When you rent, you never know where you might end up next, so your furniture needs to be adaptable to diverse spaces—–be it a LEED-certified modern condo or a creaky Victorian flat. Nobody understands this better than Jen Turner. The designer and architect (formerly with Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects) lived in five—– count ’em, five—–different apartments during her first year in New York City. Now happily inhabiting a permanent home in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, she designed an ingenious space-and-sanity-saving desk-cum-bar, dubbed the NewYorker, created to enliven a renter’s small or temporary digs.
"I tend to approach everything with a double use, with a ‘more-is-more’ mindset when it comes to function," Turner says. "When you rent, you don’t know when or where you’re moving and you need to make the most of your space. This fulfills both needs."
The NewYorker evokes the old-school drink trolleys on commuter trains of yore, with a modern minimalist look and feel. Turner’s natty little bar and desk is constructed of warm, honey-brown ash and has a seamlessly split personality: On the bar side, there’s a cove for your preferred boozy delights as well as a sliding drawer and a sliding work surface for various accoutrements (bottle opener, zester, extra-fancy bitters), while on the business side there’s storage for your computer and printer and a work station lined with rich recycled leather.
This duality also creates a nice line of demarcation between a day of work and an evening of relaxation. When closed, it’s a clean box that doesn’t intrude on any space, with just enough detail and richness of materials to make it engaging—–a strong, silent type. The base of the piece is lightweight burnished steel on wheels, so it can move throughout any space—–and is easily disassembled if you need to pack up and move on.
Another bonus? "You don’t have to share your liquor with your roommates," Turner says, laughing. For anyone who has arrived home to see her bottle of Patrón Añejo drained and halfheartedly replaced with a liter of Cuervo, that might be the best design advantage of all.
Click here to see the NewYorker in action.