In Just 450 Square Feet, A New York Architect Crafts a Multifunctional Apartment of His Own

By Heather Corcoran / Published by Dwell
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With a Murphy bed and a revised layout, a studio apartment becomes a transformable one-bedroom.

New York architect Christopher Kitterman is no stranger to small spaces. As the principal of STADT Architecture, he recently reworked a narrow triplex that was featured in our November 2016 issue. But a recent project proved more personal: the renovation of his 450-square-foot apartment in Manhattan's Gramercy neighborhood. 


The living room features a 12-foot-high ceiling, which drops to 8.5 feet in other areas of the apartment—an design feature architect and resident Christopher Kitterman used to organize the space. Behind the curtain, sliding glass doors open to a small terrace. The artwork includes a pair of Cindy Sherman prints, a framed Hermès scarf, and two of Kitterman's own photographs.

The living room features a 12-foot-high ceiling, which drops to 8.5 feet in other areas of the apartment—an design feature architect and resident Christopher Kitterman used to organize the space. Behind the curtain, sliding glass doors open to a small terrace. The artwork includes a pair of Cindy Sherman prints, a framed Hermès scarf, and two of Kitterman's own photographs.

Photo: Ben Anderson


Before the renovation, the living room was dominated by the bed, limiting the functionality of the space.

Before the renovation, the living room was dominated by the bed, limiting the functionality of the space.

Photo: STADT Architecture

The tight quarters proved challenging when trying to create a logical layout. A bathroom at the center of the space cut off the living area, which had previously been dominated by a bed. 

To make sense of the space, Kitterman used the existing architecture as a guide. The back of the apartment, where a 12-foot-high ceiling leads to a small terrace, would become the main living room, while shorter 8.5-feet-tall ceilings would cover the kitchen and dining area and convertible bedroom. To pull it all together, Kitterman opted for a bright neutral color palette and walnut herringbone floors from LV Wood.

The living room furniture sticks to a soothing palette. The sectional is by Gus, the brown leather Spring chair is by Erwan Bouroullec for Cappellini, the silver side table is from Design Within Reach, the Glo Ball floor lamp is by Jasper Morrison for Flos, and the Bob tables are by Jean-Marie Massaud for Poltrona Frau. A photograph by the architect rests on a credenza from ABC Home, the same source for the rug.

The living room furniture sticks to a soothing palette. The sectional is by Gus, the brown leather Spring chair is by Erwan Bouroullec for Cappellini, the silver side table is from Design Within Reach, the Glo Ball floor lamp is by Jasper Morrison for Flos, and the Bob tables are by Jean-Marie Massaud for Poltrona Frau. A photograph by the architect rests on a credenza from ABC Home, the same source for the rug.

Photo: Ben Anderson


A bulky shelving system once occupied an entire wall; now a streamlined cabinet system stashes belongings. The architect replaced the radiators with a slim wall-mounted option.

A bulky shelving system once occupied an entire wall; now a streamlined cabinet system stashes belongings. The architect replaced the radiators with a slim wall-mounted option.

Photo: STADT Architecture


Creating a new space for sleeping was equally important. Rather than giving over valuable square footage to a bed, Kitterman chose a queen-size Murphy bed system from Häfele that can be hidden behind a curtain during the day. When it's time to drop the bed at night, the curtain slides aside to cover the home's entrance, creating a cozy sense of privacy.

By the entrance, a silver curtains in KnollTextiles fabric hide a Poliform storage system and a Murphy bed. 

By the entrance, a silver curtains in KnollTextiles fabric hide a Poliform storage system and a Murphy bed. 

Photo: Ben Anderson



Before, the entrance was overwhelmed by a desk and task chair that prevented access to the main closet.

Before, the entrance was overwhelmed by a desk and task chair that prevented access to the main closet.

Photo: STADT Architecture

By placing the bed near the entrance of the apartment, Kitterman was able to leave an open space for a dining table—with room for eight—off of the new galley kitchen, which now gets plenty of natural light thanks to the reconfigured layout.


A built-in track allows the KnollTextiles curtains to be moved in front of the entrance, creating a cozy bedroom space. A queen-size Häfele Murphy bed is hidden between two sets of Poliform cabinets.

A built-in track allows the KnollTextiles curtains to be moved in front of the entrance, creating a cozy bedroom space. A queen-size Häfele Murphy bed is hidden between two sets of Poliform cabinets.

Photo: Ben Anderson



The Murphy bed niche is lined in deep blue fabric by KnollTextiles, one of the few pops of color in the space. 

The Murphy bed niche is lined in deep blue fabric by KnollTextiles, one of the few pops of color in the space. 

Photo: Ben Anderson


The galley kitchen features a slim Corian countertop and backsplash over rich walnut cabinetry. In the pantry and bathroom areas beyond, white terrazzo flooring replaces wood. The wall at the back of the shower is clad in large-format Blue de Savoie stone tiles.

The galley kitchen features a slim Corian countertop and backsplash over rich walnut cabinetry. In the pantry and bathroom areas beyond, white terrazzo flooring replaces wood. The wall at the back of the shower is clad in large-format Blue de Savoie stone tiles.

Photo: Ben Anderson



STADT Architecture's renovation created more living space without sacrificing functionality. The bathroom was moved to the back of the apartment, opening up square footage for a dining area off the galley kitchen.

STADT Architecture's renovation created more living space without sacrificing functionality. The bathroom was moved to the back of the apartment, opening up square footage for a dining area off the galley kitchen.

Photo: STADT Architecture
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Contributor: STADT Architecture

Heather Corcoran

@heatherc

Senior Editor @ Dwell Lover of color, craft, and a great story.

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