Manhattan Micro-Loft industrial-staircase
Save63KAsk a Question12Print

Manhattan Micro-Loft

Located at the top of a brownstone on Manhattan's Upper West Side, this apartment had a tiny footprint of just 425 feet, but the space stretched vertically for approximately 25 feet, and had access to a roof terrace.

Our solution created four separate "living platforms" inserted within the space that provide room for all the essentials and still allow the apartment to feel open and light-filled. The lowest level is an entry and kitchen space, and a few steps up is the main living area. Above the living area is a cantilevered bed pavilion that projects out into the main space, supported on steel beams. A final stair leads up to a roof garden. All the spaces flow into one another, and the idea of distinct "rooms" dissolved.

Given the miniscule size of the apartment, every inch of space is put to use. Stairs are not merely for circulation through the apartment, but feature built-in storage cabinetry and drawers below. The main bath and shower, in fact, are also built below the primary staircase. The kitchen features fully concealed appliances, flip up high storage units for easy access, and a countertop that wraps into the main living space, becoming a virtual 'hearth' with built-in entertainment system. There are no traditional closets in the entire apartment.

Materials throughout are selected to emphasize the spatial characteristics of the project. The perimeter is light, with painted (existing) brick, glass backsplashes and shelving, and white lacquered kitchen cabinets, stair cabinets, and fittings. The cantilevered bed pavilion is clad in dark wood, and anchors the space - a central object around which everything revolves. A dark wood floor and wood stair treads lead through and around the apartment, spiraling up onto the wood deck at the room. Given the number of built-in features, furnishings are minimal in number, with only a couch, coffee table, bed, and a side chair necessary.

Design Team: Scott Specht, Louise Harpman, Amy Lopez-Cepero, Sheryl Jordan, Devin Keyes

Photography: Taggart Sorenson

Press and Awards

AIA Design Award
Architizer A+ Award
The New York Times
"Tiny Homes Hunting" on DIY TV
Interior Design "Best of Year"
URL
www.spechtarchitects.com
Staircase - small industrial wooden straight staircase idea in New York — Houzz

This photo has 12 questions

Intelligent Design wrote:
What materials are the treads & risers and how is it finished?
    3 Comments
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Erica M
Where could I get these treads?
Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Alethea Von Interiors LLC

This is fabulous. Would like to use a similar idea in an upcoming project beneath an existing stair. Any thoughts regarding which professional (carpenter, storage design company, cabinetmaker or other) you think would be best for retrofit of this type?

Save    
lydiarosevanadia wrote:
Very cool - Not a question but a comment. It's beyond cool, practical, efficient, we have closet that is underneath the stairs going upstairs. The closet door is opposite the steps, the closet door is a full door height and width. Inside the ceiling tapers down as you walk in towards the back. The staircase is next to a hallway and has a full wall like this one. I'm wondering if I can do this and would it be harder or easier considering the open space of the closet that is on the other side of this wall. I hope I haven't confused anyone.
    2 Comments
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Specht Architects
There were actually a couple questions there in your comment. You can do this if the structure of your stair allows it. If you already have a stair in place, you most likely will have to modify the structure below it and rebuild the entire stair. Your current closet shouldn't make it easier or harder, it's typical for wood stairs to have empty spaces below them.
1 Like Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Zoom-Room Murphy Beds

Lofts are another great way to utilize space.. Figuring out how to make a large room homelike is one of life's more pleasant challenges. The stairs are amazing here and really exemplify using space efficiently. I actually prefer this style as opposed to the usual room under the stairs because it flows with the room and doesn't leave an empty void to be filled with oddly shaped artwork. Our company sells a product called a Zoom-Bed that also helps save space. Using one upstairs instead of a normal bed can provide extra room for whatever it is that pleases you. zoom-room.com

Save    
nonutnation wrote:
What color stain is used on the stairs and floor? Jacobean?
    2 Comments
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Specht Architects
It's probably a walnut stain, but didn't keep track of what it was called. Every wood/stain combination gives different results, so it's best to find a few colors you like and test them out on the actual wood you are using.
Save    
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Specht Architects
This was actual Walnut with a clear stain.
Save    
megglesmcd wrote:
Love the vertical lines running up the stairs. Are they cables? - These stairs are amazing, they look perfect for the space. I love everything about how you've designed them. I'm just wondering what kind of material the vertical safety bars are made out of and how do they attach to the ceiling? Thanks!
2 Likes    2 Comments
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Specht Architects
these are standard stainless steel cables. they are attached to a metal strap that is then secured to the ceiling structure.
Save     Thanked by megglesmcd
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Manuela

What is the cable thickness?
Thank you


Save    
tpfrey wrote:
What is the cabinet material? - We couldn't tell if this is laminate or painted wood - could you let us know?
    1 Comment
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Specht Architects

It is lacquered wood.

