Houzz Tour: Two Small New York Apartments Become One
An architect has combined a one-bedroom and an adjacent studio flat to create a colourful and functional home
The couple hired architect Andrew Mikhael to give it a pleasing flow and make it functional, beautiful and able to accommodate overnight guests. In addition, their favourite destination in the world is Morocco, and they wanted to bring some of the saturated colours and artistry of that country into their New York home.
Who lives here? A couple
Location Brooklyn, New York, USA
Size 79 sq m
Architect Andrew Mikhael Architect
Photos by Brad Dickson
The building is a landmark structure in Brooklyn with a mansard roof. The apartments were back to back, so the newly configured space is long and narrow. At this end, there’s a living room, seen here, and a dining room.
The living room is one space that remained in its original spot with the same footprint. “Like lots of New Yorkers, this couple had lots of people who would come stay with them,” Andrew says. “But they didn’t want to dedicate space to a room that would just be a guest room.”
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“My clients had a lot of books and objects from their travels that they wanted to display,” Andrew says. So he designed built-in units to run along the side of the dining room. These units include lights at the top and closed storage along the bottom. “Wall space was at a premium in here, and this was the right space for bookshelves,” Andrew says.
To fit a shower into the compact space, Andrew utilised a wetroom strategy. This means the shower doesn’t have an enclosure or curtain. Striking Moroccan tiles mark the shower area and the floor slopes slightly towards a drain.
The walls that aren’t covered in tiles are covered in tadelakt. “This is a waterproof plaster that has been used for centuries in Morocco,” Andrew says. He matched it to one of the colours in the tiles, and the dark hue makes the colourful tiles stand out.
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The bathrooms and kitchens were clustered in the centre of the plan.
He also crafted an office anteroom between the primary bedroom and bathroom, using cabinetry and a pocket door to make the most of the space.
Moving down the plan, he used the small kitchens from both apartments and the couple’s original bathroom for the kitchen space. Then he added a second bathroom next to the primary one.
He sited the dining room where the couple’s bedroom had been and added the large doors to the existing living room. To make room for a functional kitchen, he moved the entry door to the dining room wall.
Luckily, he discovered an existing unused roof penetration where he was able to run a duct vent to a powerful extractor. Having a functional and well-ventilated space was a dream come true for the couple.
Although the colours are dark, the skylight floods the room with natural light. “The existing skylight provided a shaft of light. I suggested stretching it out,” Andrew says. “There was a lot of space between the ceiling and the roof. I was able to shape it and create a large rectangle. The sunlight bounces off the angled ceiling around the skylight in different ways.”
He also added lights to the ceiling around the large rectangle, including a light that washes down the art on the wall. Additional lights under the upper cabinets provide good illumination for cooking and prepping.
The tiles on the floor and bath panel are colourful, varied and colour-blocked in a way inspired by the architecture in Marrakech and they were handmade in Marrakech by Popham Design. The pink walls are tadelakt.
Because space was tight, the homeowners opted for a bath-shower combination and a floating vanity unit. Andrew also saved space by installing a wall-mounted toilet, which has its tank hidden behind the wall.
This room also has a skylight that brings in natural light. Andrew stretched the opening beneath this one just as he did in the kitchen.
The marble on the sink is Breccia Capraia. “This marble has a beautiful pink to it,” Andrew says.
What do you like about this apartment transformation? Share your thoughts in the Comments.