Friday, December 2, 2016

City Life: The Studio Apartment

The concentration of people in cities is constantly increasing. My apartment was built more than a hundred years ago, with meter-thick walls, a high, vaulted ceiling and one main room. In today's terms, it would be referred to as a studio apartment.

The studio apartment allows for people to live in one large, well lit space in an age when space is increasingly scarce and increasingly subdivided. Because there are no walls dividing the apartment, it is more flexible and efficient. What is. in the morning, a large spacious bedroom, in the evening becomes a living room space with couches that fit twenty friends for a projected movie. A window seat can function as dining room seating, a study space, or a place for a friend to nap.

Of course, the studio apartment has obvious limitations, but with careful planning they can be mitigated significantly.

 A high ceiling height is crucial to reducing claustrophobia and aiding ventilation. It is also important to resist the temptation to use Ikea bookcases and curtains to break down the space. The apartment feels much smaller when the pathways and light is blocked. Areas are best demarcated with rugs and moveable furniture. Even lighting can be a great tool in this regard. Of course, as with any apartment, good natural lighting is essential. Keep in mind that excessive and overly specific decoration is distracting. It gets tiresome, and there is nowhere to hide.

The smaller the apartment, the more important it is that every possession has its place. Often the kitchen mess, drawing mess and clothing mess will overlap, and it is really helpful to be able to address each problem as a separate task and put them away separately. It allows you to reduce the mess to more more manageable sizes.  Special furniture pieces like beds with storage and build it closets are useful. Draws on wheels can be easily tucked under a table. A projector works instead of a screen, and fits easily behind the Talmud set on the bookshelf. The high up spaces above the refrigerator and in the closets are the best spots for items used less often.

A studio apartment is not a great place to start a collection. But many people actually enjoy throwing stuff out and donating. It is worth a try. Also, bulky appliances that aren't used often are easily borrowed from a neighbor or family member.

It is a great feeling to come home to a space that is compact and organized. Though I must admit, it is shocking how easily things can get lost in such a small apartment...

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