A transformable, space-saving basement apartment in New York City


The image of a small basement apartment conjures up images of dark, damp spaces that most of us would probably prefer to avoid. Which architect Martin Hopp has done to this 720 square foot apartment in Chelsea is pretty miraculous, proving that not all basements are created equal. Despite its limited square footage, Hopp uses white and has created smart space-saving elements that make the most of every square inch.

The all-white saloon benefits from built-in seating and cabinetry offering plenty of storage space. A dining table swings out from a row of cabinets, aligning it with one of the banquet seats.

interior view of a small apartment with white walls and cabinets and a wooden floor with a white table and bench

interior corner view of small apartment with kitchen view with man

Despite the absence of windows, the interior is bright thanks to the white surfaces and hidden lights. Folding doors allow the living room to be separated from the rest of the apartment for more privacy.

interior corner view of small apartment with white cabinets and potted greenery

interior view of apartment bedroom with white furniture

The tiny bedroom still feels spacious with everything tucked away behind custom minimalist storage.

Tilted interior view of dark wooden hallway with bathroom light in background

In the private areas of the apartment, wood paneling covers the walls and ceiling for a uniform look. Hidden lighting runs along both sides of the ceiling in the hallway to keep it lit without light fixtures.

interior view of wooden hallway with open sliding doors and unfolded bed by shelves

The hallway hides a compact space that houses storage and a Murphy bed that folds up for overnight guests.

interior view of wooden hallway with open sliding doors and unfolded bed by shelves

interior view of wooden hallway with open sliding doors and small desk folded in front of bookshelves

When the bed is folded up, the space can be used as a desk.

interior view of modern bathroom with L-shaped wooden shelves with backlight

At the end of the hall is the only bathroom which has backlit wooden shelves that make it bright, as if there were a window inside.

exterior view of the small staircase leading to the entrance of the apartment

The entrance to the apartment is via a few stairs protected by a wooden fence filled with potted plants.

apartment floor plan

apartment floor plan

Photos by Fei Liu.

Caroline Williamson is Editorial Director of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found looking for vintage merchandise, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen or reworking playlists on Spotify.


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