Gramercy Studio Renovation

For Frans and his wife, Dalal, downsizing from a 2,500 square foot Flatiron District loft to a one-bathroom studio in neighboring Gramercy Park raised only one challenge: Where to put the mudroom! Size was hardly an issue for this unflappable couple who made room for a mudroom, master closets, and sleeping space for four in this mighty studio! Frans enlisted a general contractor from Sweeten, a renovation matchmaking service to complete the renovation.

The main studio space was a standard boxy room that backed up to one wall of windows and existing decor was mostly dark and decades old. Because of the single source of light, it took some imagination to carve up the room for use in different ways.

Frans and Dalal designated the windowed area as their new living room, and aimed to update and expand the kitchen, bathroom, and wardrobes while incorporating an urban mudroom into a large hall closet. Seven-inch Siberian white oak planks were installed throughout.

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The original 6 x 8 foot kitchen nook offered little work space, so an oversized closet was incorporated into the kitchen design. A major demolition created a larger footprint and a workable U-shape. A new mini island with two dining seats offers additional counter space. Part of the old closet, was turned into the mudroom. As an extension of the kitchen, white custom cabinetry conceals the refrigerator and houses an exposed wet bar and wine fridge.

Frans and Dalal worked with the GC to create two customized and flexible sleeping spaces. He built sliding accordion doors out of walnut wood and opaque resin that stack together out of the way when opened, or become solid partition walls when extended and closed off.

In the master bedroom section, he built a king-sized platform bed and matching nightstands. In the living room, the team devised a plan for a customized built-in wall unit, incorporating a queen-sized murphy bed and guest closet all conveniently and seamlessly hidden behind white lacquered plywood. Across the room, the GC installed a single walnut shelf running alongside the wall for entertainment equipment.

In the bathroom, they planned to change the footprint to allow for a larger, more accessible layout, and customize the adjoining closet to cater to “his and her” needs. The footprint was rotated 90 degrees to swap the shower and vanity, allowing for greater use of space overall.

The new wardrobe situation is impressive. A walk-in closet was already in place, but the couple had a better plan to build a more streamlined and highly organized pass-through closet. Using the door to the old closet, the GC custom built movable shelving units out of corresponding walnut wood for shoes. These movable units lead to a separate bathroom entry to the back of the studio, where the living room sits. The homeowners also gained a new compact washer/dryer to complete the turn-around.

Not one to miss the tiniest of details, Frans had the entire apartment wired for temperature, lighting, and sound control he conveniently accesses via phone. They not only got the mudroom, but also managed to fold in multiple, flexible spaces to this origami apartment. Their new “studio” might be the only one in all of Manhattan with as many separate rooms as they now have, perfectly positioned within one unique space.


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