Opening Up Space with This Central Park Apartment Expansion

Space is a premium commodity in New York City, which is why these clients jumped at the opportunity to combine two apartments into one. The primary goals of this apartment expansion were to design a single apartment with an airy, open feel while also creating private spaces for guests and to preserve the stunning views overlooking Central Park at every opportunity.

Challenging Characteristics

When the clients are home alone, they want the apartment to feel large and open. However, when guests visit, the clients want to be able to offer accommodations that are both comfortable and private. Even with combining two apartments into one, it was a challenge to create a space that feels open while still affording privacy to both hosts and guests. With just a studio and a one-bedroom to work with, the clients didn’t want to chop up the open floor plan to create a second bedroom, so the architect got creative. 

Creative Solutions

To transform the space from a spacious one-bedroom apartment into one with a second bedroom, we built a customized retractable divider wall that can be stored in a closet when not in use. Made of multiple frosted glass panels, the divider wall sits on a recessed track and can be configured to completely separate the two living spaces or limit the flow of foot traffic between them while maintaining easy access to the shared kitchen. 

To solve the challenge of having a second bedroom without always dedicating the extra floor space to a guest bed, we installed a custom shelf unit with a hidden Murphy bed. The unit spins around, without disrupting the contents on the shelves, to reveal the guest bed behind it. Guests can also enjoy the comfort and luxury of the private bathroom with dual sinks and a custom vanity. 

To highlight the views of the park, the large windows were minimally adorned and have low-profile shades to maximize the size of the openings. In the master bedroom, multiple mirrors were precisely placed at a specific angle above the bed to reflect the view so it is the first thing you see upon entering the room. In addition to the stunning views, these approaches also allow natural light to flood into the space. 

To maintain the seamless, minimalist look throughout the apartment, we built the doors with hidden SOSS hinges and no casings. This created an aesthetic that is consistent with the simple windows, the flat-panel cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms, and the custom shelves and vanities we built. We also installed the firebox for the custom frameless fireplace in the living room. 

The Less Visible Elements

In addition to the creative solutions for separating the spaces and maximizing views, this apartment expansion also included a complete renovation of the building risers, ductwork, and ventilation. We also installed new wood flooring, refinished the ceilings, and put in custom LED lighting throughout. Extensive tilework in the kitchen and both bathrooms adds gentle texture to the space without detracting from the overall clean lines of the apartment. 

Collaboration Is Key

This project is a perfect example of how important it is for the architect and the contractor to be on the same page. Without exact drawings and clear communication about the overall vision, we would not have been able to build such a seemingly simple wall divider system or install the invisible Murphy bed. Although the finished space looks seamless and elegant, the work required behind the scenes to achieve this aesthetic was significant. However, with close collaboration and strong communication, we were able to bring the vision to life and create a space that meets all of the clients’ needs. 

To see all of the images of this clever apartment expansion, view the project in our gallery.

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