foot Manhattan apartment, where a young couple now maximizes their small space with a clever, fold-away dining table.

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