Two parents, three kids, a cat and a bearded dragon share this 650-square-foot Manhattan apartment — meaning it should be nightmarishly cramped. Yet, thanks to a series of brilliant design choices and DIY hacks, the space seems far from claustrophobic.
Writer Jenny Davis and her husband, Cory, have been renting their Upper East Side home for 15 years, choosing to reorganize the space rather than upsize after having their first child, Asher, and then twins Aliya and Aleph, Jenny told Apartment Therapy. So good are they at reimagining their beloved unit to fit their changing needs — which also include the addition of a pet cat, Leo, and a bearded dragon, Rexy, to their brood — that the abode manages to look and feel downright cozy.
After getting pregnant with now six-year-old Asher, the couple considered upsizing, but were inspired by other building residents to stay and make it work. “
“[Two] people who raised kids in one-bedrooms in our building said that the pressure is not real,” Jenny told the publication. Instead of apartment searching, she and Cory converted a former home office into Asher’s room — and turning their living and dining rooms into a sprawling playroom.
Then, after having the twins, a closet was reborn as a home office and a play kitchen was added to the real kitchen, thus extending the playroom.
Today, the alcove is a “massive movement zone with a rock wall, monkey bars, and a net loft leading to a ledge,” the actual bedroom is shared by all three kids, and Jenny and Cory share a Murphy bed into the foyer byway of a bedroom.
Along the way, the couple also added a door so the living room has access to the bathroom, which originally could only be accessed from the bedroom.
The layout may be unique but the unit — and building’s — best details still shine through.
“I grew up in a basement apartment, so what wowed me in this apartment from the first time we saw it more than 15 years ago … and every day since … has been the natural sunlight it gets,” said Jenny. “I also highly value that it’s in a pre-war building with really solid construction and some quirky details. Our lobby used to be all marble, there’s an old mail chute next to us that can drop letters down to the lobby (no longer in use — but it still works), and our building is only six stories high with many tenants and staff who’ve been here longer than we have.”