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 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.