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Couple share 175-square-foot apartment

Maybe that's too small for most folks, but many agree that smaller is better these days.

By Karen Datko Dec 14, 2009 8:20PM

McMansions are out. Small spaces are in. But just how small can you go? Can a couple live happily in a Manhattan apartment that’s not quite 15 by 10 feet, plus a narrow, 3-by-9-foot bathroom?


Zaarath and Christopher Prokop share the space with their two cats, and have pronounced life “harmonious” after three months in what the New York Post calls the city’s smallest apartment. (View the photos here.)


It should be noted that their living arrangements are somewhat unusual. They have a hot plate but no stove, plus a mini fridge that’s usually empty. They love to dine out.

“They don't cook, so the kitchen cabinets are used as their closet (because the apartment doesn't have any) and since the cabinets can't hold their wardrobe, they keep just work-out clothes at home and ‘store’ all other items at dry cleaners or the office,” Boston Gal said.


She also observed that the small-home movement has taken root on both coasts. According to an OregonLive story she linked to, Portland area building codes are changing to accommodate tiny structures. Seattle area architect Ross Chapin said he considers 500 square feet “fully livable” for a household of one, while 900 is adequate for two people. “No one, he says, needs 4,000 square feet,” the story says.


We love this idea. Trading down from the 1,000 square feet we have now to a much smaller living space would seem ideal, as long as it sat on a lovely tract. Less to heat, less to clean, and less to insure. But we’d have to have a real kitchen.


It turns out that Boston Gal's readers are also fascinated by the concept, if not exactly envious of the studio's teeny size. The Manhattan couple plan to pay off the $150,000 purchase price in 24 months. (They’ll still have a $700-a-month cooperative maintenance fee once the mortgage is retired.)

Others, like "Mr. ToughMoneyLove," are skeptical that anyone could relish living as the New York couple do. “If I lived in that place, just walking into the hallway would be a vacation,” he wrote at his blog. “I’m all for downsizing and frugal living, but they would be better off in a luxury RV parked near public transportation.”


Frugality is the operative word here: These folks know what’s important to them: working, and having plenty of money for eating out and going on vacation; spending on living space they use sparingly, not so much.


Adrienne, one of the readers who left a comment at Boston Gal’s Open Wallet, said the New York mini studio reminds her of the place she rented during law school.


“Do you know how damn convenient it was having the TV, bed, kitchen, ‘dining room’/desk (one tiny table in the corner) all within a couple of steps of each other?” she wrote. After graduation, she got a small house. “Now I wish I'd stuck to my original standard of living. I'd be mortgage-free right now!”


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