I’ll never forget how overjoyed I was when I solidified my first studio apartment in Manhattan. And it wasn’t just any studio apartment, it was on the most adorable street in all of New York City… Jane Street, in the heart of the West Village.
It didn’t faze me that the entire apartment was only about 125 square feet (bathroom included) and that I’d need to get pretty creative about where all of my belongings would go, I knew it’d be worth it. I felt like a proud, unstoppable princess.
Positioned facing the courtyard on the highest floor of the historic 5-floor walkup, I got lucky with a huge south-facing window (yes, just one!). The addition of twinkie lights wrapped around the railing of my fire escape made it feel as though I had additional space to work with… I considered it my outdoor “patio.”
The two greatest challenges I faced were 1) storage and 2) how to create extra seating for entertaining. Built-in shelving in the bathroom was helpful, whereas my 3 ft. wide closet was not. I turned to under-bed storage, packing off-season clothing and spare linens into suitcases I rarely used and/or long, shallow rolling plastic bins. I created a vanity with 2 Ikea cube storage shelves and placed a mirror on top of it - which helped solve for lacking counter space in my bathroom, and maximized the natural light coming in from the window.
The narrow hot dog style layout meant furnishings needed to be placed against the walls to ensure openness in the center of the room. In order to create a circular, good flow for entertaining, I positioned two additional seating options across from each other. One was an antique trunk which doubled as additional storage for my outerwear, and the other was a high-backed 2-person tufted settee. The narrow frame helped maximize available flooring.
A laundry bin fit perfectly in my non-working fireplace and I had just enough cabinet space for my blender a few dishes and wine glasses (as a typical New Yorker, I hardly ever cooked during those years…). Edison bulbs above the bathroom sink softened the stark white walls, while a thick but clear plastic shower curtain made the tiny space feel open and airy. Stand up and table lamps all had dimmers, creating the most wonderful ambiance.
I’ll never forget self-installing my window unit air conditioner, or how annoying the five flights were anytime I forgot something, and the amount of love I felt sharing my sweet little place with friends and family. Although I am thrilled to have graduated and gone on to living in larger spaces, 26 Jane Street will forever remain one of my most favorite projects.
Until next time,