Welcome to New York, Ryan Seacrest. The former American Idol emcee and now Kelly Ripa’s co-host on ABC’s morning show “Live,” moved to the city and recently landed luxurious new digs on the Upper East Side. Seacrest’s rental is at 34 East 68th Street in Lenox Hill and runs him $75,000 per month. The architects of the townhouse, Michael Chen Architects, rebuilt an entirely new structure inside of a 19th-century mansion, preserving its historic character while adding cool modern touches such as a 30-foot-tall vertical living garden, elevator, and sculptural staircase. As reported by the Daily Mail, the 11,000-square-foot home features 15 rooms with six bedrooms and five+-plus bathrooms.
The master of small apartment design in New York is at it again. The architecture firm MKCA managed to transform a 225-square-foot space that connects to an adjoining five-foot-tall storage attic into a highly functional apartment. MKCA has made a name for itself by designing claustrophobically tiny spaces into enviable apartments through creative and space-saving techniques. (Read more about the firm’s design style in this 6sqft interview with MKCA’s founder, Michael Chen.) This apartment, located in the West Village, is no different–a customized wall of storage created space for a bed, table, hangers and shelving that can be taken out and tucked away as the owner desires.
The renovation of this pre-war home featured the transformation of two separate apartments into one all-inclusive unit. It was completed by architects Michael Chen and Kari Anderson of Normal Projects (Michael now has his own firm called Michael K. Chen Architecture, which specializes in micro housing), who designed the residence for an environmentally conscience couple and their young children. Not only did the couple want the materials used in their home to be ecologically sound, but they also wanted the design to encourage a sustainable lifestyle far into the future. In response, the design team defined a unique strategy that included a flexible floor plan made from custom sliding panels and a series of cuts and insertions. Even in the demolition of the previous property, sustainable practices were taken into account, and all the discarded materials were either reclaimed or recycled.
It’s hard to flip through the home and garden television channels these days without seeing a program about tiny homes. But the trend has been gaining momentum for years, long before it made its way onto our TV screens. One of the creative forces behind this revolution is Michael Chen, firm principal of Michael K. Chen Architecture. With design offices in New York and San Francisco and 14 years of experience, Michael is considered a pioneer of innovative micro-housing. Not only does he share his “love of tinkering, of drawing, of discourse, and of making” with his clients, but he teaches at Pratt Institute School of Architecture in Brooklyn.
Having recently finished the 5:1 Apartment–a compact, 390-square-foot space that fits all the functional and spatial elements for living, working, sleeping, dressing, entertaining, cooking, dining, and bathing–MKCA is taking the design world by storm with their thoughtful approach and clever product design. 6sqft decided to pick Michael’s brain on just how he packs so much into such small footprints, where he thinks the micro-housing movement is headed, and the secrets behind some of his most spectacular spaces.