For a nine-year-old who loves pirates and science fiction, Jonah Finger thinks of his family’s apartment as make-believe come true. His parents, Michael Finger and Joanne Kennedy, completed the renovation of their 640-square-foot walk-up in Manhattan’s East Village in May of 2008, just a week before the birth of Jonah’s baby sister, Esther. And while changing houses and getting a new sibling can be a turbulent transition for a kid, moving into the new place provided a thrilling amount of entertainment for Jonah. He has secret compartments under the floor to fill with toys and his own Murphy bed hiding in the wall behind his dad’s desk. For Finger and Kennedy, these features are critical space-savers that allow them to live peacefully in the postage stamp–size apartment, but the inventive design is also a reminder that livability isn’t just about organization and tidiness; it’s about the joy of interacting with a space.