A Revived NYC Garret with a Space-Saving Bed in a Box, Before and After

It’s easy to see why Kay Lee and Jonathan Chong fell for their West 11th Street garret apartment. In addition to offering a living area with a 22-foot-tall ceiling and giant skylight, it bore the ghost marks of the previous occupants: for decades an artist couple had used the space as their studio/crash pad—and painted marble veining on the walls, a zebra-patterned faux rug on the wooden floor, and string-tied bouquet on the bathroom door.

Kay, a digital designer, and Jonathan who works in the restaurant business, had admired the thoughtfully succinct design work of BoND, the architecture and interiors firm run by Israeli ex-pats Noam Dvir and Daniel Rauchwerger—BoND stands for Bureau of Noam and Daniel—and asked if they’d shore up the apartment for full-time living. Daniel climbed the stairs to the fifth-floor walk-up and was charmed at first glance. “The original design thinking was to preserve as much as possible—it would be a classic Greenwich Village attic apartment with as-needed contemporary interventions.”

Then reality set in: the walls crumbled to the touch and pipes were leaking into the apartments below. The place was moldy and rotting. “There’s a gap between the romantic thought of wanting to keep it all,” says Daniel, “and actually living in a ruin.” A ruin, he adds, with barely a kitchen, not much of a bath, no bedroom, and daunting dimensions: the main ceiling may soar but the middle area is a mere 8 feet wide and the long, narrow whole only totals 550 square feet: scroll to the end to see the floor plan and Before shots.

All parties agreed a makeover was called for. And so the BoND crew began the work of hauling all tools and materials up five narrow flights. To maximize a sense of space, BoND opened up the living room by removing a nonstructural wall; performed some architectural jujitsu to fit in a full new kitchen and bath. As for the trickiest riddle: thanks to their adventurous clients, they put the bed into an entirely unexpected spot. Join us for a look.

Photography by Chris Mottalini, courtesy of BoND.

the apartment is set on the top floor of a residential building dating from 19 12
Above: The apartment is set on the top floor of a residential building dating from 1900 and was likely originally used as living quarters. “While having to renovate the space, an important goal was to keep the historic studio feel,” says Daniel, noting that the living area retains its original windows, fireplace, moldings, and pine floor, all newly repaired and refinished.

The walls are limewashed: Daniel and Kay consulted our post Everything You Need to Know about Limewash Paint and went with a pale gray from French line Ressource: “Latex would look too new. Lime paint has a lot of depth to it and the color shifts with the light,” says Daniel. The vintage chair next to the hearth opens into a step stool.