New York City
There's a trick to living in small spaces, explains designer Suchi Reddy, who crafted her own 375-square-foot Greenwich Village apartment like a “little ship: everything is built in, everything is white, and everything has to be in its place.” So when former gallerist Sara Meltzer, a single mom with 8-year-old twins, asked Reddy to renovate her 2,400-square-foot Tribeca loft within a tight budget—and an even tighter time frame—the resourceful principal of Reddymade Design used her own lifestyle as a guide.
Working with the existing floor plan—which included adequate mechanicals, electrical, and plumbing—Reddy focused on reproportioning the layout. She added room-dividing shelves in the bedrooms that blend with the unit's bleached-wood floors, upgraded the master bath, and painted the entire apartment white—a quiet palette for the client's eclectic mix of contemporary art and vintage 20th-century furnishings. She even revived a tired 30-square-foot powder room with a serviceable black mosaic floor by painting its badly patched ceiling in the same obsidian color and wrapping the walls in a playfully irreverent black-and-white “Sassy Toile” wall covering. The kitchen, however, needed a lot of work.
Open to the living room, “It was too small, and the refrigerator door was too big—it didn't open properly,” recalls Reddy. And though the other appliances were usable, the island was so shallow and far from the range and sink that it wasn't functional, while stained-wood cabinets with frosted glass insets, a tiled backsplash, and dark counters looked messy and dated.
Mindful of budget, the designer maintained the same footprint and swapped the cabinetry for a glossy white IKEA line, increasing storage in the 154-square-foot kitchen with an expanded island. She installed a durable fused-glass counter and backsplash, then replaced the 36-inch refrigerator with a shallow double-door, freezer-drawer model surfaced with chalkboard for the kids' schedule.
To chime with her client's sense of graphic style and color, as well as to create a subtle division between the kitchen and living areas when she entertains, Reddy inserted a red-gloss laminate bar into the island counter that glides in and out on casters. Thick chopping blocks fill the gap when it's extended. This friendly barrier also keeps guests out of the prep area when the cook needs to concentrate.
The job was delivered in about six weeks, on budget. “There is nothing special,” says Reddy. “It's just simple.” Simplicity is often the best policy.
Location: New York City
Completion Date: November 2012
Gross square footage: 2,400 sq.ft.
Total construction cost: $33,000
Owner: Sara Meltzer
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Acoustical: Dylan Marcus at T: 917-743-0259
General contractor: Ilan Telmont of Spearhead Builders T: 646-349-2999
Photographer(s): Antoine Bootz T: 212-228-7500
CAD system, project management, or other software used: Autocad for all construction documents
Wood doors: Existing
Other special hardware: N/A
Paints and stains: Benjamin Moore
Floor and wall tile:
Dimming System or other lighting controls: Lutron Maestro T: 800-588-7661