Location :: Upper West Side, New York City
Size :: Studio, Approx. 275 sq. ft.
Resident :: Michael Tanzillo
How It Began
Back in 2013, I got a divorce. In the tradition of the many divorced men before me, I took my dog and we found ourselves a small studio apartment in New York. The apartment was tiny compared to my previous suburban house but I actually enjoy living in a smaller space with fewer possessions. I didn’t have to waste weekends doing yard work or chores around the house. Cleaning my entire home went from a 3-hour task to a 15-minute chore. The utility bills and overall cost were a fraction of the price. And living in a smaller home allowed me the opportunity to live in a neighborhood I’ve always dreamed of. Overall, it was good, but there were a few things that stopped it from being great. So in 2015 I made the decision to update the apartment to address these issues. I decided to optimize my space and that’s the inspiration behind Space Optimized.
What was your motivation behind optimizing your home?
So many things!
- The biggest motivation was I wanted to host parties and friends in the apartment again, but it always felt awkward with the bed in the room. That is the major downside of a studio apartment for me. I felt like a 9-year old hanging out in my bedroom and I wanted to feel like a grown-up again.
- I wanted to impart my unique personality and style onto the apartment. The apartment was nice before, but it felt sterile. It didn’t have enough of my fingerprint on it.
- I had been reading a lot about the benefits of Minimalism and living with less. The thought of making the most out of a smaller space appealed to me. I thought optimizing my small space would be a fun and challenging adventure.
- The price difference between a studio and a 1-bedroom apartment in my neighborhood is astronomical. That excludes the insane security deposits and 15% broker fees. If I could optimize my space instead of moving to a larger apartment, I could save thousands of dollars.
- I may not be the biggest environmentalist in the world, but limiting my carbon footprint is important to me. If I could optimize this small apartment, I felt I could do my part as a good citizen of the world.
How would you describe your style?
I recently had someone tell me that my style was very Scandinavian and I wouldn’t disagree with that. I like my spaces to be clean and bright with an occasional splash of color.
What is your favorite part of your apartment?
I am really proud of the wood wall, but if I am being honest, it would be my little quirky additions here and there. My 1920s safety glasses, my altered baseball cards, and my “Ever Wonder Where Baby Tigercorns Come From?” painting. These serve no other purpose than to just make me smile. I love adding a little bit of quirky humor to everything I do.
Is there anything you regret or wish you could do differently? Or perhaps something you still want to do?
I love the wallpaper I found from Abigail Edwards. The pattern is beautiful and it adds so much texture and life to the apartment. I loved it so much that I thought it would be a good idea to add it in my bathroom. Not the best idea in a tiny NYC bathroom with limited ventilation, but I read about an application method that I thought would work. The wallpaper started peeling off the walls after just a couple weeks and I was stuck with the painful task of removing the rest of the wallpaper. In the future, I will go straight to painting the bathroom.
How long have you lived in the home and how long do you plan on staying?
I’ve lived here for 4 years now and have no plans to leave.
How has your life changed since optimizing your space?
There’s an enormous difference. I can invite friends over and have dinner parties again. I never lose my keys or anything because I have a specific spot for all the items in my home. Overall, I am generally happier at home now. I’m surrounded by my designs and things that make me happy. Living in a space optimized apartment is ideal.
Best advice you could give to someone looking to optimize their homes?
Renovating your home is a long journey no matter how small the space. Learn to break up the project into digestible chunks and tackle one project at a time. There are plenty of resources for design ideas and inspiration. Taking the time learning about them will make the journey and the results much more rewarding. Hopefully Space Optimized can help along the way!
Material Provided by LV Wood
Installation by Intercontinent Inc.
Elfa Closet System by The Container Store
Murphy Beds Express
Wood Stools by West Elm
Couch Ottoman by Murphy Bed Express
Xtra Footstool with Sleeping Function by BoConcept
Mid-Century Geo Wool Rug by West Elm
Bird Wall Paper (Monochrome) by Abigail Edwards
Wall Mirror by West Elm
Stove and Dishwasher by Smeg
Refrigerator/Freezer by Liebherr
Goliath Table by Resource Furniture
Square Shelves by Ikea
:: Plants/Pots ::
Concrete Pots by West Elm
Prism Plant Holders by Umbra
Levitating Light Bulb by Flyte