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A Nice Place For a Sleepover: The Ups and Downs of a Night in a Micro-Unit

by Nena Perry-Brown

A Nice Place For a Sleepover: The Ups and Downs of a Night in a Micro-Unit: Figure 1

Welcome to Property Week, a week-long UrbanTurf series devoted to intriguing residential properties in the DC area and beyond. From a DC version of Wrigleyville to a Trinidad apartment building that will only offer five-bedroom apartments, this week is all about cool residences both near and far. Enjoy.


While New York City is no stranger to small tenement-like apartments, Carmel Place, the city’s first micro-apartment development, embraces the new thinking (which many local developers believe in as well) that living small is what renters want these days.

The building, a partnership between Monadnock Development and the Lower East Side People’s Mutual Housing Association, began leasing late last year, and residents moved in last week. Ranging from 260-360 square feet each, the nARCHITECTS design is constructed of prefabricated modules.

For a recent New York Times article, a writer spent a night to test out one of the complex’s units, which are run by co-living start-up Ollie.

The 302 square foot apartment that was tested has a market rent of $2,670 a month. As expected with a unit this small, the writer found the experience resulted in a lukewarm review.

For example, located in the wall above the sofa is a bed that folds out; while the writer found the bed supportive and comfortable, it was also heavy and cumbersome to fold down.

Another multipurpose furniture piece was a small desk that expanded and, with insets, converted to a larger dining table that seats 8-or-so people. A nice dual-purpose item, but when the table is extended, one cannot open the fridge or push the chairs back.

The kitchen area is a large portion of the unit, but there is no conventional oven and the writer ended up ordering out when she stayed there for the night. Lighting sources in the unit are varied — under-shelving, task and floor lamps in addition to recessed lighting — but the author found that none of these enabled her to read while in bed.

Among the resident benefits are a weekly tidy-up service and monthly in-depth cleaning, and an app, Hello Alfred, can be employed to outsource various errands. However, if you reside in one of the buildings 14 affordable-housing units, you must pay for these services at-cost.

Overall, the Times piece shows that living in a micro-unit is likely a constant experience of trade-offs and compromises. The author aptly described it as “a nice place for a sleepover.”

See other articles related to: ollie, nyc, microunits, micro-units, micro units

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/one_night_in_an_nyc_micro-apartment/11350

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