Save    
stormforge wrote:
LOVE - these white brick walls!! Absolutely beautiful, are they real bricks or just a look like tile? It suits this house so amazingly, gorgeous!
    1 Comment
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Specht Architects

They are the original walls, painted white.

Save    
jumap wrote:
Nice!! - How wide are the stairs?
    1 Comment
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Specht Architects

4'

Save     Thanked by jumap
elfriedel wrote:
Pretty damn cool! - ,
    1 Comment
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Specht Architects

Thanks!

Save    
jenn01238 wrote:
How do these doors open/close? - It doesn't look like a nook to catch your fingers on, nor does it look like there's a push mechanism in place. I assume there's some way to open the drawers and cubbies :)
2 Likes    1 Comment
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
passatgt
Push to open. Notice the magnet in the middle of the door on the right side?
2 Likes Save     Thanked by jenn01238
sewfinw wrote:
Great job! - Love the before pics & last elevation of the whole unit. Wonderful use of space.
1 Like    1 Comment
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Specht Architects
Thanks!
1 Like Save    
Linda Fulghum Goodman wrote:
Why can't I share this on FB? - Hhh
    1 Comment
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
PRO
Specht Architects
I don't know; that is a question for houzz.com. You could share this link if you'd like to:
http://www.architizer.com/en_us/projects/view/manhattan-microloft/1673/#.UWXahcrJKF_
Save    
Cierra Woods wrote:
Is there a plan for the stairs?? - I absolutely love this stair design! It is really amazing! The built in storage is brilliant and I would love to build this in my micro home. Do you happen to have plans to this or anything that can help me build a stair case like this or close to it? I would greatly, greatly, greatly appreciate it! Thank you for your time :)
2 Likes    Comment

What Houzz contributors are saying:

Eric Reinholdt, Architect added this to Design Workshop: 3 Ingenious Ways With Wall Cabinets
One can see from this vantage point just how cleverly the architect has concealed an enviable amount of storage beneath this stair. The stair stringers, the sloping wood framing supporting the stair, are set back from the face of the cabinet doors. This allows the cabinet doors to follow the rectangular sawtoothed profile of the treads and risers and not the angular underside of the stringer. When the doors are closed, they form an understated patchwork on the face of the wall and complement the architecture of the room.
Judith Taylor Designs added this to Working With Pros: When You Just Need a Little Design Guidance
Need help visualizing storage options? Designers have a lot of practice finding opportunities in unexpected places.6 Reasons to Hire a Home Design Professional
Laura Gaskill added this to 12 Smart Designs for Small-Space Living
12. Smart stairs. Space beneath the stairs should be put to work in a compact space, and what better way than with perfectly fitted storage compartments? An open-sided, rather than walled-in, staircase keeps a small room feeling more spacious and allows light into the upper level.Tell us: Do you live in a small space? How do you make it work?More:How to Design and Lay Out a Small Living Room15 Rooms That Excel at Double Duty
Simon Farrell-Green added this to What to Build Under the Stairs
StorageIt’s the modern person’s bête noire: Where do we put all this stuff? Answer: Under the stairs! Only you could do it in a sophisticated way, as in this New York City loft, with a variety of drawers (rather than one big cabinet) pulling out to provide nicely rationalized storage. The wood interiors are a beautiful touch, and the tall cabinet at the right is a smart move for necessities such as ironing boards.

What Houzzers are commenting on:

Jon Froderberg added this to Tiny Houses
I love the storage but more so with doors!!
D S added this to stairs
contrast between treads and shelving
Deirdre Nicholson added this to Deirdre Nicholson's Ideas
Yes please, the storage under the stairs is fantastic.

Browse over 17 million home design photos on Houzz